A few days ago, I wrote up a review of Sega’s latest entry and soft reboot of the Sakura Wars franchise. In that review, I mentioned how much I liked the game and a huge contributing factor to that opinion of mine were definitely the characters. This mostly meant the main girls that form the Imperial Combat Revue. While they are indeed anime tropes, they’re really good anime tropes. Each of their personalities are distinct from each other and they all have characterizations that make them stand out from just being just a trope.
As with all harem anime, there is always going to be some debate on who exactly is “best girl.” This is always a personal choice… so I’m going to go through who I think is “best girl” right now! But rather than just stating who it is right out of the gate, I decided to go rank them from my perspective.
Now, this “best girl” ranking list will only include the main girls Sakura Taisen girls, that being Sakura Amamiya, Hatsuho Shinonome, Clarissa “Claris” Snowflake, Azami Mochizuki and Anastasia Palma. I won’t be including the girls from the other Combat Revues like Yui, Lancelot and Elise (even though I might actually put Elise at the top of the list). Nor will I be including the staff and secondary characters like Sumire, Kaoru, Komachi, Hiromi, Itsuki, among others. I also won’t be including the characters that appear in the anime (since I haven’t seen that yet). This is just the ones who belong in the Flower division of the Imperial Combat Revue.
With that out of the way, on with the rankings!
#5 Azami Mochizuki
Nope, I’m not disqualifying her for being *ahem* a little bit young. To be fair to Azami and her chances, I put myself in the mindset of ranking her if she was around the same age as the rest of the girls. And even then, I really couldn’t get myself to liking her.
There are some good points to Azami’s character. She comes off as a bit naive and sheltered when it comes to living a normal life, thanks to her upbringing of becoming a ninja. She also comes off as cute at times when she flaps her arms when excited and I did find it funny how focused she was on eating Japanese sweets.
While she’s not a terrible character, she doesn’t have what it takes for her to be “best girl,” even if I did age her up. The biggest issue I have is that she’s just too serious for my liking. I also don’t care for her overall design as it’s rather confusing. She’s dressed like a maid or something, which just doesn’t match her ninja gimmick. Add to the fact Azami has short hair and slits for eyes and you just have an overall look that doesn’t appeal to me, even if she was of legal age.
#4 Anastasia Palma
The oldest and newest recruit of the Imperial Combat Revue. Anastasia Palma definitely has an eye-catching design that makes her really stand out among the other girls. However, just because she stands out a lot, that doesn’t automatically make her “best girl.”
Anastasia is definitely design for the ones who like their girls to be of the more mysterious side on things. Her demeanor comes off as very level headed and practical. However, the thing that you’ll see first is definitely how curvy they made her look! I mean, look at that outfit! It seems purposefully designed to accentuate her side boobs! I’m not complaining but, well, look at her!
While she’s definitely designed to be the “hottest” of the girls, there are some things that make her rank low on the list, in my opinion. Once again, the entire “slits for eyes” comes into play. Also, while her clothing is supposed to come off as stylish, it just look rather ridiculous to me. For some odd reason, she has a sleeve on one arm and a bracelet on the other. Her high heels have teacup handles for some reason and I just don’t understand the red thing she wears that covers her legs. Is that supposed to be an open skirt?
Compounding the issue would be Anastasia’s overly serious attitude. I get she’s supposed to be the level-headed and most experienced of the group but, for some odd reason, I just don’t find it as fun as it should be. It probably just a personal thing for me.
#3 Sakura Amamiya
Oddly enough, the canon love interest of Sakura Wars ranks right smack in the middle of this list, which is weird because I actually do thing she has the cutest design and probably the best personality. Sakura even has the best image song of all the girls!
Her overall look is really good as the blue and red kimono look suits her and makes her decidedly different from her namesake of the previous games. She also has some of the best animations in the game. I especially love the excited bubbly bounce she does at times. Heck, I even think she has the best sounding voice of all the girls.
So, why does Sakura only rank third? Well, it’s mostly because of her story arc from the game and how she deals with it. She mostly comes off as defeated, which is fine if she manages to overcome it. However, in the game, she generally goes through that phase twice! That makes it come off as if she didn’t really learn anything from the first time she encountered a terrible problem! This made me dock a significant amount of points from my “best girl” ranking score.
#2 Claris Snowflake
Initially, I didn’t really care for Claris’ overall design as I didn’t get it. Was she supposed to be dressed up in a green school uniform? She also speaks using incredibly formal speech, which can get annoying after a time for me. I also had some trouble with her “normal” eyes as, at times, they looked like they were just painted on her face. It’s kind of off-putting initially, but I did get used to them.
However, all of these issues were blown away because of Claris’ overall personality and the humorous bits you get with her as she’s the most naive and not really sure how to handle her more deeper emotions. She becomes shy during the more romantic situations and her voice actress really sells that fact.
The thing that really sold me on Claris being worthy of being near the top of the list were moments when she either becomes super embarrassed or when she gets angry. You’ll get to see the super embarrassed Claris throughout the main story but, if you want to see her mad, you might want to save a game before making the choice as these choices will drastically negatively impact your relationship score with her. But it’s worth it because of how funny she comes off!
#1 Hatsuho Shinonome
So it turns out Sakura’s best friend, Hatsuho, is my “best girl” in Sakura Wars. In all honesty, I have no problem with that as, for me, she’s the most likable character among the group.
Hatsuho is the tomboy and the most “genki” of the Imperial Combat Revue, which immediately puts her high up on the list as these are the two anime tropes that really appeal to me. Her voice actress is also fantastic, selling the tomboy trope really well. Her overall design is also really great with her donning a shrine maiden’s outfit. They also gave her that weird snaggletooth, which makes her look more mischievous, which, once again, I really like.
However, the thing that put Hatsuho over the top was actually a very simple design choice: she has red hair! I know it’s silly but there’s just something about animated females with red hair that just appeals to me. And, for some odd reason, Hatsuho’s red hair works doubly for me. Maybe it’s because of how it matches her pants or how it’s tied in a ponytail on the side of her head. Whatever the reason, it’s just put her over the top for me.
Okay, Elise isn’t part of the main girls of the game…
But there’s just something about her stern appearance but generally caring attitude that I really like and it would be a shame for me to not give her a mention.
Have you played Sakura Wars? Who is your “best girl?” Let me know who it is in the comments section below!