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Voice Actors Anairis Quiñones and Zeno Robinson are Helping Redefine Blackness in Anime

Black people have always loved anime, whether their fandom began with “Sailor Moon” and “Pokémon” or they cut their teeth on “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball Z.” But much like other creative mediums, the relationship between the Japanese animation medium and its Black characters has been one in need of more accurate and diverse representation. Over the years, award-winning Funimation voice actors Anairis Quiñones and Zeno Robinson — best known for their roles as Mirko and Hawks in “My Hero Academia”— have seen more progression in anime away from its problematic beginnings. “‘Cyborg 009’is a legendary series from the ’80s, and its character Pynuma’s portrayal from the ’80s till now has drastically changed,” said Robinson, who has studied under greats like Phil LaMarr, Ginny McSwain, and Tony Oliver. “His first portrayal had big lips and exaggerated features, but as time progressed, his character design changed to look more like an actual human being. It’s a testament to the times.” Quiñones...

Feb 24, 2021