Out in the universe there are thousands and thousands of anime. However, there is something about the series and movies listed below that black anime fans love! Whether action, drama or comedy there is sure to be a anime you’ve watched on this list.
Dragon Ball – Z
Let’s just go on and get this one out of the way first. Despite how you feel about the show, there is no denying that the action-packed anime is a classic, withstanding the test of time. Many black people who wouldn’t even deem themselves anime-lovers can admit to watching the series. From the list of well-known characters Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo and the troop, you’re sure to have a favorite. This series can definitely be seen as a gateway drug into anime for many.
Like DBZ, Naruto is well-liked amongst black folks. Maybe Naruto’s appeal is his come-up from being an underdog and his honor despite his struggle as an outcast. Or maybe it’s the chrome headband. Whichever the case, Naruto is one of those shows that will strike conversation amongst black anime lovers.
Growing up in the late 90s, early 2000s you had to at least know about Pokémon. It was a real live phenomenon because it was an acceptable anime to watch. Kids took the trading cards and video games seriously. Let’s not pretend we weren’t all playing Pokémon Go religiously for nostalgic reasons just two years ago. Also, Pikachu was obviously the cutest ever and that theme song had passion.
Listen, Usagi and her girls defined squad goals and black girls been knew. This was an anime for everyone, but for girls it was game-changing and quite frankly, it too was a gateway drug into anime. The good sis Usagi had a lot going on. Between fighting to protect earth, being the leader of the Sailor Soldiers and trying her very best with love, it’s no wonder she cried and stuffed her face with sweets all of the time! Also, the level of slayage coming from black people cosplaying Sailor Moon is unmatched.
This 26-episode anime follows Vash the Stampede and his adventures on the run with a $60,000,000,000 bounty on his head. The legend of his persona as a ruthless hell-raiser is much different than the reality of his nature. Also, Vash was fashion-forward AF! It’s a fun series that many people did not appreciate until it ended but it’s still a favorite in conversation.
Yu Yu Hakusho
The characters in this anime really threw hands every episode. The main character Yusuke was a street-brawler turned Underworld Detective with Spirit Gun as his signature technique. Sounds cool right? This show was kind of like a mix of Stranger Things meets Dragon Ball-Z.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
This show in particular gives a great story of family, loyalty and “brotherhood”. The Homunculi that represents the 7 Sins of Mankind are all unique and provide some of the best villains in any anime. Wrath, Greed and Envy really steal the show at times and their fight scenes with the other major characters of the show are some of the best fight scenes ever. The supporting characters like Colonel Mustang, Hawkeye and Scar could easily have their own shows. The character arcs and growth make it one of the best anime ever.
Is Samurai Champloo considered underrated? Depends on who you ask. But, most people who watched the 26-episode anime will sing its praises and deem it pretty damn phenomenal. The soundtrack which was produced by the late Nujabes was also a classic. It infused hip-hop and smooth jazz which meshed perfectly and set the tone for the series. The character development in this show is done superbly well. Also, Mugen is clearly black. We’ll talk about anime characters that are obviously black in another article.
Cowboy Bebop is the GOAT for MANY anime watchers. From the outside, it is a fun, creative, Bruce Lee jeet kune do, jazz music, gun slinging space epic. But, on the inside it is a show about redemption, loyalty and love. All of the characters are deep with their own stories and layers. Even Ed! Spike and Vicious relationship is tense and violent but also competitive and contentious. Each episode tells its own story but its stand-out episodes are round-table discussions every time they are viewed.
Ghost in the Shell
No, not the Scarlett Johansson live-action adaptation. The original movie is an important part of pop culture because Motoko is a strong ass-kicking woman protagonist, which was especially rare for the time. Released in 1995, Ghost in the Shell was considered one of the best anime films ever. To put it vaguely, this movie set in 2029 deals with technology that is wayyyy too invasive for comfort. There’s just something about those futuristic-not-so-far-fetched story lines.
Many celebrities have proclaimed their appreciation for the 80s film Akira. Even if you’re not an anime lover, you’re sure to love something or someone that has been inspired by the classic movie. Maybe most notably in hip hop is Kanye West’s video for Stronger, which paid homage to Akira. The film follows teenage biker rebels in a sci-fi dystopian universe set in 2019 (that time frame is now too close for comfort).
Which shows or films were the gateway to your love of anime as a POC? Any that should be on this list? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
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Southern-born creative with a knack for geeking out about anything. Probably reading fiction, if not writing it.