Anime is a medium that is as fantastical and incredible as it can be weird to those outside of it.
The endless possibilities that anime can offer a viewer, through the medium of animation, is unlike virtually anything else out there. That same incredible variety extends to character design as well.
With no need to stay constricted to what is possible or even simply just likely, characters in anime can have all kinds of weird and wonderful designs.
It is almost a trope of anime, that the main character or an important side character will have some out-of-this-world hair color that jumps in front of you and screams ‘Hey, pay attention to me!’
Anime characters with purple hair can be high-octane balls of energy in their series, or cartoonishly dopey and comical, and everything in-between.
In this list, we’re going to go over just a few of the many purple-haired girls that litter the thousands of series of anime that are out there right now, from ordinary slice-of-life shows to high-octane shōnen battle series, and everything in between and beyond.
Yoruichi Shihōin (From Bleach)
Starting off our list with one of those high-octane series we mentioned before, we have the master of Shunpo and Kakudo herself, Yoruichi Shihōin from the hit 2000s manga and anime Bleach.
Yoruichi is very much an enigma for much of the early part of the series. She’s such an enigma, that, for most of the first arcs of the series, most of the main cast think that she’s a dude!
A former Shinigami captain of Soul Society, Yoruichi, along with other the series’ other staple eccentric, Kisuke Urahara, are accused of treason by the Central 46 order.
Both for crimes of committing forbidden research and rituals, as well as evading capture and justice, and are forced to escape to the human world as fugitives in Karakura town for much of the early part of the series.
This helps gives Yoruichi some depth, as she is a character who is wrongly accused of being a traitor by sticking to what she feels is right.
Along with being loyal to those friends closest to her, whilst also seemingly betraying the organization that she previously stood for and led.
All this, whilst also being a certified badass throughout pretty much the entire series.
More often than not in action manga, many formerly prominent fan-favorite characters, especially female characters.
Will slowly get left in the dust and to the sidelines when the main character’s strength renders everyone else obsolete, so it’s great to see her consistently contribute to the plot throughout the run of Bleach.
Dorothy Unsworth (From Black Clover)
Going on to another, much more recent Shōnen series, we have Dorothy Unsworth, from the fantasy battle series Black Clover.
A captain of the Coral Peacock squad, of the Clover kingdom, Dorothy appears to be another take on a classic fantasy trope of the fairy witch aesthetic (and quite a unique one at that).
However, once she has a chance to show her skills in battle, it is clear that she isn’t just another cute witch girl to be added to an already expansive and bloated list of similar characters in anime.
Whilst her drowsy nature might seem like a neat character quirk at first (not to be confused with quirk superpowers, we’ll get to them eventually).
Dorothy’s ability to pull her opponents into a dream realm where she has control and can dictate a battle with her opponent on her terms.
As with many purple-haired characters, Dorothy’s distinct light purple hair helps set the tone for the kind of designs that are possible in her series and world.
And in a world full of battle mages with all kinds of unique designs, it’s still impressive that she can stay as memorable as she has done!
Hotaru Shidare (From Dagashi Kashi)
With a couple of entries from big names in Shōnen, maybe it’s time we turn our attention to something a little more down-to-earth and slice-of-life and see what sorts of purple-haired characters you can find in this genre.
Hotaru Shidare, the main character from Dagashi Kashi, is a young woman who is passionate about dagashi, (for those not in the know, dagashi is store candy that is popular across many urban areas in Japan), and has grown up around candy stores for much of her life.
Her father ran the famous Shikada candy store, and she is dedicated to inheriting that same business, and making the best sweets and sweet stores in the world.
There’s plenty to love about Hotaru. Firstly, her design is adorable. Secondly, her single-minded determination, as well as her love for a very specific and unique topic, is something that many anime fans can relate to.
Plus, her passion for the craft of making sweets is a pretty distinct love, and her goal helps elevate her above other, potentially more generic anime characters, and reduce her to a piece of eye candy (pardon the pun) for viewers.
Motoko Kusanagi (From Ghost In The Shell)
If we’re talking about purple-haired girls that have stuck in our minds, it would be wrong of us to go through this list.
Without mentioning one of the earliest women main characters that gained widespread, and helped establish anime as a worldwide phenomenon.
Motoko, also known as The Major, has had a wide array and appearances and versions throughout the years, but she is a certified badass and force to be reckoned with in pretty much any incarnation.
Whether that’s the original 1995 anime movie, the series from the 2000s, or even the Hollywood botch- I mean, reinterpretation of the character for 2017 live-action movie.
Being the focal point of a world and narrative that explores ideas of what it means to be a person, and whether the existence of a soul is real, or even means anything regardless.
Despite being a cyberpunk dystopia, and having so many gadgets and abilities out of pretty much any part of her cybernetic body.
This focus on her character helps distinguish her as a character from the many other cyborgs living in dystopias that begin to blend after the fifth or sixth angry and moody lone wolf wannabes.
It is very easy for characters to get lost in the sea of nihilism and apathy that is the cyberpunk genre, and not without good reason, but it takes a truly unique character to stay at the top of most people’s lists after almost 30 years, and The Major does just that.
Misato Katsuragi (From Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Speaking of purple-haired icons from the defining works of the 1990s, we have another character from a seminal work of anime, and from a seminal animation director, we have Misato Katsuragi from Hideaki Anno’s iconic Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise.
Misato is the operations director of the organization NERV and is also the field commander for the mecha Eva pilots that are tasked with defending the world from the oncoming destruction posed by the series’ primary opponents, the angels.
With virtually all the pilots being teenagers, it is often up to Misato to help direct the other main characters and keep them focused on their primary mission.
And with most of them being emotionally stunted or compromised from their pasts, that’s certainly a tall order!
Compared to many of the other characters on this list, Misato is very much a down-to-Earth and human influence on the other characters around her.
Whether that is keeping the high tensions of the Eva pilots from spilling over and compromising their mission, or arguing the moral case against the detached heads of both NERV, and even the United Nations, whilst also coming to terms with the trauma that the apocalyptic Second Impact left her with.
Misato acts as a bridge between both of these aspects of the series and is just one of the reasons why she is a fan favorite for many fans of the series.
Faye Valentine (From Cowboy Bebop)
We just keep coming back to the 90s in this list, don’t we?
Coming from yet another iconic series from the 90s, we have the femme fatale lost in time, Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop.
Being a neo-noir series set in space, Cowboy Bebop pulls many inspirations from westerns and noir stories of yesteryear and from around the world, and the character of Faye is no exception.
A classic femme fatale, Faye comes across at first as a classic seductress, using her beauty and charisma to lure people in, usually men, before scamming them out of their money and other possessions.
However, like any good example of this archetype, there is plenty more to Faye Valentine than a pretty face and a trigger-happy finger.
As the series progresses, we see snippets of what events and actions in her history (and trust us, it is a LONG history).
That explain why she was forced, and without any real choice in the matter for herself, to take up the life of crime that she has led so far.
It is this layered characterization, as well as how she subtly develops and changes once she joins the main crew, that helps keep Faye Valentine relevant some 25 years after the series was first released.
So, despite her life of crime and the wrongs she has committed, she must have done something right in the eyes of audiences around the world.
Toshiie Maeda (From The Ambition Of Oda Nobuna)
Taking a break from the world of science fiction, and going back to something a little more fantastical, we have the spear-wielding warrior girl Maeda Toshiie.
From the alternate history Isekai light novel and anime series, The Ambition of Oda Nobuna.
With her tiger skin hat and kabuki mono outfit, Maeda is a character of stark contrasts in this series.
Whilst her fashion sense is outlandish and wild, her actual temperament and small stature look like they were pulled more from a young high school girl, rather than a warrior during the Sengoku period.
She is certainly young for a warrior, being only twelve, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a force to be reckoned with when she wields her spear.
The fact that she is a monster on the battlefield with her weapon of choice only serves to make that contrast of her normally quiet personality more noticeable.
It is this sea of contrasts, as well as her willingness to pull protagonist Yoshiharu Sagara’s tail out of whatever fire he has landed himself in, that makes her a popular character in this series.
That, and her design is practically tailor-made for appeal factors from pretty much every demographic.
Blair (From Soul Eater)
Back to the Shōnen series we go, with another fantastical action character in the form of the magical kitty–cat Blair from Soul Eater.
With a not-so-subtle reference to the iconic horror movie The Blair Witch Project in her name, it is no wonder that this powerful magic-user has such a strong connection with the supernatural in this series.
Blair originally lived outside of Death city in a small cottage (classic fairy tale witch-style) and was thought to be a witch herself when she was picked as a soul worth collecting by series protagonists Maka and Soul, who were on the hunt for the fabled ‘With Blair’ (get it? It’s very subtle).
She proves to be quite an opponent for the young duo, especially at this early point in the series.
However, after their battle, she quickly becomes an ally to the main cast, even moving into Maka and Soul’s apartment (much to the chagrin of both of them).
Maka’s adorable cat form design, as well as her flirtatious and provocative human form design, make her a stand-out character for many fans.
The fact that she is introduced so early on, and continues to hang around the main cast also helps her staying-power when it comes to purple-haired girls.
This is the second time that a purple-haired girl that can turn into a cat has appeared on this list, after Yoruichi from Bleach. Guess purple-haired cat girls are very popular.
Jiro Kyoka (From My Hero Academia)
Told you we’d get to quirked up superheroes eventually!
From the incredibly popular My Hero Academia, we have the living amplifier herself, Jiro Kyoka.
A fan favorite from hero class 1-A, Jiro has a personality that lets her blend into almost any social situation at U.A. high school, especially when compared to many of her other classmates, such as the explosive Bakugo and timid but resolute Izuku.
Never be too loud. But also has enough sass and wit on her side to make sure she is rarely if ever spoken over.
Her powers are similarly understated, with her quirk, Earphone Jack, allowing her to channel vibrations through any surface that she puts her headphone cable-shaped earlobes into.
This can be used for utility, such as trying to triangulate the positions of her opponents through the vibrations they leave behind on a surface, or even for an attack.
Channeling the vibrations of her body and heartbeat into an object, dealing some pretty significant damage to whatever she is plugged into, whether that’s a wall or even an opponent.
This, coupled with her slightly punk-rock costume, helps give her a fresh look when compared to some of the more traditional costume designs of the series.
As you can see, purple hair on a character is a sure-fire way of seeing if they are going to be a blast to watch on screen. Check out these characters in the series they come from.