Most anime characters are Japanese. Given where the medium originates, this is totally understandable - but not every anime fan is Japanese. As anime gains more traction in other parts of the world, diversity becomes increasingly important - so when we see it, it's important to call it out and celebrate it! In this article, we'll be focusing on Latino and Latina anime characters - let's give them some love!
1. Leo de la Iglesia - Yuri!!! On ICE
Most anime characters who hail from the USA are white. That's a shame, because the USA is an incredibly diverse nation with large populations of people of color. Yuri!!! on ICE flipped the script with Leo de la Iglesias, a Mexican-American figure skater. Aside from his athletic pursuits, Leo also loves social media and hanging out with his fellow skaters.
2. Juan Diaz - Captain Tsubasa
Captain Tsubasa is a soccer anime from the late 80's and 90's that enjoyed massive popularity in South and Central America, where it was known as Súpercampeones. One reason for its popularity may have been one of its Latino character, Juan Diaz, who was inspired by on not one but two real Argentinean football players, Ramón Ángel Díaz, and Diego Maradona. Juan is not just the captain of the Argentinian soccer team, he's also one of Tsubasa's fiercest rivals.
3. Chad Yasutora - Bleach
Chad Yasutora is a mixed race teenager who is one of Ichigo's closest friends. Though originally born in Okinawa, Chad is part Mexican and spent several years living in Mexico with his grandfather. There, his grandfather helped him overcome his violent disposition by teaching him how to find peace within himself, and to prioritize helping others over his own needs.
4. Monkey D. Luffy - One Piece
Unless you're a hardcore One Piece fan, you might not know that Luffy is actually Brazilian. How can that be, when One Piece takes place in a fantasy world in which Brazil doesn't exist on the map? Eichiro Oda, the manga-ka responsible for One Piece, once claimed that if Luffy existed in the real world, he would be from Brazil. Other characters' hypothetical origins were also revealed - Chopper, for example, would be Canadian.
5. Michiko Malandro - Michiko & Hatchin
Michiko to Hatchin takes place in a fictional version of Brazil, which makes the titular Michiko a Brazilian woman. Michiko's main goal in life is to reunite with the love of her life and the father of her child, Hiroshi Morenos. To accomplish this, she busts out of prison, crashes her motorcycle through the walls of her daughter Hana's abusive foster home, and the two set off on a mission neither will ever forget.
Who are some other awesome Latino anime characters who deserve a shout-out? Let us know in the comments.