There are tons of animal characters in anime. Typically, they are there for comedic relief or a daily dose of adorable. Although, often, let’s be honest, they are either cute or annoying, very rarely anywhere in between. Anime animal protagonists, however, are a rarer beast. They have to have that classic anime protagonist charm while still being a cute animal character. It is a fine line walk, but it has been done.
(Obligatory mentions not included here: Pokemon, Digimon, Hello Kitty, Hamtaro. Why not included on the full list? Because you already know they exist.)
If the characters weren’t all animals, this might be a slightly depressing series. Aggressive Retsuko is about a brow-beaten office red panda lady that is full of stress. In order to de-stress, she engages in the art of death metal singing her irritation out.
Chi’s Sweet Home
This series centers around Chi, a kitten found on the street and adopted by the small family. As kittens will, Chi gets into trouble often and the episodes are either about rectifying that or sharing sweet family moments.
Watching a series about workers in a cafe by the zoo might be boring, unless all the employees were different animals and had various comedic quirks. Shirokuma Cafe is not only an effective comedy, but it is overall one of the most chill series in anime.
Similar to Chi’s Sweet Home, but instead featuring a dog, Lovely Muco focuses on a Shiba Inu and his owner. They get into a variety of situations in their mountain hometown and it always ends up happily.
Dog and Scissors
Dog and Scissors follows a high school book nerd that gets shot by a robber. He is then reincarnated as a dachshund puppy. Initially upset over his new bookless life, he gets adopted by a sadistic woman that is also his favorite novelist.
Girl Meets Bear
Machi is a shrine maiden and country girl, but she wants to try her hand at attending high school in the city. So obviously, her best source of information is her talking bear friend Natsu, because bears know everything about city living.
Meow Meow Japanese History
A lot of anime does historical characters, but this is the only series that made them all cats.History comes alive in a flurry of scratching posts and litter boxes!
You know how you sometimes see people that look like animals? This is this phenomenon made into anime. A middle schooler thinks her classmate looks like a Shiba Inu, but everyone else is oblivious to this. Her classmate may or may not in fact be a dog.
Beast Saga is a lot like an anime version of Thunderats, but not as good. The characters are all animals in mecha-like armor that fight each other and other threats.
Samurai Pizza Cats
SAMURAI PIZZA CATS!? OH YEAH! The Samurai Pizza Cats are essentially the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of anime, but cuter because their cats, and better because they are samurai. Similarly obsessed with pizza, they deliver pizza and fight evil.
Think of this like Japanese Lion King(i.e. Kimba) but with dogs. Essentially, Gin is born, his father is killed by a bear, then the rest of the series is him gathering bear-dog allies to go fight this murderous bear. The animation is lacking, but the story is actually pretty good.
Did we miss any more of your favorite anime series with animal protagonists? Let fans know in the comments section below.