Black Women/WoC in Japanese Anime and Manga II

Shihōin Yoruichi - Bleach
Since I last posted the first piece in this series, I must admit that I've gained a bit of a deeper appreciation for anime (although I still hate the exaggerated cleavages and ridiculously short skirts on many of the female characters).  I'm already into the second season of Bleach, and although Yorouichi has yet to reveal herself in her human form, I'm really enjoying the journey so far.  The story is compelling, surprisingly funny, and the fight scenes are fifty kinds of awesome. 

And as an aside, I can see why the fandom ships Yorouichi with ex-Soul Reaper Urahara--he's one bad mofo.  (If I thought I could write a decent fic about them, I'd certainly give it a try.) 

But I digress...here we go...
*     *     *     *     *

Character: Claudia Grant

History:  As the SDF-1’s Chief Communications Officer, Claudia Grant bears a great many responsibilities aboard the SDF-1. In addition to facilitating the interaction between the some 15,000 crewmembers aboard the battlefortress, it’s Claudia’s responsibility to coordinate the various departments that keep operations running smoothly throughout the immense ship.  (more:  Robotech)

Fun Facts:
Robotech is an American adaption of three different Japanese anime:  The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The Super Dimension Calvary Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada.
~ In Macross, her name was Claudia LaSalle.
~ Claudia was romantically involved with pilot Roy Fokker (Roy Focker in Macross) until his death from wounds he sustained during combat.

Character:  Judia
AnimeRagnarok the Animation

History:  A hunter who has developed a relationship with Iruga. At first, Judia (ジュディア, voiced by Minako Arakawa) is a terrible hunter, but after a chance encounter with Iruga, she improves a great deal. She has incredible skills with her bow by the time of the anime.

She is also apparently able to read tarot cards like a Minstrel or Gypsy. She falls in love with Iruga and comes to understand what he's trying to do in fighting Keough as he is. When she teams up with Roan's group, she gets jealous after Yuufa holds his hand and keeps calling him "Brother Iruga". By the end of the anime, she has Iruga's child which was the product of giving her life force to Iruga when he was injured with a sword which is enchanted with poison (can be seen in the end of episode 17 and the beginning of episode 18).  (source:  Wikipedia)

Fun Facts:
Judia's skills:  Double Strafing; Arrow Shower; Charge Arrow; and Blitz Beat.
~  The series only ran from April 6, 2004September 28, 2004 (26 episodes).

Character:  April
AnimeDarker than Black

History:  Not much is known about her background, but it is safe to assume that she has been working with November 11* and July* for a while, due to the fact that they seem to know each other well and work flawlessly as a team.

She has the ability to create localized hurricane weather conditions. This including high velocity winds and large amounts of precipitation. She can focus the ability with fine manipulation. This ability matches up perfectly with November 11's as it coats everything in water that November 11 in turn can freezes. The two of them make a deadly combination, with the two of them using their power in conjunction to overpower an enemy.  (more:  Darker than Black Wiki)

*Fellow agents at MI6.

Fun Facts
~  She works for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).
~  She is a Contractor, "individuals who have gained superhuman powers due to the appearance of the Hell's Gate and Heaven's Gate."
~  Contractors must "pay" for the use of their powers (remuneration or Obeisance).  April's remuneration is her great fondness for alcohol, namely beer.

Character:  Pirotess
Anime/MangaRecord of Lodoss War

History:  Pirotess is a dark elven noble considered to be one of the more prominent figures in her people's society. Like most dark elves, she worships Fararis and calls the Forest of Darkness on Marmo island her home. She is the younger sister of Altas, a member of the quest of Rod of Dominatus, eventually cheated by the chief leader of all dark elves, the powerful Ruchiev, who had decided to recreate the kingdom of his kindred. Since she believed that the useless human Ashram should be the one to pay for her beloved brother's death, she joined the mission of killing the general of Dark Knighthood.  (more:  Wikipedia)

Fun Facts:
~  It was hinted that she and warrior Ashram were in love, though the two never openly admitted their feelings for one another.  (The couple is shipped heavily within the fandom.)
~  She is skilled with a rapier and the use of magic.

Character:  Nadia la Arwall
AnimeNadia:  The Secret of Blue Water

History:  Nadia is a 14 year-old African circus performer of Kenyan descent. She is stubborn, short tempered and a strict vegetarian. After Jean rescues her from the Grandis Gang, she sets out on an adventure with him to determine the origin of the "Blue Water", the jewel that beckons the criminals to her. 

The series centers around Nadia, a young girl of unknown origins, and Jean, a young French inventor. Early in the story, the two protagonists are chased by Grandis Granva, Sanson, and Hanson, a group of jewel thieves who pursue Nadia for the blue jeweled pendant she possesses. After being rescued by Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Super Sea Cruiser Nautilus, the jewel thieves and the young protagonists join forces and participate in the struggle against the Neo-Atlantean forces, who seek to dominate the world.  (more:  Wikipedia).

Fun Facts
~  The anime was inspired by the works of author Jules Verne.
~  The show only ran from April 15, 1990 – March 16, 1991 (39 episodes).

A special thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

To be continued...

See also:

Black Women/WOC in Japanese Anime and Manga III


  1. Thanks for all this wonderful info. I'll admit I cheated; I skipped to the episode where Yoruichi reveals her form and I died laughing. It's delightfully hilarious (Vol. 10: The Entry, Ep. #41).

    On Nadia: The show only ran from April 15, 1990 – March 16, 1991 (39 episodes).

    Pourquoi? Do we know why? Or should we just assume the worst?

  2. Claudia Grant reminded me of Lt. Uhura from Star Trek.

  3. "Claudia Grant reminded me of Lt. Uhura from Star Trek."

    AAACK! Old school Trek=FTW!!! I remember shipping her and Spock and her and Sulu so hard when I was younger; my dad thought I was insane because he was a bona fide Trekkie and watched the shows "for the science, Erica Denise." Whatever.

    These animes make me happy. They are not like the epic fail of Mr Popo's (sp?) blackface, and are showing me that Japan has moved up ( alittle bit) in the world.

    PS: Didn't the Japanese solidify through mitochondrial DNA that everyone originated from Africa? Or, at least, that the oldest KNOWN humans originated from Africa? I might be screwing my history up, though. I'm in school for Communications/Marketing. Not History. LOL!

  4. Hmm... I believe you're missing someone else from Bleach, later on in the series. Forgot her name though.

  5. @Lehxra

    I've seen a black Soul Reaper (a male), but he was only in the background. Chad from Bleach is also a POC. From what I understand he's "of Mexican descent." (Wikipedia)

    Bleach seems to be pretty multi-cultural so far. I like that.

  6. I had the same thought as Will. I totally thought Uhura when I saw that pic.

  7. @Ankh
    Pourquoi? Do we know why? Or should we just assume the worst?

    Not sure, but I had the exact same thought. It must have been popular enough though because a game was made out of it and it won an award.

  8. @Lexhra

    Yeah there was another black female character that appeared later on in the series as one of the bad guys. I don't remember her name but I believe she was mentioned in the other thread.

  9. I ain't gon' lie, I loved Robotech back in the day because they had an identifiable BW and she was paired with a WM in a non-problematic, non-teaching-moment relationship.

  10. @ Witchsistah

    You have my attention. Normally, I don't give a double ish about anime, but I can't to admit...Cinnamon's series has caught my attention.

    I think I'll just give in now and go add the rest of "Bleach" to my Netflix queue.

  11. thank you thank you thank you!!!

    I remember watching Claudia Grant as a kid and her character was burned into my memory. Recently I was searching for her character but fell short. Now off to watch the anime somewhere on the interwebs.

  12. @ Anonymous

    Repost with a name please.

  13. A very delayed response, but still something worth pointing out imho:

    > ~ The show only ran from April 15, 1990 – March 16, 1991 (39 episodes).

    That's not an "only". The average length for an anime at the time was about 26 episodes - Nadia was scheduled for 26, but so popular it got extended by another 13. Due to higher cost and risk factors (advanced technology, higher quality demand of the watchers, a larger amount of series competing for viewer, rising production costs etc)), the average length of an anime title nowadays is 12-13 episodes.

    Long runners like Bleach are in fact *extremely* unusual within the anime industry and nearly entirely limited to shounen (aimed at boys) series - further examples are One Piece (ongoing, 520 episodes) or Naruto (first series concluded at 220 episodes, second series ongoing at 232 episodes). One of the biggest sellers and largest franchises of the past 20 years, Neon Genesis Evangelion, also "only" had 26 episodes, the canon was extended by later movies rather than another series order. Think of it like the British commission process - series are ordered individually per year, and nearly always limited to a length between 6 and 13 episodes. In Japan this is done per "season" - spring, summer, fall, winter - and series usually get second season orders rather than straight continuations.

    So no, Nadia "only" having 39 episodes is not due to the lead's skin colour.

  14. Hi! I was looking for a screencap reference image of Nadia, and stumbled across your blog. Blacks in anime are somewhat an interest of mine, and one of the awesomest didn't make your list (because, perhaps, in the anime [as opposed to the manga] they made her much lighter?) Sailor Pluto, the guardian of time/space in the Sailor Moon manga, is very darks-skinned; I always read her as being of African-descent. It's possible that it's just a design trope (since her theme is mysterious/dark colors) and she may not be completely human- but, then again, neither is Mihoshi. Doing an image search for "sailor pluto manga" will turn up a bunch of black-and-white manga images of her; she's one of the few characters in Sailor Moon who has screentoned-in skin. She's also one of the best-designed and coolest characters in the series, so she makes an awesome cosplay. :3 (I guess I have a bias, though- Pluto's one of my favorite characters of all time- and she's much cooler in the manga than in the anime; she gets more character development + saves the world in the manga version, whereas the Outer Senshi become more like addon characters in the anime [which also makes her lighter for some reason.])


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