Every good franchise needs a good representative. Anime is often known for having a wide range of characters for viewers to grow fond of, but some become popular to the point of becoming the face of the series. These are commonly known as « mascot characters ».
There are many different pet characters that come in all shapes and sizes, while many of these pets end up being cute animal companions, some are just plain weird, scary, and sometimes a combination of all three. There are so many pets in anime, here are some of the best.
10 Isabel (Gintama): Silent and mysterious being disguised as a bird
Gintama actually has more than one pet, and while the giant and lovable Sadaharu was a fierce contender, Elizabeth is actually so hilariously bizarre that it would be a mistake not to mention it. Always by Katsura’s side, Elizabeth wears her penguin costume, but underneath she is actually an alien despite her human appearance.
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This quiet mascot always shows up when least expected and often dons some fun (but totally obvious) costumes, with hilarious results. Elizabeth is often shrouded in mystery, and her quiet personality creates a lot of comedy, it is also implied that she is secretly the director of Gintama.
9 Ryo-Ohki (Tenchi Muyo!): An adorable cat-rabbit hybrid
Cats and rabbits are adorable, but what if they were combined? There would be a cute overload that is Tenchi Muyo’s Ryo-Ohki. Created as Ryoko’s sidekick by scientist Washu, this little « Cabbit » is as innocent and childish as can be, and he loves carrots.
Originally just a spaceship, Ryo-Ohki regenerated into his cute cat-rabbit form after a crash landing, but that’s not all he can do. In addition to his ship form, he can also turn into a human and at one point could even turn into a lighter.
8 Agumon (Digimon): Tai’s beloved partner in crime
Although it doesn’t get as much love as a certain « other series about collecting monsters », Digimon still has its fans and is still going strong. Of course, there are many Digimon that could have been the face of this franchise, but perhaps none more loved than Agumon.
Fiercely loyal, powerful, and often hungry, Agumon has had more than a few iterations throughout the franchise, though the first and most commonly remembered is that of Agumon who was a partner with Tai. Even though the series has far surpassed the original, Agumon has remained the face of Digimon, even while experimenting with wild and strange ideas.
7 Kyubey (Puella Magi Madoka Magica): Cute but secretly the evil villain
At first glance, Kyubey seems innocent, adorable, and your typical magical pet girl character, but underneath that, this cat-like creature is really something very different. Kyubey’s role is to make contracts with girls to turn them into magical girls who fight witches in exchange for granting their wish. In reality, this is a trap that adds to an endless cycle of suffering and magical girls turning into witches.
In addition to being almost impossible to kill, Kyubey is emotionless, does not care about himself or the horrible things that happen to magical girls, Kyubey is ultimately only fulfilling the role of creating Soul Gems to generate energy. Kyubey is simultaneously Madoka Magica’s cute pet and her most terrifying villain.
6 Happy (Fairy Tail): Natsu’s Flying Cat
The world of Fairy Tail is full of eccentric characters, including a talking blue cat named Happy. Happy is Natsu’s best friend and a true member of the dysfunctional Fairy Tail family. He and Natsu are as close as brothers, seemingly always on the same crazy wavelength.
Despite his small body and lack of magical powers, Happy also assists his comrades in battle however he can, often acting as Natsu’s wings so he can fight in the air. While this fish-loving cat is often a comic relief, Happy is no coward and will stand up for himself or his friends if the going gets tough.
5 Luna (Sailor Moon): Usagi’s helpful talking cat
They say that black cats are bad luck, although it seems that the Sailor’s Moon is the opposite. Sailor Senshi’s friend and mentor, Luna is the opposite type of magical pet girl from Kyubey, who often cares for and helps Sailor Moon and her friends.
It was thanks to Luna that Usagi became Sailor Moon in the first place, and her guide eventually helped mold Usagi from an overly dramatic crybaby, to the brave heroine she was destined to be. A kind and compassionate advisor, who also happens to be a cat that speaks from space.
4 Doraemon (Doraemon): robot cat of the future
Tasked with helping the desperate young Nobita, Doraemon is a robot cat from the future with access to all kinds of weird and wild gadgets from the future to help Nobita, and sometimes teach him a valuable lesson. Doraemon’s voice of reason is often ignored amid Nobita’s antics, but the two are the closest and most inseparable friends.
With a friendly and iconic design, as well as decades of content ranging from manga, anime, and many movies, Doraemon’s popularity and impact on Japanese pop culture is something that cannot be denied.
3 The Colossal Titan (Attack on Titan): Terrifying giant that causes destruction
Often an anime mascot is a cute and lovable little creature that acts as something of a sidekick or comic relief for the main cast. However, not all anime mascots fall under that umbrella. Sometimes a pet can be something that stays with the viewer after seeing it, even an antagonist or monster.
For many, when they think of Attack on Titan, the first thing that comes to mind is the colossal Titan, gazing over the wall as humans stare in shock and fear. Whether intentional or not, the Colossal Titan quickly became the franchise’s mascot and iconic image in the anime medium thanks to its intimidating design and overwhelming power.
2 Tony Tony Chopper (One Piece): Shape-shifting Reindeer Doctor
He may not be the first crew member Luffy asked to join him, but over the years, Chopper has become as recognizable as the jolly Roger from the Straw Hat Pirates. After eating the human-human fruit, this blue-nosed reindeer has human-like intelligence as well as the ability to shapeshift into various forms.
Along with his adorable chibi form (Brain Point) and muscular form (Heavy Point), he can also shapeshift into specialized forms that enhance certain attributes thanks to the « Rumble Ball » he developed. As a medic for the Straw Hat crew, Chopper is more than just a bruiser or a pet, he’s also a true friend and has got the crew out of some trouble.
1 Pikachu (Pokémon): Ash’s electric mouse
Of course, you can’t think of a pet list without thinking of the electrifying mouse Pokémon, Pikachu. As the mascot for one of the world’s biggest entertainment franchises, Pikachu has it all, from cool electric superpowers to lovablely beautiful ships.
Pikachu has reached such a high popularity around the world that even non-Pokémon fans know about it. Despite the large number of Pokémon that exist out there (past, present and future), Pikachu is above all of them as one of the most popular and recognizable characters of all time.