DOGS. They’re alright, aren’t they? Of course, the Platonic Ideal of a dog is one without all the smells, the watery poops and the chewed-up trainers, and luckily the medium of anime is ready to provide us with a list of canine companions that come close to true perfection.
So while the smiley shiba-inu Maru may have 2.5 million followers on Instagram, we reckon any one of these dogs could give him a run for his money.
#10 – Tetsuya 2
Pomeranian Husky mix from Kuroko no Baske (aka Kuroko’s Basketball)
Tetsuya Kuroko is a savant basketball player with the special magical power to be utterly unnoticeable. Naturally he needs a little help in the personality department: enter his canine doppelganger Tetsuya #2, who carries around 60% of the weight of the show on his mighty shoulders. Asides from his piercing blue gaze, he has his OWN JERSEY. Now, I’m normally against animals wearing clothing but damn if Tetsuya 2 doesn’t pull it off.
#9 – Taromaru
Shiba Inu from Gakkou Gurashi! (aka School Live!)
Taromaru is a complete troll: he knows how to open doors, steal food and destroy your self-confidence by withholding affection. He also becomes the emotional lynch-pin of the entire series of Gakkou Gurashi, and without spoilers, I can honestly say that your life will never be the same after knowing this little jerk.
#8 – Menchi
Akita Inu from Excel Saga
The name Menchi translates as “Mincemeat”, which explains this poor girl’s dissatisfaction with living as Excel’s pet. Being labelled as the emergency ration can’t do much for your nerves, but at least poor Menchi gets to vent her feelings at the end of every episode of Excel Saga, howling over the end credits.
#7 – Blue
Wolfdog from Wolf’s Rain
If you’ve never seen Wolf’s Rain, I highly recommend it. It’s from the same team as Cowboy Bebop and this follow-up series has the same quality of stellar character design. Blue had one of the best plotlines and character developments in Wolf’s Rain, being the devoted companion to a jaded alcoholic hunter, and ending up finding her inner wolf. It just so happens her inner wolf is a rather attractive young lady. It’s like they were preempting my fan fiction.
YOU’RE MY GIRL, BLUE.
#6 – Jeff
St. Bernard from Kiki’s Delivery Service
Jeff is SUCH A GOOD BOY. Despite having a brief appearance in a film dominated by a smart-talking cat, Jeff effortlessly steals his scenes, saving Kiki and Jiji’s bacon on their first disastrous delivery job. He even knows how to shut the front door behind him, showing that he’s probably the smartest dog on this list, despite the absence of language or underpants.
#5 – Buddy
Akita Inu from Nichijou
Buddy is the star of a few throwaway skits within the great comedy show Nichijou. He makes it on to this list by being complete unassuming, and contributing to anime history with the infamous “dog sympathy” maneuver. Can you imagine being at such a low point in your life that a dog, unprompted, shows you sympathy? Buddy may not be the cutest pupper on the list, but his knowing gaze and gentle paw earn him a spot in the pantheon of doggies.
#4 – Ein
Pembroke Welsh Corgi from Cowboy Bebop
What list of anime dogs would be complete without the genius “data-dog” from Cowboy Bebop? Ein perfectly checkmates the distant cynicism of Spike and brings a sense of whimsy to the team of the Bebop, and quickly learns how to eat dog food in zero gravity. Highly smart, highly valuable and highly cute, Ein was at his best in the episode Mushroom Hunting, which gave us one of the greatest gifs of all time after Ed fed him hallucinogenic fungi.
#3 – Koromaru
Shiba Inu from Persona 3
Koromaru is definitely the star of both the Persona 3 game, as well as the 4 recent film adaptations. A scrappy little Shiba Inu, he loyally defends his master’s shrine after his passing, before gaining magical powers that allow him to murder the manifestations of Freudian repression. Armed with a goddamn combat knife in the mouth, Koromaru astounds his enemies with his stylish wing accoutrements on his jersey. You know, right before he stabs them to death.
#2 – Inuyasha
Demon Dog Spirit Thing from InuYasha
This counts right? Like all good puppers, Inuyasha starts out as a total bastard that learns the value of not being a total bastard. Luckily for the ordinary school girl Kagome, he’s easily trained with some magic beads, which cause him to obey her command of “sit!”. Makes total sense that they get married.
#1 – Apo
Pug puppy from Space Brothers
Apo, short for Apollo, is small and sweet and the greatest goddamn fictional dog that has ever existed. That’s right, Call of Duty Dog, get the hell out of my house. With a stylish yet subtle heart marking on his shoulder, Apo wins the hearts of all those around him as he runs around NASA headquarters smiling like a goon. If the brilliant characters and awesome science of Space Brothers doesn’t convince you to watch that show, I certainly hope one amazing pug puppy can sway you.
Oh you sexy beast.
Obviously this is far from a comprehensive list – we didn’t even get to marvel at Black Hayate from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood! Let us know in the comments what your favourite anime dogs are.
Anime puppers make a frequent appearance over on Geekly Inc’s anime podcast Transformation Sequence! Come listen!