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Amplifying Black Voice Actors in Anime


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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3984
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:38 am Reply with quote
Divineking wrote:
I agree there's more Black VAs in the industry than who are generally well-known, but we could certainly stand to see a lot more. For all the actors that were mentioned only a few of them are well-known or have had leading roles, and last year alone had over 100 English dubs in production,
Well there are not that many shows with Black leads. And while there are not that many more with Caucasian leads, a Japanese character with blue eyes and blond hair for example, is closer to being Caucasian than Black. Not that I've gotten anything against that.

On that subject does anyone else find it interesting that women get more prominent and interesting roles on average? Casca from Berserk, Nadia from Nadia and the Secret Blue Water, Anthy Himemiya from Utena and Michiko from Michiko & Hatchin. None of of whom were ever voiced by a black actress mind you. In comparison a lot of male black characters are just big and bulky and act like they all came from some 70s Blaxploitation film.
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Silver Kirin



Joined: 09 Aug 2018
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:28 am Reply with quote
Lactobacillus yogurti wrote:
Silver Kirin wrote:
Since I'm from latin-amercia I only watch anime dubbed into neutral spanish and subtitled if it doesn't have an official dub, still, I'm fascinated with English dubs of anime and I have to say that Cowboy Bebop is truly one of those shows that sounds amazing in English.
It is incredible to see that the USA dubbing industry has so many talented and diverse people working in it.
If I had to mention an latin-american voice of african descent the only one that comes to my mind is Kalimba Marichal, he voiced Kitaro in the 90s version of Ge Ge Ni Kitaro, and some characters in DBZ, Cowboy Bebop and Slam Dunk, but he also voiced cartoon characters like the Arnold in Hey Arnold! and did the singing voice for Simba in The Lion King, however he retired from voice-acting to continue his music career.


To be fair, I think there aren't a lot of people of African descent in Mexico... ANd yes, most anime dubs happen in Mexico.

The majority of dubs for different types of media (anime, cartoons, movies) are made in Mexico, but there are many dubs made in Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and there's even some spanish dubs made in Los Angeles and Miami as well. There are occassions when spanish dubs are made in collaboration between different countries too.
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PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 1865
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:28 am Reply with quote
Very cool list, filled with some really talented actors. I'd also love to see more people of color in voice acting. I think different backgrounds would only help the material.

Divineking wrote:
On that subject does anyone else find it interesting that women get more prominent and interesting roles on average? Casca from Berserk, Nadia from Nadia and the Secret Blue Water, Anthy Himemiya from Utena and Michiko from Michiko & Hatchin. None of of whom were ever voiced by a black actress mind you. In comparison a lot of male black characters are just big and bulky and act like they all came from some 70s Blaxploitation film.


One of the original examples was Claudia LaSalle in Macross, who became Claudia Grant in Robotech, and she actually had a black voice actress in that (Iona Morris), but when ADV redubbed the original Macross in 2005, she had a white voice actress (Christine Auten), who was decent, but I definitely prefer the original.
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XaelOstigian



Joined: 25 Oct 2019
Posts: 52
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:32 am Reply with quote
Cool! I had no idea so many VA's I know of were black. Funny how we can easily identify VA's by their voice but not by their face. In a cosmic sort of way I think that that in of itself transcends the boundaries of race. Now we judge a person not by the color of their skin, but by the range in their voice...and by extension if they can sound like your next potential waifu or husbando. Anime hyper
There is much work to still be done, but I am glad we taking steps in the right direction.
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DavetheUsher



Joined: 19 May 2014
Posts: 437
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:38 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
Well there are not that many shows with Black leads. And while there are not that many more with Caucasian leads, a Japanese character with blue eyes and blond hair for example, is closer to being Caucasian than Black. Not that I've gotten anything against that.

On that subject does anyone else find it interesting that women get more prominent and interesting roles on average? Casca from Berserk, Nadia from Nadia and the Secret Blue Water, Anthy Himemiya from Utena and Michiko from Michiko & Hatchin. None of of whom were ever voiced by a black actress mind you. In comparison a lot of male black characters are just big and bulky and act like they all came from some 70s Blaxploitation film.


At the risk of opening a big ol can of worms here, to be fair people tend to call some anime characters black simply for having tanned or dark skinned despite no other indication or confirmation that they are indeed of African origin. I've also seen people call Anthy Indian because they interpret her forehead marking as a bindi, and others say she's simply South Asian. Michiko is black/Brazilian which I presume that's why they cast Monica Rial as her in the dub since Funimation figured a half-Spanish actress was 'close enough'. Casca and Nadia live in fantasy settings so they're just up in the air. I don't think it's fair to say black women get more interesting depictions and then list mostly characters who are never confirmed to actually be black in the first place. I get people want representation but that tends to lead to confirmation bias I also commonly see westerners call Kuzan from One Piece black despite the fact he's specifically designed after famed Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda. Tanned and dark skinned Japanese people exist too.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:16 pm Reply with quote
DavetheUsher wrote:
At the risk of opening a big ol can of worms here, to be fair people tend to call some anime characters black simply for having tanned or dark skinned despite no other indication or confirmation that they are indeed of African origin. I've also seen people call Anthy Indian because they interpret her forehead marking as a bindi, and others say she's simply South Asian. Michiko is black/Brazilian which I presume that's why they cast Monica Rial as her in the dub since Funimation figured a half-Spanish actress was 'close enough'. Casca and Nadia live in fantasy settings so they're just up in the air. I don't think it's fair to say black women get more interesting depictions and then list mostly characters who are never confirmed to actually be black in the first place.
I have no doubt that is the case, and I can not say for certain for all of the ones I mentioned. However I stand by Casca and Nadia. The world of Berserk is based on real world places, Midland Europe(mainly German) and Kushan the middle east, and other places are mentioned. On top of that at one point she is called a 'black witch'(I looked it up chapter 146). Nadia is set in an alternative late 19th century, with Jean coming from France and Nadia somewhere between Europe and Africa.

I get where you are coming from, if they can have large green eyes and ginger hair and still be Japanese, then they can have tanned skin, as it is just cosmetic, At the same time it is unfair to have them default that way just because it was not explicitly stated otherwise.
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Lactobacillus yogurti



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 775
Location: Latin America
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:24 pm Reply with quote
Silver Kirin wrote:
The majority of dubs for different types of media (anime, cartoons, movies) are made in Mexico, but there are many dubs made in Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and there's even some spanish dubs made in Los Angeles and Miami as well. There are occassions when spanish dubs are made in collaboration between different countries too.


That much may be true, but the sad facts are:
-Venezuelan dubs have all but disappeared due to the current circumstances.
-Chilean dubs have become affected by the American direction and are almost unbearable.
-Colombian dubs sound the fakest of all (including Rurouni Kenshin). I myself am Colombian, so I am very critical of it.
-Some LA and Miami dubs are all right, but it's not that common for them to dub anime. Last LA dub I can remember in anime was Detective Conan, and that was 20 years ago.
-The best-known and most popular VAs in Latin America are from Mexico. I don't see anyone making lines for Alexander Páez or Pablo Ausensi in the same way they would for Eduardo Garza or Genaro Vásquez. And let's not even mention freaking Mario Castañeda.
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DangerMouse



Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 3791
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:18 am Reply with quote
Very cool list!

MarshalBanana wrote:
This may sound a bit stupid, but I never knew Keith Silverstein was black. I've seen his photo before, however at a glance it's hard to tell.

Beau Billingslea is definitely the most iconic of all of them, he's like the James Earl Jones of Anime. He was also the narrator in Outlaw Star.

Me too actually. Also, Silverstein's a beast VA, so many epic roles already, love hearing him in stuff.

You're right he really is kinda like the James Earl Jones of anime, I recognize his amazing voice anywhere. Was neat hearing him suddenly come up again in Hunter X Hunter when that was airing on Toonami, had no idea he was going to be playing someone in it.
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DisneyXAnimefan95



Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 98
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:16 am Reply with quote
I really love how well this article was put out and how many Black/African American actors have done Anime.

I had a feeling that Keith Silverstein and Mela Lee were part Black especially the latter despite being of Italian descent hence the name Mela meaning Apple in Italian.

Honestly I hope we get more Black, Mixed, POC voice actors/actresses getting anime voicework in the Anime VO industry to voice Black or Dark-skinned characters with everything happening right now, cause before the protests and after it does feel weird to have a non-black or non-mixed race voice actor voiced a Dark skinnned character or one that looks like a Black character, I mean you have the likes of Ray Chase voicing TWO dark/Black characters in Hunter x Hunter (Geretta and Squala) and one character in "Carole & Tuesday", along with Monica Rial and some of the other actors (who aren't Black) voicing dark skinned characters with the former voicing Michiko in Michiko and Hatchin, Jeannie Tirado voicing Carole in Carole & Tuesday, and among others so some folks are questioning on these non-POC and Non-Black voice actors being cast to voice these dark skinned characters in the various Anime series.
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