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Sliding Scale Of Animal Cast
When a work features an entirely animal cast, with no humans in sight.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-09-06 22:05:14 sponsor: CaveCat (last reply: 2013-10-19 08:06:28)

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Many works of fiction have animal characters. They might be pets and companions to humans, or simply coexist with humans and treated as equal. And then there are works where the vast majority of the cast are animals - a Sliding Scale of Animal Cast. They might be anywhere on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism, from Nearly Normal Animals to Petting Zoo People.

1. There are either explicitly no humans, or their existence is simply not mentioned. E.g. The Lion King, The Land Before Time. When animals explicitly take the humans' place, it's World of Funny Animals, examples go there (e.g. Robin Hood, Kung Fu Panda, works of Richard Scarry).

2. Humans exist, but their existence is reduced to Living Prop. In this setting, Humans Are Cthulhu is common. May take place in a Mouse World. E.g. Bambi, The Animals of Farthing Wood.

3. There are human characters with actual personality, but they are mostly secondary characters or Plot Device. E.g. Finding Nemo, Animal Farm, Madagascar, Watership Down, the first Ice Age.

4. The protagonist is a human (often a Token Human), but the rest of the cast are animals. E.g. The Jungle Book, My Gym Partner's A Monkey.

5. Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!. Humans and animals are equally important characters. E.g. Ratatouille, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz.

6. The main characters are humans, but there are supporting characters with proper personality who are animals (often as Non-Human Sidekick). E.g. Scooby-Doo, Tarzan, much of the Disney Animated Canon.

7. Animals are only Living Prop, or there are no animals at all.

This mostly shows up in an Animated Adaptation, and often overlaps with Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation.

Compare Xeno Fiction and Beast Fable.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Samurai Pizza Cats has the title heroes as cats while the villain is a rat (a fox in the original Japanese).
  • Possibly averted in Digimon X-Evolution all characters are Mons, but some Digimon are humanoid-like include the final evolution of Dorumon: Alphamon.

Comic Books
  • The world of comic book Blacksad, despite being human in tools and architecture, has a fully animal cast, with the requisite motifs. (Interestingly, racism is still present, with black-furred animals opposing white-furred, polar ones.) One of the ways it exhibits Awesome Art is the ease with which it gives quadrupedal animals humanoid, upright shapes.
  • The comic Birdland is a variant; its cast consists entirely of birds.

Film - Animated
  • Robin Hood has the title character as a fox, his friend Little John as a bear and the villain Prince John as a lion.
  • The Lion King has entirely African animals.
  • The Ice Age sequels feature prehistoric animals, while the first one also had humans.
  • The Land Before Time mainly had dinosaurs as its main characters.
  • Surf's Up mainly consists of penguins and an occasional chicken.
  • The Kung Fu Panda movies are set in an animal version of Ancient China, where all the characters are animals native to the region. Except for the gorillas (unless they are Gigantopithecus).

Film - Live-Action

Literature
  • Most books by Richard Scarry have a Funny Animal cast.
  • The Redwall series by Brian Jacques features anthropomorphic rodents.
  • The book Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, and the more famous Walt Disney film based on it, focuses on the life of a young deer, with various other animals in supporting roles. Humans only appear as un-personified, faceless threat to animals.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Beast Wars, and its sequel Beast Machines.
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood all characters are various animals.
  • Common in Disney's 90s animation, particularly DuckTales and its spin-offs.
  • The Looney Tunes cartoons starring Foghorn Leghorn the rooster are set down on the farm, where apparently the Funny Animals run the asylum.
  • Nelvana Studios post-apocalyptic Rock and Rule occurs in a world where humanity has eradicated itself, leaving the dogs, cats and rats to ascend to civilization. Most characters in Rock & Rule are Petting Zoo People with four-finger hands
  • The U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends, the only exception being once when Roy talks to Jon Arbuckle on the phone. The farmer is mentioned from time to time but is never seen.
  • A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren, seeking refuge elsewhere in Nepenthe Productions' Watership Down, adapted from the book by Richard Adams.
    • Apart from a single chapter near the end, written from Lucy's point of view (with the farmer and Doctor Adams also in talking roles), and one of Fiver's visions where he can talk to humans, the book quailifies as well.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic breaks from tradition by having no humans in its world; just ponies, griffins, and dragons as far as the eye can see.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy: Dudley is a mutt, Kitty is a cat, The Chief is a flea, and no one knows what Keswick is. On the villains' side, Snaptrap is a rat, the Chameleon is, well, a chameleon, Bird Brain is a bird, Larry is a mouse, Ollie is a possum, etc. There are no humans in sight.
  • Hanna-Barbera's SWAT Kats has no humans at all, not even in a parallel universe. Most characters are feline Petting Zoo People, with Doctor Klaw being a half-reptile hybrid, and of course, the Monster of the Week.

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