Well the Owls are kicking ass and this is our 4th month of tours. I am super happy I am part of this group. Well it’s my turn again for the Blog Tour. The theme this month is Colors.
Colors: We are all part of one race, the human race. “Colors” refers to people of color in anime. For this monthly topic, we will be discussing how people of color or characters of different “races” (a literal alien race) are represented in anime. Some topics we are considering are the dangers stereotyping bi-racial characters, and the importance of “inclusion”.
We are all interpreting colors through different anime and our own unique take on it.
I actually want to talk about color in anime as in race. Just like the definition says I’m going to talk about race plus about the characters of color in Twin Star Exorcists.
TWIN STAR EXORCISTS (Sōsei no Onmyōji)
The story is about a 14 year old boy Rokuro who has many dreams, but one of them is not becoming an exorcist. He grew up in a house with many exorcists including his best friend Ryogo. They all believe he can be a great exorcist one day, but Rokuro just does not have that goal in life.
One day while he is out he runs into a mysterious girl the same age as him named Benio. He soon finds out that she is an exorcist when they transport into Magano which is a realm of Kegare (evil spirit monsters).
After their encounter, Rokuro and Benio both soon find out that they are The Twin Star Exorcists and are suited to marry. They are fated to have the prophesied child who will be the most powerful exorcist ever. Benio and Rokuro are both against this fate. Especially Rokuro because he has other goals in mind especially not to marry Benio or to become an exorcist.
I like this anime a lot because it is your basic Shounen anime. Rokuro is funny and had a goal to become the best exorcist when he was younger. But due to a tragic situation as a kid he stirred away from his dream. After he meets Benio and they become more connected as exorcists his whole attitude changes where he wants to become a great exorcist again.
CHARACTERS OF COLOR
Now back to the theme topic of this month, since I am a black female, I always love to see characters of color in anime. It is not a common thing because it is not part of the Japanese culture to have characters of color in their series. But when they do I am excited and happy.
I did a post last year that was based on characters of color in anime. It became really popular last year to see so many diverse characters in many series. Plus there were other series that I like a lot that had some diversity as well. Series like Black Lagoon with Dutch, Bleach with Yoruichi, Michiko and Hatchin almost the whole cast, Black Butler with Prince Sōma and Agni, Dimension W with Salva and Food Wars with my Husband Akira Hayama just to name a few.
Twin Star Exorcists was one of the series I’ve watched that had a diverse group with characters of color. Now, the thing is this, when I actually really paid attention to the characters of color in Twin Star Exorcists I began to realize they were all the antagonists of the series called Basara.
Basara: is an evolved and humanoid impurity that has absorbed the powers from exorcists by killing them. When they absorbed enough, they turn into a Basara regaining human form and the human speech.
In twin star exorcists, Rokuro and Benio fight the Basara in the Magano world. They are the most powerful demons compared to the Kegare. They have special powers plus Intelligence that they can operate in a different manner compared to the mindless Kegare. The Basara are the human form of the demons compared to the Kegare who are monster and creature forms. But one thing I began to notice about these antagonist characters is that they are all of darker complexion. (Refer to images above)
I admire these characters because they have great characteristics behind them, they are extremely strong and they add great content to the story. But to have your antagonist all be of a darker complexion made me think hmmm are they persuaded by media of how they portray darker people.
MEDIA AND RACE
Let’s face it, in the media people of color are usually portrayed in a negative way. In many movies, television series and the News. Showing them as being from the urban neighborhoods to the arrests made on tv and etc. The last two years in America we had a huge protest for Black Lives matters because cops were killing innocent people of color.
When I visited my friend in South Africa, I met her friend who told me in their media they portray “black people” to be usually aggressive, sometimes unsuccessful and uneducated. Many of the people I work with say the same thing in their country it goes the same way. I do find this to be upsetting and wrong. My family growing up were called the Cosby family because we were well educated and we didn’t grow up in an urban environment. Kids tried to tease me because my upbringing was different than theirs. I use to be called white girl because when I spoke it wasn’t the so called “urban way” like people expect all black people to speak. I feel we type cast people of color and I think it’s wrong.
There are many successful people of color that are in high positions in companies, school systems, and shoot we just had a Black President. If we can promote more of the positive images maybe the other world will not see us in a negative light. I am happy we have shows like Scandal, How to get away with Murder and Blackish that show us in a positive light.
Back in the 80s when The Cosby show came out (before the Bill Cosby scandal) it received a lot of negative attention in the beginning because they were portraying blacks as being very successful. The dad was a doctor and the mom was a lawyer. Many people criticized saying that can never happen why are they doing this. But the show became very successful that it was the most successful show in the 80s.
Then in the 90s we had The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which had a black family “The Banks” that were from a rich neighborhood. They lived in a mansion and they had snobbish ways about them, except for Will of course. But again it was good to see a family that wasn’t the typical stereotype of what the media tries to portray ethnic people.
Things have really changed a lot since the 90s when almost every movie was about ghetto urban school kids who were uneducated needed a white person to come in and help them succeed and become better. Or every movie was about the hood and the violence. Which I did appreciate those because there are a lot of neighborhoods out there like that but let’s have a balance and have equal amount of films where we are also successful.
We need to have more shows and movies that can help put the positive images out there, show the world that people of color can be well educated, not always “ghetto” as they say it and not violent as well.
BASARA CREATIVE PROCESS ? 🤔
Now back to Twin Star Exorcists, I wonder what was going through the creative thought process of making the antagonists all of darker complexion. Were they influenced by the media because darker means bad? Or do they find darker complexion to be more aggressive for their antagonist?
There are many factors that could have been played into their creative process. I am not here to bash the series at all because of this choice they made. I just find it kind of interesting on their creative idea. I still watch the series because I find it very entertaining.
Maybe in a positive light, they may have thought the darker complexion was cool with the white and pink hair they have. Which it totally does.
In other anime series the characters of color are usually either good or bad. They have a diverse roles. But to have a whole series where all the bad characters are dark complexion is rather interesting.
I hope, maybe later in the series they may change up their design and start to create new creatures with other ethnic roles or different skin tones. I know they didn’t mean any harm and again I do enjoy the show. But it was something that had to be addressed.
If you will like to learn more about the Owls and would like to join, please check us out below. We are always recruiting new members to help spread the word of caring, diversity, liberty and self respect.
Don’t forget to check out LynLyn’s post
OWLS: Crossing Racial Boundaries in Abu Dhabi Romance
Also look out for the other Owls’s post coming up for this month
April 22nd – Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)
April 24th – Erendira (Sakura Daisuki)
April 26th – Crimson613 (My Fujoshi Life)
April 28th – Pinky-Chan (pinky’s palace)
April 29th – Steph (Two Happy Cats)