Zero to Heroine: Strong Female Characters (Redheads Edition)

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by KungFro

There came a particular moment in time in which I almost overloaded a Zero to Heroine article with a whopping 12 slides. As I thought of how I could possibly give each of those ladies the individual attention they deserved, without boring you all to death, I realized a select few of them had something in common.

Whether crimson or burgundy – or any shade in between – all of these women sport the rarest natural hair color out there. Without further ado, here are my favorite redheaded heroines.

Kasumi

Dead or Alive series

This kunoichi is probably the second most well known in the video game world – right after Taki, of course. Despite being pampered as a child, leaving her home on a self-proclaimed mission to avenge her older brother marked her as a nukenin (runaway ninja), resulting in her exile. No longer able to return home, Kasumi is constantly fighting off attempts on her life from both her own kin and those that would use her for their sick experimentation.

Kasumi is definitely deserving of her notoriety, being able to survive all that is thrown at her. Despite bearing deadly mastery of her clan's ninjutsu, she is kind and avoids confrontation whenever possible. She's also often surrounded by cherry blossom petals, a symbol which has been attributed to sacrifice and transcendence. Her selflessness is just as much a strength as her lethality.

Nariko

Heavenly Sword

Her birth having defied the prophesy that her clan clung to in faith, Nariko was never loved by those that she sought to protect. Still, she never once left them for dead, coercing the Heavenly Sword to serve her purpose, despite the fact that it was not meant to be wielded by a mortal. God-weapon in hand, Nariko gave her life to ensure the survival of her people.

Nariko has often been seen as the closest female equivalent to God of War's Kratos. A woman with an unshakeable resolve, Nariko is a true example of bloodstained beauty. The combat in Heavenly Sword is entirely composed of remarkable acrobatics and swordplay, which, although augmented by an otherworldly power, were clearly proof enough of Nariko's skill in combat.

Hildegard von Krone

Soulcalibur series

Introduced in Soulcalibur IV, Hilde was forced to take over as ruler of Wolfkrone after her father's descent into madness. Though still young at the time, the loss of her childhood was never her concern. Her knack for diplomacy saw her as a ruler wise beyond her years, yet never stopped her from joining her soldiers on the front lines.

Hilde is probably one of the most hated female characters I can think of – her debut marked her as "the ring-out queen" and she was actually banned from many tournaments for this reason. Still, Hilde remains one of the few armored females in fighting games, while simultaneously evading the damsel-princess category. Her sword-and-spear fighting style is markedly unique, and her charge mechanics were brand new to the Soul series. She lays claim to many "firsts." 

It's also worth nothing that she had two children between Soulcalibur IV and V, but still hasn't left the battlefield. Props to her for keeping the mother bear archetype alive.

Jean Grey / Phoenix

Too many Marvel games to name

Jean Grey is known by many as one of the most powerful psychics in the Marvel world, as well as a prime example of Omega-level mutant status. Her bonding with the Phoenix Force literally bolstered her abilities to an apocalyptic level, while also adding pyrokinesis to her skill set. Despite the destruction she is capable of, Jean is often seen as a caring and loyal individual. Just don't upset the beast within, lest its flames consume all that they touch...

Jean makes an appearance as Phoenix in the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 titles, boasting barely any health, but extremely high damage output. However, her true potential often remains sealed away – unless specific requirements are met, transforming her into the merciless Dark Phoenix. Despite her low health acting as a handicap to prevent this occurrence, Dark Phoenix, if unleashed, can easily turn the tide of any battle. 

Red

Transistor

I couldn't have possibly written this article without including Red. I mean, her name is the entire theme of this article – I'm not capable of such disrespect.

Anyway, Red is one of my favorite silent protagonists for two reasons. Firstly, she was a popular singer prior to her in-game situation. This contrast couldn't be more beautifully ironic. Second, she is silent because her voice was literally taken away, leaving her mute. Often times, silent protagonists have no reason for being silent. Put those two things together and you have an understandably livid woman. Her passion in life was taken from her, so she took up arms.

Another thing that I really like about Red is the realism behind her battle attire. Despite being a woman of class, she wasn't about to fight while wearing a long dress and high heels. Instead, she tore apart her wardrobe to make it as appropriate for combat as possible. She's not running around in a bikini, unlike many female characters in the gaming world.

And there you have it! Are there any redheaded females that you'd hoped to see on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Published Jul. 25th 2015

Correspondent

Half man. Half fro. Half legend.

  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    What about Sarah Kerrigan? Nothing spells badass strong female character like a trained telepathic assassin who becomes queen of an alien swarm bent on world domination. Also Mira Han from KOTOR2 for saving the Jedi Exile a million times. Oh, Lina from DOTA2 for being a sassy power lady who wants nothing more than to see the world burn. Uhhh.... that's all I got folks. :P
  • KungFro
    Correspondent
    I actually have Sarah on an upcoming list! It's important to remember that if I just crammed everybody onto a single list, I'd have to say a lot less about them – Jean Grey was initially on the same list as Sarah if that gives you an idea of what it'll be...
  • Ainyan
    Correspondent
    How is it you managed to have one of the most bad ass redheads (in her base form) in gaming history on the first slide of your show, and yet you didn't even mention her? XD
  • KungFro
    Correspondent
    I knew this question would come up! Haha I LOVE FemShep, but I struggled to include her without amping up my disinterest in her male counterpart. I don't think that would have been *too* bad, but the bias runs crazy deep. XD
  • Michael Slevin
    Columnist
    Also Misty from Pokemon! :D
  • KungFro
    Correspondent
    Very good point! I may have to double up on this edition – red hair is such a strong characteristic! :)

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