Top 10 Haafu Characters in Anime

With the advent of globalisation, the world in modern times is the most open and explored it has ever been. Naturally, the traditionally homogenous society that is Japan has been opened to exploration, tourism and of course, immigration and emigration. This has allowed for Japanese people and non-Japanese people to be in constant contact, and of course, usher in some mixed offspring; now called “haafu”, which is literally the word “half”. The word is used to describe people of mixed lineage and of course, such origin stories are quite common in the world of anime, yielding interesting characters we can’t help but enjoy. So, we thought it would be great to list some of our favourite bi-racial characters – here we go, Top 10 Haafu Characters!

10. Sado Yasutora a.k.a Chado – Bleach

  • Episodes: 366
  • Aired: October 2004 – March 2012

15-year-old Kurosaki Ichigo has always been able to see ghosts, but one day, his not-so-ordinary life changes when a woman dressed in a black kimono enters his room and claims she is a supernatural being known as a Shinigami. Her name is Kuchiki Rukia and the role of the Shinigami is to regulate the flow of souls – they send good souls over to a realm known as Soul Society, and slay evil spirits known as Hollows. During their conversation, a Hollow attacks Ichigo’s family and delivers a fatal blow to Rukia. With their impending doom looming, Rukia suggests that Ichigo become a Shinigami to slay the beast. Thus, she transfers her Shinigami powers to Ichigo and so began Ichigo’s life as a Substitute Shinigami, kissing his not-so-normal life goodbye.

Ichigo’s friend from when they were in middle school, Sado Yasutora, is a man who stands out for multiple reasons. Aside from being a mountain of a high schooler and brute strength incarnate, Sado is a haafu character of Mexican and Japanese descent. Born in Okinawa, but raised in Mexico, his adoptive father, Oscar Joaquin de la Rosa, had to deal with Sado in one of the most tumultuous periods of his life, when Sado was an extremely violent, rambunctious youngster. However, this phase passed when witnessing his adoptive father’s passive approach to violence, prompting Sado to become the quiet, gentle giant he is now.


9. Gokudera Hayato – Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! (Reborn!)

  • Episodes: 203
  • Aired: October 2006 – September 2010

Sawada Tsunayoshi is completely pathetic: talentless, clumsy and with bad grades, he’s just no good. To make things worse, he is in love with the school idol, Sasagawa Kyouko and dubbed “Loser Tsuna” by his classmates. However, his life takes an extraordinary turn when he meets Reborn, a hitman of the Vongola mafia family who also happens to be a baby. Reborn was sent to prepare Tsuna to succeed the ninth boss of the Vongola family. With the help of the various members of the mafia, perhaps even the biggest loser can evolve into something great.

Like with most issues of succession, there are, more often than not, several individuals eligible to take over in a position of power. Therefore, it goes without saying that even in the Vongola family, Tsuna was not the only eligible successor. Enter Gokudera Hayato: the haafu character who is Half-Japanese, Half-Italian white-haired live wire who transfers into Tsuna’s school in order to challenge him to a duel in order to determine who is truly worthy of the title of the 10th Head of the Vongola Family. Due to a number of… lucky misunderstandings, Gokudera submits to Tsuna and devotes every fibre of his being to his development as a mafia boss, becoming a very loyal ally.


8. Suou and Shion Pavlichenko – Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2009 – December 2009

One night when Suou and Shion were out camping with their father, meteors painted the night sky and that’s when Shion became a Contractor; a human with special powers. Despite his change, his sister Suou lives a relatively normal middle schooler’s life. However, this changes when a masked man dressed in all black invades their home and it turns out that Suou has hidden Contractor powers of her own. Now caught between family, friends and the life she will be leaving behind, Suou begins her descent into the dark and violent world of the Contractors.

Suou and Shion Pavlichenko are haafu characters of half-Japanese and half-Russian blood. Suou and Shion have an odd relationship after Shion gains his Contractor powers which leave him wheelchair bound. His somewhat unstable and eerie mental state are reasons for which their father leaves him trapped in a section in the house for scientific study. Shion’s strange personality tends to make people uncomfortable, while his sister Suou enjoys a relative level of appreciation from other people, with a few friends and a particularly good relationship with their father.


7. Higashikata Josuke – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

  • Episodes: 39
  • Aired: April 2016 – December 2016

1999 in the peaceful town of Morioh. The town becomes the site of strange activity and marine biologist Kujou Jotaro heads over to Morioh in order to meet one Higashikata Josuke. While they seem to be strangers on the surface, Josuke turns out to be the illegitimate child of Jotaro’s grandfather, Joseph Joestar. Bound by blood, the two form a group which includes the mild-mannered Hirose Kouichi and the boisterous Nijimura Okuyasu in order to investigate disappearances and mysterious happenings in the town of Morioh.

Being the illegitimate child of Joseph Joestar, the Japan-born haafu character, Higashikata Josuke is a man of mixed ancestry; not ever getting the chance to meet his American father and being raised by his Japanese mother. Inspired by his policeman grandfather (on his mother’s side), Josuke has a strong sense of justice. Initially refusing Jotaro’s request for his help to fight criminal Stand users, Jotaro’s resolve in the matter is quickly steeled when his grandfather is murdered by one such Stand user.


6. Suou Tamaki – Ouran High School Host Club

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: April 2006 - September 2006

Fujioka Haruhi is a brilliant scholarship candidate who, unlike her peers at the elite Ouran High School, bears no title. While looking for a quiet place to study, she accidentally stumbles upon the Host Club and, led by the princely Suou Tamaki, it is where handsome boys with a lot of free time entertain the girls in the academy. Desperate to get away from the Host Club, Haruhi accidentally breaks a vase worth 8 million yen and is therefore forced into becoming honorary errand boy of the Host Club in order to repay her debt. However, her natural boyish appearance and her friendliness in situations involving girls sees her being promoted to a full-time Host Club member, opening the door to endless cosplays, incredible food and activities that only a club at a school as decorated as Ouran can facilitate.

Leader of the Host Club, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Suou Tamaki is a haafu character of both French and Japanese blood who is flamboyant, emotional and narcissistic. Being a “Prince” type host, Tamaki can sweet-talk his way into the heart of any girl and is incredibly popular amongst the girls who attend Ouran High School and even more so amongst those who enjoy the company of the boys at the Host Club. Despite his silver tongue, Tamaki is always truthful in his compliments, a fact which can only benefit his credibility as a host.


5. Haibara Ai a.k.a Sherry – Case Closed

  • Episodes: ?
  • Aired: January 1996 –

Having solved a number of challenging cases, 17-year-old Kudou Shinichi is well-known for his talent for solving mysteries. One day when he notices two suspicious men, he decides to tail them and witnesses some disturbing illegal activity. Unfortunately for Shinichi, the men become aware of his presence and administer one of their company’s experimental drugs in order to silence him and leave him there to die. However, instead of killing Shinichi, the drug turns him into a seven-year-old, with his original intelligence intact. He then adopts the alias of Edogawa Conan, hiding his identity from everyone including his childhood friend, Mouri Ran and her private investigator father, Kogorou. As Conan, Shinichi begins secretly solving Kogorou’s cases while investigating the organisation responsible for his current physical state.

Born to an English mother and a Japanese father, Haibara Ai, real name Miyano Shiho, is the inventor of the poison responsible for turning Kudou Shinichi into a seven-year-old. A former scientist for the mysterious Black Organisation into which she was born and of which her parents were scientists, Ai took on the code name “Sherry”. After the death of her parents in what was claimed to be an accident, she was groomed into becoming a brilliant scientist who would be able to take over her parents’ research. When she found out that the Black Organisation was using her APTX 4869 drug for murder, she decided to boycott her research, a decision which almost ended in her execution had she not failed to commit suicide using the very drug she helped manufacture. Instead of death after taking the drug, she ended up in a situation similar to that of Shinichi, trapped in a younger body. It is this new form which made it possible for Ai to escape from the Black Organisation and end up at Shinichi’s doorstep.


4. Hasegawa Kodaka – Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (I Don’t Have Many Friends)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2011 – December 2011

Upon transferring to St Chronica’s Academy, Hasegawa Kodaka is determined to make a good impression and make some friends; however, his plan falls apart when he is labelled a delinquent due to his dirty blonde hair and intimidating look. Even after a full month at his new school, Kodaka is still alone, at least until one day he walks in on fellow student Mikazuki Yozora talking to herself in an empty classroom after school one day. Realising that they’re in the same friendless situation, Yozora comes up with the idea of forming the Neighbour’s Club, a club which exists for people who do not have friends. Club activities include learning social skills in order to learn how to fit. Add a few eccentrics to the mix and Kodaka and Yozora have created an environment that could make it possible for them to finally make some friends.

Hasegawa Kodaka, despite having a fairly nice personality and fairly common moral standards, is thought to be a complete outlaw due to the colour of his hair and his facial expression. A haafu character born to a now-deceased English mother and a Japanese father, Kodaka’s natural hair colour is a dirty blonde which, unfortunately, when coupled together with the face he got from his father, gives people the wrong idea about him. Despite looking rough around the edges, Kodaka is an intelligent, thoughtful person who values his friendships above anything else.


3. Kirisaki Chitoge – Nisekoi (False Love)

  • Episodes: 20
  • Aired: January 2014 – May 2014

Ichijou Raku is the sole heir to a yakuza family. Ten years ago, he made a promise to a childhood friend, an event which he can only remember by a pendant with a lock which can only be unlocked with the key the girl took with her when they parted. Now older, all Raku wants to do is pass his high school days in bliss alongside his crush, Onodera Kosaki; however, when the American Beehive Gang encroaches on his family’s territory, Raku is forced to forge a false romance with the Beehive chief’s daughter, Kirisaki Chitoge, in order to preserve peace. Unfortunately, Raku and Chitoge are like oil and water, and it takes every bit of effort from the both of them to ensure that their families are convinced. However, with several other girls emerging from Raku’s past somehow, his search for the girl with whom he made the promise becomes all the more wacky and convoluted than he initially bargained for.

Kirisaki Chitoge: a beautiful haafu character of both American and Japanese blood, and daughter of the American Beehive Gang and… a gorilla?! Well, Raku seems to think so. Fluent in both English and Japanese, Chitoge is very intelligent, although her brash, aggressive nature can lead one into thinking otherwise. Despite seeming to have won the genetic lottery in several departments, Chitoge has never really had any real friends because people were afraid of her gangster family and as a result, she comes off as cold and unsociable, despite her desire to make some friends.


2. Mikasa Ackerman – Shingeki no Kyojin

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: April 2013 – September 2013

A long time ago, humanity was brought to the brink of extinction by giant humanoid creatures known as the titans, which have a taste for human flesh. Now, the last remaining human settlement exists behind a set of concentric walls, living in peace for at least 100 years. Until in the year 845, when a colossal titan emerged and tore a hole in the outermost wall, prompting humanity’s first titan encounter in a century. Upon witnessing the death of his mother at the hands of a titan, young Eren Jaeger dedicates his life to titan eradication, joining the Survey Corps branch of the military, an elite branch dedicated to the extramural combat of the titans. Together with his adoptive sister, Mikasa Ackerman and best friend, Armin Arlert, Eren makes his contribution to the age old tale of survival, looking for a way to destroy the titans before the last walls are breached.

A few episodes into the series, we are sent back in time to when Eren and Mikasa first met. Daughter to an Oriental mother and a white father of the Ackerman family, Mikasa is of mixed heritage, a haafu character. Her parents were murdered by human traffickers who had initially wanted to sell Mikasa and her mother into slavery, as they were supposedly the last remaining members of their Asian clan. Mikasa was saved by Eren who killed two of the slavers before being overwhelmed by the third, who Mikasa eventually dispatched. The ordeal birthed Mikasa’s current serious and cynical personality, as it cemented the concept of “survival of the fittest” in her mind, creating the perfect mentality she needed in order to become a highly competent soldier.


1. Asuka Langley Soryu – Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: October 1995 – March 1996

The year is 2015 and the world is on the brink of destruction. Mysterious alien invaders known as the Angels have devastated humanity and the only hope lies in the hands of NERV, a sub-organisation of the United Nations, which boasts possession of the Evangelion; giant robots piloted by young teens capable of defeating the Angels. Ikari Gendou, the head of NERV seeks pilots compatible with the Evangelions and eventually recruits his own son, 14-year-old Ikari Shinji, whose life changes as he must become the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01 and bear the hope of humanity on his shoulders.

The German-Japanese haafu character, Asuka Langley Soryu is the proud, arrogant “Second Child”, the pilot of Evangelion Unit-02. At first glance, there isn’t much to Asuka aside from an intense pride and annoying, aggressive personality, but as the Evangelion series progresses, we come to understand that Asuka suffers from deep psychological trauma brought about by the mental breakdown suffered by her mother which saw her mother directing all her motherly affection towards a doll which only looked like Asuka. This incident slowly eats away at her, overconfidence seeming to be the only way she can cope, especially since she initially shows high levels of compatibility with Unit-02. Later, she registers dwindling levels of compatibility with Unit-02, eventually becoming incapable of piloting the Eva, causing her to lose her will to live. A well-received character, Asuka Langley Soryu will go down the annals of history as one of the greatest anime characters of all time for the depth of character that became synonymous with Neon Genesis Evangelion itself.


Conclusion

Living in a time where interracial relationships are accepted a little more than they used to be, it is interesting being able to see the same shift in consciousness in the media that we consume and although it isn’t quite where we want it to be just yet in terms of issues of identity and representation, we do still enjoy the fact that there is progress, and as such, the anime we watch and the manga we read tend to reflect changing social opinion and create multi-layered characters who bear an identity that sometimes, can be seen as an elaborate and beautiful patchwork of different ideas, cultures, and mentalities. Did we forget your favourite haafu characters? Drop a comment below and tell us all about them!

Hoshi-kun

Writer

Author: Hoshi-kun

I’m South African, harbouring an obsession for anything remotely related to Japan, mostly anime, of course. I draw sometimes. Some people call me Naledi, it’s my real name, or something like that. People think I’m stoic because I don’t smile often (I do sometimes). I like languages. Hoshi-kun and Naledi are the same side of the same coin.

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