Anime has a really weird rule when it comes to female characters: either they’re all uber-cool-assassin-that-kills-you-and-crushes-your-shin, like in Dragon Ball Z, or they’re all helpless-lass-that-can’t-fight-her-way-out-of-a-paper-bag, like in Pokemon. Therefore, in honor of anime’s schizophrenic approach to storytelling, here are 8 anime ladies who kick ass…and 8 who don’t.

1) Videl (Dragon Ball Z)—Kicks Ass

Yes, she is virtually the only Z-fighter that can’t blow up mountains, regenerate limbs or disintegrate planets. But that is exactly what makes Videl so awesome: her willingness to step into battle against super-powered psychopaths that could crush her like an ant. After all the times she has risked her life, she’s incredibly brave to keep fighting…and incredibly lucky to be alive.

2) Ayumi Yamada (Honey and Clover)--Doesn’t Kick Ass

Before you point out that she’s an art student and therefore “not supposed to be kick-ass,” consider this: kickassery is not defined as simple acts of violence—it is defined as a demonstration of ability so far above your peers, that they will literally feel like you kicked their ass when you beat them in anything, and it is in that regard that Ayumi fails. She has tremendous skill in her field (ceramic arts), but she is always so preoccupied with emotional troubles that she ruins almost everything she makes. For someone with so much talent and the ability to create masterpieces, that kind of inattention—that unwillingness to own everyone around you—is almost as bad as being useless.

3) Deunan Knute (Appleseed)—Kicks Ass

Long before Angelina Jolie’s Salt or Milla Jovovich’s Ultraviolet, Deunan Knute showed the world one very simple thing: you don’t need to be a guy to crack some criminal skulls. Even though she is part of a very small resistance who is against forces that are so far out of a former police detective’s league, give Deunan a gun and she can fight the world. Don’t give her a gun, and she can still fight it just fine.

4) Mamori Anezaki (Eyeshield 21)-Doesn’t Kick Ass

Her best friend, who she’s essentially raised like a little brother, puts on a little green visor that covers half his face, and she suddenly can’t recognize him. And if that isn’t proof of just how utterly useless Mamori is to the Devil Bat's football team, she’s also a terrible manager that never seems to arrive at a strategy before captain Hiruma has already figured it out. The NFL’s simulation programs cost millions; they are completely wasted on this sweet but very, very useless lady.

5) Fuu (Samurai Champloo)—Kicks Ass

Even though she has absolutely no martial arts training whatsoever, this courageous lady of action stands up to thugs, hires two mercenaries of questionable loyalty to accompany her, and sets out on a dangerous trek across feudal Japan in search for a samurai that smells like sunflower seeds. Does she sound entirely mentally fit? Not at all. But is she ridiculously brave? Without a doubt.

6) Mimi Tachikawa (Digimon)—Doesn’t Kick Ass

Proof that even when accompanied by a personal killing machine, crybabies are still crybabies. Quite possibly one of the most irritating people you will ever see, Mimi acts like saving the world is too much work, having your own digimon to command is a waste of time, and not having makeup is the worst thing ever. Because of her aversion to anything meaningful, the rest of the digi-destined have to do all the work every time something dangerous happens while Mimi just sits by and cries about how she was just visiting summer camp before being transported to the hellhole known as the Digiworld.

7) Anna Liebert (Monster)—Kicks Ass

Anna isn’t a trained killer like her twin brother, but she’s always up against some of the most evil people in the world. That doesn’t break her resolve, however, and she has still gone undercover, snuck around dangerous buildings, learned how to fire a weapon and done whatever it takes to find out the truth about who she is. If any regular person was ever confronted with the kinds of criminals she regularly destroys, they would feel too scared to go on, but Anna shows us that, just like Johan, she is a stone-cold killer.

8) Kagura (Gintama)—Doesn’t Kick Ass

An alien with the understandable intention of escaping a life of killing and earning money for her family, Kagura decides to get away from her violent heritage…by joining a gang. When she suddenly develops a conscience and decides not to kill (as per the requirements of any gang, by the way), she decides to join our hero by intimidating him into accepting her company. Plus, her psychotic approach to life could be forgiven if she was cool, but not only does Kagura puke all over and make perverted jokes, her weapon of choice is an umbrella. Yes, she has medical reasons for carrying it, but anyone imitating Batman’s Penguin is never going to look cool.

9) Miria Harvent (Baccano!)—Kicks Ass

You have to love someone so irredeemably stupid that you can’t even consider her a criminal. Working with her lover-cum-partner Isaac Dian, Miria Harvent steals watches (to have more time) and front doors (so no one can enter buildings). It also took her more than half a century to figure out she was immortal, because evidently that kind of thing doesn’t pop up every day. Considering the level of intellect on display, can you even be mad at her, or do you just want to love her for being so awesomely ridiculous?

10) Tea Gardner (Yu-Gi-Oh!)—Doesn’t Kick Ass

Tea has only one function in life: to keep reminding Yugi about the stupid “heart of the cards.” She also has a weird habit of drawing friendship symbols on her group’s hands, and it’s really creepy that she has fallen in love with an ancient spirit that takes over her friend’s body. Mai Valentine, who Tea always seems to hate, let the poor girl win a match when she was trying to inspire her friends, otherwise Tea couldn’t win a duel if her life depended on it (and several times, it did).

11) Ayako (Slam Dunk)—Kicks Ass

Now here is a team manager. After the Shohoku High School decides to take in self-proclaimed genius Hanamichi Sakuragi (or rather, after he forces his way in to impress the captain’s younger sister), Ayako is the one who teaches him all the basics with a caring but firm hand. She also frequently breaks up team fights, keeps control when Coach Anzai isn’t around and even inspires all the players whenever they’re feeling nervous. Together with the coach and captain Akagi, she is easily one of the most formidable managers in the entire high school gaming scene and plays a big part in getting their underdog team to the nationals.

12) Sakuno Ryuzaki (Prince of Tennis)—Doesn’t Kick Ass

With a grandmother that serves as a coach, you would think Sakuno would be a bit more conducive to actually helping the prince of tennis become the king of tennis. Instead, rather than inspiring Ryoma to do great things, as a proper sidekick does, Sakuno spends most of her time swooning over how awesome he is. The prince of tennis finds no help here, and anime finds no awesome lady here either.

13) Triela (Gunslinger Girl)—Kicks Ass

While you could easily make an entire list on the amazing gunslingers in this anime, a special tip of the hat would go to Triela, a former victim of child trafficking who quickly becomes one of the deadliest assassins at her agency. Incredibly practical and extremely uninterested in trivialities like fashion, Triela has an acerbic wit, can use virtually any weapon, serves as a leader for all the other assassins and dies one of the most epic deaths in anime history; you simply don’t get a better resume than that.

14) Meryl Strife and Milly Thompson (Trigun)—Don’t Kick Ass

Already in one of the most boring professions known to man—insurance agent—Meryl and Milly are maddeningly inept. They don’t do much to stop people’s premiums from going up, they can’t stop Vash from destroying things wherever they go (which is their job, by the way), and they definitely cannot help out in a firefight. They are, at best, beautiful distractions that allow Vash a moment to shoot when the villains are busy ogling the ladies, but he would just as soon abandon them for good.

15) Nadi (El Cazador De La Bruja)—Kicks Ass

When someone’s hometown is destroyed and they end up being the sole survivor, it’s easy to have a somewhat depressing outlook on life. Not so with our girl Nadi, who went and became the coolest sharpshooter in the history of this not-so-cool profession. But before you start to think that she is just as much a turncoat as any bounty hunter, Nadi also risks her own life to save her friend Ellis, who she forms an unbreakable bond with. Before killing her opponents, Nadi always gives them a chance to say their last words, so, evidently, she also has a heart of gold.

16) Misa (Death Note)—Doesn’t Kick Ass

If you had a notebook that could be used to magically kill anyone, would you announce that to the world? Well, evidently, our friend Misa would, who broadcast this information on live television to attract the vigilante known as Kira. Of course, Kira also happens to be one of the biggest jerks in anime history so, to add to her stupidity, Misa also has terrible selection when it comes to guys. So terrible, in fact, that she sacrifices half her life’s age to help him…twice. Yeah, totally not kick-ass in the least.

So, what other anime ladies did you think were kick-ass or not? Sound off in the comments below! And for all your entertainment needs, be sure to follow DramaFever and myself on Twitter.