There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to animals. From heartwarming family dramas to action-oriented animal mishaps, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll add them!
BNA: Brand New Animal
BNA: Brand New Animal offers an enjoyably vibrant world with a hint of supernatural elements. The characters have likable personalities and traits. Unfortunately, its supernatural aesthetics and characters never see their full potential realized.
Essentially, its supernatural features and characters don’t leave a lasting impact as they simply stick with the attributes given to them at the series start. The story is another lacking aspect of this series. It leans toward a slice-of-life atmosphere in many areas, and there are times when you’ll be wishing it had opted for a grittier atmosphere.
Besides that, BNA: Brand New Animal contains solid animation and an engaging art style. Everything reaps in personality and wonder from character models to background elements. The catchy soundtrack also adds a level of charm and depth to the world. While it isn’t a perfect anime, it promises to give viewers an enjoyable animalistic experience.
Wolf Children is a slice-of-life anime that delves into the struggles of single-parenthood. This anime is about a woman named Hana, who falls in love with a mysterious man named Ookami who turns out to be a werewolf.
Despite this, Hana’s love for him remains, and the two eventually start a family as she gives birth to two children named Ame and Yuki. Unfortunately, Ookami dies in an accident leaving Hana to take care of her newborn children alone. To make matters worse, Ame and Yuki can also transform into wolves.
This circumstance forces Hana to move to the countryside with her children to protect them from a similar fate as their father. The anime follows the daily lives of Hana, Ame, and Yuki as they try to adjust to their new home life. This anime is a must-watch for those craving a memorable and heart-wrenching family narrative.
Hana is a likable and relatable character. The struggles and issues she endures because of her desire to protect her children will resonate with fans undergoing similar issues. Ame and Yuki’s personalities also resemble the typical attitudes you’d find real-world children adopting as they grow older.
Therefore, fans looking for an anime that delves into the challenges of parenthood should give Wolf Children a watch.
Imagine if Animal Crossing’s Isabelle had the ability to vent her aggression and frustrations about her job, and you’ll end up with Retsuko from Aggretsuko. Unlike Isabelle, Retsuko’s a charismatic red panda who loves listening to death metal and hates dealing with the stress that comes from her work life.
As with Wolf Children’s Hana, Retusko’s approach to handling conflicts in her path will resonate with fans in similar situations. As such, there are many humorous and hilarious circumstances that ensue in this anime. Some will get a small chuckle out of you, while others will have you rolling on the floor in tears.
The series’ comedy never fails with its delivery. As for its supporting cast, they are extremely likable and offer colorful personalities. The character designs may appear simple, but the animation alleviates its simplicity by having these characters exhibit characterized body gestures and facial reactions.
Chi’s Sweet Home
Despite targeting an adult demographic, Chi’s Sweet Home is a lighthearted slice-of-life anime the whole family can enjoy. Its narrative is clear-cut, while its characters are charming and sweet. It’s not a groundbreaking anime, but it offers an incredible message regarding proper pet care and management.
Chi’s Sweet Home is about Youhei and his mother finding and adopting a kitten named Chi. Despite the apartment complex’s rules against pets, they decide to keep her. The anime delves into the short adventures involving Chi and her new human family.
Along the way, they get into difficult mishaps because of Chi’s notoriously curious behavior. However, each episode always leaves on a comfortable and pleasant note. Youhei and his family aren’t anything to write home about, as the anime tends to focus its attention on developing Chi’s character. But as the episodes fly by, you’ll gain an appreciation for their inclusion in Chi’s story.
While this is a seinen anime, it never delves into intensely dark topics, so fans need not worry about episodes depicting Chi in a horrid light. However, the anime’s life lessons on pet care are something to scout for.
If you’re looking for a show that’s easy to watch with your siblings, family, and friends, Hamtaro has you covered. This is a cozy and cheery anime about a hamster named Hamtaro who goes on various expeditions with his hamster buddies.
Whether it’s playing games, exploring his environment, or visiting fun locations, Hamtaro promises fans will walk away from it with a warm feeling inside. The shenanigans Hamtaro and his friends end up in are adorable and humorous. Fans looking for a complex storyline will wind up disappointed with this series. There’s nothing dramatic or depressing about this anime.
The only ounce of drama you will receive from Hamtaro consists of the characters arguing with each other over the silliest of things. Despite being an older series, Hamtaro’s animation, art style, and soundtrack hold up well. You’ll adore this anime’s retro visuals and charm.
Odd Taxi is a wonderfully written animal anime. To some extent, it feels like an adult-oriented Animal Crossing. This is because Odd Taxi tackles themes regarding the horrors of monetary debt, gambling and addiction, and the downsides of temptation.
Our tale takes place in a world full of anthropomorphic creatures who work day jobs, attend meetings, and participate in other human-oriented activities. The story follows a 41-year-old walrus named Hiroshi Odokawa, who works as a taxi driver for his city. He’s lived a quiet life due to his parents neglecting him as a child.
Odokawa’s life is what you’d expect. He travels across various locations, picking up different animal citizens in town and engaging in small talk with them. Some passengers have wonderful stories to tell and leave a lasting impression on Odokawa and the viewers. What’s intriguing about this is that some of their stories diverge into full-fledged sub-plots that intertwine with Odokawa’s journey wonderfully.
This is an animal anime that balances comedic quips with dark and gritty themes to perfection. With its incredible writing and endearing characters, it’d be foolish not to give this a shot.
Despite Studio Ghibli being a household name in the anime industry, only a few of its films get brought up in public conversations. Films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro are a few examples of films that fall within this category.
While it’s not as popular as these films, Hayao Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso is a comical adventure film that takes multiple different directions. Our tale follows a man named Marco Pagot, who ends up turning into an anthropomorphic pig after being infected by a mysterious curse. He spends his days hunting sky pirates, collecting their bounties, and visiting a beautiful songstress named Gina at Hotel Adriano.
During one of his flights, Porco Rosso (Marco’s new alias) gets gunned down by a young American pilot named Donald Curtis. Donald spreads false rumors about murdering Porco to gain fame. Unbeknownst to him, Porco remains alive and has fled the area to take out a loan to repair his fighter plane. With the help of a young chief engineer, Porco plans to challenge Donald to regain his pride and status.
This anime features a stellar mix of comedy, romance, and slice-of-life elements. As the film progresses, details surrounding Porco’s past life start cropping up. The details never come across as overbearing, as the film takes its time revealing tidbits about Porco’s livelihood to viewers. Donald is as unlikable yet hilarious as you’d expect. His rivalry with Porco is fun to watch and makes for a phenomenal time.
I’d highly recommend giving this Studio Ghibli film a shot if you’re looking for something meaningful and hilarious.
Pui Pui Molcar
Pui Pui Molcar feels like Hamtaro’s successor in multiple ways. This anime is a cute and charming delight with a cozy atmosphere. Unlike Hamtaro, this anime is short and sweet with episodes that last up to two minutes. Despite having a child-like tone, this anime can be enjoyed by anyone.
This anime revolves takes place in an environment similar to our own where humans drive guinea-pig and car hybrids called Molcars. The premise is as bonkers as you’d expect, but that’s where this anime shines well. There are many pop culture references sprinkled throughout each episode.
The show also tackles some thematic concepts wonderfully but does so in the cutest and most hilarious manners possible. It’s a series that fans should go into with an open mind and enjoy it for what it is. Pui Pui Molcar is a cute bundle of joy that keeps on giving.
So I’m a Spider, So What?
So I’m a Spider, So What is an interesting Isekai anime. Our tale takes place inside a high school where students are completing their assignments. Suddenly, a catastrophe strikes the school, leading to everyone’s death. While some students’ fates are unclear, several of them receive the pleasure of being reincarnated as nobles, princes, and other prestigious figures inside a fantasy world.
Although our main protagonist Kumoko is one of the lucky few who reincarnated inside this world, they end up getting the short end of the stick. Reborn as a weak spider, Kumoko endures hardships that come with the territory. Despite having an unlucky fate, Kumoko discovers that this world works like an RPG, where you can level up by defeating monsters or hunting weaker creatures.
By leveling up and defeating numerous foes, Kumoko hopes that she’ll be rewarded with a new life. Kumoko’s a wonderful character with a relatable personality. While fans will giggle and laugh at her multiple failures, they’ll appreciate her for her optimism and confidence. Her situation will relate to fans who also found it difficult to match the skill level of other players.
Gaming aside, this anime does a fine job at demonstrating what life’s like for a spider. From Kumoko’s perspective, we get to peer into the hardships and trials that come with her position. It’s also refreshing to see another Isekai anime feature a protagonist that doesn’t start off with incredible powers. It makes Kumoko’s quest feel more entertaining and relatable in that regard, as you’ll feel like you’re leveling up alongside her.
While its fame may have come and gone, there’s no denying the impact Beastars had on the anime community. Like Devilman Crybaby, this show made fans undergo a change of heart for Netflix-produced anime with its clever writing, memorable characters, and beautiful world.
Like Disney’s The Lion King, Beastars is an animal-based show that everyone should watch. While it offers some gruesome action scenes, the themes and life messages it explores are top-notch and relative to the current issues that plague our world today. While this show features serious subject matter and tackles it through dark means, it has its share of lighthearted and comedic moments.
This anime features a fantastical world where humans don’t exist. Instead, they are replaced by anthropomorphic creatures, each having a unique personality and goal. Unfortunately like in our world, dark tension escalates between these predators and their prey. Thankfully, Beastar’s protagonist Legoshi may hold the key to maintaining his world’s peace and tranquility.
The Fantastic Adventures of Unico
The Fantastic Adventures of Unico is a fantastical gem that deserves your attention. This was created by Osamu Tezuka, the proclaimed godfather of anime and manga. Although it’s an anime targeted toward children, Tezuka adds many adult-oriented themes to make the film enjoyable and worthwhile for the whole family.
In it, we follow a newborn unicorn named Unico. He’s known for bringing peace and happiness to everyone he comes in contact with. The gods in his world are jealous of his harmonious powers. They try banishing Unico to the Hill of Oblivion, but a mystical female spirit called the West Wind takes Unico to a different island behind their back.
Therefore, viewers will follow Unico’s adventure as he explores numerous islands, befriends new creatures, and challenges a terrifying beast by the anime’s end. Our cast receives wonderful character development, great life lessons, and dark undertones. On that note, the anime handles its mature themes with care and depicts ideas like death in a way that’s suitable for younger audiences. If you’re looking for a beautiful anime that’ll rekindle fond memories of classic 2D animated Disney films, check this out.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about animals!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!