With the much-awaited Western release of the 2011 J-drama hit The Reason I Can’t Find My Love, fans are once again reminded that Japanese media is really good at creating powerful, meaningful all-women teams. A story of three friends who all struggle with love and life as they share one room together, supporting each other through the very thick and very thin, this show is the stuff of J-Drama legend. And whatever J-Drama does, anime is never behind. So, for your benefit, here are 8 of the best all-girl teams in anime!

1) The Light Music Club—K-On!

Yes, their musical skills leave a lot to be desired. As even their latest member Yui Hirasawa highlights, they are “not very good at all.” But it’s not about the music—it’s about the fact that all the members of the Light Music Club are together through all of life’s adversities (well, as much adversity as would befall any high school drama whose main characters spends her mornings chasing a cat). Whether it's arranging last minute slumber parties or going shopping, these girls are proof that a band is a bond like no other.

2) Nana Osaki and Nana “Hachi” Komatsu—Nana

It may initially sound a bit silly that two girls, both named Nana, get on a train, sit next to each other, head for the same city and pick out the same apartment to rent at the same exact time. However, destiny works in weird ways. Nana O. and Nana K. (strangely and lovingly referred to as Hachi) have both seen their hearts broken. And when the world suddenly starts to look cold, as it often does during heartbreak, the place they find warmth is in each other’s arms. In many ways, this is the most direct anime equivalent of The Reason I Can’t Find My Love, right down to the apartment sharing.

3) Muroe High School Kendo Club—Bamboo Blade

A group of high school students named after real-life kendoka (kendo practitioners)?! How can you not like this anime already? When sensei Toraji Ishida is challenged by his former upper classman to a battle between their all-girl kendo teams, Captain Kirino Chiba rallies her troops, amongst whom is the supremely talented but ambivalent Tamaki Kawazoe, to honor their master—who is really doing all this for a year’s worth of free sushi. Kendo is perhaps the most exciting sport never to get mainstream acceptance in America, and this anime captures all that awesomeness using a group of students with the grace of the best kunoichi.

4) Class S—Chance: Pop Session

The class for the most talented singers at an exclusive music school, Class S has four members that, at least initially, looked like they were destined for greatness. Selected for pop star duty by none other their favorite J-pop idol Reika’s manager, Akari, Yuki and Nozomi cope with all the losses and gain many of the victories associated with music, fame and friendship. They don’t immediately become inseparable like any cheesy chick-flick, but the bond they share—that of joint adversity—is one that’s perhaps deeper than any regular friendship.

5) Social Welfare Agency—Gunslinger Girl

When an organization that seems to be about social welfare instead is really just an assassination squad, you know you’ve stepped into a very creepy world. The Social Welfare Agency has been designed to kill enemies, when due process just isn’t getting things done. So, of course, the best way to achieve that would be to train a group of half-cybernetic girls to murder, right? With a story that even stretches the limits of believability in anime, Gunslinger Girl creates one of the most memorable all-girl hit squads of all time.

http://dfvr.co/1i66Ygy”">Watch four rookie detectives fight crime under a hot-blooded, off-the-wall chief detective in You Are All Surrounded.

6) Mireille Bouquet and Yuumura Kirika—Noir

While Bee Train Production may be better known for their spiritual successors to this series, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja, there exists a small segment of fans who still prefers the story of Corsican assassin Mireille and the Japanese Yuumura, a young girl who suffers from amnesia, in Noir. As the two girls traverse the world searching for answers about their past, they slowly learn that their histories intertwine a lot more than either of them immediately knows. Together, they form the duo hit squad “Noir,” earning themselves no friends and a lot of very powerful enemies, all issues they can handle because they all totally, inextricably together. It simply doesn’t get more girl power than that.

7) Cherry Blossom Club—Taisho Baseball Girls

Sports anime generally tend to revolve around men, with the women frequently relegated to meaningless support roles (looking at you, Prince of Tennis). So, what better way to counter that than to create a story where a group of resilient early 20th century girls, in a time when women weren’t even allowed to run in public without looking improper, form their own baseball team and take on the best any men’s team has to offer? Together, they learn the secrets of both the game and life with one another, each becoming a cog in the most genre-defying, feminism-conducive sports team ever made.

8) The Claymores—Claymore

And last, but certainly not least, we have the Claymores. There are many anime with female leads, but no other has as many compelling and powerful ladies as this beautifully animated, but tragically short-lived, series. As a Claymore, which is a half-human and half-evil mystical creature known as Yoma, protagonist Clare (notice the somewhat redundant alliteration) is actually the lowest-ranked in an entire organization of cool, armored, and completely kickass women. Jealousy, rivalries, friendships, sacrifice, betrayal; the Claymores face them all as they descend deeper into the horrors of war, proving along the way that they are far better than your average anime heroes.

So what other all girl teams have you seen in anime that you particularly like? Any you particularly hate? Sound off in the comments below!

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