Where are all of the Black Anime characters?
For all you guys that don’t even know what Anime is, it’s a style of Japanese animation/ cartoon. It started in the late 1910’s and has seen a steady climb ever since.
When I was younger, I was a huge fan of anime. Whether it was Ninja Scroll, Princess Mononoke, Dragon Ball, or countless other titles, I just couldn’t get enough of the fast pace action of anime.
Also as a kid I used to think, where are all the Black Anime characters? The characters that look like me. There were what seemed to be white characters (they probably were actually Japanese, but to me had very white features) and, of course, there were Japanese characters, but not too many that had a dark complexion.
Of course, as I got older, I realized the realities that we live in. If even in America there is a tendency to neglect black characters in media, then of course in Japan, with a native Japanese population of 98.5%, they are probably not going to have too many blacks represented in their anime cartoons.
Blackness in Anime
In the beginning of anime, Japanese artist did put what appeared to be black people in anime, but it was either highly stereotypical or racist. The characters were mostly criminals or they would straight up get their asses kicked.
Tzeuka Osamu a famous Anime artist released a statement apologizing for the racist and colorist undertones in earlier manga (anime) .
But, since then, there has definitely been a push to shift away from the racism that anime began with. Black figures are starting to be seen more and more as I would see myself as an anime character. Sometimes, black characters are even the main character or co-main character.
With that, here are my top 19 Black Anime characters!
Random Fact – Did you know in the year 1579, there was actually a 6 foot 2 black (African) Samurai by the name of Yasuke? He was brought to the island by Christian missionaries. He quickly became a local star and was believed to have the strength of 10 men. Yasuke ended up becoming a Samurai (an extremely high honor) for the warlord Nobunaga and also was treated like family.
Afro Samurai is probably the first Black Anime character you think of. Developed in early 2000 for an American audiences, Afro Samurai takes place in a feudal Japan (the time of samurais and ninjas). He is a highly skilled badass samurai that witnesses his father being killed as a boy and lives to get revenge on his killer. This is a must see. Plus, the vocals of ninja ninja is done by Samuel L Jackson and the music is completed by RZA of Wu Tang.
I also heard that Samuel L Jackson is producing a live action movie based on this story.
Muhammed Avdol is a character from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. His character is from Egypt. Aldol is a great character for the list because he could definitely fight, is full of knowledge, and was one of the more leveled personalities of the show.
Dutch from the anime series Black Lagoon is a badass ex U.S. Navy Pr Boat Captain who is now a mercenary for hire. This character is awesome because he acts as a level headed, laidback boss in the series, usually giving orders and negotiating contracts.
Kilik Lunge is a young black man from the anime Soul Eater. It is said the creator of Soul Eater Atsushi Okubo specially made Kilik Lunge to help combat the lack of diversity in anime. He can fight, trains in a special school where he is one of the top three students, stays calm under pressure, and does it all without being overly stereotypical and wearing glasses.
Miyuki Ayukawa is a black anime girl from the anime series Basquash! She is awesome because as a black female mechanic, she is showing men that women can do whatever they put their mind to. Many times she could be seen teaching the other characters in the series how to pilot a big robot called Bigfoot.
Helles- Goddess of Destruction
Helles from Dragon Ball Super is probably the best representation of a black girl anime character from the Dragon Ball series.* I know there are others that came before her, but they are either horribly done or they got embarrassed in battle. Helles on the other hand is both beautiful and extremely powerful. Based on either Queens of Ancient Egypt or the Egyptian Goddess Hathor, she is a character that is long overdue in the Dragon Ball Series.
Kaname Tousen from the anime series Bleach just might be one of the cooler looking characters on our list. Although he is a Samurai, he is a very reserved calm character that tries to shed as little blood as possible. He is an expert swordsman, holds the position of a captain, and also holds a large amount of spiritual powers.
Atsuko Jackson is a beautiful Afro Latina police officer from the anime television series Michiko to Hatchin. Set in Brazil, she is in charge of catching the main character Michiko who recently escaped from prison (she grew up with Michiko as a kid in an orphanage). Atsuko Jackson is a breath of fresh air being playful and tough as a nail. Oh, and did I mention her big beautiful yellow fro?
A (Fourth Raikage)
A/The Fourth Raikage is from the anime series Naruto Shippuden. I love this character because he’s a Boss Black Ninja that is about his business. He is the leader of a black village called the Hidden Cloud Village, and he’s never afraid of making the tough decision. Plus he has cornrows!
Andrew Gilbert Mills
Andrew Gilbert Mills is from the anime series Sword Art Online. He’s a laid back guy that specializes in weapon making. He’s also a skilled warrior that goes around wielding an axe.
Canary is from the anime series Hunter X Hunter. This is another great example of a normal looking black anime girl character that can kickass. At age 10, she beat up 100 henchman by herself. Also, she doesn’t need a sword or special powers to defeat her enemies like the other characters on the series. Just a short staff.
Takenori is a crucial character in the sports anime Slam Dunk. He is a captain of his basketball team Shohoku. Obviously, he is a highly skilled basketball player, but the real reason I like this characters is they show him as a skilled student too.
Shigusa Takachiho is a character from the anime Medaka Box. Other than being an extremely strong fighter, he also has aspirations of becoming a great researcher and believes his research is more valuable than his life.
James Ironside is from the anime series Blood+. This is a black Naval Officer that is extremely punctual, has very strong leadership skills, is exceptionally loyal, and an overall perfectionist.
From the 1985 anime series Robotech, back when Anime defiantly still had more bad examples of black girl anime characters than good ones. There was at least one character (Claudia Grant) that was done really well. She held the rank of lieutenant and was in charge of a crew of 15,000 people. Claudia is relaxed, confident, and professional.
The lead character from the anime series Michiko to Hatchin Michiko is one Brazilian you don’t want to mess with. At first you might think this is another stereotypical black person that is escaping out of prison (she actually escaped a least four times) but by the end you grow to love this character and what she stands for.
Who doesn’t like Simon from the anime series Durarara? He is a Russian Sushi Chief that is know as the strongest man in town. Simon is a super nice guy that is always trying to get people to eat sushi instead of fighting.
Bugnug is an assassin crime lord from the 1986 anime series Crying Freeman. I have to be honest, she almost didn’t make the list. I was recommended this character by someone in the office. And let me just say, for her first scene, she is jumping out of a car naked looking all kinds of crazy. I continued watching at the behest of my co worker and her character got a lot better! The creators got a clue and reshaped her look and turned her into the boss she was meant to be.
They did a decent job of creating a realistic black character at a time when everyone else in anime was mostly getting it completely wrong.
Bob Makihara is a character from the anime series Tenjou Tenge. He is known for being one of the strongest characters in the series and is one of the only black anime characters with dreads. The creators of this show did an amazing job imagining what a black person would be like growing up in Japan. Bob is a character that is very proud of his culture, being that he is from South Africa . He fights in a martial art style called Ritualistic Capoeira (a style of Martial Art developed in Brazil) and even corrects his girlfriend who is Japanese when she tries to call in break dancing.
Honorable Mentions that have caused a lot of debate as to whether they are black or not
Yoruichi Shihoin – and all the characters from Bleach
Casca – From Berserk
Piccolo -From Dragon Ball
There is probably not a black person from america that watches anime that didn’t relate to Piccolo and the Namekians. Vegeta too but maybe just because of how he was clowning people haha)
Anyway, there is my list of the top 19 black characters in anime. Let me know if I left one of your favorites off the list.