Alright, so this will be another discussion/opinion piece, but it is something that I sincerely have expressed interest in talking about. When we think of anime characters from the stand point of race, what usually comes to mind? Are they Chinese, Japanese, American, African or Russian? If asked about skin color I am sure most would argue caucasian or asian at the very least, but what about other races? Very few anime actually have shown individuals of color and race, with anime like Durarara!!! being an exception; although still not quite there yet. So the question that I present to you, the reader, is how do you view your characters in anime?
This was a question I was asked a while back in college during a small meeting of our universities anime club. This was something I sadly never though about. Naturally most answered that they perceived the characters as Japanese due to the circumstances of anime being a Japanese product. But what of anime like Nisekoi or Durarara!!! where your cast of characters is a bit more diverse than your average anime. Sure we see Simon from DRRR!!! as African in heritage and yet he speaks with a Russian-Japanese accent. So do we view him as Japanese or Russian?
This is certainly a hard topic to tackle in any situation as what we perceive 2D characters by is often influenced by ourselves. Our day to day happenings and situations bleed very much into our perception of anime and gaming as we begin to look at characters through a lens all our own. I personally have not ever seen an anime character as caucasian or asian… They are just who they are. Sure when you stop to consider things you understand that the Asian and Caucasian demographic does get much more representation in anime. What about the minority representation? You really have to dig for that as a few of the anime that I have seen with minority representation would boil down to just… Durarara!!!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Bleach, Afro Samurai, Soul Eater, Tamako Market & Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Compare those to what I have seen and you start to see a lacking diversity. Now before we go off to petition anime creators we have to understand that this medium is made in a country where the primary demographic is an Asian one; which is totally understandable. Bleach is honestly one of the few anime that has a lot of black characters and it really makes the anime shine. It’s roster of character diversity is far from being all encompassing, but it does a pretty superb job at it. I personally would love to have an all encompassing anime that has characters from every single race and more.
This could also stem into nationality representation, but maybe that will be for another time perhaps. Please feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section down below. Having chatted with my old anime club friends and new friends as of late I felt this would be an interesting topic point and discussion point for you all. Thank you Shay for encouraging me to post a topic like this. Feel free to check our her YouTube Channel for random talks about anime, life and fidget spinners!
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