The 20 Best Anime With Animal Protagonists, Ranked

Some of the best shows and movies from our childhood, such as the Disney animation classics, feature animal characters. It's easier to stay engaged when there are adorable, fluffy critters in the mix. But even animated shows for adults, like BoJack Horseman, use anthropomorphic animals to help integrate absurd humor or clever social critiques into the plot. Whether they're for kids or adults, many can appreciate the use of animal protagonists as a way to dramatize human emotions or to reflect our current social conditions. And there's plenty of anime out there that do just that.

This list ranks the best anime with animal protagonists, including older titles, as well as new animal protagonist anime, like Beastars and Odd Taxi, that you may not know about. Vote up your favorite ones!


  • 1
    2,844 VOTES
    Beastars
    Photo: Orange

    Beastars has become a cult-favorite within the anime community for its mature themes and use of social and political satire. The series follows a society of anthropomorphic animals and the tensions that exist between carnivores and herbivores. Legosi is a kind-hearted, timid wolf, although many treat him with fear and distrust because of the stereotypes surrounding his species. And as much as he tries to suppress his wolf-like instincts, everything changes when he develops complicated feelings for Haru, a white dwarf rabbit, and is suspected for killing and eating his friend. This series is a richly imagined world that comments on social status and prejudice, and features complex characters and unique plots.

    2,844 votes
  • 2
    282 VOTES

    If you haven't already seen this Mamoru Hosoda classic, then you better come prepared with lots of tissue boxes. Wolf Children tells the story of single mother Hana and the tribulations that come with raising a family on your own - except Hana arguably has it more difficult than other parents. Both her two children possess the ability to turn into wolves, a trait passed down from their father. Hana must juggle the responsibilites of being a mother while also hiding her children's true identities from the public eye. This is a moving, emotional film that will make you want to call your mom after and tell her how much you love her. 

    282 votes
  • BNA: Brand New Animal
    Photo: Trigger

    In the world of BNA, humans and Beastmen have been fighting for centuries. As a result, Beastmen have been forced to live in Anima City, a place that's supposedly free from human interferance. When Michiru Kagemori inexplicably transforms into a tanuki, she comes to Anima City to try and find answers.

    There, she narrowly escapes an explosion in the town square. With help from a wolf named Shirou Ogami, she begins investigating the cause behind the attack. In the process, she learns that her transformation and unusual abilities might have a deeper meaning than she ever could have anticipated. Could she be the missing link between humanity and Beastmen? 

    140 votes
  • 4
    135 VOTES

    The Cat Returns

    The Cat Returns
    Photo: The Cat Returns

    After high school student Haru Yoshioka saves Prince Lune of the Cat Kingdom from getting hit by a truck, the Prince decides to repay her by not just inviting her to the cat kingdom, but by offering his hand in marriage. Because Haru can't communicate with cats, she accidentally gave the impression that she accepted the proposal.

    When Haru ends up getting dragged into the cat kingdom against her will, she discovers that she's beginning to transform into a cat. In order to stop the transformation, she'll have to get in touch with who she truly is, and what she truly wants. 

    135 votes
  • 5
    162 VOTES
    Aggretsuko
    Photo: Netflix

    Don't be fooled by the adorable Sanrio characters. Aggretsuko is a show that working adults will find absolutely hilarious and relatable. Retsuko is just your normal, everyday red panda. She works at an accounting firm where she must deal with her erratic, misogynistic boss and annoying co-workers. And to make matters worse? She's still single. There's only one thing in the world that brings her solace: death metal karaoke. That's right. Retsuko vents our her frustrations by singing death metal at the local karaoke bar. If you're looking for a fun, entertaining comedy that is just as ridiculous as it sounds, then put Aggretsuko on your Netflix watch list.

    162 votes
  • 6
    90 VOTES
    Wolf's Rain
    Photo: Bones

    Lured by the legendary Lunar Flower, Kiba and his fellow shapeshifting wolves come to the dilapidated town of Freeze City. This flower is supposaed to be the key to Paradise. In a world that's about the end, everyone wants to go to Paradise - but the legends say that only wolves can get there.

    That doesn't mean that it will be easy for Kiba and his friends. There's more to the story, and there are plenty of dangerous foes who want to use the Lunar Flower for their own nefarious purposes. 

    90 votes