The terms manga character and anime character — officially called Shōnen Jump characters — refer to characters that first hailed from Japanese manga publications and any subsequent anime adaptations of the latter before appearing in a video game. All manga and anime characters so far that have appeared in the Super Smash Flash series have not made an appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series and most likely will be exclusive to the Super Smash Flash series.
In the Super Smash Flash series
More manga and anime characters appear in Super Smash Flash 2. SSF2's original planned roster had seven manga and anime characters, but the only characters from that list who are currently present are Ichigo, Naruto, and Goku. With the revamped roster, Luffy was also included as a playable character due to fan requests. Unlike in Super Smash Flash, all the playable manga and anime characters are starter characters.
In addition to playable characters, many non-playable manga and anime characters appear in SSF2. Krillin, Nagato, and Rukia Kuchiki appear as Assist Trophies in the game, and several stages include additional characters as background characters: Planet Namek includes Vegeta IV, Trunks, and Son Gohan, and Hidden Leaf Village includes Rock Lee, Chōji Akimichi, Shikamaru Nara, Gaara, Hinata Hyūga, and Itachi Uchiha.
All the four playable manga characters present in SSF2 are officially referred to as Shōnen Jump characters by developers. This is due to the fact that their original manga series were first published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine.
The appearance of manga and anime characters in the Super Smash Flash series has been met with mixed reception. While many fans enjoy their presence in the games, others have expressed their disapproval, saying that they go against the spirit of the games because they are not video game characters in a traditional sense. Some players find the manga and anime characters' movesets to be unique and fresh when compared to other characters. Other players believe that the manga and anime characters do not add anything to the rosters or actively harm the chances of other, more "legitimate" characters being included.
Due to a combination of factors, including protests from players, a lack of support from the external Super Smash Bros. community, and a shift in the developers' own opinions, several manga and anime characters were cut from SSF2's roster. The most infamous example is Rock Lee, who was removed from the game due to a large anti-Rock Lee campaign orchestrated on the McLeodGaming Forums. Other characters who have been confirmed to be cut include Sasuke Uchiha, who is not present at all in the game; Vegeta IV, who is now a background character; and Renji Abarai, who was an Assist Trophy prior to Beta, where he was replaced by Rukia Kuchiki. After Luffy was revealed to be playable at Super Smash Con 2016, it was explicitly confirmed during the stream that there would be no more added after him.
- Naruto is the only manga and anime character that has appeared in both Super Smash Flash games.
- InuYasha is the only manga and anime character whose initial publication was not on Weekly Shōnen Jump (but on the unrelated Weekly Shōnen Sunday). Therefore, he is the only character of this kind who cannot be labeled as a Shōnen Jump character.
- Gregory McLeod stated that the main reasons the devs wanted to cut back on playable manga and anime characters is because there would be far too many if they doubled the representatives count for each franchise. In some cases, the devs even planned three characters for a franchise.