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Friday, September 23, 2005

Dark-skinned heroes in anime

Though I'm not an avid follower of the anime/manga phenomenon, I have caught a few films (Metropolis, Spirited Away) on cable and used to prepare for work while watching the popular 80s TV anime Robotech. I was particularly attracted to the romances, including one I/R (Roy Fokker/Claudia Grant) and one older woman/younger man (Lisa Hayes/Rick Hunter). Also, the show had very adult themes, including the death of a beloved character (Roy Fokker) and later the sexual ambiguity of lounge singer and cross-dresser Lancer (who was a hottie whether male or female).

Well, I just came across this interesting page on dark-skinned heroes in anime at ColorQ World. The site notes that most of the dark-skinned characters in Japanese anime were basically supporting characters, and although not often portrayed as villains, maintained the stereotypes of dark-skinned people, especially blacks. This is not surprising to me as the reported racism in Japan has largely been ignored and gone unchallenged. Oddly enough, though, there seems to be a fetishism of everything black in Japan, from music to hair styling to even skin darkening. Explain that contradiction to me.

Anyway, the anime page gives the backgrounds of the characters and their ethnicities. See if they appear stereotypical to you:

Claudia Grant (Robotech) - Ethnicity: Black

Haruhiko Kasama (Please Save My Earth) - Ethnicity: 1/4 Indian, 3/4 Japanese

Joco (Shaman King) - Ethnicity: African?

Mister Popo (Dragon Ball) - Ethnicity: n/a (not human) (but page notes that he "seems like a black face caricature" - I agree)

Nadia (Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water) - Ethnicity: Atlantian

There is also a page for dark-skinned neutral characters and dark-skinned villains.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/23/2005 07:41:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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