I’m Canadian. You know this because I tell you every chance I get. And as a Canadian, I feel compelled to point out every other Canadian out there. I don’t know if it’s something every nation has but we definitely do, big time. It’s not a genetic thing, if you move here you’ll see. Like two weeks later you’ll catch yourself saying Actually, he’s Canadian, you know? I think they put something in the water. All of it. Canada has a lot of water.

Anyways, the point I was trying to make with this little speech is that there aren’t enough Canadian anime characters. That was clear, right? In fact, it took me forever just t come up with 5. I didn’t pick Canada from Hetalia because that’s cheating… But I ended up cheating anyways. You’ll see what I mean. These are in no real order by the way.

5. Ryoko Asakura – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Ryouko isn’t the main character and for a while, you don’t notice her that much. She’s the class president and we see her hanging around in a few episodes. But she becomes more important later on when it’s revealed that she’s Nagato’s backup unit. So basically, she isn’t like other girls! Arguably, she isn’t actually a girl at all.

Like Yuki, she’s one of those super-intelligent human android thingies. So she’s an alien or an organic robot or something. And she can be a bit…special. I guess all of this makes her story about transferring to the school from Canada a bit suspicious, but I’ll take it!

4. Toriko – Otherside Picnic

She’s the one that made me think of putting this list together. The moment she mentioned she’s at least part Canadian I was like – oh…Canadian anime characters? On it! The thing is, something seems a bit off. First, she mentioned getting Marine training. And Canada does not have a Marine Crop so that’s a bit weird. I guess she could have gotten it in Japan as they do have amphibious units but they aren’t called Marines as far as I know.

Besides, I watched that entire series and not once did Toriko apologize to any of the Otherside ghoulies she shot. Not even under her breath or anything. I dunno you guys. Doesn’t seem like a Canadian to me. Sure she enjoys a good beer and has a healthy sense of not getting too hung up on things but there’s still something that’s not quite right here.

3. Andrew Graham – Mobile Fighter G Gundam

The Gundam franchise is actually very Canadian inclusive. They have a few characters from the great white north. But I had to go with Andrew because, I mean, look at him. He’s like a caricature of everything that people think of when they think: Canada. You know, a lumberjack with a tuque. For the record, it’s a stereotype ad it’s not true but I still really like it!

The name Andrew Graham is also super Canadian sounding. I’m pretty sure I know a couple. And he’s the representative for Neo Canada. Look, it’s the closest Canadian anime character I could get to actual Canada from Hetalia without picking him. So there you have it!

2. Polar Bear – Polar Bear Café

He’s a Polar Bear. I really would have preferred not picking a polar bear but it was either him or Santa Clause at this time. Don’t get me wrong, Polar Bear is a very good pick for this list. He is Canadian, for sure and he’s patient and polite and didn’t even murder Panda once. Now that’s very Canadian.

He’s also full of dad jokes. And for some reason that works as well. Not too stuffy or hung up on ceremony and not to type to have to be the smartest in the room. Polar Bear is just happy to be there and wants to make everyone else happy. Sounds legit. Except, he’s a polar bear, you guys. That’s cheating…

1. JJ: Jean-Jacques Leroy – Yuri on Ice

So JJ isn’t only a Canadian anime character, he’s French Canadian. Like me! So he gets no 1 even if the picks aren’t in order. That’s how it works. The French Canadian accent is something to behold. It can make every language sound kind of crass. I’m sorry guys. I really love Quebec and wouldn’t move for the world. The people are wonderful. But man, I never managed to get used to that accent and I have it! I was a bit sad the Japanese voice actor didn’t try to ham it up.

I’ve been kidding around with Canadian stereotypes a lot in this list but JJ actually feels like a very authentic French Canadian character. We meet his parents, Nathalie and Alain (all the names here are really on point although I would have dropped the “Le” as just Roy is much more common, but it’s not like Leroy doesn’t exist). The family dynamic was great. Relaxed but tight-knit.

The insistence on Christianity is also very representative. Particularly in Quebec, the Church had a huge influence up until a generation or two ago and more French Canadians I know are relaxed but devout believers. I mean they won’t go out of their way to dislike anything because of religion, we have a huge well established and very accepted gay population for instance, but religion is important. It was a bit weird that JJ only has 2 siblings instead of 13 but he is pretty young. My friends use to tell me how the local priests would go knock on people’s doors if a wife hadn’t been pregnant in over 2 years and ask if something was up. That was like 30 years ago so in the ’90s…

OK, enough Quebec history. There you go, 5 Canadian characters or like 2 Canadian characters, one polar bear and 2 that are probably not really Canadian. This is a bad list. I’m sorry! I’ll have to revisit it at some point.

ED: Ok, like a month and a half after I wrote this I watched SK8 and Langa is now new no 2… First, he’s not too hard on the eyes, second, he has all the best stereotypes. He’s polite, calm, friendly not very emotional and a bit of a himbo.

30 thoughts

  1. I love Canada. I’ve grown up and lived on the border my whole life. But I do have a question. I’ve always thought French Canadians considered themselves, “Canadien” not “Canadian”. I guess my only logic leading me to that is the Montreal Canadiens – so I could be way off base. Or maybe is it just Montreal? Or does it not matter? 😂 just curious

    1. Canadien is the word Canadian in French… But I have not seen anyone insist on the French spelling here. In fact, the type of people who would wold probably insist they were Québecois instead.

  2. I’m disappointed that Leroy’s name wasn’t spelled Lereaux. Though I expect that wouldn’t make much sense either.

    1. I don’t know any Lereaux but I know a lot of Leroux. It’s a different background from Leroy or Leroi though.

        1. I’m not sure what you’re asking. Quebec is historically a land used by France to ship petty riminals, endentured servants and prostitutes, as such the family names are for the most part adopted and usually plain descriptives. Leroy and Roy which is the old spelling for king and also used as a rank for the winner in several old timey sports such as archery was usually adopted as a form of wishful thinking whereas leroux which means the red-head was often adopted by…red-heads and there was an increase of the name in Quebec in the mid to late 1800s. I doon’t know what Lereaux means, you’re the only I’ve seen talk about that name. Do you?

          1. I was wondering what the different background between Leroux and Leroy or Leroi was?

            As a far as Lereaux, that was my attempt at a joke. It’s a bad joke at that. I grew up in New Hampshire, just south of your great province, and we had a lot of people with French-Canadian history that lived there. The one thing what was common is that they usually had names that ended in -eaux or -ault. I was surprised that the name didn’t end in either of those two.

            That was my reason.

  3. Had no idea Canadian anime characters like these existed XD I’m gonna add Polar Bear Cafe to my list now. Thanks!

    Interesting – I’m surprised they brought up Christianity on Yuri On Ice. I’ve always found that part of Quebecois history charming, being a Traditionalist Catholic and all. I know for a fact that church attendance and influence was very strong up until the 1960s when Vatican II and the Quiet Revolution happened and caused the downturn; but they used to write beautiful musical settings for High Mass and were very stringent on religious vocations. Some days I wish I could go back to the past and spend a month in 1950s Quebec, to get a glimpse of that life.

    1. As a curious agnostic, I sometimes wish the same. I feel that, deep down, much of the West is existentially exhausted. So many of the institutions that once undergirded a sense of community, of common purpose have been abandoned — that is the price we had to pay on our march to the logical end point of individualism.

      So to go back to a time & place where 90% of the population attended mass weekly, and where the Church influenced almost all facets of life… It’d also be interesting to see the seeds of the blowback against Quebec Premier Duplessis, who died in office in 1959. The Church were happy to champion this fervent Catholic, viewing him as the vanguard to the fight against modernism. However, Duplessis used authoritarian practices & corrupt patronage to push through his support of big (Anglo) business & fierce anti-labor politics. They call his period in power “the great darkness”, still today. I think that was the first step towards the Church’s irreparable decline in Quebec.

      By 1990, monthly attendance in Quebec had fallen to the Canadian average of 37%. Just a decade later, it had become the lowest in the country, at 25%. It’s probably much lower today, despite the influx of pious Haitian, Polish or Filipino immigrants. And while the majority of Quebecers are still deeply attached to their Catholic heritage — being a key component of their historical self-image as a distinct people — that Catholicism is now largely vestigial, confined to a few trinkets & limited knowledge at best.

      I mean, I grew up among kids unaware that the most common insults in Quebec traced their origins to the Eucharist — a distant reminder of a hold over society that was so strong, the sacred had to be turned to the profane.

      (Ah, I’m sorry if I went overboard.)

      1. No worries, thanks for your insight. I didn’t know political forces were THAT influential in the Church’s rapid decline. What I do know though is that the Faith of many were strong those days; one of them being Paul Comtois, who I remember died a martyr’s death trying to save the Eucharist from the flames when his residence burned down.

        Needless to say, Duplessis’ work seems to have opened the gateway to various premiers who continued the counter-revolution from within, and pushed church and state further from each other. Ecclessiastically there’s also Vatican II, which changed Catholic life so drastically that those who experienced the changes felt like it was akin to setting up a new religion; Montreal’s cardinal archbishop was reportedly a key player with it. One of the reasons why we can’t have nice things.

        1. My parents tried to raise me as a Catholic (or rather, as a member of a small Eastern Church in full communion with Rome) so I am familiar with the contours of that debate. Putting my personal feelings on Vatican II aside, I think its timing was perfect for the Quiet Revolution’s leaders. It allowed them to quickly cement their preferred policies, without running the risk of provoking a counter-revolution. As you allude to, the Church avoiding a full-fledge culture war partly explains why that Revolution was so Quiet. How can Catholics criticize the transfer of education, healthcare & social welfare to the purview of the state, when their Church not just shies away from influencing legislature, but actually defends the autonomy of secular institutions?

          So yes, in a world without Vatican II, the outcome of a theoretical pushback would certainly be interesting to consider. On the flip side though, it could be argued the absence of a heated debate made it easier for many urban Quebecers, who were naturally inclined to modernism, not to jettison the trappings of Christianity altogether. As per the 2011 census, 82% of Quebecers identified as Christians, with 12% checking the “non-religious” box. As for Protestant British Columbia — the province with which Quebec shares the lowest mass attendance — these numbers were 45% and 44% respectively!

          Yes, we could point to Catholicism’s historical role as a counterpoint to Anglo assimilation or overreach. But is the serendipitous confluence of the Quiet Revolution & Vatican II also to thank?

          Anyhow, I’m sure earnest traditionalists would still have their issues with such a vapid, vacuous version of the faith! One that *gasp* mainly moonlights as MTD…

          1. For your last point, you’ve already got the “Old Catholics” of Utrecht to handle that point… and they’re a whacky bunch themselves already!

            Anyhow, I believe IMO that an ideal world without Vatican II would at least curb all the internal ecclessiastical problems (w.r.t doctrinal confusion and liturgical whackness) and the cowardice of many clergy seen today (USA and Germany is a decent example). Socially speaking, I also think they’d definitely have a harder stance on many of the moral issues of the day. But one thing is for sure; that council was no way close to the “success” some people make it out to be; it harmed the faith and morals of millions worldwide. I point to my high school as an example of such fruits. Not a single vocation was made from it, our religious education covered the basic curriculum and none of the hard details, and daily Mass was not a thing; modernism at its finest. Compare that to an average Catholic school in 1950 for example, which my grandfather was fortunate to live through where the opposite happened. I sometimes wonder how much better off the stats of my fellow students would be if that council never happened too. 🤔

      1. Unfortunately so. Ditto for non-whites as well. Ironically, I say the previous comment despite the fact I’m Asian and I know will probably get some level of discrimination thrown at me in that instance… but hey I’m just an observer in that hypothetical scenario.

  4. I’m so glad that you included Andrew Graham. Also, you got me on Langa on the end. He really is the sort of guy that needs to be there so I’m glad he made it in some form.

  5. Suddenly I want a French-Canadian school idol in Love Live. They’ve been branching out lately with Nijigasaki and Superstar, creating characters for those groups from Hong Kong, China, and America that are played by seiyuu who are actually fluent in Chinese and English (though the actress who plays the American idol was born in Australia lol). I don’t know how many aspiring seiyuu are out there who speak both Japanese and French, but if they can find one, why not?

  6. As they say, representation matters… Oh, what I’d give to have a character blurt out a “j’men calisse”, Patrick Huard style… Would truly warm the cold cockles of my dead heart…

    youtube[dot]com/watch?v=1Xx-_XlcCKw

  7. Ngl, I was waiting for Langa’s mention. Your description of him at the very end got a solid chuckle out of me!

    1. I know – I know… I was watching the show and like….wait, I need to go back and fix this or else!

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