Gia's List: 8 Awesome Americans in Animeby Gia Manry, Sep 3rd 2011
Japan and the U.S. have had their differences, but the countries have held a mutual fascination with each others' culture: the Japanese language is now full of borrowed American words, and our homes are filled with Japanese culture, whether in the form of anime on our bookshelves or more traditional wares, like a shoji screen or a katana collection.
This carries over into our popular cultures as well, from Marvel partnering with Madhouse to animate its superheroes to the following eight anime and manga characters, all of whom were born and raised in America.
8. Patricia Martin (Lucky Star)
Better known as "Patty," this energetic high schooler learned all of her Japanese from watching anime and reading manga, which occasionally turns out to be as inappropriate as you might expect. She also has selective memory of her Japanese, suddenly losing all skill with the language when she's cornered in an odd situation. Being a high school girl she is, of course, also a yaoi fan and she also works at a cosplay café with main character Konata Izumi, where she portrays Mikuru Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. (That oh-so-popular dance number from the show's opening, "Motteke! Sailor Fuku," was her idea.)
7. Tina Foster (Ai Yori Aoshi)
On the surface, Tina is everything that American anime fans expect Japan to expect Americans to be (with some justification): blonde, brash, and buxom— and with an odd habit for greeting other women by grabbing their breasts.ANN does not recommend trying this in reality. It turns out that Foster has spent most of her life in Japan, though, resulting in an odd difficulty with fitting in: she attending an American high school briefly, but she had a hard time dealing with the culture shock. Unfortunately she can't settle much better in Japan due to her obviously foreign appearance, too. While she makes plenty of friends in the series, she also remains devoted to her pet ferret, Uzume.
6. Jack King/Texas Mack (Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo)
Jack King and his sister Mary are horse-ridin', hat-wearin', super robot pilotin' cowfolk. Their vehicle is the Texas Mack, and Jack in particular has a...peculiar way of speaking. Specifically, it's a weird Japanese/English hybrid in which the Japanese is pronounced oddly, presumably to imply that he's not very good with the language, which is weird since he speaks it to his sister when no one else is around, too. But hey, cowboys with enormously destructive robots to ride around in can do what they want! When he's not calling the Japanese mech pilots short, Jack can be found saving the president from danger, or maybe herding some cattle.
5. Susanna Hopkins (Genshiken)
Like Patty, Sue is an American anime nerd and yaoi fan. Unfortunately her Japanese isn't very good during her first appearance, so most of the time she communicates via anime quotes that she doesn't really know the meaning of, which usually comes out sounding wildly inappropriate in context. However, it's unclear how much of the other characters' speaking she understands. After a bit of brushing up on her language skills, Sue winds up transferring to the same school where the Genshiken club members go, although she still likes to spit out her quotes when she can, and she also becomes an assistant to fellow yaoi fan and Genshiken member Ogiue when she decides to create a manga of her own.
4. America (Hetalia: Axis Powers)
If he is America, is he also American? Either way, America is either a horrifying mess of a character or hilarious send-up of stereotypes, depending on the person watching Hetalia. He's brash, ignores the counsel of others, comes up with ridiculous schemes to solve problems, eats a lot of cheeseburgers, and is, of course, completely self-involved. (His catchphrase? "I'm the hero!") On the plus side, he's loyal to his friends and really cares about how they're doing. Although sometimes he's a little overbearing with that caring. His exuberance can be irritating or it can be infectious, which should come as no surprise since his Japanese voice actor is Katsuyuki "Kamina" Konishi himself.
3. Revy (Black Lagoon)
In the original anime, Revy spends most of her time in the various nations where her crew, the mercenaries/transporters of the Lagoon Company, perform their myriad duties. However, she was originally born as Rebecca and grew up on the streets of New York City, and the cops of the NYPD's (fictional) 27th precinct still remember her name many years later. Having grown up in an environment that could politely be called "harsh," Revy is foul-mouthed and street-smart, if a little socially awkward. On the plus side, she self-taught herself a pretty good deal about firearms, and was later trained in dual-wielding by "Mr. Chang," a mobster from the Sun Yee On Triad organization. She's good enough at it to be nicknamed "Two-Hands," even though she admits she's not as good as her instructor...yet.
2. Roy Focker (Macross)
After being dumped by his girlfriend, Roy Focker goes from student to stunt pilot; as the wars carried on, he made the jump to fighter pilot and eventually became the leader of his own squadron, the Skull Team, thanks to and in spite of his occasional recklessness. Roy Focker is a chain-smoking ladies' man who laughs in the face of death (not always to his advantage), and he becomes a source of inspiration and guidance to series protagonist Hikaru Ichijyo (whose father first employed Roy as a stunt pilot in his circus). While Roy's presence in anime didn't carry on after the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross anime, he's a major character in the Super Robot Wars videogame series.
1. John Omaha (Air Gear)
Japan has an odd love affair with the current U.S. president, Barack Obama, and he's appeared in a handful of anime and manga (including some "adult" titles). One of his most famous appearances, however, might be in the guise of president "John Omaha" in Oh Great!'s manga Air Gear. In the manga he accidentally switches bodies with Air Treck skater Emily Adachi, so he has an ongoing appearance during which he gets to extol the virtues of Air Trecks. He also proves himself to be a pretty competent fighter when the need arises, although he unfortunately had to follow his body (with Emily inside) back to the U.S. to support protagonist Itsuki's treck team and, you know, run the country.
The new poll: As loathe as we are to admit it, America isn't the only country in the world. In an attempt to alleviate the red, white, and blue, we want to know— who is your favorite country in Hetalia: Axis Powers? Answer here and check back next week to see the results!
The previous poll: Akane Tendo was the undeniable "winner" of last week's poll, which determined whose cooking ANN readers would least like to eat. Of course, the greatest enemy of Akane's cooking skill is Akane herself, always tossing recipes to the side and throwing in whatever she wants. The results are usually beyond inedible.
Coming in a not-super-close second is Gintama's Tae Shimura, whose cooking has been known to cause amnesia and even blindness (although that was when it got in someone's eye). Our third place finisher, Nia from Gurren Lagann, actually has a fan of her cooking...but just the one, and he's her love interest, Simon. Here are the full results:
- Akane Tendo (Ranma 1/2)
- Tae Shimura (Gintama)
- Nia (Gurren Lagann)
- Inoue Orihime (Bleach)
- England (Hetalia: Axis Powers)
- Misato Katsuragi (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- Ryoko (Tenchi Muyo!)
- C-ko (Project A-Ko)
- Kana Minami (Minami-ke)
- Kazuma Sohma (Fruits Basket)
- Kyohei Takano (The Wallflower)
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