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6 Awesome People of Color in Anime

by Lynzee Lamb & Sarah Staben,

It took three waves of live-action films, but Marvel finally announced its much anticipated Black Panther film adaptation starring Chadwick Boseman. Boseman will be the live-action film franchise's first proper super hero of color, after secondary characters Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes/War Machine and Nick Fury. The announcement was definitely exciting for superhero fans, but what about anime?

This week's list takes a look at some of the awesome people of color appearing in the medium through out the years. While some of these representations have their flaws and stereotypes, each one offers an example of positive qualities and hopefully opens the discussion for what kinds of characters viewers want to see more of from anime.

6. Michiko Malandro (Michiko and Hatchin) The cool Michiko is equal parts seduction, guile, and danger. A professional criminal, Michiko tears through Brazil with Hatchin in tow to find Hiroshi, her former lover and Hatchin's father. In a short amount of time, she manages to successfully rob a bank, rescue/kidnap Hatchin, and head out to find Hiroshi. Whether you agree with her ambiguous moral compass, Michiko owns whatever scene she's in with her dangerous allure and independence from the society she was cast into.

5. Dutch (Black Lagoon) In a gang of criminals-for-hire, the formidable Dutch is the group's head honcho and voice of reason to Revy's hair-trigger temper. Once a Marine in the Vietnam war, Dutch opted to go AWOL and make his skills lucrative in Thailand. His almost father-like role for Lagoon Company means the business can stay afloat while he negotiates contracts with their seedy customers, but he isn't unwilling to get his hands dirty either if the situation calls for it.

4. Muhammad Abdul (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders) Abdul (also romanized as Avdol) hails from Cairo and is the group's serious-minded guide to tracking down Dio. His ability, "Magician's Red", fights opponents with fire, a skill he has honed into a fine art. As a person, Abdul seems straight-laced but he also has an inner warmth, and cares deeply about his comrades. He more than illustrates this trait during Polnareff and Abdul's battle against Hol Horse and J. Geil, an act that deeply resonates with Polnareff for the rest of the season.

3. Caska (Berserk) Caska is getting a lot of props the last two weeks. The Band of the Hawk's second-in-command resides in a fantasy setting, but Miura's fantasy epic hints that her ethnicity hails from the fictional empire of Kushan, which in turn is based on the real empire of the same name. The ancient empire once stretched from Northern India into the Middle East and around the Himalayas into modern-day China. Caska is an excellent swordswoman and confidante, easily rising up the ranks before Guts joins the Band. She's inspiring in her ability to play at the same levels as the men around her and her uncompromising sense of honor.

2. Nadia (Nadia - Secret of Blue Water)The heroine of Gainax's loose adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a professional acrobat and, up until embarking on her fantastical adventure with Jean, worked in a circus. Her more magical abilities are a result of her not-quite-human ancestry, but her nationality hails from Tartessos, a city that once existed in modern Andalusia, Spain. Throughout the show we watch the initially abrasive young girl come to terms with her heritage, and learn to trust and care for those around her.

1. Claudia Grant/Claudia LaSalle (Robotech/Macross) Claudia's fate varies depending on which incarnation of the show you watch. In Robotech, she's the Chief Communications Officer on the SDF-1, effectively putting her in charge of communications for of 15,000 people on board. She's more than up for the task though, even the midst of war. Besides being highly proficient at her job, Claudia is a trusted friend to her fellow bridge officers and maintains a resilient attitude when faced with her own personal tragedies.

The new poll: How many anime series did you buy this year?

The old poll: With examples like the Berserk movies, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Sailor Moon Crystal, what anime series would you most want to get a reboot? (Any entries under 1% are omitted)

  1. Fruits Basket 18.9%
  2. Other 16.4%
  3. Tsukihime 9.4%
  4. Yū Yū Hakusho 7.4%
  5. 12 Kingdoms 7.2%
  6. Kenshin 7.1%
  7. Elfen Lied 6.1%
  8. Gantz 3.6%
  9. Soul Eater 3.1%
  10. Serial Experiments Lain 2.2%
  11. Flame of Recca 1.9%
  12. Pandora Hearts 1.3%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network, blogs about women and LBGT topics in anime and manga on her blog Engendered Dilemma, and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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