While some anime in the past used stereotypes and racism to depict Black people, there are several excellent anime with Black protagonists nowadays. Here are some of the best black anime characters.
Yasuke, Netflix’s most recent anime series, is notable for being the first to have a black ninja in Japan during the 16th century. While the narrative focuses on science fiction and fantasy themes, the main character also tackles issues surrounding race as he creates his own identity.
Haikyu!!, Bleach, and My Hero Academia are just a few of the many anime that have prominent Black supporting characters. In conventional anime series, Blacks are underrepresented and are frequently depicted in prejudiced ways that have not aged well. At the same time, several modern classics feature excellent Black leads, including Michiko & Hatchin.
10. Afro Samurai (2007)
Afro Samurai is based on a manga of the same name that combines samurai and hip-hop culture in a hyperviolent revenge tale. Samuel L Jackson’s voice performance as the protagonist helped to boost its popularity. The soundtrack, composed by RZA, is another significant selling point of the anime series. Afro-Samurai went on to win an Emmy and a film sequel was subsequently produced.
The story is centered around Afro, a Japanese warrior. He grows up in a dystopian feudal-style Japan where he seeks vengeance on an outlaw who murdered his father for wearing the “Number 1” headband, which was considered by many to be the greatest warrior of the world.A selection of encounters with assassins and mercenaries follows, culminating in a series of exciting duels.
9. Michiko & Hatchin (2008)
In the fictitious nation of Diamandra, Michiko & Hatchin’s main characters respectively yearn for a feeling of independence. The former aspires to flee a prison fortress, whereas the latter desires to escape her abusive family.When their paths cross, the women embark on a road trip that soon leads to involvement in a much larger criminal conspiracy. The series was praised for its uplifting yet brave characters and Diamandra’s visual aesthetics, which are reminiscent of Brazil.
The 22-episode anime was directed by Sayo Yamamoto, who went on to direct Yuri!!! on Ice and Lupin the Third.
8. Cannon Busters (2019)
LeSean Thomas, the creator of Yasuke, has a history of creating notable animated series with Black characters, such as Black Dynamite and The Boondocks. In 2005, he debuted his original superhero team with the debut of Cannibals in North America. In addition to this, he established the comic book series Cannon Busters in 2005. This year, an anime based on Cannibals was created and aired for 12 episodes.
The Netflix original, set in the world of Gearbolt and following the adventures of a crew of defective robots and fugitives, is a binge-worthy sci-fi anime. Philly The Kid, an immortal bandit who seeks vengeance for his parents’ murder, leads the team.
7. Black Lagoon (2006)
Black Lagoon is one of Madhouse’s greatest anime efforts, and it begins with the abduction of Rokuro Okajima, a young business executive who has been left for dead by a crew of pirates. Disappointed with his uneventful job, Okajima changes his name to Rock and joins a group of professional mercenaries known as The Lagoon Company.
The majority of the crew is Dutch, a former Marine who serves as the Company’s leader. Despite his ability with hand-to-hand combat and firearms, Dutch has a calm and laidback demeanor. In general, he combines both brawn and brains, as he is also a big follower of thinkers such as Hegel and Sartre.
Also, read our article on this Best Black Anime 2021.
6. Blade-Anime (2011)
Marvel’s vampire-hunter, Blade, was also given his own limited anime series in addition to Iron-Man, Wolverine, and the X-Men. The English dub’s protagonist was voiced by Harold Perrineau (Lost and The Matrix fame) whereas the protagonist in Japan was Bureido. Other Marvel characters, including Noah van Helsing and Wolverine, have also made appearances.
The anime, like the Blade feature films, also relied heavily on stylistic blood and gore. The story focuses on Blade’s quest to find Deacon Frost, the vampire who killed his mom. He also encounters The Essence, a vampire organization.
5. Basquash! (2009)
Basquash is a new anime with roots in previous mecha and sports-based anime shows. It takes place in Dash Earth, an alternate reality of Earth in the future. On this planet, there appears to be a divide between the people who live on the surface of the planet and those who dwell in a more advanced lunar society.Finally, there are the giants, who play what is known as Big Foot Basketball (BFB) in which they wear enormous mecha suits to play basketball.
Dan JD, the mechanic Miyuki Ayukawa, and their coworkers work hard to establish “Basquash” on the streets. They inspire jealousy in the lunar city of Mooneyes, which results in a competition over the game.
4. Yasuke (2021 – )
Yasuke is the first African samurai. The Netflix series of the same name, which incorporates magic and mecha tropes, is inspired by this real-life figure and his valor. In terms of narrative and the main character arc, Yasuke also appears to be influenced by samurai and Western cinema, with the warrior being cast as the “hero with a tarnished reputation” type. The main idea revolves around him confronting his inner demons while also protecting a young woman with magical abilities.
In the English version, LaKeith Stanfield performed as Yasuke. The series is also composed by Flying Lotus, who created the ambient opening track, Black Gold.
3. Carole & Tuesday (2019)
Despite the fact that Carole & Tuesday is set on a human-inhabited Mars, its premise isn’t steeped in sci-fi. It feels like a feel-good musical anime, with the two protagonists never giving up their aspirations to be musicians.
Carole Stanley is a refugee from Earth who makes ends meet with odd jobs. She practices the piano in her free time. This is how Tuesday Simmons, a guitarist who runs away from her wealthy family to pursue her artistic interests. The music of the film is a blend of new-age music, including Thundercat and Flying Lotus, which has a lot of musical components.
2. Neo Yokio (2017 – 2018)
In this Netflix anime, which is written and produced by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Jaden Smith portrays Kaz Kaan, a “Magistocrat” who tracks down demons when he isn’t indulging in his elite lifestyle.The titular metropolis of Neo Yokio, a Utopian version of New York dominated by elite magicians who once repelled demon invasions in the nineteenth century, is known as Kan. As a result, his people are deemed to be upper-class.
As the narrative develops, strange supernatural occurrences occur. In the first episode, a Chanel suit is exorcised! Humor aside, the series also has an anti-capitalism message and a focus on hikikomori, Japan’s social withdrawal lifestyle.
1. Castlevania (2017 – 2021)
Isaac, the protagonist of Castlevania, is introduced much later in the series than his two companions. He begins to take on a bigger role from season two. As Isaac’s three main figures destroy dark beings, he creates his own army of the undead to punish humanity. Isaac is a devil forge master who is enslaved and tortured by humans until he finds comfort in serving Dracula.
Isaac has been a character with a lot of grey areas since the death of the vampire. His actions appear to be malevolent, yet in pursuing his quest for vengeance against Dracula’s demise, he discovers his own path and abandons his genocidal ideas.