Yeah, this is probably one of the biggest misconceptions I’ve seen in the animation world. This is the point that causes the most discussion/controversy when it comes up and ends up giving everyone a bad name. We don’t often see characters with darker skin tones in anime, but when we do, their race is immediately classified as African/black. However, this may be wrong!
I’ll give you an example. Take for example Yoruichi Shihuain from Bleach, who made his debut in the anime : Episode 18 Manga: Chapter 51, to this day, fans debate whether she is black or Indian. I couldn’t make up my mind about either one. However, this is the first mistake. Anime (unless specified in the story) doesn’t usually create characters of a certain ethnicity, as far as I know. This is a light skin tone, caramel or chocolate, with a predominant light skin tone. I understand that because you don’t often see characters with darker skin tones in anime, when you do, each group fights to claim them.
Often here in the West we tend to give up on all black people with darker skin tones, however unreasonable that may be. Unless the story explicitly reveals black characteristics or ethnicity, most characters could be anything and you’d be right. Remember that Africans are not the only group in the world with combination skin. There are also Indians, some Amerindians, Aborigines, South Asians and Melanesians! So if someone said that Yoruichi or Gislein from Mushoku Tensei are black, you’d be right. If they said Indian, they would be right too, because there is no way to prove or disprove it. I hate to say it, but unless the creator of the anime/manga says it, your word means nothing in most cases. If people see the character as X, there’s nothing you can do about it. Your head canon means nothing to the other.
The other reason I’m bringing this up now is because I’ve noticed that the discussion with Nessa from Pokemon and Kaeya and Xinyan from Genshin Impact has been going on! In both cases, we see characters with dark skin color who are immediately classified as belonging to a black race, and well, unless world history or behind the scenes in the creation of the project made it clear what race they are, they are none of those races and all of those races at the same time. This also happens with light-skinned characters. Often we in the West assume that all light-skinned people are white, just like white Europeans, and think that Asians are only obsessed with white people. I mean, there’s a grain of truth in the way they portray real white people in anime, but not in this case. Here is a very interesting video that shows how Asians view people with light skin color. This is an old video, but it illustrates my point.
As you can see, they guess or type in what they THINK race is, and characters who are clearly Eurocentric white are immediately identified, but in general they consider all anime characters who have no obvious ethnicity to be Asian. I wanted to emphasize this point to be a little more open minded about such a topic! Not all light-skinned characters are seen as white by everyone, and not all melanized characters are seen as black by everyone. Just something to think about!
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