Cartoons20+ Iconic Asian Cartoon Characters Loved The World Over

20+ Iconic Asian Cartoon Characters Loved The World Over

Back in the day, it was challenging to find a good representation of Asian cartoon characters in western media. 

But today, we see Asian characters in popular cartoons from America and even in other parts of the world! Sometimes, they devise cartoons based on Asian culture and tradition, like in Raya and the Last Dragon, or they put Asian characters in a western setting, like Jake Long from American Dragon.

Asians in cartoons are easily becoming fan favorites among people who love anything animation. The characters are loved by Asian fans because they identify themselves with characters that act and look like them.

Meanwhile, western fans love these characters because they bring something new to the show.

Let’s check out some of the best Asian cartoon characters loved by the animation industry.

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20+ Asian Cartoon Characters in Western Animation

22. Fa Mulan – Mulan

Fa Mulan

Fa Mulan is one of the most iconic female Asian cartoon characters in history because of her East Asian descent, particularly Chinese. 

She’s technically not a princess because she is not of royalty nor married into royalty. Mulan almost married a prince in Mulan II, but luckily, Shang, Mushu, and Cri-Kee arrived just in time to stop the wedding.

Despite not being royalty, she is considered a real jewel in Disney as she’s one of the most badass female Disney characters in history.

Fa Mulan serves as an inspiration to young girls who are unsure about what they are capable of.

21. Marinette Dupain-Cheng – Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir

marinette dupain-cheng

Did you think this list was going to be all American cartoons? Asians are taking over the French animation world as well!

Marinette is the female protagonist of MLB. She is of Chinese and French descent, getting her Asian genes from her mother, Sabine Chang.

Despite the show being set in Paris, Marinette’s powers as Ladybug seem Chinese in origin as the “Miraculouses” are stored in the Chinese Miracle Box. You also get to see more of her Asian heritage in “Miraculous Shanghai” and “Qilin.”

But Marinnette is more than her Asian origins. People love her because of her energy and bright personality.

She’s also pretty badass when defending Paris from Akumas.

20. Zuko – Avatar: The Last Airbender

  • Age: 16-18 (A:TLA), 87-91 (A: TLK)
  • Height: – 160.02 cm (A:TLA)
  • Voice Actor: Dante Basco

While the term “Asian” doesn’t exist in Avatar, the Fire Nation is based on Imperial Japan, making Zuko one of the few Nickelodeon Asian cartoon characters.

Zuko starts off as a major antagonist in the series, as his goal is to capture Avatar and restore his honor. Honor seems to be his favorite word, as it becomes a running gag among the characters in the series.

However, he gets a legendary redemption arc and becomes Aang’s fire-bending instructor and most trusted friend. 

Through his journey with the Gaang, he decides to free the Fire Nation and the rest of the world from his father’s horrible and oppressive reign. At the end of the first series, he becomes the fire lord, and fans couldn’t be more proud of their Sifu Hotman.

19. Raya – Raya and the Last Dragon


Similar to Avatar, the world in the film Kumandra is mainly based on Southeast Asian culture, so the characters all look like a mix of Southeast Asian races.

Raya is officially the 13th member of the Disney Princess line-up as the Princess of the Heart Land.

The young warrior has always been a strong girl. She was appointed as a Guardian of the Dragon Gem when she was very young. When the plague Druun started to spread and turn humanity into stone, she only had Tuk Tuk as her sole companion.

The mix of Asian cultures can be seen in the food she prepares and even how she fights. For example, Raya uses an Indonesian martial art called Pencak Silat and a Filipino martial art called Kali when she uses dual weapons.

18. Princess Jasmine – Aladdin 

princess jasmine

Remember, this list isn’t limited to South East Asians. 

Princess Jasmine is actually one of the many Disney Asian cartoon characters out there. She’s also the studio’s first non-white animated heroine, an Arab princess. Before Mulan came into the picture, Jasmine was the badass of the bunch. At a certain point in Aladdin, she even uses her sexuality as a weapon.

That’s a move no princess has ever done till Aladdin.

While she isn’t the movie’s main character, Jasmine certainly shines bright and shows that she is no damsel in distress.

17. Abby Park – Turning Red

abby park
  • Age: 13
  • Height: 137.2 cm
  • Voice Actor: Hyein Park

She may be a side character, but this Korean-Canadian preteen made an impact whenever she got screen time.

Abby is one of Mei’s three close friends and is a ball of pure Asian energy. She even speaks in Korean whenever she is overcome with rage, hinting that she probably speaks the language comfortably at home.

Fans love how chaotic the little gremlin is and would die having a friend like her. 

If you asked her to hit you, she would. She’ll do it at full force too. Her honesty and expressiveness are on another level, and they provide the audience with fits of laughter and the other characters with positivity.

Turning Red just won’t be the same without Abby.

16. Janna Ordonia – Star vs. the Forces of Evil

janna ordonia

At first, people weren’t sure if Janna Ordonia was Filipino or Asian until the Official Disney TVA Twitter account confirmed it. There are a lot of Filipinos in western films, but not enough in western cartoons. So, characters like Janna are good to have every now and then.

In the series, Jana is a troublemaker who likes macabre things; she’s also a bit of a stalker when it comes to Marco.

Her role in the series steadily increases due to her dabbling into the dark arts proving useful to Star and her battles. The two eventually become close friends in the series.

I also added her here because I’m Filipino, and this list needed someone with my DNA.

15. Hiro Hamada – Big Hero 6

hiro hamada

Hiro is a half-Japanese half-Caucasian boy who is the protagonist of Big Hero 6. Big Hero 6’s Hiro is also the first Asian-American protagonist in a Disney film, making him appealing to both races.

Hiro was considered a boy genius at a young age, making it difficult for him to befriend his peers. Luckily, his older brother, Tadashi, could see him from eye to eye and continued to convince Hiro that his mind was a gift and he should use it to improve the world.

Of course, Tadashi didn’t expect his little brother to become a superhero and the leader of the Big Hero 6 organization.

Now, that’s making the world a better place on a different level.

14. Anne Boonchuy – Amphibia

anne boonchuy

Hiro isn’t the only Asian-American lead. Another Disney Asian cartoon character is a Thai-American girl named Anne Boonchuy from Amphibia.

Anne, at the beginning of the series, seems to be your generic teenager and borderline unlikable. 

However, she only acted that way because of her friend Sasha Waybright. It’s originally Sasha who told Anne to get the Calamity Box in the first place. But it’s also thanks to stealing the Calamity Box that the three friends went on a massive adventure and learned how to be better people.

They nearly died doing so, but it all turned out well in the end.

Sasha and Anne, in particular, become far more likable characters towards the closing, which reignites their friendship. Anne was finally true to herself during the epilogue and remained close to her old friends.

13. Hay Lin – W.I.T.C.H.

hay lin

Hay Lin is a Chinese character in the TV series and comic W.I.T.C.H. While she displays typical Asian stereotypes, she is also an ironic Chinese character in the series.

Let me explain!

Hay Lin is the Guardian of Air, an element not present in Chinese customs. The Chinese elements include Water, Fire, Earth, Wood, and Metal. But despite this minor contradiction, she is still the lovable dorky Asian of the bunch. 

Taranee is rumored to be half-Asian, but that has yet to be confirmed. Her grandmother also used to kickass like her because she was the previous Guardian of Air.

I recommend reading the comic because Hay Lin’s character is given more depth there.

12. Kimi Watanabe-Finster – Rugrats

kimi watanabe-finster
  • Age: 1 (Rugrats), 11-12 (All Grown Up)
  • Height:
  • Voice Actors: Dionne Quan (2001-2010), Charlet Chung (2011 onwards)

There weren’t any Asian characters in the show Rugrats till Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. 

In the film, Chuckie’s father marries a Japanese woman named Kira, making her daughter Kimi a permanent cast member. This makes Kimi one of the youngest Nickelodeon Asian cartoon characters that play a significant role in one of its most popular series.

Kimi’s upbeat personality is a joy to have in Rugrats and its sequel, All Grown Up. It’s also fun to see Chuckie step up and maneuver into his role as the older brother. Even as a preteen, he still struggles with it, but watching him try out Japanese words to show his sister he cares about her heritage is sweet.

Kimi loves him nonetheless and is always ready to let her step-brother know that she appreciates him.

11. Jack – Samurai Jack

jack samurai
  • Age: 25 (Season 1-4), 75(Season 5)
  • Height: 177.8 cm
  • Voice Actor: Phil LaMarr

One of the earliest and most iconic Asian cartoon characters I watched as a kid was Samurai Jack from his own series.

It wasn’t even a proper series when I started watching.

Samurai Jack, as I recall, was a series of animation shorts Cartoon Network would insert during commercial breaks in their Adult Swim segment. Eventually, it became a full-blown series, and fans watched Jack struggle in the strange futures he would find himself in.

The show eventually got into an 11-year hiatus.

Luckily, fans got to see the ending of Samurai Jack when the series returned in 2017.

Viewers also saw a different side to the Samurai, and it was rewarding to watch him finally return to the past.

10. Russell – UP

russell from up

While it was never confirmed what Russell’s ethnicity is, it’s a well-known fact that he is Asian. His design is based on the appearance of Peter Sohn when he was younger.

Russel is a young Wilderness Explorer who shows up at Carl’s home in hopes of helping the old man so he can get his Assisting the Elderly badge. Carl initially wanted nothing to do with him because he found him annoying.

But, the two are forced to go on an adventure together when Russel accidentally finds himself holding on for his life when Carl sends his home to the air using 10,000 balloons.

Eventually, Carl grows fond of Russel as the kid reminds him of his free-spirited wife, whom he had lost before the film’s start.

9. Jake Long – American Dragon

jake long american dragon

Jake Long may be the “American” Dragon, but his roots and powers come from China.

His design even changed to suit the Chinese dragon image in Season 2, and for some odd reason, no one even commented on the bizarre design change.

While he first thought having mythical powers was cool, he didn’t consider the responsibilities that come with it. Oftentimes, his duties as the American Dragon clash with his everyday life.

But what do you expect from a teenager?

You can’t blame Jake for wanting to be cool and wanting his own life. Despite his wishes, he’s still responsible and always does his best to protect the city and his loved ones.

8. Po – Kung Fu Panda

po kung fu panda

Pandas are natives of Asian countries such as China, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and Po, in particular, is a Chinese Giant Panda.

Po is the adopted son of Mr. Ping, a goose who owns the best noodle shop in the Valley of Peace. His adoptive father hoped Po would eventually take over the business, but Po had his sights on becoming a Kung Fu legend.

It turns out he is actually destined to save China as the Dragon Warrior, even though he is extremely bad at Kung Fu. But Po still managed to pull through and prove himself worthy of the grand title.

Po is probably one of the best Asian cartoon characters, and we have Jack Black to thank for that.

7. Candy Chiu – Gravity Falls

candy chiu
  • Age: 11-12
  • Height:
  • Voice Actor: Niki Yang

There weren’t many Asians in Gravity Falls, so I’m happy the adorable Candy Chiu was added to the official list of supporting characters. Candy, along with Grenda, becomes Mabel’s two best girlfriends. 

It was never confirmed which Asian race Candy belongs to, but fans can speculate she’s of Korean descent due to several hints in the series.

A picture she took in Summerween Trickster had Hangul in it, and in the episode Sock Opera, fans claim she spoke Korean. She also seems to have an accent, but whenever I hear her, I think of BMO from Adventure Time (they have the same voice actor).

Candy, just like her name, is very sweet, especially to her friends. Even when she had just met Mabel, she had already stood up for her against Pacifica.

6. Aang – Avatar: The Last Airbender

aang avatar
  • Age: 112 (Biologically 12) 165 (at death in A:TLK)
  • Height: 143.25 cm (A:TLA), 190.5 cm (A:TLK)
  • Voice Actors: Zach Tyler Eisen (A:TLA), D.B. Sweeney (A:TLK)

While “Asians” technically do not exist in the Avatar universe, Aang and the air nomads are based on Asian culture. It’s incredible how much research the team of Avatar made in creating the show since the main cast of A:TLA already represents such diversity.

The Air Nomads are based on different types of Buddhist monks around Asia, particularly the Tibet, Shaolin, and Sri Lankan Buddhists with some Hindu influences.

Aang also uses air-bending, which uses the Chinese martial art Ba Gua.

Throughout the series, Aang struggles to stay true to his roots as he constantly searches for a way appropriate for a monk, such as not killing Fire Lord Ozai.

5. Kagami Tsurugi – Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir

kagami tsurugi
  • Age: 14
  • Height: 160 cm
  • Voice Actor: Faye Mata

Marinette is half Asian, but the cast of Miraculous Ladybug has another Asian within its ranks. 

Kagami is a student from Japan who now attends the College Francoise Dupont. She also comes from a lineage of Samurai, but for some reason, the creators decided to make her a fencing pro, but I’m pretty sure her mother drilled some kendo moves into her.

Kagami may be the most socially awkward in the cast, but she also puts her best foot forward to amend situations. Despite getting her heart broken by Adrian, she never put him down. Instead, she still considered him an equal, especially in fencing.

She also pushes him to be more honest with himself instead of blindly following what his father says.

4. Amy Wong – Futurama

amy wong
  • Age: 21-27
  • Height: 170.18 cm
  • Voice Actor: Lauren Tom

So, Amy Wong is an interesting Asian character because she does not show your typical Asian-American stereotypes in the series.

She embodies a rich white girl through most of her appearances in Futurama. Unless she’s swearing, then she’s Cantonese during those moments.

Her actions are not too surprising, considering she was born into an immensely rich family with typical Asian perfectionist parents. It only made sense for her to act spoiled and rebel.

She is also the wife of Kif Kroker, an Amphibiosan Alien; however, her ditzy and naive personality tends to cause problems in their relationship.

3. Aladdin – Aladdin


After so many Disney Princess movies, we finally have a male protagonist on the screen. 

Aladdin is the titular male lead in Aladdin, who had pretty big dreams. Like his princess, he is also Arab and is based on a character he shares the same name in the folktale One Thousand and One Nights.

Although, unlike his folktale counterpart, he isn’t Chinese under the rule of the Persian Empire.

Aladdin starts the story as a skillful street rat, not your usual Prince Charming character that fans got used to in Disney films. He gets tricked into entering the Cave of Wonders to retrieve a lamp for Jafar. 

Luckily, the lamp ended up in Aladdin’s hands instead, and the Genie of the lamp proved to be a unique and helpful ally for Aladdin’s wish for a better life.

2. Tadashi Hamada

tadashi hamada
  • Age: 18-22
  • Height: 182 cm
  • Voice Actor: Daniel Henney

Tadashi may have exited the movie too early for anyone’s liking, but he made a big impact in Big Hero 6.

If it weren’t for him, there wouldn’t be a Baymax.

Like his younger brother Hiro, he is also an Asian-American and a genius. Tadashi seems to be too good for this world. He is a great father figure for Hiro, a brilliant student, and an amazing friend with a good sense of humor.

He managed to convince Hiro to quit bot fights and do something good with that brain of his, like attending college.

Tadashi also made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up his life to save a teacher.

1. Mr. Hyunh – Hey Arnold

mr. hyunh

The inclusion of an Asian character was always in Craig Bartlett’s mind when he was creating “Hey Arnold.” He wanted the show to reflect L.A., which is well known for having diverse ethnicities in one city. And because of that, Mr. Hyunh and other Asian characters were added to the cast.

Mr. Hyunh is an immigrant from Vietnam that moved to America sometime after the Vietnam War.

Hey Arnold tried to add Asian characters and make characters around them as natural to them as possible because they’ve been part of the town for so long. 

Mr. Hyunh, for example, has a very thick Asian accent, but none of the characters call it out or make fun of his accent and origins.

Asian cartoon characters are still a minority, but it’s nice to know that several of them are popping out of iconic shows and media. Even their culture is getting more exposure over the years.

Right now, we see a lot of Southeast Asian characters, so I’m hoping to see other parts of Asia getting more exposure in the future. 

How about you? 

How do you feel about Asian representation in cartoons?

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