One great aspect about anime is how diverse and well scripted it can be. You'll often find yourself in different worlds, filled with a vast array of characters that range from the very strong, to the meek and passive. This diversity is what creates a unique flavor that really help to establish a rainbow effect, in where you'll be introduced to characters of many backgrounds and nationality. We want to always bring you something special here at Honey's Anime, and so we thought embracing our diversity would be satisfying for all of you. Genres can range from the very scary horror to the extremely ecchi harem, but we often don't get a glimpse of the more intriguing side of things, perhaps maybe it's so deeply ingrained within the anime that we only see the surface of it all.
One thing is for certain, is that anime has no limitations so long as the writers and designers come up with ways to bring flash and flare to our imagination. With that being said, black characters have played some major roles in some of the more popular anime franchises, and so we thought it would be nice to spice things up and bring you a top 10 list of the more well known black characters in anime.
10. Desmond Rutaganda [Psycho Pass]
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 12, 2012- March 22, 2013
The 22nd century has now become a major influence in Japan, as the justice system has changed and enforced by the government known as the Sibyl System. The Sibyl System determines the threat level of each citizen by examining their current mental state for any sign of criminal intent, or as we all now know, the psycho pass. Anyone who possesses any evil intent to inflict harm upon society is immediately subdued either by apprehention, or by lethal force. Akane is new to the task force who works along veteran Shinya, who shows her the ropes of what it takes to uphold justice righteously. Things turn sour however, when Akane begins to see the unravelings of what the Sibyl System stands for and how they really handle justice. She soon discovers the corrupt side of the system and is now on a mission to find the missing piece of the puzzle, and to truly question her ideas of what justice truly mean in this society she has been embedded in.
Now much about Desmond within the show is very much unknown, as he makes appearances sporadically, but we can certainly see some qualities within him that make him an interesting fit for the top ten. Desmond is the leader of a powerful mercenary group and has cybernetic abilities embedded in him. His sharp shooting skills make him very threatening versus his opposition, and throughout the show we can see that he is a big intimidating character who can wrestle his way out of situations due to his proficiency in wrestling. While he is a mercenary and of the bad side, he almost always brings with him a suave demeanor along with a well put together wardrobe which have us believe he is not just sharp with his shooting but his fashion sense as well.
9. Akagi Takenori [Slam Dunk]
- Episodes: 101
- Aired: October 16, 1993– March 23, 1996
The story of Slam Dunk follows Hanamichi on his journey to become the best basketball player in the league. His strong will, determination and often hot temper make him a stand out character, and much of his colleagues admire his tenacity. Throughout his school years he wasn't so smooth with the ladies which led him to believe that he just wasn't good enough. He really only wanted to have a girlfriend, since at the time he felt that his passion for basketball was fading. As fate would have it, Hanamichi comes across a girl named Haruko who he immediately fell head over heels for the minute they locked eyes. Intrigued by his large stature, she asks him if could do a slam dunk on the net to which he immediately replied in doing so. Unfortunately he overshoots the attempt knocking his head on the backboard leaving him embarassed and jaded. Things fortunately turn out well for him in the end, as Haruko is amazed by his innate abilities and informs the captain of the school team leading him to rekindle his love for a game that he once resented.
Akagi is actually the older brother of female protagonist Haruko, and the captain of the Shohoku basketball team. Akagi's dream is to lead his team to the national championship and further cement his name in the basketball scene. Akagi and Hanamichi end up becoming very close, with Akagi nicknaming him “Gori” due to his extremely huge stature as a player. Akagi is a strict captain of his team and takes responsibility for everything that happens on the court. He mentors Hanamichi as the two become closer both on and off the court, and is a motivator to him. His strong determination to win is very high and a great example of this is when he seriously injured himself prior and still managed to play out the entire game with his team. His willpower to muster through anything is inspiring since it shows us that despite the shortcomings we have, this too shall pass. He never gave up on his dream to bring his entire team to the national championships and that is something to be respected.
8. Iris [Pokemon]
- Episodes: 300+
- Aired: April 1, 1997– October 22, 2015
The pokemon franchise has spanned over two decades, selling hundreds of millions of pokemon games and memorabilia that still shine on to this day. The series receives its popularity from having a very diverse cast of characters, all bringing with them a fresh personality and competitiveness that is both inspiring and mesmerizing. We have all at some point wanted to be like Ash, who is the main character of the series, traveling around the nation in search for pokemon to become the greatest pokemon master that ever lived. Throughout the series, we follow Ash on his journey with his favorite pokemon pal Pikachu in hopes to not only collect all of the gym badges cementing his name in pokemon history, but to see his progression through maturity. Ash has fought many battles, but we often find ourselves in battle with the greatest boss of them all, ourselves. Through many trials and tribulations, Ash always stands his ground no matter what the outcome in hopes to defeat his enemies and take what's rightfully his.
Iris is one of the characters that Ash run into in the pokemon white series. She is the master dragon-type trainer at the Opelucid Gym, and protects the coveted Legend Badge. In the anime she teams up with Ash and the two embark on a journey together to become masters at their own trade. Her personality is really much like a wild child, who much like a dragon is fearless in her approach and very fiery in her attitude. Throughout the series, she always pokes fun at Ash calling him a little kid because of his inability to consistently catch pokemon. This somewhat over energetic attitude is what brought some flame to the show and really generated great chemistry between her and the rest of the cast. She is actually very much afraid of ice type pokemon, since in the pokemon series (nerd mode activated) dragon types are weak against ice types. Her active and quirky personality are what make her a blast to watch and enjoy on her journey.
7. Casca [Berserk]
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 8, 1997 – April 1, 1998
With a new series making its way back into the anime mainstream this year, Berserk is arguably one of the more popular franchises out there, and for good reason. After a serious run in with notorious group band of the hawk, Guts is recruited by the group by leader Griffith. Guts is on a journey to climb the ranks to take over the notorious group, and does so by defeating any enemy in his path, and conquering the nation of Midland. This all turns sour for Guts as he starts to see the darker and grittier side of the lifestyle he had chosen, and so now his lust for leadership now turns into a vicious cycle of dangerous paths, and countless battles as he now is on a journey to find his own path, along with the tragedies that will soon face him.
Casca is the female protagonist of the series and is the only female character within the band of hawk. Her striking features made her intimidating among her peers but also her enemies, since many of them would never expect a female to take action on the battlefield with such fearlessness. Her hardened personality is what make her such a wonder to watch, since she shows no remorse for those around her. This exact characteristic is what plagues her however, as she too much like Guts now face the greatest struggle one could ever face, and that is ourselves. She often hides the darker pasts of her childhood, masking it behind her cold and brash facade due to her being a female. Due to the flashbacks that occur so frequently in her mind, she succumbs to sudden violent outbursts which almost the destroyed the relationship between her and Guts when he became possessed. Despite her shortcomings, she is mild in her ways and is only triggered by people who threaten her and try to inflict harm.
6. Darui [Naruto]
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: October 3, 2002 – February 8, 2007
Much like the Pokemon series, Naruto has become a worldwide household name for many anime aficionados. The story follows popular ninja Naruto on his journey to master his own skills and to become the best ninja. Along his way he meets with many powerful character who then become his ally to fend off other ninja clans out to kill. This ongoing battle of ninja clans is what brought Naruto to global stardom because there was so much variety in the cast, that it was so hard not to love them. One of the characters that we perhaps overlooked and didn't receive so much attention was that of Darui.
Darui is a shinobi of the Kumogakare clan and the right hand man of the fourth Raikage, which later on in the series he soon becomes the fifth Raikage. We can see throughout the series that Darui isn't very fierce in his approach, but is rather easy going and down to earth about everything. Some of the characters in the series find him to be dull and lazy because of his laid back nature, but he is always ready to protect Raikage when any threat finds its way through the walls. His strong will and determination to protect are great attributes to cling onto, but because of his mild tempered ways he sometimes becomes too apologetic for the things he does. This trait of course isn't bad of course as it helped to strengthen the relationship with Naruto throughout the series, and also various other cast members.
5. Sid Barrett [Soul Eater]
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 7, 2008- March 30, 2008
Soul eater takes place in Death City which is home of the famous Shibusen, which is led by the powerful shinagami Lord Death. The story follows Evans who is a demon scythe who aims to become a death scythe along with his wielder Maka. These two work together alongside Blackstar, Death the Kid, who is the son of Lord Death in order to collect souls and protect the city they live in from various threats that often plague the bustling society. They all are on a mission to become one with their weapons, and to restore not only the world around them, but themselves as well.
Sid Barrett is the zombie former instructor from the series, who was a high ranking three-star meister. Prior to being turned into a zombie from an unfortunate event, he was a very friendly and open minded instructor to the Shibusen Academy. Many of his students respected and admired him for his intelligence, as he showed deep care and support towards all of them. He is seen as the motivator as he never lets any student around him feel inferior and does his best to bring out their potential. He is very fond of children and merciful towards them, with an example taking place when Blackstar was abandoned and he took him in adopting him as his own son.
4. Scar [Full Metal Alchemist]
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: October 4, 2003 – October 2, 2004
As you can probably tell by now, the anime on this list are mostly the very popular of anime franchises that we all know and love. Full Metal Alchemist is definitely up there alongside the others, as the story shares the life of Elric and his brother Alphonse on a journey to restore Alphonse back to his human body, restore his limbs, and uncover more truth behind the philosopher's stone. The stone is rumored to amplify one's own alchemist abilities by leaps and bounds, overriding the law of alchemy. Elric and his brother enlist in the military find out more information behind this powerful device, but soon discover that there are darker truths than they initially imagined which lead them on a dangerous path towards the stone.
Scar is seen throughout the series quite frequently, as he is the lone serial killer out to kill any state alchemist as his own way of branding justice, with regards to his religion and to seek out revenge for the death of his family. We can see that this man is by no means a kind and heartwarming individual, as he seeks out the blood of any alchemist who confronts him with his strong hatred toward them. Knowing that he is going against his very own religion and that of the divine, he still lashes out with anger because he cannot bring back his family who were slaughtered at the hands of the alchemist army. Oddly enough, despite his hot temper he does show a more milder compassionate side when he is about to kill his enemies. He honors last requests and a chance to repent before sending them to the next dimension. In addition, he is very sly in his ways, making sure to stay clear of the public eye to prevent getting caught. Although he is also a very skilled rhetorician, his acts of violence are often a contradiction to his beliefs which led some of his followers to distance themselves from him. Scar is menacing in his ways, but does so with such smooth tactical approach that it's hard not to feel for the guy.
3. Coffee [Cowboy Bebop]
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 3, 1998 – April 24, 1999
Cowboy Bebop pays homage to the classic western music styles of bebop in this action packed, wild ride of an adventure that follows the life of Spike. He is a bounty hunter out to collect whatever he can find in hopes to gather big rewards from his discoveries. Along the way he meets a handful of interesting characters, one of which is Ein – A genetically engineered Welsh Corgi who help Spike on his tumultuous journey to uncover the darker sides of the things happening around them.
Coffee is one of the female character in the cast of many in Cowboy Bebop. She is a bounty hunter who appeared in an episode where she runs into Edward, and discovers that he too is a bounty hunter like herself. When you observe the exterior of Coffee you can certainly see a 70's vibe bleeding through her, with a large afro, and skin tight body suit. Her stylish looks come with a very outgoing and lavish mindset who enjoys riding in her convertible, and helping Ed along with others in the show. She has a colorful attitude and is very open minded about many ideas, but she can still pack a punch when push comes to shove. When it comes down to business, her bounty hunter persona switches into beast mode and she is a take no prisoner diva with a sharp eye and will do anything for the prize. Definitely a very cool character, despite not seeing much of her throughout the show.
2. Kaname Tousen [Bleach]
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 4, 2004 – March 27, 2012
If there's one show that truly stands out for having a large array of black characters in anime, it is most certainly Bleach. While we enjoy the large cast of characters that Bleach has to offer, we could only really choose one. The story follows Ichigo on his journey to become the strongest shinagami, and take down the evil traitor who lurks within the Shinagami universe. Ichigo teams up with fellow shinagami Rukia along with other popular members such as Inoue to help topple the powerful dynasty that is corrupting the world around them. The hollows have become a serious problem in the real world, as someone had created a hole in the sky that allows hollows to go to and from the real world and the shinagami world, causing havoc at every turn. Ichigo and Rukia must uncover the information as to why this is happening while working together to put a stop to the disasters that are only growing by the minute.
Now here comes Tousen, a really popular character from the series due to his very mysterious persona in the first few seasons of the show. Tousen is blind and so can only rely on his keen sense of hearing to swipe his enemies down, protecting those around him. Tousen was seen as the more reserved of the clan residing with Aizen, as he wasn't very talkative and only spoke when spoken to. His Buddha like attitude was calm, cool, and collected and only would attack when his colleagues were in dire straits. Throughout the series however, we see come to see the true intent of Tousen and his secretive clan, and man is he scary in his final form. Despite being seen as somewhat of a bad guy toward the end of the series, Tousen made many sacrifices for those he cared about and showed much empathy but this resulted in some arrogance to build up within him which led to his untimely demise. Tousen is such a great character that many people perhaps overlooked, but is surely a pure hearted spirit with hopes to restore peace around him.
1. Afro [Afro Samuari]
- Episodes: 5
- Aired: January 4, 2007- February 1, 2007
Afro decides to devote his life to the sword after his father was killed in a duel by cruel villain “justice”. We see Afro embarking on a journey to seek revenge for his father’s death, encountering numerous bloody battles with various other strong samurai. Afro samurai combined both the old and the new by introducing the character in a highly technological world, using a sword as a means to eliminate his enemies.
Afro as we know is out on a mission to seek revenge for the death of his father, and so his soul has been tainted with that of evil intent. Prior to that, Afro was a more down to earth individual who really enjoy the art of samurai and sought to master the legendary swordplay. It was when his world turned upside down that Afro's persona went from being very humble, to very hostile showing no remorse for anyone who sought to foil his plans for redemption. What makes Afro so appealing is that for one, his afro stands out simply because during the era of samurai, this style was non-existent. He brings about a very sleek and stylish feel to the very coordinated and strict styles of the samurai, creating a very nice contrast and lots of action for us to enjoy. He is certainly underrated in a lot of aspects because the show wasn't as big as the other franchises, but he deserves the spot because well, he's a samurai with an afro.
As stated earlier in the article, there are just so many characters in anime that we simply can't keep up with all of them, let alone create a list for them. We do however encourage you all, our fans to leave your best picks for who you think are very cool black characters in anime in the comments section down below! We always encourage you to find and discover new ideas to help create a better atmosphere, so share your findings and let us know who you feel should've made this top ten list!
As always, for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime.