When having a discussion around comic books and graphic novels, we can’t leave out the wildly popular world of Japanese manga and anime. In the U.S., anime TV series and films, as well as Japanese manga books, are very popular. Platforms like Crunchyroll and Funimation have brought series like Naruto and Samurai Champloo to audiences around the globe. Black representations in comic books and graphic novels have a controversial and racist past here in the U.S. In Japanese manga and anime representations of Black characters also have a somewhat controversial history.
Shows like Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z have incorporated characters like Jynx and Mr. Popo that have raised eyebrows over racial stereotypes. Japanese anime/manga series like Cowboy Bebop, Afro Samurai and Slam Dunk have also included depictions of Black characters. Today, we’ll discuss Black representations in Japanese manga and anime with William Bridges IV. He is assistant professor of Japanese at the University of Rochester.