In the anime industry, there’s a general trend for most characters to share certain similarities. Particularly when it comes to design, you’ll find that they are typically Japanese/white. Most of the cast fit this description across Shonen, Seinen and other categories.
The main distinguishing trait most Mangakas use for their relevant characters is in their hair colour or over-the-top clothing. This trend is one that is harmless but easy to scoff at due to its rampant popularity across the anime fandom.
With that in mind, it makes it all the more interesting when we finally get anime characters that possess a distinct look, strut and style. Yes, we are talking about black anime characters. When a manga artist adds a black character to the mix, you can best believe that they’re going to steal the show.
If you’re a fan of a diverse cast of characters in anime, sit back, relax and agree with us as we share the best black anime characters.
1. Canary – Hunter x Hunter
A butler is usually a stoic figure that is duty-bound no matter what. Sure, those traits might ring true with Canary to an extent, but the way she is written in the world of Hunter x Hunter brings a certain level of admiration for the show. Canary may be in her early teens, but that didn’t stop her from being a ruthless guardian of the Zoldyck family, a family of assassins.
For a kid to be entrusted with such a dangerous job, one would think that she’s punching far above her weight, but Canary is no slouch. She’s quick to protect the Zoldyck mansion (beating Gon to a pulp on their first encounter). However, there’s a soft spot Canary holds for Killua, making her a character with some depth.
Best of all, Canary is beautifully designed, sporting a stylish set of free-form locks and red highlights at the tip. Couple this with her dapper suit, and we’ve got a contender for the best-dressed assassin to grace the anime scene!
Most shinobi in the world of Naruto hold a level of seriousness that is only absent when they’re more acquainted with the main cast. However, Killer B is a rare exception. Right off the bat, this stylish ninja shows off his love for rhymes and disdain for sitting in place.
Bee is a fun one to admire due to the fact that he’s faced some serious hardships in his life as a Jinchuriki. Yet, he chooses to wear a smile and live his life to the fullest. Sure, he might be more carefree than the average ninja, but don’t let that fool you. Killer B’s surprising lethality was easily the biggest embarrassment for the anime’s deuteragonist, Sasuke Uchiha.
Wielding seven swords is a feat that is already quite commendable and hype-worthy to watch. But doing that while throwing out some quick-witted lines takes Naruto’s Killer B to a whole new level. If you’re looking for the black anime character that shines the most in personality, here’s your guy!
If there’s a character that represents the nerdy black kid within the anime fandom, here he is. Kilik is one of the best performers in his class, and his skill is nothing to underestimate. Wielding his weapon partners, Pot of Fire and Pot of Thunder, Kilik is an intelligent fighter and packs a punch. His weapons are wielded as two gauntlets that I’d be sure to dodge at all costs if they ever came my way.
He’s also one of Death Weapon Meister Academy’s best three student fighters. He carries a whole lot of heart with him, no matter the task. He’s also pretty ambitious and hot-headed, making him a shonen character to the core.
As a nice addition, his sense of style is also great, rocking some cornrows, a chain and a dope fit.
4. Aokiji/Kuzan – One Piece
One Piece is a pretty respectable work of art when it comes to character designs. If you’re looking for something with zany and out-of-this-world personalities, this is the right anime to watch. Still, there’s an element of extra special coolness every time this dude appears on the screen. He’s literally the chilliest guy on the show. With his ice devil fruit, Kuzan never really needs to show off or act beyond his basic duty.
When engaging with Luffy and the Straw Hats, he’s never aggressive or antagonistic. Instead, he’s more of a methodical thinker and a generally calm dude. Seriously, it was only a matter of time before he left the Marines. Still, there’s more to the ice-cold ex-admiral than we’ve been shown so far, and we can’t wait to see what One Piece has in store for him.
If there’s a black guy that’s likely to be a fan of Lo-fi hip-hop on this list, we’ve got him right here!
If you’re a fan of bounty hunters and space shenanigans, you probably don’t need much convincing regarding why Cowboy Bebop is such a great show. Still, it’s an adventure that shines best thanks to the distinct personalities among the cast of characters.
A popular fan favourite from the show is Jet Black, a bounty hunter that once worked for the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP). After losing his arm in a tragic betrayal from his ex-partner in the force, Jet Black gets a cybernetic limb, leaves the police, and becomes a freelance bounty hunter. Doing his best to live life as “a man of the renaissance”.
He’s a charismatic fella, and his strong personality is what makes him the best fit to be captain of the Bebop.
6. Afro Samurai – Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai, better known as Afro, is the main protagonist of Afro Samurai, and he perfectly encapsulates the traits that are present in his name. Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, Afro is an extremely talented swordsman that sports a huge hairdo. He’s easily one of the best black anime characters, thanks to the style and intent behind his movements and general character traits.
Afro may be on a quest for revenge after witnessing the tragic murder of his father. His unrelenting brutality and swordsmanship make him a graceful and brutal fighter to watch in fight scenes. The samurai he encounters are no match for his sword. With his counterpart, Ninja Ninja, by his side, Afro is a total badass.
7. Yoruichi Shihoin – Bleach
Originally introduced as a black cat, Yoruichi is one of Bleach’s most beloved characters. She’s been there since the beginning, and her contributions to Ichigo and the gang are commendable. Yoruichi is a longtime friend of Kisuke Urahara and an integral part of helping Ichigo and his friends develop their powers.
She is also a very easygoing person who enjoys surprising others by transforming when they least expect it or taking on a macho tone in her cat form so that no one realizes she is actually a woman.
Tite Kubo, the author of Bleach, has revealed that Yoruichi, along with Rangiku Matsumoto, is one of his two most adored female characters, noting that he likes “drawing her and developing tales with her.”
8. Muhammad Avdol – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders
In Stardust Crusaders, Muhammad Avdol (sometimes spelt Muhammed Avdol) is an important ally. He appears as Joseph Joestar’s Egyptian buddy, and he accompanies the party on their trip to destroy DIO, giving expertise and guidance regarding hostile pit users and local cultures along the way.
Avdol is a Stand user who owns Magician’s Red, a fire-fighting Stand. Avdol comes out as a serious, responsible, and usually fair individual. As a result, it is critical for him to retain his “image” (as he emphasizes repeatedly during his dispute with Mariah) as a responsible and responsible person.
9. Bob Makihara – Tenjou Tenge
Bob, a South African teenager, attends Toudou Academy with his elementary school friend Souichiro Nagi. The two quickly feel they would easily become top dogs at Toudou, only to be humiliated by those who aren’t even the most powerful in the school.
People later recognize Bob for his tremendous strength and ability to get into the rhythm of a battle through his capoeira talents. Though the anime eventually leaves him behind, the manga gives him his due, establishing him as one of the series’ greatest characters.
10. Michiko Malandro – Michiko and Hatchin
Michiko is one of the major characters in the Michiko & Hatchin series, and she is the fiery adult to her quiet youngster companion. She’s an Afro-Latina with a look inspired by R&B diva Aaliyah. When we first meet her, she breaks out of a purportedly impenetrable jail in search of her true love, Hiroshi Morenos.
Of course, the series is about much more than that, and Michiko has the distinction of being the series’ sole black female heroine thus far. Clever, gorgeous, and with a no-nonsense attitude, she handles everything from cops to bounty hunters with ease.
Atsuko grew up with Michiko Malandro and was actually at the same orphanage that he was. She was once a policewoman, and specifically the one who was responsible for Michiko’s arrest a good twelve years before the plot of Michiko & Hatchin kicks off.
While she and Michiko don’t always get along because of their spotty past, she can often be seen helping Michiko out of a tight spot, despite constantly trying to bring her in to answer for what she has done.
12. Carole Stanley – Carole & Tuesday
An outgoing orphan in Alba City, this young girl is trying to make her way in the world of musicians while trying to hold down multiple jobs and get by.
Despite being a friendly character, Carole doesn’t seem to have many friends, which could be linked to why she can’t hold down her job. With a determined, passionate and straightforward personality, antagonistic people often bristle at the way that she deals with things.
her strong and relentless attitude is partly due to having undergone relentless bullying in her earlier years, even from her teachers, so she has become suspicious of many. Still, it doesn’t seem to have harmed her sunny disposition.
13. Killer Bee – Naruto Shippuden
Known for being a shinobi from Kumogakure, Killer B or Killer Bee is the most recent jinchūriki (or human sacrifice) of the eight-tailed beast, but was actually able to befriend it instead of becoming a victim to it.
While his responsibilities lie in protecting his village, Killer B’s real interests lie in becoming the world’s greatest rapper. He earned his name by becoming a tag partner to A, thus being named B.
B became the jinchūriki when A’s cousin lost control of it and was subsequently chosen to seal the being within him. Once A became the fourth Raikage, he forbade Killer B from leaving the village in the hopes that the eight-tailed beast would never make him lose control.
14. Dutch – Black Lagoon
A former U.S. Vietnam War veteran, Dutch is the leader of the Lagoon Company and the captain of the Black Lagoon. Despite being a vet, Dutch often chooses to stay out of the limelight, choosing rather to give orders and do the negotiating for the crew.
He is usually calm and easygoing but is highly capable in a fight if he needs to be. His main concern is the credibility of the company and keeping a level head for his crew in times of trouble.
15. Ogun Montgomery – Fire Force
Known for being a member of Special Fire Force Company 4, Ogun is committed to his role as a protector of Tokyo. Ogun is an incredible team player, which is the only thing that kept him out of Company 8, instead becoming a part of Company 4.
In Fire Force, Ogun is seen as a peacemaker, showing that he has maturity beyond his years and doing his best to keep his fellow teammates from fighting with one another.
Loyal to the end, Ogun often acts out of empathy and understanding, even when dealing with his enemy. He also understands that fighting for your loved ones is an honourable thing, even when you aren’t on his side.
16. Andrew Gilbert Mills – Sword Art Online
Known by his screen name, Agil, in the game, Andrew quickly became a fan favourite in Sword Art Online because of his helpful and friendly nature, staying one of the few players in the deadly game who always looked out for others.
Before becoming trapped in the game with Kirito and Asuna, Andrew was a coffee shop-bar owner in Okachimachi, who fell in love with a foreigner and married her. When he got out of the game two years later, he expected Trish and his shop to be gone, only to find that she had remained completely loyal to him and worked her hardest to keep the place going
17. Claudia LaSalle – Super Dimension Fortress Macross
Claudia LaSalle is an officer aboard the bridge of the SDF-1Macross and is known for being First Lieutenant Misa Hayase’s best friend as well as the girlfriend of Major Roy Focker.
She was on board the SDF-1Macross when the systems mysteriously malfunctioned and blew a hole in the South Ataria Island.
Claudia seems to be a fun-loving character who loves to banter with her best friend and tease her boyfriend lovingly, often calling him lame but not really meaning it, and is heartbroken when she loses him to injuries he has sustained in battle.
From this list, there’s a good bit of diversity, even among the black anime characters that are present in anime. The anime scene could still benefit from more diversity, but seeing the black characters on this list, we can’t help but respect the awesome portrayal of black characters in these stories.