From Mickey Mouse to Daffy Duck to Krypto, animal characters practically dominate Western animation. However, anime has had quite a few animal protagonists over the years. Often aimed at younger audiences, these anime are often comedies or heartwarming productions.
Famously, Dragon Ball originally featured animal characters, since it was an adaptation of Journey To The West, but the series dropped that concept in later incarnations. Even Goku eventually lost his monkey tail. However, other epic anime featured animals as the main characters, sometimes allowing such characters to switch between a human and animal form.
10 Princess Tutu Follows A Duck Turned Magical Girl, With A Bit Of Swan Thrown In
In Princess Tutu, Ahiru, or Duck, is a duck transformed into a human by Drosselmeyer. Duck's human form enables Ahiru to become Princess Tutu. While the audience sees Princess Tutu as a magical girl, characters in the series also see her as a giant swan.
Gold Crown Academy is also filled with an array of animal characters, from cats to goats, who function as teachers and students. Princess Tutu's epilogue implies most of these characters were humans under a spell. Mr. Cat, however, remains a regular cat once Drosselmeyer's hold over the town is broken.
9 Hamtaro Details The Secret Lives Of Hamsters
Hamtaro is a little hamster who lives with his human owner, Hiroko Haruna, also known as Laura. While not anthropomorphic, Hamtaro and his friends do all sorts of things people wouldn't expect of hamsters.
When their humans are away, the "Hamuchans," or "Ham-Hams," go on a variety of adventures. Throughout Hamtaro, the Ham-Hams often spend time at their own secret clubhouse, run by Boss. They even get involved with the adventures human characters embark on. In later episodes, supernatural elements, like hamsters from a magic candy-world, become more apparent.
8 Wolves Can Project Human Appearances In Wolf's Rain
Set in a mysterious future, the wolves in Wolf's Rain are believed to have gone extinct. However, they've survived by learning to project human forms. All the while, a legend lingers that a paradise only wolves can find will soon be unveiled.
Believed to signal the paradise, the Lunar Flower lures different wolves to Freeze City with its scent. Meanwhile, the Flower Maiden, a being artificially made from the Lunar Flower, aids the wolves in finding this paradise.
7 So I'm A Spider, So What? Features A Protagonist Spider Without A Name
In the isekai series, So I'm a Spider, So What?, a class of Japanese high school students get killed by a spell and reborn into another world. One nameless girl experiences the misfortune of becoming a spider. Despite this, the little spider not only survives but thrives.
As the spider becomes more and more powerful in the new world, viewers discover the spider was indeed a spider in her past life all along. Ironically, as she increases in power, the spider can assume a more humanoid form as Shiraori.
6 Fruits Basket Reveals The Sohma Family Is Cursed To Become The Animals Of The Chinese Zodiac
In Fruits Basket, Tohru Honda is a homeless orphan girl taken in by members of the Sohma family, but she soon learns the family is under a curse. The embrace of someone of the opposite sex transforms members into animals of the Chinese zodiac.
One of the more prominent characters, Kyo, transforms into a cat, an animal excluded from the zodiac according to folklore. Not everyone involved with the curse transforms into an animal. Throughout the show, the current head of the Sohma family is the "god" of the zodiac, whose banquet determines the order of the animals.
5 Polar Bears, Pandas, & Humans Co-Exist In Shirokuma Café
Shirokuma Café is a slice-of-life series revolving around the titular café run by Shirokuma, also known as Polar Bear. The series features all sorts of animal characters, including Lazy Panda, who bemoans his part-time zoo job and regularly hangs out at the cafe.
The sarcastic and unlucky Penguin is also a regular patron. Helping to explain how establishments like zoos are operational, humans also exist in the Shirokuma Café universe. Among them, a human girl named Sasako works at Shirokuma's cafe.
4 Aggretsuko's Retsuko Is A Red Panda Dealing With Workplace Stress
Aggretsuko is an adult workplace josei comedy with characters designed by Sanrio, the company famous for Hello Kitty. Retsuko is a twenty-something red panda who works as an accountant. All the while, Retsuko deals with various problems in her workplaces and in her relationships.
When stress gets the better of her, Retsuko deals with her feelings by performing death metal at the local karaoke bar. Aggretsuko's animal cast also includes Retsuko's fennec fox friend, Fenneko, and Haida, a hyena colleague who has a crush on Retsuko.
3 Beastars Depicts A Murder That Sparks Tensions Between Herbivores & Carnivores At Cherryton Academy
Beastars takes place in a world where animal characters co-exist. Unfortunately, conflicts still develop between carnivores and herbivores. Much of the action takes place at Cherryton Academy, where the fearsome wolf student Legoshi attends. However, Legoshi is more meek and sensitive than his appearance suggests.
After an alpaca student, Tem, is killed, Legoshi dedicates himself to unraveling the murder mystery. Around this time, Legoshi encounters Haru, a dwarf rabbit who has similar issues with assumptions about her appearance. In time, the two slowly develop complicated feelings about each other.
2 Doraemon Is A Robot Cat, Just Missing The Ears
Viewers might not realize what Doraemon is supposed to be when they first see him, but he's actually a robotic cat. While Doraemon still has telltale whiskers, robotic mice ate his ears, which made him so sad he turned from yellow to blue. Because of this, Doraemon is afraid of mice.
Doraemon comes from the future to help out a young boy name Nobita. With the help of various gadgets, Doraemon may just save Nobita from the unhappy reality lurking in the future.
1 Kimba The White Lion Is A Classic Anime Series From Osamu Tezuka
Kimba the White Lion is a classic series from famed mangaka, Osamu Tezuka, although the story varies with each incarnation. The 1965 series is credited as the first anime series produced in color. Also known as Leo, the lion cub Kimba finds himself the new jungle king after his father dies.
Kimba also strives to fulfill his father's wish of animals living in harmony and determines to stop them from fighting. If the first task wasn't difficult enough, Kimba must also foster peace between animals and the human world.
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