Who are the best black anime characters?
Anime hasn’t always been the most inclusive genre, but in recent decades it has been gradually changing for the better.
More and more exceptional black anime characters are getting their time to shine while proving just how important representation is.
While there is still progress to be made, these characters certainly demonstrate that the genre is moving in the right direction.
The 20 Best Black Anime Characters Ranked
To create this list, we rounded up characters from various series and then ranked them by fan popularity.
While we’ve done our best to be subjective, be sure to let us know if we’ve missed any amazing black characters who should have been included!
With that being said, here’s our list of the 20 best black anime characters:
20. Nils Yajima
A supporting character from Gundam Build Fighters, Nils Yajima, formerly known as Nils Nielsen, kicks off our list.
Nils is an absolute genius, and he uses his knowledge as a Gundam builder and operator, capable of winning fights using his superior tactics.
When we first met him at the age of 13, he had already earned three Ph.D. degrees and picked up the nickname Early Genius.
He certainly proves that brains can overcome brawn, especially when they’re used to create giant battle robots!
Darui is one of the best Naruto characters, and he’s proved to be an incredibly powerful shinobi.
As a former student of the Third Raikage, Darui was taught how to use Black Lightning, becoming only the second person to master it.
He was even strong enough to hold his own and nearly defeat the Gold and Silver brothers without any help.
While he was the right-hand man of the Fourth Raikage for a while, Darui has since become the Fifth Raikage due to his skill and power.
S.A.M. is a robot programmed for friendship, and because of this, she is super sweet to everyone around her.
While this does make her a bit naive at times, don’t mistake her for someone who can’t hold their own.
If anyone or anything threatens her friends, S.A.M. will defend them with her built-in weaponry or even turn into a giant legendary golem.
While originally limited by her programming, she gradually gains her own opinions and beliefs, showing a huge amount of growth as the series progresses.
17. Ogun Montgomery
This third-generation pyrokinetic is ridiculously powerful, and he became an immediate fan favorite in Fire Force.
Unlike others with his abilities, Ogun can create his own flames and even manipulate them into throwable weapons.
He also has fire ink tattooed across his body, which increases his power, though it also raises the risk of him overheating.
That said, when he goes all out and his tattoos are glowing, you know it’s about to go down. Plus, he just looks seriously awesome!
Ogun may be just one character, but he plays an important role in how black fans and creators are redefining anime to make it more inclusive.
16. Miyuki Ayukawa
Miyuki Ayukawa may be a supporting character, but she steals the show every time she shows up on the screen.
As Dan’s mechanic, it’s because of her that he and his team are able to keep their Big Foots up and running.
She cares a lot about Dan and has become an irreplaceable part of his crew, though she doesn’t let her feelings for him get in the way of her work.
Boasting both beauty and brains, Miyuki is by far one of the best characters in Basqush, and the show certainly wouldn’t be the same without her.
While she only appeared in a single episode of Cowboy Bebop, Coffee has become one of the most iconic black anime characters.
Wielding a grenade launcher, this bounty hunter runs into Edward and Ein while the pair are tracking down the same target.
Coffee keeps her head in the game even while the duo is up to their usual antics, and her smooth, serious personality is difficult not to like.
If one character from the show could get their own spin-off, our vote would definitely be for Coffee, since she would make an amazing protagonist.
She’s already become a stand-out character in one of the best action anime series of all time, we can only imagine how epic her own show would be!
April is iconic as one of the best short-haired anime girls, and she immediately stands out with her looks alone.
However, April is much more than just a pretty face. She can create storms and hurricanes with ease, making her a force to be reckoned with.
She’s kind of like the anime version of X-Men’s Storm, only with an even sharper sense of fashion.
As an MI-6 agent, April is close to the team she leads, and her powers, personality, and story have quickly made her one of the best black characters in anime.
13. Kaname Tosen
Despite being an antagonist in Bleach, it is hard not to like Kaname Tosen once you learn about his motivations.
After his friend was murdered and the murderer walked free, Kaname swore to seek justice against the Soul Society.
While his skills as a warrior made him a deadly foe, his story also gave fans a glimpse into the hidden corruption of the world.
His path definitely makes you question the definition of justice, and it’s hard not to want better for him when all is said and done.
12. Claudia LaSalle
Claudia hails from one of the best sci-fi anime series from the 80s, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and she is pretty amazing.
While many black characters in 80s anime were problematic stereotypes, Claudia is the exception that helped break barriers.
Not only is she a professional second lieutenant, but her relationship with Roy was one of the best interracial relationships in anime.
She may not be the central protagonist, but Claudia has certainly made anime history as an iconic black anime character.
11. Muhammed Avdol
Muhammed Avdol is one of the best characters in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and his style immediately makes him stand out.
While his concern with his image may make him seem self-absorbed, Muhammed is actually one of the wisest characters in the series.
His sense of loyalty is incredibly strong, and he completely dedicated himself to helping end Dio for good.
He also isn’t afraid to boast about his abilities because he knows how good he is, and his mentorship is definitely invaluable to Jotaro.
10. Afro Samurai
Afro Samurai is an iconic series that helped pave the way for future anime like Netflix’s Yasuke, which is based on the first real black samurai in Japan.
This series follows a highly skilled swordsman who can even deflect bullets using only his blade.
After seeing his father murdered as a child, he made a vow to avenge him, going on to kill many in defense and revenge.
His skills alone make him amazing, but his overall story is what has cemented his place as one of the best black characters in anime history.
9. Carole Stanley
Carole is an orphan trying to survive in Alba City by taking on several jobs while chasing her dream of becoming a musician.
What makes her stand out is her incredibly outgoing personality and independence; she isn’t given to relying on anyone but herself.
However, she is a very talented musician in the series, and there are many of her songs that can be heard throughout the show.
She also owns a pet owl named Ziggy, which is absolutely adorable and also serves as her personal alarm clock.
8. Yoruichi Shihoin
Born into one of the Soul Society’s noble houses, Yoruichi is one of the best long-haired anime girls and also one of the best black anime characters.
Not only was she the first woman to become the head of her house, but she is also one of Gotei 13’s strongest captains.
Considered to be the most skilled Hoho master ever to exist, Yoruichi has earned the title of Flash Goddess thanks to her ability to take out enemies in mere seconds.
She is certainly one of the strongest characters in the series, and her abilities make her stand out as a fan favorite.
7. Kilik Rung
Kilik worked hard to become one of the top three students at Meister Academy, and while he may not get much screentime, fans have come to love him.
His skills in hand-to-hand combat are nothing short of amazing, and his gauntlets, Fire and Thunder, make him incredibly strong.
While he can be hotheaded at times, he is also extremely compassionate and willing to give his life to protect his friends.
We wish he’d gotten more attention in the anime because he certainly proved to be an interesting character with a lot of potential.
Hunter X Hunter brings us this apprentice butler who can more than hold her own when push comes to shove.
While she appears loyal to the Zoldyck family at first, being ruthless to any trespassers on their property, Gon notices she isn’t without compassion.
However, when it comes to her skills, she is just as deadly as any other member of the family, making her a fierce opponent.
Although she is willing to disobey her orders for Killua, Canary remains someone that is very dangerous to cross.
5. Michiko Malandro
While she can sometimes be a bit childish, Michiko Malandro is a great example of a strong, independent woman.
After breaking out of prison, she helps a young girl, Hana Morenos, escape from her abusive foster family, having previously dated her father.
The pair then set off to find Hana’s father, who Michiko is still in love with, and the journey leads to many touching moments.
Michiko is the embodiment of why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because, despite being arrested numerous times, she’s got a heart of gold.
4. Killer B
Aside from being one of the best bearded anime characters, Killer B is also a complete badass.
Not only is he incredibly strong, but he can wield seven swords at the same time, melding kenjutsu with his own unique style.
While he can come off as cocky, he’s got the power to back it up as one of the strongest shinobi in the series.
Even Sasuke could barely keep up during their fight, and Killer B nearly killed him in the end, showing just how impressive his skills really are!
3. Atsuko Jackson
Atsuko is a pseudo-antagonist in Michiko & Hatchin, and she is the one who arrested Michiko before the start of the series.
However, having grown up in the same orphanage as Michiko, she often looks out for her, even though they went down very different routes as adults.
Despite being a member of the police force, Atsuko is still willing to help out when she can, even if some crimes she can’t turn a blind eye to.
She is definitely a complex and well-written character who also boasts one of the best afros we’ve ever seen in an anime series.
Dutch is the leader of the Lagoon Company, and while he is a large and intimidating man, he prefers to avoid conflict.
While he isn’t afraid to call out his team if they get out of line, he also isn’t willing to risk their lives on dangerous jobs, no matter how much the pay is.
Although he tries to avoid fights now, Dutch previously served in the Marine Corps and is proficient with firearms when the need arises.
That said, he is overall pragmatic and level-headed and serves to hold everything together even during the toughest situations.
1. Fire Emblem (Nathan Seymour)
Fire Emblem takes our number one spot as the best black anime character, and they are also one of the few non-binary characters in the medium.
Being effeminate, they have faced a lot of adversity due to their interest in makeup, dresses, and jewelry, even being disowned by their parents.
However, despite being haunted by those who have hurt them in the past, Fire Emblem now embraces themselves fully.
They are openly proud of who they are and arguably come across as the most mature character in the group.
Overall, Fire Emblem is an amazing character who certainly proves how much progress has been made toward diversifying the genre.
We hope you have enjoyed our list of the 20 best black characters in anime and maybe found a few new series to check out!
Although anime hasn’t always been the most inclusive form of entertainment, significant steps have been made in recent years to change this.
As with every medium, representation matters, and it is refreshing to see so many well-written black characters take center stage.
Here’s a quick recap of the 20 best black anime characters:
- Fire Emblem
- Atsuko Jackson
- Killer B
- Michiko Malandro
- Kilik Rung
- Yoruichi Shihoin
- Carole Stanley
- Afro Samurai
- Muhammed Avdol
- Claudia LaSalle
- Kaname Tosen
- Miyuki Ayukawa
- Ogun Montgomery
- Nils Yajima
Who is your favorite black anime character? Let us know in a comment!
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