TMM here doesn't stand for Tokyo Mew Mew, does it...? BeCAUSE...I might be slightly morbidly interested in seeing that. O.O
It does...?? All I remember are Chrono and that little red guy from Strikers...although I quit keeping up with Nanoha a long time ago; it seems to get more and more ecchi with each season/spinoff. 6_6;
Uh, I guess Yuuno counts? And the wolf-familiar guy from A's...I remember being frustrated with how little they used him compared to the other Velka Knights; he was probably one of the first macho-male characters I ever took an interest in...^^;
Yeah, I remember complaining about that when I found out male Cure OC's were a thing (and this was before the canon character). It's like, the whole point of Precure is to take the typical sentai team and make it accessible to little girls...and now we're just gonna...give it back...? It just feels a little weird, I guess...
I am ALL for classifying YGO MC's as magical boys; YES XD
Uh, anyway, to give my own answer to the titular prompt...I was very surprised to find that competent 'girl characters' are not a new thing??
Like, Gatchaman is from the 70's, and Jun may be the only girl character on the team (and the only regular female protagonist for the vast majority of the series), but she's not a 'damsel in distress' or a static piece of eye candy either. Nor does she do the thing where 80% of her lines are just calling out Male MC's name (I HATE HATE HATE that so much).
She...actually fights? Like, physically and on her own, just like the rest of the team? And she has useful, character specific skills that don't involve seduction of male characters?? She was just so normal, like a modern female heroine, that it was a while before I realized that should have been unexpected for the time period (I mean, Charlie's Angels is from a similar era...if you've ever seen it you know what I'm getting at).
Maybe Gatchaman is actually an anomaly, and the majority of female characters in action series back then really were useless bimbos, but...I mean, this at least proves that the great Sailor Moon probably had predecessors.