As the dark avenger in gray and blue/black tights known as "Batman" is one of the most popular superhero-type characters to ever originate in the comic book medium, history has shown us that the character shares common qualities and attributes with characters from outside the media franchise we know as "DC Universe". As for me, a person who has been watching anime for years, I have noticed that some anime productions do feature characters that share qualities and attributes with this iconic American comic book character. So if you are a fan of both Batman and anime like me, then get ready for an analytical feature I am to present to you, right here at ENR, as I celebrate Batman Day week (with this year's Batman Day happening on September 26), and for those of you are new to anime, feel free to join in for the ride as I compare each of five characters featured in Japanese animation to the Dark Knight himself, and although DC Universe lore features multiple men of the main DCU dimension sharing the moniker of Batman, this post will focus specifically on comparing to the Bruce Wayne version of Batman.
1) Captain Harlock (Captain Harlock/Galaxy Express 999)
I am sure some of you who visit ENR on a regular basis by know now who Harlock is. For those of you who don't know him, basically he is a non-superpowered space pirate who dresses in a black shirt with a numbskull chest insignia (a scary subject design motif like the Batman emblem) and wears a pirate cape (red on inside, black on outside). He qualifies as an equivalent to Batman because both men wear dark-colored outfits while on the battlefield and will not hesitate to trust their own instincts in the name of helping the innocent even at times when the governments of their respective birthplaces go rogue.
The only difference is that while Batman battles corruption on a national level or municipal level (in this case, Gotham city), Harlock battles political corruption all around Earth in addition to his space voyages.
2) Daisuke Jigen (Lupin III)
Daisuke Jigen may not be a guy who wears costumes to conceal his identity while on the job, he is to the Lupin III Universe what the Bruce Wayne version of Batman is to the DC Universe. Each of the two men is the secondary leader of his respective universe's primary protagonal team; Batman is secondary leader of the Justice League and Jigen is that of Lupin III protagonist Arsene Lupin III's band of nation-hopping thieves.
Also, both black haired secondary leaders are noticeable for maintaining a blue-and-gray outfit color scheme (although Batman sometimes substitutes black clothing for light blue) and include forearms in their arsenals, although Batman's use of firearms is only happens in comic stories from 1939-1940.
3) Piccolo Junior (Dragon Ball)
Who could forget this famous green-skinned fighter from Dragon Ball lore? Like the Bruce Wayne version of Batman, he is the kind of guy with a brooding personality that never interferes with his loyalty to his comrades or his mission to take down the villains. Also, he wears a dark colored spandex like Batman, although his are dark purple.
Most importantly, both he and the DC Universe character himself have child protegees they mentored in combat; Piccolo Junior has San Gohan and Bruce has Dick Grayson.
4) Duo Maxwell (Mobile Suit Gundam Wing)
Duo Maxwell, one of the Gundam pilots of the Gundam Wing Universe, not only dresses in dark like any Batman, but also uses an alias term that tends to sound demonic; Batman being the Dark Knight and Duo being the God of Death ("Great Destroyer" in the edited-for-younger viewers edit of the anime's English dub). Also, both operate machines with appearances going by a creature-of-the-night theme.
Yes, Batman has his batmobiles, batplanes, etc, but he isn't the only fictional character with vehicles of a bat-like appearance because Duo too owns a vehicle with a Bat-like appearance (I'm talking the mobile suit XXXG-01D2 Gundam Deathscythe Hell), and it's featured in dark colors like the Batman '66 batmobile.
5) Zakuro Fujiwara/Mew Zakuro (Tokyo Mew Mew)
This beautiful magical powered superheroine (you know her as "Renee Roberts" in the American-produced English language version of the Tokyo Mew Mew anime if you have watched it) is another costumed adventurer with a creature-of-the-night theme maintained by her battle costume, except hers maintains the design motif of the wolf.
While Zakuro does not wear a mask, the fact that she maintains a superheroines appearance that includes both pointy ears (though wolf ears as opposed to bat ears) and cool colors on her costume (though shades of purple as opposed to blue) as well as being a team player who sometimes prefers to go the way of the lone wolf, even on the battlefield, makes her worthy of being Bruce Wayne's equivalent from the Tokyo Mew Mew Universe.
These characters may vary in terms of appearance and where they come from, but each maintains some attributes and qualities that are enough to remind anyone of Batman. If you know any characters in anime worthy of being called equivalents to Bruce Wayne version of Batman other than those I discussed in this column feature, feel free to mention them in the comment box as it may help Batman fans find anime that can suit their tastes. Thanks for reading, see you next time, and have a happy Batman Day.