An Improbably Female Cast is when a work's cast almost entirely consists of girls and/or women in a situation where this would be unusual. For example, a supposedly mixed-sex school where females make up more than two-thirds of the students.
It has been argued that the main reasons for a work choosing to have an Improbably Female Cast are:
- To target a male audience, which is generally known to enjoy fanservice, especially of the girl-on-girl variety.
- To target a female audience, which is generally known to be more likely to empathize with a predominantly female cast.
- To target a queer female audience, which is generally known to do both.
Confusion between these motivations can easily result in a Periphery Demographic for both types of show. The writer may have wanted to tell a story about women outside of a traditional female role, to emphasize a fictional society in which this would not be unusual, or have been forced by Executive Meddling to add an unusual situation to provide excitement or appeal to a male audience.
Note that the mere fact of a story focusing on a group of women in a larger setting is itself not an Improbably Female Cast; it can occur only when the cast is intended to represent the entire or majority membership of a group and yet with no explanation most are female. For example, a work where the cast comprises the entire student body of a mixed-sex school, yet women are more than two-thirds of the students, is an improbably female cast. The same may also apply if the cast is an entire year group (a substantial division) or a single form group (a representative group). However, a story about a group of female friends in the setting of a mixed-sex school is not Improbably Female; it's simply a story about those particular characters, and the focus on that group makes no assertion about gender balance in the wider setting.
The Spear Counterpart is so incredibly common it would be near impossible to list all the examples. Its extreme Spear version is The Smurfette Principle, where there is only one woman in a cast of men.
Closely related to World of Action Girls, which facilitates the abundance of women. Any examples of casts made up exclusively of female characters (regardless of how improbable) fall under Chromosome Casting. For when an entirely female society is used as a setting, see Lady Land. If the complete cast only looks female, you might have a case of Otokonoko Genre.
- Galaxy Angel is a parody of a galactic peacekeeping force that, for some reason, is entirely made up of cute girls - aside from the cute boy Twin Stars and a middle-aged commander. The role is usually performed by Forte whenever a gag requires a "male" equivalent, something she eventually starts complaining about. Broccoli (the production company) sometimes lampshades this in gags, notably the prince who kidnaps Milfeulle and a flashback to Usada's father, who are obviously women in really transparent disguises.
- In Silent Möbius, the special agents battling the monsters/demons from another dimension are all women. At one point, their leader offers some sort of philosophical justification about women being able to bear children and thus being the key to the future. It doesn't really hold water, especially since one of the agents is a cyborg and most certainly unable to become pregnant.note
- Kurogane Pukapuka Tai featured an Imperial Japanese cruiser in World War II that is entirely crewed by women, except for the only one recurring male character, the old, Zen Master-like Captain of the Unebi. No explanation is given except that the cruiser's intended crew were all taken ill with typhoid and a substitute crew had to be found; why these would be all women is not explained, although a shortage of military-age men in 1943 might be one.
- None of this explains the all-women crews of the ships they interact with, including US and British cruisers and a German U-boat.
- Parodied in the Excel Saga episode "Increase Ratings Week", in which all the female characters are drawn in moe style (as they go to a swimming pool, which just so happens to be populated by characters catering to nearly every fetish imaginable) and all the male characters are forced offscreen (much to their displeasure).
- In Hyper Dimension Neptunia The Animation as with its video game equivalent, all the characters representing personifications of parts of the (male-dominated) game industry are girls.
- Gunslinger Girl explains why all the assassins are children,note but it never explains why there aren't any young boy assassins.
- There are few male characters in Girls und Panzer, none of them as part of the main cast.
- Geneshaft features a society openly declared to be 90% female. Justified in that the entire society is genetically engineered to have a 1:9 female-male ratio because men are seen as too aggressive (and also because it allows the few male characters to have a Supporting Harem; and, in the case of villains like Jean and Big Bad Lord Sneak, to easily prove how evil they are since they Would Hit a Girl).
- Lyrical Nanoha delves more and more into this with each season.
- You see that redhead at the bottom right of the StrikerS page image? He is one of only three major male characters in the entirety of StrikerS, and he gets the least amount of character development. And this was a season with so many characters that the character page had to be split in three. And the male characters from previous seasons were Demoted to Extra to boot.
- ViVid takes it even further since it only introduced one new male character, and they've been dead for hundreds of years. During the tournament arc (which was open to both genders) there wasn't a single male entrant to be found, not even among the extras.
- ViVid Strike! continues the trend, only introducing two male characters. One of them is a Satellite Character and the other is dead.
- Episode 13 of Granblue Fantasy. Any male characters get relegated to background characters with maybe 1 or 2 lines, while the episode focuses heavily on the much larger crew consisting almost entirely of women. Even poor Gran is replaced with Djeeta, a lady who essentially takes his place and does it with much more power to boot.
- New Game! is about a game studio and its staff. While in real life one you expect the industry to be male-dominated, the cast is completely female. The internal justification being the manager Shizuku is a bit of a lesbian Covert Pervert; she'd prefer hiring those who'd be cute enough so that she'd forgive their mistakes if the need arises.
- Queen's Blade is a Fanservice-Fuel Medieval European Fantasy with all the important characters, including protagonists and antagonists, being all females. Male characters seem to exist only as living props or as flat characters serving as living plot devices.
- Everyone in Kemono Friends is female except for Kyururu, the protagonist of the second season (whose gender was only confirmed by the Kemono Friends World exhibition). Word of God states that Sandstar turns even male animals into female Friends, as seen with Lion and Moose who still have hair resembling a mane and antlers respectively.
- In the world of Little Witch Academia, apparently one hundred percent of magic-users were female. There were male muggle characters, and even male magical creatures always around... but no wizards were depicted until the very end as cameos, and only witches were shown until then. The male muggles do however have much more prominence than female muggles in the show, and the Wild Hunters may actually be a group of all-male humans that use some type of magic distinguished from witchcraft.
- Justified in Urara Meirocho; since only women have the power to become diviners and only diviners can live in Meirocho, the resident population of Meirocho consists entirely of girls and women. Played straight, however, in the portrayals of visitors as few men are seen among them.
- YuruYuri exaggerates this to the point where even among background characters there are no visible male characters, even in places where they should logically be (one chapter takes place in Comiket, for example).
- Justified in Seitokai Yakuindomo with Ousai Academy, which just switched over to being co-ed, meaning that only 28 of the 552 students are male.
- Discussed in Shounen Note. The choir has very few male singers. At the start of the series they attempt to get more boys to join, but even then girls outnumber the boys. The manga itself has a fair amount of male characters.
- If there are any male characters to be seen in Lapis Re:LiGHTs, they are unnamed side-characters or background figures in the town. The entirety of the cast within Flora Girls' Academy are all female, student or staff. This may be somewhat justified by the school being a Wizarding School and there being no male magic-users depicted so far.
- Parodied in Anime-Gataris. While the Anime Club starts out as roughly equal (counting Neko-sensei among the boys), the story ends with Kai Kai as the sole male member. The animification of the world resulted in Sebas and Neko-sensei getting Gender Bent, while Nakano was sent back to the anime world as a fictional character.
- Justified in Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar, the series is primarily about mecha pilots and the world of Geminar explains that less than 10% of mecha pilots are male because you have to have a specific gene to be able to pilot a mecha, and that the gene is far more common in women than it is in men.
- In I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level has the main character assembling herself an expansive and diverse family across the episodes and all are female.
- Birds of Prey :
- Enforced in issue 100 when Oracle decides to enlarge the team after Black Canary's departure. She recruits only female agents, even though a) she had recruited male agents in previous issues (Savant, Creote, Wildcat) and b) even though it would have made a lot of sense to recruit certain male agents (the mission was to break someone out of prison, and Oracle recruited Barda Free but not her husband Scott Free, the world's greatest escape artist, without any explanation as to why Scott was unavailable).
- Birds of Prey is also an example of the Periphery Demographic that an all-female cast can invoke. Is it a series written for girls by having an all-female superhero team? Or is the audience mostly men who read for the attractive female characters and the occasional Girl-on-Girl Is Hot? Some men expressed suspicion when Black Canary was made bisexual because of this, despite the female writer Gail Simone having repeatedly commented on the importance of organic media representation of all kinds of genders and sexualities.
- Monstress was deliberately written to invert the Smurfette Principle, to have five women to every man and never comment on it. Homosexual Reproduction has been brought up in the context of the Baroness and the Warlord, both women and recently married, not wanting to get too frisky since it's both their "lunars" and getting pregnant would be inconvenient on the front lines of a looming war.
- The gender-flipped AU in Star Trek (IDW). It's established that this universe's Starfleet is vaguely sexist (and not ironically reversed sexism, but the regular kind) and some in Command have doubts about Jane T. Kirk's captaincy based on this. And yet somehow it's worked out that the whole command crew is female except Nnamdi Uhuro and Jason Rand.
- Fate/Harem Antics: In canon, the Holy Grail War was pretty gender-equal, with six female participants and nine male participants (if not for some behind the scenes backstabbing, it would have been seven to eight). Here, Shirou's adoptive mother Iri is controlling the Grail from beyond the grave, and decides to make everyone but Shirou female—and due to some mistakes on her part, five extra Servants get summoned, meaning that there are twenty-three girls in the War to just one boy. Iri thinks this is a good number of girlfriends for Shirou so she can finally get some grandkids.
- Unlike normal Pokémon, Tokimeki Memorial and Twinbee canon, the male characters in Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee are only relegated to appearing in the Boy's Side stories, Special Stories and Side Story arcs as well as the major crossover arcs since the girls are the main stars here though certain Main Stories avert this.
- Narrowly averted in Silent Hill. When it was pointed out that the first draft of the screenplay had no major male characters, two were added, though they were relegated to the film's subplot. Other men do appear but in group scenes or as incidental characters. In all, there are only about five male characters with speaking roles.
- Almost all characters in My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister are female, the only major exception being the main character Satori. In the case of the non-human characters, all of the major ones are female, the only males being Mooks and/or off-page.
- The boarding school in Wayward Children is open to both boys and girls, the student body is strongly slanted toward girls. While the worlds call to anyone, the majority of travelers are girls. Eleanor explains that it's not because of any inherent magic, but just because boys in general tend to be raised to be the center of attention, so they have fewer opportunities to get to their worlds.
- Otherside Picnic is partially set at a university in Tokyo, partially in another world, and partially at a research facility known as DS Labs. Of eight regularly appearing characters, only one is male.
- It's mentioned in passing at the start of High School Dx D that Kuoh Academy has a disproportionate number of female students, thanks to being an all-girls school until it went co-ed three years ago. At first that's just the reason Issei and his two perverted buddies went for that high school in particular, but it also serves as foreshadowing: Occult Research Club President Rias Gremory actually runs the place and had the school converted when she took over the surrounding territory three years ago so her male subordinates could attend with her.
- Every character with a "speaking role" (although nearly every episode is voiced entirely by Wren) in SPINES is either female or nonbinary (in the case of Shan). Overlaps with Everyone Is Bi and Cast Full of Gay: when characters' relationships are referenced, only one is heterosexual. And the fruit of that relationship leads to mass slaughter and possibly the end of the world.
- Galaxy Angel, much like the anime; to some extent, it lampshades and parodies the trope. The men are put in Mission Control, with an Unlucky Everydude, his Lancer and best friend, and various crew members that are either old mentors or cute little boys, and one of those boys is a Sweet Polly Oliver.
- Touhou has few male characters, one appearing in a manga, one being a turtle, one being an angry pink cloud, and one in the PC-98 era. ZUN has stated that male youkai and magicians and whatnot do exist in Gensoukyo, but the stories just don't feature them. It's becoming an Enforced Trope, at that, as ZUN originally intended the Final Boss of Undefined Fantastic Object to be a man, but discarded that idea because he wasn't sure how well it would go over.
- Orange_Juice's various games, such as SUGURI, QP Shooting, and Flying Red Barrel, have very few male characters between their games, at most featuring one or two male characters at most.
- Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls. It's right in the title. The only male character of note is the unnamed scientist who created the titular chimera.
- Sakura Dungeon, though it'd be just as truthful to say that the game has an Improbably Lesbian Cast.
- In Butterfly Soup, the school's new baseball club turns out to be entirely female. It's even lampshaded that they didn't intend it that way.
- Senran Kagura has 99% of playable characters being female (and even if you include NPCs, that only falls to about 95%). In-Universe, it's not like men can't become Shinobi - in fact, plenty of named support characters are men and the Shinobi lifestyle itself doesn't really care what gender you are. Out of Universe, it's due to the series' shamelessly honest commitment to Fanservice.
- In Tokyo Tattoo Girls, every character with a portrait and voiced lines is a woman: all six protagonists, the gambling den owner, and every leader in the opposing Syndicate is a woman. The only person that "might" be male is the Tattoo Master player, whose face is never seen.
- Kenji of Katawa Shoujo lampshades how unlikely it is that such a huge percentage of the students at the protagonist's school aren't just girls, but cute girls as well... Being himself, he of course ties it to the great "Feminist Conspiracy" he's always ranting about.
- Princess Evangile is a justified example, given that the main setting is a One-Gender School, and that protagonist Masaya Okonogi is their first male student, and is mainly there under an "experiment" to see if the school can become coed.
- In the first chapter of Alpha Shade, set in a parallel Earth in the World War 1 era, nearly all the important soldiers on both sides are women, although crowd photos appeared to be mostly male. There is no explanation of why there are so many female soldiers, given that there were actually very few in WW1.
- Like the game it was based on, Learning with Manga! FGO features a regular cast of cute girl Servants. While the game itself had Servants of both genders but leaned heavily on the girls' side, the comic relegated most of its male Servants to cameo duty, with the most prominent regular being as girly-looking as the rest of the cast.
- Questionable Content has vastly more female than male cast members (e.g. the new library employees are all girls) with no plausible in-universe reason. This is apparently Author Appeal.
- Anecdote of Error is an example. Despite Mityaitimai Tshetshume School being coed, the only male characters are Fulik, Miak, a teacher who only appears in classroom scenes, and Kezaua, a member of Shimeis Gang of Bullies. Only Fulik is of any importance. This is particularly improbable considering that Word of God has said that the majority of girls become housekeepers and dont go to school.
- Many villages and settings in My Little Pony are populated entirely by females. Justified in that the male ponies are on "a race around the world" for most of the series and, according to one of the comics, baby ponies come out of Majesty's magic mirror.
- This is in effect in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, at least in terms of the ponies. While there do exist competent and important males, all five members of the alicorn race (of which the four adults lead Equestria, partially by virtue of their race) are female, as are all six of the ponies that bonded with the artifacts used to save the world. This is much less true of other races, which have or had male leaders (dragons, griffons), or which have only had male examples (draconequi, diamond dogs).
- Many of the Barbie Direct to Video movies border on this. Although they are usually adaptations of fairy tales with female protagonists, many of the villains and secondary characters end up female as well.