Non-Japanese Anime Characters

Yes, I know Japan is 98.5% Japanese, but it still irks me when I’m watching an anime about the entire world and everyone in the world looks the same. I also think that including characters of non-Japanese cultures could open the doors for a lot of creative story telling possibilities.

A work in progress…

Afro Samurai (black)
Anne no Nikki (jewish) +
Baccano! (several) *
Basquash (black)
Berserk (middle eastern)
Black Butler (indian)
Black Lagoon (black, columbian, chinese)
Bleach (latino, south asian)
Blood+ (?)
The Book of Bantorra (dark skinned)
Cowboy Bebop (black, turkish, native american)
Deadman Wonderland (?)
Durarara (?)
Eden of The East (black, white) *
El Cazador De La Bruja (?)
Emma: A Victorian Romance (indian)
Eureka Seven (several) +
Excel Saga (columbian)
Flag (several, ?)
Freedom (black) +
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (several)
Gangsta (?)
Gankutsuou (catalan)
Genesis of Aquarion (hispanic)
Gokudou-kun Manyuuki (dark skinned)
Gosick (arab, mixed)
Gungrave (black?)
Hunter x Hunter (black)
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012) (many races)
Jormungand (black) *
Kaleido Star (?)
Memories (german)
Michiko to Hatchin (black, latino, white) +
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (black, portuguese) +
Monster (german)
Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit (several)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (black, atlantian)
Noein: To Your Other Self (dark skinned)
No.6 (many implied)
Phantom Memory Kurau (central american)
Planetes (indian, south asian)
Please Save My Earth (mixed)
Pokemon Best Wishes (black)
Robotech (black)
Rocket Girls (solomon islander)
Rockman.EXE Stream (native american)
Samurai 7 (black or iranian)
Shoujo Kakumei Utena (?)
Space Brothers (several) * +
Taiyou no Ko Esteban (?)
Tamako Market (pacific islander)
Tenjou Tenge (black)
Terra e… (black) +
Tenpou Ibun: Ayakashi Ayashi (aztec)
Tiger & Bunny (black) +
Turn A Gundam (dark skinned)
Yugo the Negotiator (pakistani) +

+ best examples
* some racial stereotyping

Sources:
Characterization Society
ColorQ World
Nerdy•But•Flirty

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6 thoughts on “Non-Japanese Anime Characters

  1. I don’t know if they ever showed him post-cyberized in any of the adaptations, but Briareos from Appleseed manga was black african (I think Deunan was dutch african).

    She got whitewashed a bit in the anime, but Rally Vincent from Gunsmith Cats was east Indian.

    Can’t remember his name, but there was a black crewman on Blue Sub 6.

    One of the amusing parts of Planetes was there were only a couple of explicitly Japanese characters, and everyone else in the show thought they were kind of weird and kept ascribing Japanese stereotypes to them.

    Actually, considering the homogeneous population of Japan, they really do a pretty decent job of representing a lot of different ethnicities in shows that aren’t explicitly set in present-day Japan.

  2. Black Lagoon also has Colombian (South American) characters and Chinese people

    I would add to this list:

    Arslan Senki (set in fantasy world, but one civilization is definitely coded. Dark-skinned, at the least)
    Baccano! (Black, Chinese, mixed (potentially), Mexican, more??)
    Space Brothers | Uchuu Kyoudai (Black, Indian, probably more)
    Night Raid 1931 (potentially with Kagiya but not sure)
    Flag (set in the fictional East Asian country of Uddiyana, w/parallels to Tibetan culture and geography (so locals are PoC), main characters are from different countries, one of the supporting cast is African (country wasn’t specified, but his surname is Olowokandi so perhaps he’s Nigerian?)
    Gangsta (MC Alex is a dark-skinned woman, but origins aren’t known yet; Black)
    The Book of Bantorra (set in fantasy world, but some character like Noloty have dark skin)
    Shokugeki no Souma (Indian)
    Noein: To Your Other Self (Tobi, a character from an alternate Earth dimension, has dark skin)

    There’s definitely more; I’ll get back to this list when I remember them/find them.

      1. I was thinking of the character Akira. You’re right though–they don’t actually say what country he’s from. I must have assumed (which I shouldn’t have) that he was Indian because he makes the MC a specialty curry using spices native to India. He is definitely dark-skinned, though.

        That reminds me–the character Akira Agarkar Yamada from Tsuritama is dark-skinned. They never specify his ethnicity. He is also a Sikh Muslim (which is irrelevant to this topic, I know–I just don’t see Muslims in anime very often, which is a shame).

        Oh, and Kekkai Sensen (dark-skinned)

        And God Eater (dark-skinned; wiki says “Middle-Eastern”)

        + Senkou no Night Raid (Chinese; forgot to mention that in my other post)

        (so you’re not just doing people of color but you’re including…nationalities? You have Monster on the list because the characters are German…)

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