Is あたし seen as soft and girly like the particle わ is? Or can a girl just say it and not sound emotional or dramatic or soft?

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    You can think of it as simply a more colloquial version of わたし for women only. – user4092 Apr 22 '17 at 12:27

Yes, あたし is a very feminine form of わたし.

However, あたし isn't really often used outside of anime and idol usage, as it gives a very unrealistic "cutesy" kind of vibe. (at least in my experience)

Of course I'm sure it's used appropriately somewhere, but it's best to stick to わたし/わたくし for everyday usage.

EDIT:あたし can be used in real life applications as a softer/feminine わたし (thanks to broccoli forest)

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    No, あたし is very often in actual world, after all it's a lighter pronunciation of わたし. – broccoli forest Apr 22 '17 at 15:05
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    Should note that as far as anime usage goes, there exists an 「あたし」 that sounds very tough, like a female leader of a gang. That's often slurred together with 「は」, like 「あたしゃ容赦はしないよ」. In the end, it's how you pronounce it. – Jimmy Apr 22 '17 at 17:06

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