One of the wonderful things about the anime community is how richly it’s grown over the years. The average fan has the chance to go to a number of conventions and enjoy sharing their love of Japanese animation with others, sometimes including the voice actors from the various anime they love. It helps that these celebrities are often just as big a fan of the projects they work on as the people who watch them.
Adding another layer of awesome to this is how there are a number of celebrities outside this industry who are also pretty big fans of anime. Here are 10 celebrities from various walks of fame who have publicly declared their love of anime and manga.
One of the stars from 2 Broke Girls, as well as Darcy from the first two Thor films, Kat Dennings is no stranger to American comics.
In an interview with a Los Angeles NBC affiliate though she confessed that she doesn’t read as many comics as an adult as she did when she was growing up. Her interest instead turned towards manga, specifically the “girly” ones as she put it. She didn’t give out the names of any specific titles, and the interviewer didn’t seem to press the subject either.
Her Twitter account did reveal her enjoyment of the American comic, Hack/Slash, so maybe its worth sending her a Tweet sometime for a shoujo recommendation.
She’s given interviews stating how she waited in line to receive the Pokémon Mew during a special giveaway event and watched DBZ so much she developed a crush on Vegeta. She even showed up to the 2015 Wrestlemania 31 event wearing an “Over 9000” t-shirt with Vegeta emblazoned on the front of it.
Guillermo Del Toro
If you saw Pacific Rim, this probably wouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Guillermo Del Toro LOVES anime. His formative years growing up in Mexico were filled with watching anime on television and in the theaters. His passion for it continued through adulthood as he continued to watch the newest features as they came out, including Akira, Cowboy Bebop, and Trigun amongst others.
His fascination with robots – specifically giant ones, was born from this, and his love for them has rubbed off onto his wife and daughters. Speaking of his daughters, he’s admitted to essentially raising them with anime, instilling an appreciation of Hayao Miyazaki films into them. Del Toro was also slated to direct an adaptation of the anime/manga series Monster, but plans with HBO fell through, leaving this project in limbo
The noted film critic, Roger Ebert, was one of the first, if not THE first major film expert in America to embrace Japanese animated film as an art form.
Princess Mononoke made Ebert’s list of Top 10 films of 1999 and Spirited Away was awarded the same honor in 2002. Ebert also held 1988’s Grave of the Fireflies in very high reverence as one of the most powerful war films ever created. All of this was being said by him at a time where anime did not have a very strong foothold in American culture.
The Wachowski Sisters
The Wachowski Sisters, the creators of The Matrix series, are pretty huge anime fans; they even wrote and directed the 2008 live-action adaptation of Speed Racer. The show held a special place in their hearts as the first anime they ever watched, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. Both of the sisters have cited Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Ninja Scroll as large influences on their style.
Say what you will about the quality of their work following The Matrix, there’s no doubt about their love and appreciation for the distinct look and feel of Japanese animation.
To say this girl is a geek at heart is an understatement. Megan Fox has openly proclaimed her love for gaming, comics, western cartoons, and anime. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly she stated her desire to see a live-action remake of Gundam Wing and Sailor Moon. In an interview with Seventeen she also discussed growing up with Adult Swim and how InuYasha and Cowboy Bebop opened up her eyes to animation as artwork.
None of this will make her performances in the Transformers or Ninja Turtles movies any better, but it does make Fox seem like a lot of fun to hang out with.
This name might not ring a bell to some modern music fans, but Matthew Sweet gained a good deal of fame in 1991 with the popularity of his song “Girlfriend” and the accompanying music video. The video is particularly noteworthy for its use of clips from the anime film, Space Adventure Cobra.
In some ways, this is like the original AMV, popularizing a trend years before people even knew it would be a trend! Meanwhile his song “I’ve Been Waiting” also includes the character of Lum from the anime and manga, Urusei Yatsura. Remember, this was back in 1991 when anime was MUCH further outside the mainstream than it is today.
While it may be true that Kanye West is actually only a fan of himself, the guy has an amazing love for the classic anime film, Akira. Not only did he base the music video for his song, “Stronger” off it, but he also made reference to it in a well-publicized, randomly angry tweet.
According to Kanye he was watching a top 10 anime film list on YouTube and was slightly dismayed to find that they had ranked Spirited Away above Akira. There’s no word about whether or not he interrupted the list to declare Akira, or Beyoncé for that matter, the true number one.
The late great actor Robin Williams was a huge fan of video games and anime for much of his life. It’s well known that his daughter Zelda was named after the eponymous princess from the game series, with the two of them even appearing in advertisements for the Zelda re-releases on the Nintendo 3DS.
Robin was also an avid Pokémon fan, so much so that Nintendo regarded him as their only choice for Professor Oak should they ever make a live-action adaptation. Even though that project never came to be, Williams still managed to show off an otaku side in his films. In the 2004 thriller One Hour Photo, Williams’ character of Sy gives a Neon Genesis Evangelion toy to a young child. The action figure was in fact, brought to the set by Williams from his own, personal collection. We miss you Robin.
From High School Musical to his latest project, the 2017 Baywatch film, Zac Efron hasn’t exactly done much to make himself be taken seriously by the average movie goer. If his interview with Elle Girl in Japan is any indication though, you can at least take him seriously as a Shonen Jump fan.
He described himself as being a fan of Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, and Death Note. While not exactly the deepest list of anime and manga, it certainly gives him a bit more depth as a person than High School Musical 3 did.