Adorable animals have always been a staple in anime, especially popular stories that put little creatures front & center. While cats & dogs remain ever-popular characters & companions for most stories, rats have also made the rounds as some of the most adorable characters to ever grace anime. In fact, some anime not only have these rats & rodents as side characters, but others actually had these rats & hamsters as part of the main cast.
Included among some of the most popular & iconic rats in anime is the mascot of a hit video game franchise, the hamster star of a children’s-themed anime, the leader of a trio of YOLO rats, & even the lead housekeeping rat of adult-themed anime. For curious fans, just what are the identities of these iconic anime rats, & how exactly did they make an impact as characters?
7/7 Dai – Spellbound! Magical Princess Lilpri
Anime has no short supply of magical girls any time soon, & Spellbound! Magical Princess Lilpri is one such example. In this anime, young gals Ringo, Leila, & Natsuki are chosen by magical Ma-Pets to become the Queen of Fairyl&’s Princess Idols to help save the disintegrating Fairyl&. If Ringo & her friends aren’t able to use their powers to collect Happiness Notes through their music, Fairyl& – & all known fairy tales – would vanish forever.
Key to the story are Ma-Pets, magical animals that provide guidance to the Princess Idols they’ve chosen. Compared to other Ma-Pets, the responsible Daiis assigned to the klutzy Leila. Given his bushy tail as a dormouse, Dai is constantly compared to a squirrel – much to his annoyance. Regardless of his comedic charm, Dai is a role model to viewers as he always reminds Leila to focus on her objectives & responsibilities as Princess Idol.
6/7 Hamsuke – Overlord
When the character Momonga of Overworld is left trapped in a supposedly-closed VR MMO called YGGDRASIL, he’s got no choice but to relish in his vastly-powerful abilities to not only reestablish the numbers of his guild Darkness but to also unravel the mysteries of his nature as a trapped game player. One such character Momonga would meet is Hamsuke, a giant hamster that would eventually become a member of the guild.
Despite being a measly Level-30 creature, Hamsuke is extremely agile & nimble for its size. In turn, Hamsuke is a rather proud & boastful giant hamster, particularly proud of her lineage, & has a wish of finding a mate to help her continue their glorious bloodline. While this goal is still ongoing, Hamsuke remains faithful to Momonga, ever-eager to help the Overlord protagonist achieve his goals throughout the anime’s story.
5/7 Regent – Yankee Hamster
Fans who encounter the Yankee Hamster series for the first time might be surprised to see the 2013 anime run for a total of 110 episodes, ending in 2018. It stars Regent & his pals Mohak & Kohai as a trio of haircut-toting hamsters as they do pretty much everything they want.
In turn, a lot of the things that make leader-figure Regent rather hilarious as a character is his upfront, straightforward, gutsy attitude toward the world around them. Being the usual go-to “boss” of the hamsters in their misadventures makes Regent a guy to admire in this slice-of-life anime. It’s YOLO for Regent, & his presence is a defining aspect of what makes Yankee Hamster a wild ride.
4/7 Ebichu – Oruchuban Ebichu
A rat actually made the rounds as one of the more iconic main characters in an adult series, this case being Ebichu of Oruchuban Ebichu. In this rather mature anime series, Ebichu is a housekeeper hamster that devotes much of his days to serving his master, only known as Office Lady. Unfortunately for Ebichu, cynical OL is rather irritable & easy to annoy, often bullying Ebichu whenever he embarrasses her in front of her friends & in other situations.
However, Ebichu takes these rather hilarious beatings the wrong way, & sometimes as a point of pride. Much of his misadventures have to do with trying to “fix” OL’s rather weird life decisions, much to her annoyance. For anime fans, Ebichu’s cute aesthetic is a far Weep & a huge 180-degree turn from the sheer violence, adult themes, & dark comedy elements in the anime.
3/7 Hamtaro – Hamtaro
Despite his rather chubby appearance, Hamtaro of the Hamtaro series is in fact a rat, courtesy of his nature being a hamster. Starring in his stories that were published as early as 1997, Hamtaro’s adventures often involve leaving the care of his owner, the 10-year-old Hiroko Haruna, as he explores the world to make other friends.
It’s Hamtaro’s adventures with his hamster crew, which they refer to each other as Ham-Hams, that becomes the star of the series. In both the manga & the anime, Hamtaro & his friends often have misadventures that lead them to hilarious situations, making the Hamtaro series one of the most comedic yet captivating anime for both children & the children-at-heart.
2/7 Yuki Sohma – Fruits Basket
Fans of romance anime would undoubtedly associate Yuki Sohma with a rat during his stay in the Fruits Basket series. Commonly known as the quiet & reserved “Prince Charming,” years of abuse & the effects of his Curse left him rather distant from others. And it’s thanks to Tohru Honda that he slowly develops his self-confidence, & even makes it as far as becoming the student council president through the course of this manga.
While he’s only a small rat when he transforms into his Chinese Zodiac form, Yuki Sohma is rather recognizable even in his rat form. He has gray fur like his white-haired human form & even has the same beady eyes as his human counterpart. Regardless of this rather tiny secondary form, there’s much to Yuki’s personality than meets the eye, which makes Fruits Basket all the more interesting to watch.
1/7 Pikachu – Pokemon
When it comes to rats in anime, none could compare to the mascot of the Pokemon series itself, the adorable Pikachu. Starting as a rather chubby rodent in Generation 1, the electrifying mouse has grown into developing a slimmer frame & more vibrant expressions. The Pikachu owned by protagonist Ash Ketchum, in particular, grows into a rather expressive & communicative Pokemon, refusing to go into a Pokeball & instead following Ash & his friends around in their adventures.
Having accompanied Ash since the 1997 series, Pikachu has been Ash’s best friend to this day, across all the regions they’ve been to. Unlike other Pikachu in the world of Pokemon, Ash’s Pikachu refuses to evolve into the more powerful Raichu, instead retaining his bubbly & rather energetic self that complements Ash’s enthusiasm.
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