One of the fun aspects of anime is the way people from other countries are represented in caricature form. Americans are always tall, big-hearted (and if female, big-breasted) characters with positive personalities who eat as many hamburgers as possible. Characters from England are depicted as a blonde (a minority in the country) and generally the daughters of well-born nobility, always drinking tea and speaking extremely polite Japanese to show how well-born they are. Another nationality anime creators seem to have a fascination with are characters from Russia. Why are there so many adorable Russian girls in anime? Let’s find out!
As I’ve written before, the Japanese seem to have a unique relationship with the nation of Russia. In a way Russia is very far from Japan culturally, yet they’re also the closest Western nation geographically, and thus the most familiar. Japan has always had cultural intermingling and intermarrying with Russia, and the Russian Orthodox Church has been active in Japan since the 1860s.
The stereotype of Russian girls in anime is generally that they’ll have white hair (making them something close to Tolkien Elves) or blonde, and generally be mysterious to many Japanese who try to understand them. They depicted as being so skilled at what they do, it’s often close a kind of magic.
(Are you watching Golden Kamuy, a great anime about the history of Japan and Russia in the early 20th century? Read my blog post on this great anime here.)
One of the top Russian girls in anime is Sanya V. Litvyak from Strike witches, who tries her best to defend her homeland of Russia from the evil Neuroi.
Gina Voyd — whose name is a blending of Russian porn stars Gina Gerson and Krystal Boyd, the Internet tells me — is another fun Russian character, super strong and with a strong patriotic spirit. Anime is How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?
Gina gets her incredible motivation from Vladimir Putin, apparently.
Speaking of Mr. Putin, if you’ve secretly wanted to date a female version of him, you can vicariously in our awesome game My Girlfriend is the President, which features Irina Vladimirovna Putina as a romanceable character, because why not? “Putin” also shows up in Eiyu*Senki, though the character is cleverly cloaked as Rasputin because not everyone in the Russian government has a sense of humor.
Another popular Russian girl in anime is Anastasia from Idolmaster Cinderella Girls. Here she receives some fanservice.
The name Anastasia pops up quite often in anime, for example, Anastasia Nasuhara, a half-Russian, half-American girl living in Japan for some reason, from Oniai.
While haafu (half) Russian characters are common, there are some who are kuootaa (quarter), like Eli Ayase. Being raised by her grandmother, she speaks random Russian words.
Another famous “Russian” character is Katyusha, who is actually born in Japan and speaks very little Russian. Her name is a pun on the Japanese word for a girl’s hairband, which is also the name of a popular song by idol group AKB48, but it’s also the name of a famous mobile rocket launcher used by the Soviets in WWII. Hence this patriotic song from Girls und Panzer.
Another dubious “Russian” character is Hibiki from Kancolle, who is based on a Japanese destroyer who was turned over to the Soviets as a spoil of war and renamed the Верный.
Then there’s Chaika Trabant from Chaika: The Coffin Princess. She’s considered Russian because of the white hair trope, and also because Chaika is a famous Russian automobile.
Another famous (half) Russian is
Menma Meiko Honma, daughter of Russian Irène Honma, who married a Japanese man in AnoHana.
One of the most charming Russian girls is Kudryavka Noumi from Little Busters, who has little bat hairpins because Russia is close to Transylvania, I guess.
My own favorite Russian girl in anime is Misha from Uzamaid!, a cute girl who came to live in Japan but hates the way everyone treats her like a doll because of her blonde hair. She’s got a kind of creepy maid who loves taking care of her, perhaps a bit too much.
We hope you’ve enjoyed experiencing Japanese and Russian culture with us today! Did we miss your favorite Russian anime character? Tell us below, or on Twitter!
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