Mostly pets and mascot characters are either superfluous to a show or just plain annoying (yes, Kinako from Twin Star Exorcists I am looking at you), however every now and then one of these characters actually does draw you along into the show, or help the plot along significantly, or just lightens the mood and makes you happy to see them. This is my list of my favourite pets and mascot characters.
Feel free to add yours in the comments or to comment on the most annoying pets and mascots (which will definitely be a future list though I’m not sure when).
Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.
Honourable mentions to Hawk (Seven Deadly Sins), Mokona (Tsubasa Chronicles), Maru (Kimi ni Todoke) and Fuzzy (The Morose Mononokean).
Number 5: Kuro from Ao no Exorcist
You have to admit for a demon cat, Kuro is pretty adorable. And useful in terms of a pet to own. He talks telepathically and can become big enough to ride into battle. Anyway, I’m glad Kuro stuck around for the remainder of the series. He plays an important role in helping the brothers reconnect with their ‘father’s’ memory and that also ultimately helps them get over some of their own relationship baggage.
Number 4: Kon from Bleach
There’s something about a modified soul stuck into the body of a plush lion that just really makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch the episode where Kon first appears in Bleach. Admittedly, after the first season, Kon’s role becomes very much comedic relief he initially plays a reasonable role in allowing Ichigo to transform into a Shinigami and to ensure people didn’t ask why Ichigo kept passing out all over the place. While Kon is at times borderline annoying, just when you would write him off he does something incredibly selfless or touching, or just manages to nail his comedic timing.
Number 3: Happy from Fairy Tail
I think it would be kind of mean to actually imply that Happy is a pet. He’s definitely a character in his own right and quite a cute one at that (sorry, who doesn’t find a flying cat adorable). Whether he is playing the comic relief, the heart of the group, a mode of transportation, or just chiming in with his usual ‘Aye’, Happy lives up to his name and is a great character.
Number 2: Timcanpy from D Gray Man
Whether we are talking Hallow or original, Timcanpy is a great character. Originally belonging to Cross Marion, Timcanpy was given to (left with) Allen Walker after Cross went missing. Timcanpy is silent (unlike every other character on the list) but still manages to convey a lot of personality. More importantly, he shows Allen genuine affection at almost every turn in the anime which is kind of needed given how dark and horrible most of the things are that happen to Allen.
Number 1: Nyanko Sensei from Natsume Yuujinchou
Much like Happy, I’m not sure we can actually call Nyanko a pet (or a mascot) but for a youkai transformed into a maneki-neko he is pretty adorable even as he is fat, self-centred and a little bit of an alcoholic. That said, he is amazingly funny and he does look out for Natsume when it really matters (though he frequently let’s lesser threats just run their course). There is of course the concern that one day he might try to eat Natsume for real, but the longer the show runs the less likely it seems. It really feels like Nyanko Sensei is getting just as much from hanging around with Natsume as Natsume is gaining. Okay, I also included an image of his true form. So this little cutie is my number 1 pet or mascot in an anime (and is hanging off my phone).
I did realise after writing this that three of my five top picks are cats. That’s probably saying something about me but I’m not going to think about it too deeply.
That’s my list. Who or what would you have included on yours?