Even though there’s still much to do, society has significantly improved its perception and treatment of women.
Ill-informed opinions like “being feminine is a sign of weakness” aren’t tolerated so much anymore.
And when it comes to the femme fatal archetype, women have proven that they can weaponize their sensuality and undeniable charm to wreak havoc and achieve their goals – which almost always involve luring men to their deaths or inconvenient situations, at the least.
On this list are my favorite femme fatale characters who all left a lasting mark on their series, and also in anime as a whole.
20. Mai Valentine
The blonde bombshell of the most popular TCG anime in history isn’t a femme fatale in the traditionally deadly sense – but that’s more due to the younger audience and general focus of the series.
Instead, Mai Valentine uses her beauty to satisfy her material desires.
She (initially) doesn’t feel the need to make friends with other players. Her equally iconic Harpie Lady cards were enough to accompany Mai on her way to victory and bagging the cash prize.
With a simple promise of a kiss or by merely allowing them to admire her well-endowed physique, Mai easily got Joey Wheeler and Rex Raptor to respectively take an unnecessary card battle and lose a lavish room for her.
And at least there’s even more useless characters than her, right?
19. Ai Magase
Ai Magase is an awful human being — but that’s exactly her purpose in Babylon.
In particular, she’s the embodiment of the mythical Whore of Babylon, which means that only death and destruction occupy her mind.
Since she can disguise herself as any pretty woman, Ai can comfortably put male figures in the palm of her hand. She doesn’t even need to do anything with her wiles. Her mere presence is already overwhelmingly pleasurable.
Once her pawns made suicide legal, Ai had everyone from politicians to law enforcement authorities kill themselves, all while she wears her signature evil smile.
Everyone who saw this psychological suspense anime in 2019 probably has her in their list of most hated anime characters ever.
Still, Ai’s infamy means she’ll always be remembered even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.
18. Mireille Bouquet
Premiering more than 20 years ago, the anime-original series Noir has a fantastic female MC duo, one of whom is the mysterious Mireille Bouquet. Despite her pretty smile and family name, she’s an S-tier killer who prefers taking lives with a semi-automatic pistol.
Mireille has the appearance of a modern femme fatale.
Apart from being a globe-trotting assassin, she has black leather boots, a tight mini skirt, a dark red sleeveless top, and pink lipgloss. Her outfit allows her to showcase her feminine assets and comfortably engage in fast-paced pursuits and intense battles.
Thankfully, Mireille doesn’t always have a coldhearted and disinterested demeanor.
While rare, she does have moments of genuine kindness.
17. Junko Asagiri
Anime: Desert Punk
The moment you see all the nicknames other characters give to Junko Asagiri, you just know that she’s well aware of her power over men. Specifically, two of those names pertain to her excessive chest size.
And if you’ve seen Sunabouzu, you know that the anime dedicates enough time and great animation to convey the allure of her big-bosomed characteristic.
After all, Desert Punk wouldn’t have its outrageous journey in the first place if Junko didn’t catch Kanta Mizuno’s attention.
Is she morally upstanding? No, but that’s what makes her a thoroughly entertaining character.
And if her seduction isn’t enough, Junko can always rely on her wit and exceptional knifing and shooting prowess.
16. Kurumi Tokisaki
Anime: Date A Live
Instead of a mature kind of sensuality, Kurumi Tokisaki’s allure lies in her wholesome and timid teenager self. From her twin-tailed black hair to her bangs, she looks like she spends lunchtime reading a novel in the library.
In reality, Kurumi is the most terrifying Spirit in the Date A Live franchise as she has a kill count of at least 10,000 humans.
Yet she’s not purely evil like Babylon’s Ai Magase. Due to her peculiar sense of justice, a large chunk of the people she eliminated are composed of murderers, similarly vile criminals, and people who harm innocent animals.
Date a Live got its fourth season in 2022, so fans can expect more scenes of this time-manipulating gothic lolita.
15. Elena Hanakaze
Anime: Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood
Elena Hanakaze was a 24-year-old assassin who hid her deadly profession by being both an author and prostitute. Instead of guns, she used a deadly umbrella that could turn into a crossbow or a whip, with the latter being a perfect weapon for a femme fatale.
Yet even with her sleazy job, Elena’s fashion was elegant, covering most of her skin.
She was fully aware that her S-tier curves, red lips, blonde hair, and strategically-placed beauty mark were more than enough to reel men into her trap.
Hilariously, Elena loved playing with her boy toys, so much so that her fellow executioners had to remind her to do the job quickly.
She ends her executioner role halfway into the series, but you won’t stop loving her.
14. Tomie Kawakami
Anime: Junji Ito Collection
Tomie Kawakami is essentially Junji Ito’s version of a succubus. She’s an impossibly attractive paranormal entity who brings extreme emotions out of men, particularly those of a romantic or hedonistic nature.
Once these guys become desperate for more of her attention, Tomie can make them do the dirty work for her. She causes bloodshed and death wherever she goes while keeping her own hands clean, fitting for a femme fatale.
Did the Itou Junji: Collection adaptation live up to expectations, especially since it’s from the legendary horror mangaka? No.
Still, this anthology brought Tomie from printed pages to the realm of animation, qualifying her for this list.
It would’ve been a huge bummer if this narcissistic and malevolent entity couldn’t grace everyone with her presence.
Anime: Hunter x Hunter
If you’re ever given the freedom to choose any female bodyguard in anime to always be by your side, choose Baise.
First of all, she has a fun design from her ridiculously upright braided hair to her sharp gaze and slender yet voluptuous figure.
Second, Baise isn’t all about being eye candy. Her lovely legs offer deadly kicks and incredible agility for both offense and defense.
Furthermore, her ability is amazing: Anyone she kisses falls in love with her for three hours and has no choice but to obey her orders.
Baise’s character design in the 2011 adaptation is closer to her appearance in the manga, but the 1999 version holds a special place in my heart. That earlier take on her looks evoked a mature aura that was equally imposing and attractive.
12. Rize Kamishiro
Anime: Tokyo Ghoul
Regardless of everyone’s misgivings about the later seasons of the adaptation, Tokyo Ghoul had a solid first episode.
This is partly because of Rize Kamishiro, the bespectacled and purple-haired young woman who wanted Ken Kaneki for dinner.
Yes, you read that right.
She didn’t just want to have a romantic meal with Kaneki. She wanted to devour him, one bite at a time.
I don’t blame Ken for being head over heels for her.
She was a bookworm who had a lovely smile and a voluptuous figure. Unfortunately for him, Rize was merely devious. Then again, she’s now part of him forever, just not in the way either of them expected.
Anime: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Lust is one of the most sadistic Homunculi in Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Fullmetal Alchemist who didn’t care about humanity and their demise.
However, her name wasn’t indicative of her behavior.
Sure, Lust understood that she was at the upper echelon with femme fatale appeal.
She was 250 years old but had the face of a woman in her 20s. Lust wore tight and slightly revealing clothes to highlight her figure.
But rather than being a slave to carnal desires, she mainly seduced men to manipulate and exploit them. It’s too late for her victims when they realize that her alluring fingers can turn into hideous, all-powerful claws.
Anime: Akame ga Kill
Esdeath reminds me of Vladilena Milize from Eighty-Six. They’re both gorgeous women who hold high positions in the military. The significant difference is that Esdeath is a sadistic general who can destroy mountains with her bare hands and defeat more than 100,000 fighters without any assistance.
She loved to torture rebels.
If there was an option to eternally make her opponents suffer without dying, she’d take it. Esdeath didn’t care about collateral victims and justified her evil deeds by claiming that it’s all about the survival of the fittest.
But she wasn’t completely demented.
Esdeath’s utilized both painful and supportive methods to achieve her goals and remain in control of everyone.
While she couldn’t care less about her enemies and weak people, Esdeath treats her soldiers very well, which then makes them exceedingly devoted to her.
9. Saeko Nogami
Anime: City Hunter
Since Spring 1987, the blue-haired detective of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has played with Ryou Saeba’s heart — and most especially his libido.
Saeko Nogami repeatedly pledges an unforgettable night in exchange for him doing many of her official duties, but it never happens. You can say that she’s the “good” kind of femme fatale. Saeko puts Ryou in precarious situations again and again, but it’s all in the name of justice.
Anyway, City Hunter is a blast from the past that everyone from veteran anime fans to newbies should watch.
It has over 130 episodes and you’ll be thankful for seeing TMPD’s so-called Vixen in her lingerie, jumpsuit, or nothing else but a long-sleeved top.
8. Oriana Thomson
Anime: A Certain Magical Index II
Debuting in the first third of Toaru Majutsu no Index 2, Oriana Thomson earns a 200% rating for hotness.
Apart from her luscious blonde hair and blue eyes, her two main outfits exhibit the idealized cleavage and midriff.
Oriana’s assets make her a genuine femme fatale who not only has men wrapped around her finger but also the prime envy of women.
And if her looks are insufficient to finish the job, she has a wide arsenal of magic at her disposal.
Fortunately, Oriana has a heart of gold despite being a mercenary. She’ll do everything to help people who are merely caught in the middle of conflict, which fits her specialty in evading enemies.
Anime: Demon Slayer
Formerly known as Ume before Doma turned her into a demon, Daki has pale skin and long hair that’s either black or white. As an Oiran (a sophisticated and artistically exceptional kind of prostitute in old Japan), she dons an elaborate hairstyle and a white haori.
Daki could’ve led a prosperous life as an Oiran and she knew it.
Not even the house owners could tell her what to do because she brought in so much money.
Then again, her sadistic and egoistic tendencies also made everyone submissive. A demon who happily kills innocent humans just because she wants to (and not because she’s hungry) is terrifying.
The pressure was on for the follow-up arc of the global box-office success Mugen Train to be just as great. Luckily for the Entertainment District Arc, it had outstanding villains like Daki.
6. Irina Jelavic
Anime: Assassination Classroom
Irina Jelavic is just an ordinary high school teacher in the public eye.
In truth, this curvy beauty (with the blonde hair and blue eyes combo) is only in Kunugigaoka Junior High School because Korosensei teaches there.
Lovingly referred to as the B-word-sensei by her students, Irina has the design of your stereotypical and imaginary hot teacher.
Her skirt is too short to be allowed in an actual place of learning — and the same goes for her top.
With her supermodel looks, Irina can effortlessly seduce male targets. Once they’ve left their defenses down, she and her team can go in for the kill without a worry. Sadly for them, Korosensei is extremely difficult to eliminate even when he’s feeling flirtatious.
5. Kuroha Shiratori
Anime: Eden of the East
I don’t think anyone can argue against her placement on this list once they learn that her most famous (or infamous) nickname is “Johnny Hunter”.
Kuroha Shiratori is a special kind of femme fatale.
With money no longer a problem or goal since she has billions of yen at her disposal, Kuroha can focus on exacting revenge on men.
Specifically, Kuroha loathes men who hurt women.
Eden of the East doesn’t directly mention it, but you can deduce that she’s possibly a victim of assault. Given this context, her habit of slicing a target’s phallus can be perceived as an act of retribution or extrajudicial justice.
Anime: Basilisk: Kouga Ninpou Chou
Studio Gonzo unleashed Basilisk in 2005 to showcase a violent take on anime battles among ninjas who have supernatural abilities.
And while the series is consistently bloody from one episode to the next, it’s Akeginu who takes it to the next level.
You see, Akeginu’s dark red kimono (and similarly red skirt) hint at her ability to control and manipulate her blood.
But where can she secrete enough blood from? That’s the benefit of a kimono.
Akeginu already looks enticing when fully clothed, so men are even more vulnerable to her advances when she takes her kimono off.
Sure, they’ll see more of her skin. But they’ll be moments away from death when the pores on her chest spout blood and they’re left blinded and lost in her hazy red mist.
3. Boa Hancock
Anime: One Piece
It took more than 400 episodes before One Piece debuted Boa Hancock — but the wait was definitely worth it.
Otherwise called the Pirate Empress of the Snake Princess, she’s been hailed as the world’s most beautiful lady.
People showered Boa with praise and quickly forgave her lies and deception simply because of her looks.
Is she widely adored and pursued primarily because of her innately superior appearance, or her Devil Fruit?
Regardless, Boa wields so much seductive power that Monkey D. Luffy’s non-attraction to her seemed like a glitch in the matrix. It’s funny to see her become madly in love with the one guy she couldn’t keep in check.
2. Faye Valentine
Anime: Cowboy Bebop
Faye Valentine is a complex character with a stunning design and amusing circumstances.
She knows how to bewitch men, but the problem is that both men on the Bebop (Spike and Jett) aren’t keen on having women around in the first place.
Yet her seduction skills also point to a sad facet of reality:
Sometimes, you have no choice but to rely on dirty tricks to survive.
When Faye was younger, it was less about having all the money and deceiving men for the fun of it and more about just making it through another day. She dislikes being the object of desire — and genuinely romantic connections are hard to come by.
For Faye, seduction is a mere means to an end.
That’s perfectly fine, especially when she has personal demons to exorcize.
1. Fujiko Mine
Anime: Lupin III
Lupin III thrives to this day not just because of the titular thief, but also the other iconic main characters.
In particular, Fujiko Mine is at once Lupin’s romantic interest, female counterpart, and most questionable ally.
She’s formidable in martial arts and firearms, but it’s her intelligence (she’s fluent in so many languages), sensuality, and unpredictability that make Fujiko dangerous.
You can never be quite sure whether she’ll stand by Lupin or the enemy each episode.
The team behind the anime clearly loves her. Unlike most characters in anime, Fujiko has had different main outfits and hair colors throughout her 50-year legacy.
Given her sprawling (and still growing) discography, it’s only fitting that it’s in Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut in Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro where fans learn that this femme fatale and Lupin were indeed together in a relationship before — and that it’s her who officially cut their romantic ties.