Notable Black Characters in Anime

by Oghenetega Awobasivwe

In anime, dark-skinned characters are far too rare, and when they are shown proper representation, they sometimes do not get the attention they deserve. Not all, but most. To celebrate Black History Month, I decided to give attention to some of my favorite black characters in anime.

There is nothing particularly special about these characters. They just felt especially nice to see and have on my screen. They are well-written characters, and they give me hope that there is progress when it comes to black characters being presented in animation.

Slight spoilers ahead.

  1. Canary (Hunter X Hunter)

Canary is a young apprentice butler of the Zoldyck Family. Viewers are first introduced to her when Gon, the main character, goes over to the Zoldyck estate to get his best friend Killua.

Canary is very dedicated to her job, and does not hesitate to attack trespassers on the property.

I do wish she had more screen time in the anime, but I will admit that I enjoyed every moment that I got to see her. She is an interesting character and I was truly curious about her backstory.

She was not just an emotionless bodyguard. She had a sweet side and cared about Killua, and they showed that in the anime.

  1. Musa Kamara (Run with the Wind)

Musa Kamara is a second-year Science and Engineering international sponsor student in this anime. He is very shy and kind. He is known to give advice to his team members and has great patience overall. I really enjoyed a quote they made in the anime as it acknowledges a truth in reality. He said, “It’s prejudiced to think black people are fast runners.”

  1. Dorothy (The Great Pretender)

Just like most of the main cast, she is a conwoman.

She was introduced in the 18th episode of the anime, but the story had been hinting at her character from the beginning, especially in the ending sequence.

She is confident and charismatic. Her personality is very bright and she loves to talk.

I was a bit sad when it seemed like they killed her off but, spoiler alert — she’s alive and it looks like we will get to see more of her if a future season is in the works.

  1. Onyankopon (Attack on Titan)

A new character who emerged in the final season. After Marley took over his home country, he and others work with the Eldians on Paradis Island to win their war with Marley.

He feels like a well-thought-out character to me. In one of the recent episodes, I especially enjoyed the dialogue that he had with Eren and the crew when Sasha questioned him about his skin color. He said that he believes God created different ethnicities of people out of a desire to make the world “interesting.”

  1. Edward (Cowboy Bebop)

She joins The Bebop in the ninth session/episode “Jamming with Edward.” She is young and incredibly intelligent. Ed quickly became my favorite character because of how compelling she was whenever on screen. She is eccentric and extremely childish. I enjoyed her character a lot because just like the rest of the crew in The Bebop, she had a deep past which made her character more complicated.

  1. Ogun Montgomery (Fire Force)

This character’s traits are clearly inspired by the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. In the Yoruba religion, Ogun is an orisha, a spirit that is tied to metalwork, blacksmiths, and tool makers. He is also venerated in Haitian Vodou, West African Vodun, Santeria, and Candomblé, among many other religions.

He was a popular character when introduced in the second season, and many of his skills and powers also hinted at being Yoruba-inspired. Ogun is a respectable and strong character who matches energies well with the main character, Shinra and Arthur, as they went to the same academy together. This character felt especially refreshing to me as I myself am from the Yoruba tribe.

To me, representation is important. Being able to see oneself in a character is important. The world is diverse and people with darker skin exist, so there is nothing wrong with showing them in a positive light in the media. These are a few black characters that show that.

Thanks for reading this article!

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