Women in anime: What hidden power would you like to have?
So having a hidden power as a character in anime isn’t exactly a unique trope. Characters of all types – old and young, strong and weak, male and female – manage to find a special kind of hidden power within. Sometimes the hidden power is lying dormant or is activated through extreme effort or explodes in a moment of emotional rage. Creators and authors stoke our interest in stories because we want to see how seemingly ordinary people deal with the extraordinary. And there are few things more extraordinary than power.
What makes hidden powers special is the surprise factor. Plenty of main characters give us a kind of expected surprise. I’ve shared about the hard work that Deku goes through to obtain his power, but as a main character it shouldn’t surprise us that he acquires it. I’ve mentioned the hidden power that Kirito acquires because only a special kind of hero could beat a boss solo. So I want to surprise you readers here with female characters that fly under the radar with jaw dropping hidden powers.
Warning: Minor spoilers may be present. Yet I hope they are minor enough that if you dig the character, then you’ll take a chance on the story.
RWBY – Velvet Scarlatina
When we first meet Velvet she’s getting picked on for being a Faunus by a group of bullies. Then we see her extreme timid nature when she hides behind/under her teammates during battle. She seems more interested in working on her photography than she does in being a Huntress. Later on, when her team leader gives her permission to use her weapon, Velvet does display the hidden power that makes her a valuable member of Team CFVY. Through her innate ability and constant practice with her weapon, she is a formidable warrior. When the rest of her classmates are struggling to take down the robotic enemies, Velvet takes two of them down with grace, agility and a truckload of power.
Our introduction to Rem couldn’t be more innocuous, as long as you aren’t the target of her verbal barbs, like Subaru. She is the very picture of an ordinary, yet beautiful, household maid. Rem does all her chores (plus the chores of her twin sister); she is respectful and follows the orders of her master. But when her sister and home are threatened a switch is flipped inside. Rem is a girl with a dormant demon power that awakens when her sixth sense feels the danger. Her combat ability skyrockets to the point that it frightens Subaru into running and hiding.
Claymore – Clare
If you haven’t noticed, I do like to break my own rules. Clare breaks it in a big way in that she is the main character of the Claymore series. When we get the flashbacks of Clare’s youth, we can see that she was a scarred and thin girl. Her power is almost nonexistent that even when she finds a mentor and obtains power it is only enough to earn the bottom ranking in the Claymore Organization. Her journey takes her into darkness and madness but each tribulation adds to her strength. Eventually she comes into contact with the dark presence within her body and has to find the willpower to suppress it to continue her journey. In a world where she starts at the bottom, the only way is up the long ladder.
Seven Deadly Sins – Elizabeth Liones
Elizabeth may buck my trend of not-the-protagonist as she is the leading lady in Seven Deadly Sins. She is definitely not behind the scenes but her power is hidden from everyone (including herself) until nearly the end of season one. After she tumbles out of a rusty suit of armor, we are treated to a princess that is trying but is still in major need of someone to save her and her cause. She constantly needs the Seven Deadly Sins to rescue her as she has no power of her own. Yet when the villain unleashes his greatest power, Elizabeth unlocks her own world altering magic to save her kingdom. Her story begins with her quest to find those that will save Liones from the shadow; the first season of Seven Deadly Sins ends with Elizabeth being the light that drives the shadow away.
I hope you’ll give these powerful ladies a chance when you’re selecting your next anime to watch. What kind of other hidden powers do you think are worth mentioning?
Feature image: anime-evo.net