Manga Reimagined through a darker Lens

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If you’re a fan of Japanese anime and manga chances are you’ve noticed that characters with dark skin hardly ever show up. Even when they do they are often portrayed as criminals or slaves (not to dissimilar to hollywood actually). Therefore, we decided to explore some the notable exceptions to this very disappointing trend. The bad news is that apart from Afro Samurai, we have yet to come across any traditional Anime or Manga with a dark skinned protagonist. However, we did find several creators that have adopted the manga aesthetic and storytelling structure so without further ado we present:

Mythallica: Lux Nova

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Created by the super talented Mikhail Sebastian, Mythallica: Lux Nova follows the story of two brothers Aether and Caeleum that are separated from their tribe when their homeland is caught up in an intergalactic war between the Hyperion Regime and The Feed. Following the attack the brothers find themselves marooned on the other side of the galaxy uncertain as to whether or not their homeland has been destroyed. Left with no choice Aether and Caeleum join the war in hopes of one day reuniting with the rest of their tribe. They discover fascinating worlds and powerful allies from various myths who assist them on their quest to find their family.

Lux Nova feels very much like a cross between Dragon Ball Z and Star Wars. The story is set in a universe where science and fantasy collide, featuring a unique and vast collection of characters, creatures and locations. Sebastian has spent 7 years putting this story together and has described it as the ‘Magnus Opus’ of his career. The 1st volume is now available on amazon and you can read some free issues on the official website.

Tuskegee Heirs: Flames of Destiny

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Full disclosure, Tuskegee Heirs is not out yet so we’re looking at this based on the concept art and the story presented by the creators Marcus Williams and Greg Burnham. Tuskegee Heirs is a futuristic sci-fi adventure that follows a squadron of young, gifted aviators that are forced to become Earth’s last line of defence against a mysterious military force composed of highly advanced self-aware war machines fixated on destroying human civilisation.

Tuskegee Heirs, is very much inspired by the Shounen Manga aesthetic and storytelling stucture. Creators Burnam and Williams are also looking to pay homage to the legendary Tuskeegee Airmen, the first who fought to defend America in World War II despite suffering discrimination and abuse from their military counterparts. The story will also explore some lesser known aspects of history such as the Easter Island, the pyramids of Sudan, the Cahokia mounds of the midwest to the Olmec heads of Mexico. While it’s still in development, you can still pre-order Tuskegee Heirs on the official website.

Tephlon Funk

 

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Created by Stephen Metayer, Tephlon Funk is a manga about Inez Jozlyn, a young girl from Queensbridge, New York whose life turns upside down when she becomes involved in an ongoing drug war that could potentially destroy the city she loves. Like Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai, Tephlon Funk merges the anime/manga and hip hop aesthetic into a medley of awesome. “Tephlon Funk” means to be strong and stand out.

Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the first two issues of Tephlon Funk are now available both in digital and print. So far the story has exceeded our expectations combining the harsh reality of inner city gang life with the quirkiness of Japanese manga. The art is equally impressive illustrated by the french duo David Tako and Nicoplas Safe. Their work is impeccable so we highly recommend checking out the Tephlon Funk gallery where you’ll find different prints and posters.

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Manga Reimagined through a darker Lens

  1. traditional anime with darker skinned protagonists: Michiko to Hatchin is the first one that comes to mind, and of course Revolutionary Girl Utena has Anthy, who is Indian-Japanese, Nadia: The Secret of the Blue Water has the titular Nadia. One of the two main characters from Gunsmith Cats is half-Indian. That’s what comes from the top of my head. c: I can think of a lot of series that have secondary and tertiary characters with dark skin; it’s true that it’s less common for protagonists. (granted, most of the anime I’m familiar with are set in Japan with Japanese characters and don’t even touch on indigenous peoples in Japan, much less anyone else. Most of the fantasy series I’m aware of have darker skinned secondary characters, but ofc the question here was protagonists and those are the three I can think of)

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions we’re going to take a look and perhaps update the list. There are quite a few darker skinned characters in Anime but most of the time they hardly feature significantly in the story. Vice did an excellent article on the subject. Out of curiosity have you looked at any of the titles in this list?

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