Everybody knows that one of the most common tactics to help a franchise get to children’s hearts is to include a lovely and cute companion pet. From brand mascots such as Ronald McDonald to pop icons like R2-D2, these characters help to cement the association of a name to a feeling, even when a kid has never eaten McDonald’s hamburgers or even seen a Star Wars movie.
Japan is known to bring this to another level. Recently, the mascots of the anti-piracy campaign have become popular to the point of having their own line of keychains, figures, and merchandising. And of course, anime and manga uses this tactic as well. Here we have listed 6 of the most popular and adorable pets and companions in the history of anime by their cuteness, personality, design, and relevance to anime history.
6- Kyubey [Puella Magi Madoka Magica]
Kyubey is a tough intro to this list, but his spot is well deserved. After one of the many plot twists on Magi Madoka, Kyubey goes from adorable fan-service pet to creepy key character, and while this list is spoiler free, a lot of fans just couldn’t see him with the same eyes as before. Because of that, Kyubey is quite relevant to this list: In general, most pets are just eye candy and adorable, without being actually relevant to the plot of the show. Kyubey is not only relevant, but the main catalyst of the whole series. Also, he managed to look cool in every fighting scene, which requires a lot of work.
5- Chiyo’s Dad [Azumanga Daioh]
Azumanga Daioh was an amazing ride. Fun, enjoyable, and meaningful, this slice of life was pure gold. One of the most weird -albeit good- aspects was this yellow fuzzy creature that often appeared in dreams claiming to be Chiyo’s father. Since we never get to see her parents on screen, it’s never explained if the creature actually existed, but his twisted sense of humor and witty dialogue managed to make him more popular with fans than other adorable pets in the series, like Tadakichi-san, Maya, or the infamous hand-bitting cat, Kamineko.
4- Kero [Cardcaptor Sakura]
This bossy, sarcastic little lion was in fact a guardian of the Clow Cards Sakura had to deal with on her journey to ‘trap’em all’. Kero was usually the one to come up with a strategy and share his knowledge of the Clow Cards with Sakura, while she did the brute work. Kero quickly became a popular mascot among the audience, getting a lot of toys and plushes (even more than the show’s protagonist) and his own segment after the ending song. He also proved to be a hidden badass when his fearsome true form was required.
3- Totoro [My neighbor Totoro]
Arguably Studio Ghibli’s most iconic character (visually, at least), Totoro has gone as far as having cameo appearances in Pixar’s Toy Story. He is probably the most well-known and recognizable Ghibli character among non-anime fans, due to his characteristic smile and huge shape. Totoro, along with other characters from the movie such as the iconic (and also adorable!) Catbus, quickly became a synonym for anime in the west, getting popular during the anime invasion America lived in during the 90s. Almost 30 years after it’s release, you can still find merchandise with Totoro’s face everywhere.
2- Luna [Sailor Moon]
Hands down the most controversial character on this list. I’ve gotta to admit I don’t like Luna at all, and coming from a cat person, this really means something. But the truth is, if it wasn’t for Totoro, the main character associated with anime would’ve been Luna, at least until 1997. This was a time when most of the mainstream anime we had access to didn’t have a cute pet, so Luna had literally no competition on her way to stardom. Usagi’s partner became an icon during the early 90s, and almost every black cat was named Salem if male (in honor of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, the american sitcom), or Luna if female. Just like her fellow cat Totoro, Luna has been out there for more than 30 years now, but her big eyes, smile, and characteristic moon-shaped emblem on the forehead are still popular among fans of all ages.
1- Pikachu [Pokémon]
I know, this was quite obvious, but we gotta give credit where it’s due. No mascot will ever reach the popularity Pikachu enjoys. A veteran as well, Pikachu first became popular in 1997, a year after Pokémon Red & Blue hit the market. He quickly kicked Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle out, took the crown of ‘Most popular Pocket Monster’ and has been holding it for almost 20 years. Perhaps the most well known pet not only in anime, but in pop culture in general, Pikachu’s cuteness is one of the main reasons Pokémon skyrocketed to the top. The electric rodent has been through a few redesigns to look slim, thinner, and more agile, but managed to keep his fanbase.
I know I left a bunch of pets out: Doraemon, Renketsu, and Pen Pen come to mind, just to name a few. If you think there are characters more deserving of being on the top 6, hit the comment box! Explain who’s your favorite pet in the history of anime and let’s talk about it!
Big thank you to our supporters
From their continous support, we are able to pay our team for their time and hard work on the site.
We have a Thank-You page dedicated to those who help us continue the work that we’ve been doing.See our thank you page