Anime or “animation” in Japan refer to Japanese series that features characters who largely bear local physical features. However, with this genre gaining immense popularity across the world, there have been characters introduced over time, including characters in leading roles, which have colored skin tone, especially black anime characters.
Although there have been a considerable number of female black anime characters and male black anime characters that have been created in anime, the numbers are still less when compared to the magnitude and scope of this genre. Here we have picked for you some of the most popular and iconic black anime characters to have ever been presented.
American actor Samuel L. Jackson
One of the most popular black male anime characters of all time, Afro is a saga of a young boy out to avenge his father’s death. Afro’s popularity revolves around his dexterity with the sword and his cold-bloodedness while maintaining a calm and unmoved façade all the while.
Michiko Malandro and Atsuko Jackson
Michiko To Hatchin
Monica Rial for Michiko Malandro in English and Yoko Maki in Japanese
This 2009 release gained much popularity among fans especially because of the stupendous chemistry between the two central characters. While Michiko gets put behind bars after turning out a criminal, Atsuko becomes a policewoman in hot trail of the former. The chase turns out to be exceptionally entertaining that captivated audiences’ attention.
Bob Makihara has his origins in South Africa and is a fighter accomplished in a famous Brazilian art of fighting. This iconic athletic character, who is one of the central figures in the anime, is seen faced with several challenges and he, along with his friend at school venture out on a quest to be the strongest among all the martial arts experts they are surrounded with.
This famous black anime character is popular among anime enthusiasts for his quiet power carefully concealed under a very calm and composed exterior. A former warlord who goes on to become a part of the Blackbeard Pirates, Aokiji possesses the powers of Hie Hie no Mi.
5. Kaz Kaan from Neo Yoki
One of the central characters of Neo Yokio, Kaz is portrayed as a dapper young man who is in possession of magical powers. He belongs to the “Magistocrats” and along with his butler Charles, leads a life of decadence. What draws viewers to Kaz most is his elegance, suave and charming personality.
One of the most loved black female anime characters, Yoruichi Shihōin bears attractive features, is intelligent, witty and possesses the power to transform herself from her human form into a black cat for hours on end. Her appeal also lies in her humility as is manifested when she refuses to be addressed by any honorific titles despite being of noble birth.
7. Muhammad Avdol from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures
Muhammad is an upright character, a principled, worthy ally of the central character, Joseph Joestar. The Egyptian descent is seen joining a group that is headed on a mission to defeat the DIO. The loyal Avdol imparts crucial knowledge on various matters along their journey.
8. Huey And Riley Freeman from The Boondock
Huey And Riley Freeman
Huey and Riley have been exemplary black anime characters in this unique tale that has garnered much popularity among fans for its distinct storyline. The bond portrayed in this series between the two brothers, despite their outwardly differences that often bring them at loggerheads, is one to vouch for.
Kilik is one of the coldest black anime male characters seen in a long time. While maintaining an elegant, reticent and chic exterior most of the time, his ability to produce fire and thunder has made Kilik a popular action hero.
Carole and Tuesday
Carole has been building a niche for herself among fans over the years as one of the most loved black anime characters, girl, primarily due to her exemplary personality. She plays a nice, warm orphan girl who carves out a living for herself taking up any odd job that comes her way. Her lifelong dream however, is to become a musician and it is her journey towards that goal that makes for an absorbing watch.
This multi-season series has picked up much acclaim among lovers of black anime characters. Iris is a young companion of Ash who traverses the Unova region and ultimately becomes the master of this area. It had been Iris’ long-standing dream to become the mightiest Dragon master.
The Kumogakure Characters
Junko Takeuchi for Naruto Uzumaki
This series is one of the few in manga that features an entire village of black anime characters. Some of them including A, Darui, Killer B and the Raikages have stood out and struck a chord with audiences making these warriors from the hidden clouds, some of the most loved characters in this genre.
This is one of the most powerful male black anime characters albeit with shades of viciousness who has managed to keep State Alchemists in a constant state of terror. His disgust for the unscrupulous government leads him to become a sort of social vigilante and commit crimes that he is easily forgiven for by viewers.
Hunter x Hunter
Canary plays a supportive role in this anime series. This young black anime character, female, has become an endearing figure among anime fans largely because of her composure, gentleness and deep-seated fighting spirit.
Cowboy Bebop is a classic black anime character and no list would be complete without a mention of it. Created in 1998, the series portrays Jet Black as a loyal ally to Spike Spiegel, who always has Spiegel’s back and holds the fort by taking control of the star-ship or engaging in a gun fight.
Dragon Ball Z
The fun-filled Mr Popo has enticed audiences of all ages. Despite being in a secondary role, the black male anime character is greatly loved by fans for his unflinching support to the central characters and plot throughout the series.
Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko
An icon among black anime characters female, strong-willed Katara has also served as an inspiration to an entire generation who aim to be like her. The series has shown her veritably grow from an ordinary water bender to a blood bender.
Katsuhiko Manabe Kensaku Kojima
Joe is a pugilist in this famous anime series who is specially loved by fans in the boxing world because of his will power and skills at the sport without the use of the necessary gear. He is an adventure seeker who moves away from his life of complacence in the quest for greater exploits.
Aran’s charismatic character has drawn anime lovers to this male black anime character, like never before. His immense stamina, extraordinary jumping ability has earned great feats for his school volleyball team. He went on to find a spot for his team at the 2020 Japanese Olympics.
This popular black anime character is an antagonist in the Baki Hanma series. He popularity spikes because of his brute strength, out-of-this-world fight sequences rippling muscles that is often reeks of arrogance and swagger.
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While there are a considerable number of iconic black characters in anime today, these series are originally Japanese and hence the characters have been built in accordance with local features. However, with Japanese anime gaining popularity in the US especially among its black population, several black anime characters have been introduced across the genre, many of whom have garnered tremendous success.
Today, with the rising popularity of black male and female anime characters, there are several series that have them in the role of protagonists. Some of them are Michiko and Hatchin- which is one of the first anime series with a female protagonist, Afro- Samurai and Neo Yokio.
The Boondocks. This four-seasons long series is considered to be the first ever black anime.
Black or dark skinned anime characters have turned out to be favourites among anime fans. They have taken the anime world by storm and deservedly so with well designed, unforgettable black anime characters beginning to take centre-stage. From Jason Ozuma and Cain Blood to Coffee and Yoruichi, the list of memorable female black anime characters and black male anime characters , simply go on.