What's it like to be a black anime fan?

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Afro Samurai is about how [Samuel Jackson’s character] has the number-two headband and he wants to defeat the man with the number-one headband, so he can be the best. That metaphor goes so deep.

Yeah right. Really deep :disappointed:

Could it be that white and black people have different notions of “deep” in that context?


Get ready!.. for the main issues avoidance/deflection to begin… Fight!


African Americans are rare in Anime, and presented with all of the worst stereotypes. But that’s true to a lesser degree of white Americans as well. Asian Americans do not exist at all.

But there are also vaguely “brown” characters, who seem to represent Filipinos maybe, and they have a whole other set of stereotypes. They’re sex maniacs and they don’t like shoes.


I’m hispanic. I can name you how many latino characters exist that are main/side characters in… no hands. They tend to be gags if used at all. Cosplaying usually involves just saying fuck it and picking a character.


“you have three strikes against you: You’re a man so they won’t go easy on you”.
Hold on, isn’t that a privilege?

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I’m a bit curious about this. While I understand that there isn’t some Cosplay Mafia going around enforcing costume rules about who can dress up as whom and how, how welcoming is the community in general to those who do costume as characters across ethnicity or gender or body type, etc? Personally, I love to see these variations! Female Doctors or Latina Sailor Moons? Oh hell yeah! Considering how many people do Steampunk $character or the like, I’d think it would be more well received (or at least tolerated,) yet I know I’ve heard friends and sweeties express concern that they weren’t “right” for cosplay, for exactly these reasons.

Maybe it’s a regional thing, too.

I do costuming, but I don’t try to do a specific character from media. Does that make a difference in community reception?

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There are those who are supportive, of course, and supportive blogs and communities and all that. There are also those who are absolute assholes about it. A lot of blogs yelling at people that they can’t cosplay characters if they’re black (but yet see no problem with white people cosplaying Japanese characters) or fat or “ugly” or whatever. And the thing is, the assholes can be very, very loud, and when they start posting peoples pictures to mock and attack them, it’s pretty disheartening.


To this day, the best Sailor Venus I’ve seen was black. Freaking nailed it: http://www.racialicious.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Sailor-Venus-cosplay.jpg

But yeah, lots of judgemental jerks in the cosplay world (not the majority, but the bad ones are mean). And in my own experience, I found that the anime/otaku crowd tends to be even more homogeneous than the general comics/pop culture/Comiccon crowd. I assume it’s because it is a more niche subset, but it doesn’t help with diversity issues.


I don’t think it’s an issue to be honest. As someone else mentioned, generally the community is very understanding and encouraging of making characters your own. However if i wanted to cosplay someone that represents my background or a character that looks similar to me in some way my choices are pretty much close to zero, that’s the part that frustrates me but it’s somewhat of a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things. Still i would prefer more character variety within anime :[

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If you are a black male cosplayer, then the choice of black characters is extremely limited. The lists of black anime characters I’ve seen are like 95% female.

As an aside I tought it was weird to complain that Chanel the Sailor Moon cosplayer was wearing a blond wig. I’ve never heard white anime fans complain about people wearing green, pink or blue wigs. If anything dark skin and light hair is a character design trope in anime. People should be used to it by now. Matching the character’s hair color is easy (compared to changing your skin) and pretty much expected: gorgeous and fantastic wigs are simply part of the attraction of cosplay.


Just attended San Japan, an anime convention in San Antonio. Saw many, many hispanic and black people cosplaying as (presumably) whatever they wanted to cosplay as.

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Thanks for that mention. I was just wondering how much of this is regional. I’m a but north of San Antonio in DFW and I can tell you there has been a strong black presence in our conventions for a long time (especially in the RPG and fantasy camps) and the Hispanic fans are growing in number every year. But I totally get how racist northern and coastal cons and groups can be after seeing it with my own eyes.

Filipino is Latino, so there’s Maria from Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei. I’ll admit she’s just a huge racist joke, but I found a Latino character!

EDIT: How could I forget, Chad (or Sado) is one of the main heroes in Bleach. He’s Mexican.

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There is also Lara Gonzalez from School Rumble who is an exchange student from Mexico.

Nah, black men don’t get no privileges, they’ll call a black kid a man if he’s a little overweight.

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You’re correct, if you like a character just cosplay them. And this is often the case in most conventions, beyond a minority of trolls i don’t think it’s a problem. But still minority representation within anime and comics isn’t great, though comics have made more efforts into diversifying its characters.

There’s cos players everywhere in the world, complaining that a cos player isn’t white is just another expression of racism in the US.