Diversity is the new norm these days, especially in media and literature. Everyone wants to be represented on and off-screen and it’s beautiful that creators, directors and writers are finally adding more color to their works.
The same can be said in the world of anime. It’s no longer a world dominated by pale, big-eyed male characters. The Black anime girl trend is here, adding splashes of color to your favorite manga or anime series, enhancing your viewing experience.
The Need For Proper Black Representation in Anime
Most children grew up watching classic shows like Dragon Ball Z, Slam Dunk, Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. While these shows are iconic and praiseworthy for their plot and characterization, they lacked representation, especially for young Black girls. There weren’t many male Black anime characters, let alone the female ones.
Regardless of one’s age, race, sexuality or gender, representation in media matters to audiences all over the world. As the anime community continues to grow, so does the need for Black representation. But while the representation of Black anime characters — both male and female — is important, it’s equally important to make sure their representation is done thoughtfully and tastefully.
Most of the time, Black characters function as the comedic relief for the series when they have so much potential. Even the way they are drawn is sometimes questionable, with creators choosing to exaggerate their features. Other creators experiment with their looks by giving them white hair to stand out but it doesn’t always work. The representation can be problematic.
Fortunately, modern representation for Black male and female anime characters has improved. Some anime have represented the Black community properly through powerful, passionate and loveable Black anime girls and boys.
Now, viewers need not settle for glimpses of representation. No, we’re not just talking about Avatar: The Last Airbender. Thanks to shows like “Hunter x Hunter,” “Carole & Tuesday” and “Michiko to Hatchin,” viewers can enjoy anime and proper representation of Black women.
From seinen to shonen, here’s a list of Black girl anime characters that will make you proud of the representation. These characters will give your Disney Princesses a run for their money.
The Best Black Anime Girls to Stan
Hunter X Hunter’s Canary
“Hunter X Hunter,” a classic anime series, is well-known and loved for its complex plot and variety of characters. Its roster of characters includes people of different ages, sizes, colors and shapes. One particular notable character is the Black anime girl Canary.
Canary from “Hunter X Hunter” is a ruthless bodyguard working for the Zoldyck family, a powerful family of assassins known for striking fear. She’s a young apprentice butler with great potential. Canary is known for her expertise in hand-to-hand combat and assassination techniques. Despite being a small killer machine, she is gentle and has a caring heart. Canary is very loyal to the people she cares for and is willing to disobey orders for them.
Carole from Carole & Tuesday
“Carole & Tuesday” is a heartwarming series that features an unlikely pair of friends who share a passion for music. This passion drives them to create a songwriting and singing duo. The series focuses on Tuesday Simmons and her friend Carole Stanley, an orphaned Black woman with a mad talent for playing the keyboard and singing.
Besides her remarkable fashion sense, Carole is known for her work ethic and musical skills. She is also one of the most known female Black anime characters due to her iconic determination, especially when it comes to making her dreams come true.
With Carole as one of the show’s protagonists, “Carole & Tuesday” is a great representation for young and musically-inclined Black women.
Miyuki Ayukawa from Basquash
“Basquash” is an anime series that takes place in a futuristic version of Earth. It also revolves around Dan JD, a young man who brings basketball to the streets. To spice the story up, Dan JD has a love interest and she is none other than Miyuki Ayukawa.
Miyuki is a caring young woman who is both beauty and brains. She is the team mechanic who won’t stop at anything until she has improved her skills and done her part. She’s also a valuable character who makes meaningful contributions, especially when it comes to upgrading their giant robots.
This Black anime girl’s occupation as an engineer makes her a good role model to young girls who want to enter the same field of work in the future. Her talents don’t go unnoticed as she is recognized for being an example of Black excellence.
Atsuko Jackson and Michiko Maldrom from Michiko to Hatchin
While “Michiko to Hatchin” takes place in Diamandra, it’s obvious to viewers that the series is heavily influenced by South American cultures — Brazil, in particular. The story focuses on a prisoner-on-the-loose named Michiko Malandro. This Black anime character is a strong-willed female who is compassionate and wild at heart.
Michiko is an Afro-Latina character who has the looks, the moves and the attitude. She doesn’t take BS from anyone. But underneath her strong and rock-solid exterior is a heart of pure gold.
The series also features Atsuko Jackson, a badass policewoman who shares a complex relationship with Michiko. This Afro-Brazilian character may be Michiko’s rival, but they end up representing the allure and strength of Black girl magic.
Sister Krone from The Promised Neverland
People hate to love and love to hate Sister Krone, one of the minor villains from “The Promised Neverland.” She was brought in by Mom Isabella to scare and intimidate the Grace Field kids to the point that they’d want to escape the “orphanage.”
Krone is a clever antagonist. She’s too smart and fun, which is why she always keeps characters and viewers on their toes. She’s terrifying and funny plus incredibly tragic. Although people aren’t big fans of her, there’s no denying that her existence is vital to the story of “The Promised Neverland.”
If there is a downside to Krone’s characterization, it’s the way the creators exaggerated her racial features. When she scares the characters, her lips swell and her eyes become beadier. Such depiction is unfair for a wonderfully written character. It’s not point-blank blackface but it’s not the best representation either.
Despite this setback, Sister Krone is still a lovely character people love to hate and hate to love.
Yoruichi Shihoin from Bleach
If you’re a certified anime stan, this character needs no introduction. But if you don’t know here, this is Yoruichi Shihoin, a ninja master, a rouge Soul Reaper and a classic character from “Bleach.” She is probably one of the strongest Black anime characters out there.
Yoruichi is a fun character and a good friend to most of the characters. She is also smart and a good leader. After all, she once led Squad 2, a position that requires solid leadership skills to pull it off. Yoruichi is also very smart. She knows the ins and outs of the Soul Society and easily helped Ichigo to further his mission with what she knew. She also trained Ichigo, Chad and Orihime to help them improve their skills. She may have no chill, but she’s a badass character.
The best part about this Black anime super girl is that she’s a funny character. “Bleach” can get serious sometimes and Yoruichi diffuses the tension by being funny. Remember the time that she joined Ichigo in his bath as a cat?
Iris from Pokémon
In the world of Pokémon, there exists another iconic Black anime female character named Iris. She is the eighth and last Gym Leader of the Unova region. She specializes in using Dragon-type Pokémon. Eventually, she became a League Champion.
She’s no neko girl, but she’s as cute as one plus the hardcore Pokémon skills.
Coffee from Cowboy Bebop
Bounty hunter Coffee isn’t your typical anime girl; she’s a bounty hunter. Inspired by the protagonist of the Pam Grier film “Coffy,” Coffee is the typical sex symbol of Black women but in anime. Admittedly, the fetishization of her character can be gross but she leaves a lasting impression. Her 70s mannerisms and aesthetic made her incredibly memorable.
In the world of Black anime characters, the girls are standing out, proving to the world that some girl power makes everything better. As the world of anime becomes more diverse, one can hope that many Black anime girls will top the list of memorable characters.