Stevens brings diversity to anime community

William-Amir Stevens at a convention for Fall Out Comics in Tallahassee. Photo courtesy: Stevens

William-Amir Stevens is a comic book creator and anime influencer. He has attracted thousands of followers on TikTok who tune in daily to catch up on everything new in the anime world.

Stevens was born in Tallahassee and is the owner and operator of a small animation company named Badly Drawn Monkey. He has one graphic novel completed and is working on a second one. Stevens credits his love for anime and comic books to growing up in the ’90s when that genre was in its prime.

Stevens goes by a few names. Some know him as William, some as Amir, but the anime community knows him as JapanAmeer.

Stevens’ love for anime started at a young age and quickly grew into a passion. At age 12, the concept for his first comic book popped into his head, with the creation of one of his most popular characters, Monak. Stevens quickly realized that there was not accurate representation of people of color in the anime world. He wanted to create a character who mirrored himself, and that is exactly what he did. Stevens took his childhood dream and began the creation of his first graphic novel in 2017. It was released on Amazon in 2019.

His character Monak has long locks and a darker complexion, representing the Black community in the anime world. Creating representation is something that Stevens strives to do through his characters. He hopes to give a sense of security to the youth who may not be represented as much.

In between the creation of his up-and-coming graphic novel, Stevens has taken his love and knowledge of anime and comic books to TikTok, where his 11,000 followers are eager to hear what he has to say. Becoming a TikTok anime influencer was not something Stevens planned to do but he has quickly become successful on the platform.

When asked how his TikTok followers would describe him, Stevens said, “Loud,” “charismatic” and “energetic” because he does a lot of “anime screaming videos” where he gives facts and reviews for both new and old anime shows and comic books. He also uses his platform to discuss the racism, sexism and other toxic issues that are present in the anime community, hoping to make a change for the future of the anime society.

One of his TikTok followers, Justin Ellison, reflected on how he became a fan of Stevens. “JapanAmeer is a well-informed anime blend. His topics stem from a wide variety of anime content. He tends to make outlandish statements that challenge the norm, but he’s surprisingly correct and hilarious. JapanAmeer “challenges you to think outside of the box and welcomes everyone with open arms to speak on anime subjects,” he said.

Andrei Tillman, a friend of Stevens for 15 years, was surprised that Stevens had become an anime influencer. “I don’t think anybody would expect Will, not trying to be funny but, nobody really would expect him to be a social media influencer of all things. But he did it. And he did it because of his love for anime, and that just goes to show you how much anime brings the community together, and how much passion and how much drive Will has towards it.”

JapanAmeer, William-Amir, or Stevens, no matter what name you choose to call him, his love for anime and comic books is undeniable. Writing his first graphic novel and having it published is what Stevens is most proud of accomplishing. He is passionate about the work he does and making a change in the anime community.

He strives to create more diversity in this not so diverse anime world, and to create more representation for people of color. He has a deep sense of care for the anime community both online and offline.

Stevens plans to continue working on his current graphic novel, “Rock Salt,” and continue to grow his TikTok platform. As for the future of JapanAmeer, he said, “The sky is the limit.” His ultimate goal is to get signed with the comic book company Black Sands Entertainment. Until then he will keep reaching for the stars.