12 Days of Anime #3: Yoko Littner

I mentioned in my previous 12 Days of Anime post that I watched Gurren Lagann for the first time this summer. You probably don’t need me to tell you it was awesome. So I’m not going to.

Instead, I’m going to tell you how awesome Yoko Littner is. Let’s get the obvious point out of the way first: that is one hell of a character design. She’s easily one of the best-looking females in anime. I also appreciate that she constantly carries a very large gun around. I’m not entirely sure why I developed such a strong attraction to girls with guns (I suspect it has something to do with Sigourney Weaver crafting that assault rifle/grenade launcher/flame thrower in Aliens), but Yoko appeals to that fetish in a hilariously exaggerated fashion. I mean, look at that railgun. It must be really heavy, yet she can carry and even aim it from the hip with ease. That’s fantastic.

But what I really like is that Gainax cared enough to give her a great personality, too. Her usual mood can be summed up as confident and fiery. But there’s more than that. She’s perfectly comfortable showing affection (unlike certain annoying tsunderes I can think of), she’s intelligent, she isn’t impulsive (unless she needs to be) and, as we see in the second half of the show, her fighting prowess is not her defining characteristic. Yoko can put on glasses and live the peaceful life of an elementary teacher and not lose what makes her a fun and likable character. You know what else is cool? We actually get to see her mature from a teenager into a young woman, and her personality changes to reflect that.

And, frankly, it was nice to see a supposedly strong female character actually be strong. She’s not like those pansies from Samurai Girls who fret about a simple kiss. Yoko’s the only character in the show who fights alongside Simon through the entire series, and she loses two boyfriends in the process. But does she ever blame him? Yell at him? Complain that it’s not fair? No. She mourns their deaths, but understands they sacrificed themselves for a higher purpose. And then she moves on with her life.