También puedes leer este artículo en: Español
They can be cute, dangerous or funny. They can be friend or foe, fuzzy sidekick or loyal companion. No matter what, we all love animal characters in anime. Today we want to highlight the best of them and give them a spot on our Top 10 list.
But before we begin, let’s get a little bit of clarification. For some of these animals you could argue whether they are actually animals or main characters, but let’s not get too hung up on details. We chose those characters that either resemble animals or in fact act like them. Enjoy this wild list as we take you on a journey through the animal kingdom.
10. P-chan from Ranma 1/2
- Episodes: 161
- Aired: April 1989 - September 1992
Let’s start with a classic of my personal childhood, P-chan from Ranma ½. Or should I say Ryoga?
For those of you that are not familiar with this anime classic, let me give you a brief explanation. Just like the protagonist Ranma of this story, teenager Ryoga is able to change his appearance. But unlike Ranma he does not turn into a girl; no, he turns into a cute black piglet that charms the female cast. What makes this animal stand out is the fact that even though it looks innocent, it still has Ryoga’s impulsive personality. P-chan is always good for a quick laugh and the first pick for our Top 10 list.
9. Kirara from Inuyasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 2000 - September 2004
Continuing with shows that I grew up with, next up is the animal that made me wish I could live inside an anime - Kirara from Inuyasha.
Who wouldn’t fall in love with her? Even though her smaller kitten form is already pretty adorable, it was her giant vicious form that stole my heart. As Sango’s companion and preferred method of transformation she is able to not only sprint through vast landscapes but even fly through the sky.
With her two tails, small fangs and piercing eyes Kirara is an unforgettable and mesmerizing character.
8. Akamaru from Naruto
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: October 2002 - February 2007
After Kirara, we now have something for the dog lovers out there. And who would be a better pick than the always loyal Akamaru from Naruto?
As Kiba’s companion he has proven himself to be a great partner both in everyday life and on the battlefield. Just like Kirara he too has two different sides. As a small puppy he seems to be a harmless pet that only wants to stay close to its owner. But once a fight unravels and Kiba needs him, he can turn into a vicious dog with red fur that’s ready to fight anything coming at him. What makes him really special is the fact that he is not simply a cute sidekick but is actually able to assist the ninjas with his heightened senses and his fighting abilities. Who wouldn’t want a pet like Akamaru in real life?
7. Panda from Shirokuma Café
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: April 2012 - March 2013
Shirokuma Café is one of the weirdest yet entertaining anime of the last couple of seasons. Its characters are charming, lovely and - all animals. Picking just one of them was a hard task, but Panda definitely deserves an honorable mention on this list.
What I personally love about this character is the fact that the producers did a great job at capturing the personality of a panda. As such, he is lazy, slow and seems to be oblivious to anything going on around him. He is constantly seen eating bamboo sticks and does not have any worries in life. It is so refreshing to see a truly honest and harmless character in an anime from time to time. Panda might not teach you anything valuable with his actions or change the course of the story, but he is still one of the most lovable characters out there.
6. Forest spirit from Princess Mononoke
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 1997
Princess Mononoke shows a lot of nature and with it comes a big number of amazing animals. But there is one creature that stands above the rest of them - the Forest spirit.
It is not only the fact that this giant deer is in fact a god in animal form that makes this character so special. The design is so outstanding that its face still haunts me to this day. Studio Ghibli has outdone itself once more. You can feel the depth of the character and the vastness of its existence and even though its eyes don’t show any emotions it is still haunting to look directly into them. A great character and also a great depiction of Mother Nature.
5. Pikachu from Pokémon
- Episodes: 276
- Aired: April 1997 - November 2002
Claiming that Pokémon are animals might be a little bit far-fetched but I couldn’t resist including Pikachu on this list. Even though there are 150 different Pokémon to choose from (yes, I am only talking about the original ones), I still had to choose Pikachu for this list.
He might not be the strongest or most interesting animal out there, but he is still infamous. I mean, what would our Pokémon Master be without him? He has been there for his friend from the very beginning of his journey and has stayed with him through all the adventures they encountered together. This makes him not only one of the most loyal animals on this list, but also one of the best sidekicks a hero could wish for.
4. Monokuma from Danganronpa
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2013 - September 2013
Ever wondered how your teddy bear might look like if it turned evil? Well, look no further since Danganronpa might give you the answer you were looking for.
This survival anime shows the fate of a couple of high school students who have to kill in order to be able to graduate. The organization of the school as well as the mastermind behind this twisted institute remain a mystery. The only character that the students can communicate with is Monokuma - a teddy bear who claims to be the principal. Not only does he look vicious and like he came right out of a nightmare, but he’s also the main antagonist. Monokuma is definitely one of the most interesting animals out there.
3. Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 - April 2011
At this point I am still not sure whether Kyubey is supposed to be a cat, a small fox or something different all along. But there’s one thing that I am sure of: his cute appearance is only a facade and he’s one of the reasons why Madoka Magica is such a great show.
Kyubey is a mythical creature that grants girls in despair one wish if they serve him as magical girls for the rest of their lives. At first glance he seems like a harmless creature. Not only does he have a pleasant face with a constant smile on it, but he never acts like he wants to harm protagonist Madoka in any way. However, as Madoka slowly comes to realize the truth behind magical girls she also sees the true face of Kyubey.
I would have never imagined myself to be scared of a white and pink cat, but Kyubey proved me wrong. The producers truly did a great job with his character design.
2. Happy from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: October 2009 - March 2013
Once again it was hard to choose just one animal character from a number of amazing ones. But when it comes down to it, Fairy Tail just wouldn’t be the same without obnoxious yet lovable Happy.
The blue cat might not be of much use if we are being honest, but he’s always good for a quick laugh and a sarcastic comment. Just like the name Natsu picked for him might suggest he is always in high spirits and has a big smile on his face. Even though he isn’t much of a fighter he still makes good use of himself, especially with his knowledge and also his ability to fly.
And let’s be honest; who doesn’t have a little smile on his face when he says his characteristic “Aye!” and flashes a big thumbs up.
1. Chopper from One Piece
- Episodes: unknown
- Aired: October 1999 - present
Chopper is hands down one of the best animals in anime and my personal favorite. The small reindeer with the big hat and the blue nose has proven himself to be a worthy member of the Straw Hat Pirates.
He’s first introduced as a medical apprentice and eventually decides to join Luffy and become a pirate. Even though he often acts like a child and somehow even resembles Luffy himself, he is still a good friend and would do anything for the crew members. Not only can he act as the doctor on ship, but he will also transform into a beast if he’s needed in a fight.
All in all, Chopper has the most abilities and skills out of all of the animals presented so far, plus he has a great personality and contributes to the comedy of the show. An easy first choice for me.
So, what do you think of our choices? Are they good, are they bad or did we miss someone? As I already mentioned in the beginning, it is sometimes hard to distinguish between an animal and an actual person in anime. That’s what makes it so interesting in my opinion. It does not matter what species a character belongs to, they can serve any function imaginable in a show. The creativity of producers truly knows no limits.
Do you enjoy animal characters or do you not care about them? We are open to all of your opinions, so leave a comment down below.