Fighting game ladies; perhaps one of video games’ most divided contribution to the medium since microtransactions.

On one hand, they’re cool and confident females capable of kicking ass with the best of them.


On the other, their dress sense leaves a lot to be desired. It’s hard to take them seriously most of the time if they’re integral in the fighting game plot for some single-player arcade mode campaign.

And then there’s the Dead or Alive series that pushes the envelope to the extreme (volleyball). The brainchild of eccentric game developer Tomonobu Itagaki upped the femme fatale factor in fighting game culture. In addition to introducing the world to fast-paced counter-heavy combo-savvy combat and destructible environments, the game infamously popularized jiggle physics and relish in the fact that it’s ok for the female cast members to take a break from fighting game tournaments to play volleyball in a family-friendly manner.

They’re ballsy enough to showcase their female cast’s strengths through their own side-games; Capcom could learn a thing or two.


And we wouldn’t want it any other way. Because if we’re okay with having a dude’s faces being ripped off from their heads in a 1v1 fighting game, I’m sure a little “something something” like this isn’t going to bring down our core values, right?

To celebrate the release of Dead or Alive 6, let’s rank our favourite ladies of the game in order of ass-kicking, style, and story relevance: stuff that makes them the best waifus for gamers out there, male and female. We won’t be counting DoA Volleyball/Xtreme-exclusive characters (sorry Tamaki and Fiona fans, all three of you). We’d rather celebrate the ladies who actually do the fighting in the mothership titles. 


Disclaimer: this is a nonsensical list that doesn’t really hold much weight since we’re talking about make-believe women in a video game. 

#14. Mila


Probably the least-interesting woman in the current cast, Mila kicks ass, dresses adequately for the fight, and doesn’t do much else. Even Vanessa from Virtua Fighter is like “girl, stop stealing my schtick”. All she does is be the “hot-blooded fighter who dares to dream.” Isn’t that the entire female cast’s motive in addition to the other assassin and science experiment bullcrap that they have to get through? Talk about redundant and being lazy.

If this is Tecmo Koei’s way of being progressive with their cast, they kinda failed. The girls from the first and second game already did that with their badass moves and their methods of flaunting it in a crowd of rugged men and ninjas.

In other words, perfect for the guys and the girls who fancy some butch in their meat.

#13. Marie Rose


Even servants need some love now and then. Helena’s aide made her debut in Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate Arcade and has that goth loli look down. Her title is “Wicked Lil’ Servant” for cryin’ out loud.

She ranks low on the list because she’s just loli fanservice added in the game with not much thought put into her design ala Lucky Chloe in Tekken 7 and Amy in the SoulCalibur series. She pretty much is a checklist character to fill up the DoA 5 roster: short-tempered drama queen? Check. Shortest in the group? Check. Deals the lowest damage in the last game she’s in? Check.

To her credit, she may get a backstory or some sort of involvement with DoA’s batshit insane storyline in the sixth game. Until that’s out, consider her pigtails and airport-level stature benched together with Mila.

#12. Honoka


While she’s also the next new not-so-interesting schoolgirl addition for the recent game, she at least gets bumped up the ranks because she’s going to be a key figure in the DoA 6 storyline.

Apparently, she’s the love child of Raidou and Ayame (Ayane’s mom). She gets to pair up with her half-sister in possible kick-ass tag team fights. Until that’s fleshed out & canon, we’re stuck with an Asian schoolgirl who knows a few kicks or two. We already have better DoA characters higher on the list to cater to that general fetish. Maybe next time, Honoka.

#11. Kokoro


Speaking of which, this sweet and polite baji quan prodigy caters to many folks who like demure-looking ass-kickers. Her gi getup and her recent frilly purple-and-white combination that’s part tradition and part girl power makes her dress sense all the more fabulous and practical.

Story-wise, she’s the half-sister of DoA mainstay Helena Douglas but she’s clueless about these corporate and science lab shenanigans because she just wants to be the best baji quan practitioner ever.

Typical to her archetype, she loves tea, piano, and the colour orange. You can’t get more waifu than with this docile-looking sweetheart.

#10. Nyotengu


Some of us fantasize about making love to a human-bird hybrid, right? Right?! No? Really?! Ok, so it’s just Mr Toffee then.

Regardless, her literal flight of fancy means that you can participate in the mile high club with her without an airplane. That should at least be noteworthy to be placed high on this list despite being a newcomer. Be glad she ditched the tengu mask to let loose her long flowing black hair that goes with her traditional outfit.

For fans of princesses, this bird lady doesn’t need rescuing so that’s a bonus. And she’s a 1,000-year-old who looks like she’s in her 20s. So technically she should be a hit among MILFs/GMILFs.

#9. Hitomi


She replaces Ein in the third game; can’t complain about that since having a doe-eyed anime girl in karate gi is easy on the eyes. She puts on some tomboy jeans and pulls off a biker-esque look, and very well we might add. She even tries to pull off a tanktop plus pink hairband look to portray that girl next door vibe. The kind that’ll whoop your ass if you look at her funny.

She even has a solid rivalry going on with one of our legacy participants high up the list, though it’s more comedic than significant. Still, the fact that all of us forgot Ein was in the game -until we mentioned his name again- is proof she’s needed in the Dead or Alive stable.

Also, did you NOT see the earlier picture of Hitomi’s love for strawberries? Let us refresh your memory.


Talk about one of the few images that made gamers of 2003 feel a little tingly for CG women.

#8. La Mariposa/Lisa Hamilton


We need some representation on this list, so how about a coloured wrestler who got her start in the Dead or Alive Volleyball series? La Mariposa/Lisa is a great example of a strong lass climbing out from the dredges of a fanservice game to a mothership fighting title, showing the world she can Lucha Libre while looking fabulous.

As awesome as King is in the Tekken series, we’d rather see La Mariposa pull off her moves with grace and extra curves. She also was a key figure in maintaining Zack Island during the Dead or Alive Extreme side story which is sorta canon, we think.

If anything, any sane person would put a smart woman in charge of book-keeping instead of someone like Zack.

#7. NiCO


Talk about an awesome debut! NiCO is arguably one of the standouts of the series: she’s a scientist who can kick ninja butt with her Pencak Silat style, she has the most sensible dress sense in her first-ever appearance, and adheres to the “bitch scientist” stereotype that makes people want her to be their waifus more than ever.

After all, her sole creation was meant to cater to the Japanese and Asian market, so she’s built that way, we guess.

6. Christie

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Everybody likes the bad girls, and Christie is no exception. She’s an assassin and usually the antagonist/anti-heroine in most DoA games.

Her she quan style looks damn good in motion, with fast strikes and her snake fist moves as pokes. And if looks could kill, she could just murder the entire dancefloor crowd with just her low-cut assassin outfits. Our inner tsundere radars are tingling whenever we see Christie in action.

We ranked her pretty high because lately, her trademark white hair goes well with every black or dark outfit she’s been wearing. And her recent outfit (sleeveless black top) looks really, really great on white.

We do wonder if the carpet matches the drapes, but she’s highly-skilled enough to kill us before we can find out.

5. Ayane


Purple goes well with this red-eyed cold ninja with the babyface that will make loli haters even feel warm in their hearts (and their pants too). She’s also important in the game’s plot, since she’s Kasumi’s cousin. And let’s not forget those awesome cameos in the Ninja Gaiden games where she kicks just as much ass as Ryu Hayabusa.

But really, she’s just a Terminator archetype who’s dressed to kill and comes attached with a literal child-like demeanour. That’s not going to win awards in the personality department.

She’s grown-up now in part 6, but it’s hard not to unsee her previous incarnations with the skimpiest kunoichi outfits made for Japan strip clubs. Makes you want to take a shower sometimes.

4. Helena Douglas


This lovely French heiress of DOATEC is the centre of the game’s mind-numbing plot and somehow gets close to winning the DoA tournament but usually gives it to the person who helped her out in each entry like Ayane and DoA punchline Zack.

She basically knows what’s up in the plot, and dresses up for the occasion in her many frilly and shape-defining French garments.  So anyone with the Alice in Wonderland fetish can relive it with this character. Or anyone who likes a sugar mommy since she’s super-loaded and doesn’t mind wearing the pants in a relationship.

She gets an Aerosmith ballad for one of her more definitive endings. How can you not love this long-haired mistress? God bless Tomonobu Itagaki for his choice in great music.



3. Kasumi


You can’t think of Dead or Alive without seeing this lass in her blue fighting garb and her long-flowing locks. And she’s clearly important in the game’s story: no DoA story will move forward unless this ninja is out kicking clone and science experiment abomination ass.

But apart from her defined outfit and ninja skills, she doesn’t have much of a personality apart from “I’m going to take out the bad guys because I’m the main female lead”. That’s a goal, not a character trait.

Still, her iconic status and her being a mascot that isn’t a furry’s wet dream places her pretty high up on the list. And you gotta love a girl who has a sweet tooth for cafe au lait and strawberry mille-feuille.

2. Tina


Dearest daughter to Hulk Hogan facsimile Bass Armstrong, this all-American girl is flashy in her entrances. She has dreams of being in Hollywood, but usually has to fight daddy dearest since going superstar throws all her wrestling aspirations away.

Her moves and fighting style are in-your-face and graceful. Imagine Tekken’s King but with a svelte figure that somehow hits hard like a mac truck.

And to say nothing of her stage outfits ranging from her cowboy getup complete with “Stars and Stripes” bra and boots, to her recent jacket-and-buckles-filled ensemble in the latest game. She got filled out over time, so amen to that.

But most importantly, she’s top tier on this ranking because of her Southern accent. You can’t beat that sweet dulcet country voice; it makes the powerbombs and suplexes all the less painful.

1. Leifang


Ayane and Kasumi might be the de facto mascots of Dead or Alive, but Leifang is the underdog who somehow keeps making it in every entry and adds pizzazz to the already-stellar cast. She rocks that cheongsam and short leather one-piece skirt when she’s out fighting.

And she even rocks a sexy tribute to Bruce Lee’s jumpsuit. Her clothing ensembles totally match her fierce T’ai Chi Quan fighting style to a tee. In terms of pulling off her looks at her veteran age, she basically trounces every single 18-year old in the DoA circuit.

Story-wise, she just wants to be better than her peer Jann while also balancing rivalries between Tina and Hitomi. You know you’ve got it made in the fighting game world when you’re front and center in the game’s story with strong rivals with different martial arts philosophies.

Plus, she totally murdered a middle-aged salaryman for accidentally touching her boobs. Talk about having a killer instinct and some SJW values in your sexy fighting lass, eh?



Tell us who YOUR favourite DoA waifu is, either on this feature or on Facebook




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