For more than 25 years, Pikachu of Pokémon fame has been one of the most recognizable characters in all of pop culture. He long ago took his place alongside the likes of Mickey Mouse, Garfield, Spider-Man and other iconic characters one might find taking pictures with tourists in Times Square.
It should go without saying that Pikachu’s popularity owes more than a small debt to his undeniable cuteness. But fans who don’t dip their toes into the world of anime outside of Pokémon might not realize that the genre is rife with similarly adorable animal sidekicks.
10/10 Nero (Black Clover)
Nero, aka Secre Swallowtail, is a member of the Black Bulls who is initially introduced in the series as a small Anti-bird that constantly follows and aids Asta in Black Clover.
Even before her true character was revealed, fans adored her and loved her swallow-inspired design. The most appealing aspect of her design are the dull lifeless eyes and the two horns peaking out on her head.
9/10 Hawk (Seven Deadly Sins)
Hawk is the first companion that fans see of Meliodas in Seven Deadly Sins and serves as a constant companion for the group. Hawk serves less to the story than other animal companions in anime and often provides comic relief rather than any action.
He does boast about his own strength often but is proven on numerous occasions to not be strong at all. However, many fans have adored the character simply because of his design and mannerisms. He’s a unique pick for a companion as most anime animals are either dogs or cats.
8/10 Sadaharu (Gintama)
Sadaharu begins as a sidekick of Kagura’s and quickly becomes a valuable member of the Yorozuya in Gintama, one of the best action-comedy anime series. Sadaharu is an Inugami, a dog spirit from Japanese folklore that can inhabit the body of dogs.
Sadaharu’s design is nothing complex, but his large size makes him more lovable and his unique gray eyebrows make him stand out from ordinary dogs. Sadaharu’s mannerisms are always seen by fans as adorable, even if he’s swallowing people whole or biting Gintoki’s head.
7/10 Happy (Fairy Tail)
Happy is the closest friend and ally of one of the best anime characters with fire powers, Natsu, and the two of them have known each other since they were children. While he looks like a cat who can fly, his actual race is called an Exceed.
Happy’s expressions are some of the most enjoyable attributes of the Fairy Tailcharacter, and he can easily make fans laugh or cry. While he maintains most of the characteristics of a cat, he’s able to console his friends in human-like ways which makes his effort to comfort more adorable.
6/10 Luna (Sailor Moon)
Luna is another anime cat who travels alongside Usagi in Sailor Moon. She is a cute black cat with large red eyes and a crescent moon designed onto her forehead. While Luna’s actions in the series are fun to witness, her true charm lies in the design of her character.
Cats are already appealing characters and the small details added to her character make her more charming. The crescent moon gives her an overall more interesting design and her large eyes draw viewers in and make the cat seem far cuter than it would normally.
5/10 Doraemon (Doraemon)
Doraemon is a unique and cute animal companion from the future who happens to actually be a robot. His design is based on a cat though he doesn’t have any ears which makes him more distinguishable from ordinary cats.
His large face, smile, and eyes make him appear friendly and his bright red nose alongside his blue coloring makes his color scheme memorable. Doraemon is one of the most iconic characters in Japan and is often compared to Mickey Mouse.
4/10 Jibanyan (Yo-kai Watch)
Jibanyan is a Yo-kai and a constant companion of Nathan Adams. Jibanyan is an undead cat, which explains the ghostly flames igniting from his two tails and the tear in his ear from when he died. He is a charming cat and looks similar to other popular anime cats.
However, what makes him stand out is his design with the flame pattern on his face matching with the two ignited tails he has. His face and eyes are also drawn simply but help fit to his overall appearance.
3/10 Kirara (InuYasha)
Kirara is a Nekomata and a constant companion of the protagonists in one of the best historical anime, InuYasha, and has both a unique and cute design. However, Kirara does have a transformation that can make her far more intimidating.
Normally, though, she has a fox-like influence with two tails and cream-colored fur covered with several black stripes. Her eyes and face are the most enchanting aspect of her with the diamond design on her forehead and her large red eyes with diamond pupils.
2/10 Pikachu (Pokémon)
Pikachu has been an icon for Pokémon for years, but sadly, his run as Ash’s sidekick ended in one of the best Pokémon anime series. Regardless, he has been around for a long time and fans have long since adored the Pokémon.
Pikachu has a mouse-inspired design with small red cheeks and pointed ears with black tips. His body is chubby and looks even more appealing with his stubby limbs and large tail reminiscent of a lightning bolt. His whole design accurately fits his inspiration and his association with electricity.
1/10 Tony Tony Chopper (One Piece)
Chopper was introduced into One Piece as an interesting and complex character. However, since then he’s kind of just stood as more of a mascot in the series than anything else. Fans have forgiven this, simply because he’s cute and can get away with anything.
Everything about his design is adorable from his small body with thin limbs to his large hat and antlers. Oda does a fantastic job of designing this character and mixing human characteristics with that of a reindeer.