Wakaba Shinohara is an overly joyous girl who becomes Utena Tenjou's best friend. Wakaba seems to have somewhat of an inferiority complex and as a result dreams of being "special".
Wakaba has a small role in the series who is most often seen hanging around Utena Tenjou where Wakaba clings to Utena and even refers to her as her "boyfriend" on occasion. However, it is also shown that Wakaba harbors feelings for Kyouichi Saionji, when a love letter that she wrote to Saionji is posted on the school bulletin board, which humiliates her. This prompts Utena's first duel, as she blames Saionji for posting the love letter (although there are some hints that it may have been Anthy Himemiya, who was engaged to Saionji at the time, that may have been the culprit) and feels obligated to stand up for Wakaba.
Wakaba's role in the main story does not become apparent again until the Black Rose Saga. It is revealed that Wakaba allows Saionji to take refuge with her when he is expelled from the school, and it is apparent Wakaba is elated at having him there and that Saionji in return treats Wakaba uncharacteristically well. However, Saionji returns to the school despite his expulsion due to his obsession with Anthy. Feeling angry and betrayed, Wakaba then seeks out Souji Mikage, who grants her a black rose and thus the ability to duel. Wakaba explains that she has always felt like she has been surrounded by "special" people and she herself never felt that she was anything special. The only time when she ever feels truly special is when she is taking care of others, which explains her clinging to Utena and her harboring Saionji. Wakaba's drive to duel is to become "special" and to destroy all those who were already "special" before her, which prompts her to duel Utena. It is of note that Wakaba seems to be the only person Utena fights during the Black Rose saga against whom she refuses to use the sword of Prince Dios.
- The name Wakaba means "young leaf".
- Wakaba's surname Shinohara means "bamboo grass" (篠) (shino) and "field, plain" (原) (hara).