Great anime characters can take literally any form. From school kids to slimes, the heroes and their sidekicks can look like anything and everything. Anime has a number of companions that aren't human but bring something to the table that is truly one of a kind.
Some of these companions are cute animals that help the protagonist in their quests or out of trouble. Some of them sit back and watch the story go by while amusing themselves with their own wacky antics. A fair number of these companions aren't even human. Whatever species they may be, an animal (or otherwise) companion can add much-needed humor or boost merchandise sales.
10 Ryuk: The Best Shinigami A Person Could Have
Death Note loves to wax philosophical about morality and indulge in epic stare-downs. In the midst of the story are the shinigami, or gods of death. They are the keepers of the Death Notes, and they are the ones who write the notes' user's names in their book when the mortals eventually perish. Perhaps the most interesting of them is Light's companion, Ryuk.
Ryuk spends his days bored and lazing about while Light commits murder. Ryuk has a passion for apples and provides a constant commentary on Light's actions and his situation. He adds more than just color commentary to this dark series, however, and takes an active role in the story when he's forced to.
9 Hermes Is One Cool Bike
Kino's Journey is about travel and philosophical musings. As Kino goes on about how the world is beautiful because of its ugliness, however, she needs someone to talk to. Luckily her mode of transportation can talk. Her motorcycle, Hermes, is a companion in and of themselves.
Having a talking vehicle can be pretty cool. Hermes is a good person to bounce ideas off of and get ideas about what to do next from. They are a welcome part of a wonderful series about traveling, culture, and the meaning of life.
8 Happy Lives Up To His Name And More
In Fairy Tail, Dragon Slayers are often accompanied by a talking cat companion. For Fire Dragon Slayer Natsu, it's his friend Happy. Happy is often alongside Natsu in his adventures with the Fairy Tail guild. He's usually seen doing what cats do: eating fish and having a good time.
Happy is always by Natsu's side and is willing to help anyone in Fairy Tail if they're in trouble. His antics are also fun to watch as fans laugh their butts off at his shenanigans. Happy is a good cat and a worthy companion for any adventure.
7 Ein Is A Good Data Dog
Cowboy Bebop is an iconic anime series. It's been described as a new genre unto itself, and it lives up to that reputation. Despite claiming to hate pets, Spike and Jet take in a Corgi named Ein (as in the German word for "one") on the Bebop. He contained an apparently priceless dataset but they never realized their dog's fiscal worth.
6 Guilmon Is Just Adorable
Digimon has loads and loads of talking digital friends. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are even companions of the so-called DigiDestined. Starting in the third season of Digmon Tamers, Takato is accompanied by a Digimon he created himself named Guilmon.
Guilmon's a lot like a human baby. His curiosity about and lack of understanding of the world around him make him truly adorable. He has a childlike innocence that makes him unlike any other character in the third season. Nevertheless, Guilmon is a great pal to have around and an excellent Digimon partner.
5 Nyanko Helps Natsume Out Of Countless Pickles
Natusme's Book of Friends features a bunch of Japanese spirits (yokai) gunning for the Book of Friends, a list containing yokai that Natsume's grandmother could control. Natsume is stuck with the book and aims to give all the names back. One of the earliest names he returns belong to Nyanko, a talking cat who wants the book for himself.
When Nyanko-sensei isn't protecting Natsume, he's eating lots of food or avoiding Tabi's cuddles. Nyanko is a handful but a worthy ally for just about anyone who deals with yokai.
4 Doraemon Is The Quintessential Robot Pal
Doraemon is a show that started in the 1970s about a boy and his time-traveling robot cat. The series is not well known in the West, though it was imported briefly in the 2010s. It's the kid's anime that all other kid's anime aspire to be.
Doraemon aids Nobita in his adventures via wacky inventions and time travel. He's a cool cat who is always there to help out a friend. The series has had such longevity and it's all thanks to the titular character and his adventures with Nobita.
3 Jibanyan Is A Cool Yokai Friend
Yokai Watch is a series about a boy making friends using a special watch he can use to see yokai, invisible apparitions that cause life's everyday problems. Nate befriends plenty of yokai with unique abilities. One of the first friends he meets is a cat named Jibanyan.
Jibanyan was run over by a truck after a dispute with his owner. He began stalking cars in a nearby intersection, looking for revenge. In spite of his power and occasionally fierce personality, Jibanyan is lazy and loves chocolate bars. Jibanyan is a lot of fun and has helped Nate countless times. He's a good boy and a helping hand when he's not slacking off.
2 Meowth Is The Perfect Partner In Crime
Pokémon's Team Rocket is one of the most recognizable villain groups in all of anime. James and Jessie wouldn't be who they are without their trusty sidekick, Meowth. Meowth learned to speak like people in order to make a good impression and turned to crime when his first love didn't work out.
As a talking Pokémon, Meowth has many advantages over his fellow pocket monsters. He has the ability to plan and can act as a bridge between humans and Pokémon. His trademark voice in the English dub and wild schemes make Meowth a great and entertaining fan-favorite.
1 Pikachu Is A Great Pal
Pokémon is full of hundreds of creatures, but trainers always remember their first. In Ash's case, his first Pokémon was Pikachu. Ash overslept on the day he was supposed to get his first Pokémon partner and acquired the Electric-type rodent as his first Pokémon almost by accident.
Over the years, Pikachu has been a valuable ally. His cheery demeanor and strong electric attacks make him a wonderful friend and pet. Whether it's looking for ketchup or helping Ash win a gym badge, fans can count on Pikachu to be entertaining. As a major mascot, Pikachu is one of many reasons why the Pokémon franchise has earned so much through its merchandise.
Next: 10 Ways Ash Grew Up Over The Course Of Pokémon