12.24.2010

Black Women/WoC in Japanese Anime and Manga III

Claudia Grant
Okay, it's official. I've fallen in love with anime, and more recently manga. Since my last post, I've finished the second season of Bleach, watched both seasons of School Rumble, all fifty-one episodes of Soul Eater, and just started watching Ergo Proxy and Vampire Knight.

I'm currently reading the eleventh volume of the Vampire Knight manga, and unfortunately, heroine Yuki Cross reminds me a bit of Twilight's Bella Swan. They're are both rather plain, are seemingly helpless, are always being rescued by the men-folk, are rather submissive to the males around them and are deeply loved and fiercely protected by two attractive men (minus her adoptive father).

While the story is okay so far, it's really badass-vampire-hunter-turned-domesticated-Headmaster-turned-badder-ass-vampire-hunter, Kaien Cross, that keeps me coming back for more.  In fact, I love his character so much, I think I'm going to write a fic that pairs him with a kick-ass black woman.  (Ooooo...the fandom's going to get me.)

I've really developed an appreciation for the genre, particularly the deep and complex storylines, beautiful art work, and dedicated fan base.  Cosplay is huge in these fandoms, and while it's not necessarily my cup of tea, I can definitely understand the allure.  Hey, maybe I'm just looking for any excuse to fly my geek flag, but if someone is willing to go this far to pay homage to their favorite character(s), I can dig it.

So far, the anime I've watched have pleasantly surprised me.  More often than not, a POC character that I wasn't expecting to see is not only introduced into the storyline reasonably quickly, but then actually sticks around for the rest of the series in a fairly meaningful role.  It's both gratifying and amazing to see.

I'm having a ton of fun with my new-found hobbies.  A new world has opened up to me, and I've gladly jumped in with both feet.

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Character:  Gidget
Anime/MangaEureka Seven

History:  Gidget is the sensor and communications officer in Gekkostate. Her role is considered secondary and often she's featured relaying tactical data to crew or talking about relationship issues with Eureka. 

Gidget is a bit of an airhead, which she admits, but she's not tactless and will go out of her way to protect others' feelings. She's in a relationship with Moondoggie, but only after she made the first move. Renton spotted the couple having their first intimate moment while hiding in an abandoned mine in episode 16.  (Eureka 7 Wiki)

Fun Facts:
~ Gidget is based on a character of the same name who appeared originally as the title character of a novel and went on to be the subject of a number of movies and TV shows.  (Wikipedia)



Character: Lara Gonzalez
Anime/MangaSchool Rumble

History:  Lara is an exchange student from Mexico, and a skilled practitioner of Lucha libre, which she learned from her father. She belongs to the same amateur wrestling club as Ichijo, who she sees her as a rival, often shouting "Ichijō!" when she meets her. Lala dislikes Ichijo's name because her mother, who abandoned her and her father when she was a child, was also named Karen.  (Wikipedia)

Fun Facts:
~  Despite an intense rivalry, Lara and classmate Karen Ichijou developed a close friendship.
~  She made her first appearance in the first season (episode 18) of the anime.



Character:  Hilda
Anime/MangaEureka Seven

History:  Hilda is the pilot of the Terminus type R808 and Talho Yuuki's best friend. She holds a managerial position similar to a quartermaster on the Gekko, keeping track of Gekkostate's stores of provisions and mechanical parts. In this capacity, she is generally in charge of the frequent trips to cities to replenish the organization's supplies. Towards the last five episodes, Hilda appears infrequently and has no lines when she does. This is in part due to the fact that all LFO usage on the Gekkostate at that point is left for Holland Novak.  (Eureka Seven Wiki)



Character:  Aisha Clanclan
Anime/MangaOutlaw Star

History:  Aisha Clanclan (エイシャ・クランクラン Eisha Kurankuran) is an 18-year-old Ctarl-Ctarl officer with a considerable ego and superhuman strength. She is also far more durable than any human; in episode 5, Gene shoots her at near-point blank range with a Caster shell that mimics a lightning bolt-type spell leaving Aisha merely stunned, while in episode 23 she is shown comfortably bathing in what seems to be molten lava. She also claims to have the best ears in the universe. While it is unknown if they are the best, she is shown to be able to hear small noises that no one else on the crew can. In episode 5, she claims to be immortal, but it is unknown whether or not this is based in fact or is merely Aisha's immense ego and racial pride.  (Wikipedia)



Character:  Karui
Anime/MangaNaruto:  Shippūden

History: Karui (カルイ, Karui) is a kunoichi of Kumogakure, and a member of Team Samui. The team was sent to Konoha by the Fourth Raikage to inform them that they would be taking care of Sasuke Uchiha and Akatsuki. She, along with her team-mate, Omoi, is Killer Bee's student. She is also a member of the Second Division of the Allied Shinobi Forces.

Karui is also quite outspoken and allows her emotions to come out, as she angrily yelled at Team Kakashi to allow the renegade Sasuke to run loose. She came to a violent point when she took out her rage on Naruto Uzumaki and beat him without hesitation.  (Naruto Wiki)



Character:  Miyuki Ayukawa
Anime/MangaBasquash!

History:  [Miyuki Ayukawa is]  Dan's childhood sweetheart who moved away from his neighborhood when they were children. She returned in the first episode as a well endowed teenager and a skilled mechanic. Upon her return she gives him and teaches him how to pilot a BigFoot. She cares for Dan and his team's Big Foots, something she does happily, as it gives her more work to do (and get paid for).

She also has been shown as having deep feelings for Dan even though he doesn't notice them. Later, she redesigns the team's BigFoots, making them move much faster and smoother than before, enough to create an afterimage. Though she is not a basquasher, she is still an irreplaceable part of the team, constantly fixing and upgrading all of their BigFoots.  (Wikipedia)


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Happy Holidays, and again, a special thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

12 comments:

  1. The last one was just adorable. I have never watched Naruto so I did not know about that character. Im happy that there are various POC's in anime. Chado and Yoruichi in Bleach are amazing. Keep up the posts :)

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  2. I also like how POCs get better treatment in Anime than in other types of media.

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  3. I'm not gonna lie, I was once an Otaku (I'm not ashamed, lol). I was completely obsessed with anime and manga. I've outgrown it for the most part but I still enjoy some every now and then and I'll still cosplay at conventions. I love anime that stars people of several different races. Cowboy Bebop is one of those anime, on top of being one of the best written anime when it comes to dialogue (a lot of dialogue in anime is just...ugh). Cinnamon, if you ever get the chance I recommend Cowboy Bebop. Also Wolf's Rain. Wolf's Rain isn't as diverse, but one of the main characters is a beautiful WOC :)

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  4. I knew about all but the last one. She is so cute. Cosplaying is something I liked to do at conventions since my first one in Japan of '03 and now I just love emulating characters with other people who share the same interest.

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  5. @TGiQ

    Thanks, I'll definitely check those out. I've been working my way down the line (and it's a loongggg line...whew!).

    Over the holiday weekend, I'll be watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fruits Basket and making my way through a few volumes of manga. *sigh* It's so nice to finally have some time to enjoy life.

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  6. Awesome series, Cinnamon (as always). Hope to see more in the future.

    I also like how POCs get better treatment in Anime than in other types of media.

    I can't get into anime (tried...failed) but I'm extremely glad to learn this.

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  7. @ Ankh
    I used to be into it too, but I cooled off, a lot of it got really repetitive and formulaic. Felt like I was seeing the same characters and stories over and over again. Same thing with comics. I still read/watch some but not nearly as much as I used to.

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  8. Aw you forgot about Revolutionary Girl Utena. A black girl is one of the lead characters

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  9. Hey just thought i would mention Junko from nana

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  10. Hmm...I still feel like anime has such a long way to go in terms of incorporating black people (esp. women) in any substantial way. I remember from few attempts at cosplay, there were so few options. Especially if I wanted to wear something not skimpy and/or be recognized as the character in question. Obscure anime are the worst to cosplay.

    Also, an elf character like "Aisha" isn't really black. And there are quite a few characters that are dark-skinned but aren't supposed to be black (they may be indian or "tan") or at least they are ambiguous racially. I dunno, maybe I'm expecting them to have more obvious "african features".

    Tbh, I haven't followed anime in years though so maybe I'm out of touch.

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  11. Karui, hell yeah. Naruto rulez!!!!! And bleach at that. Tousen kaname

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