Created By: CaveCat on September 6, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCat on October 19, 2013
Nuked

Sliding Scale Of Animal Cast

When a work features an entirely animal cast, with no humans in sight.

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Trope
Do We Have This One?

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 & 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.

Community Feedback Replies: 71
  • September 6, 2013
    joshbl56
    I don't know if we already have this one specifically but your examples are Zero Context Examples.
  • September 7, 2013
    DAN004
    I kinda think they're really bound to be zero context anyway... By putting the title in the example we'll know that they have all animal cast unless otherwise noted. :P
  • September 7, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    It would be nice if we have some elaboration on what animals the cast are
  • September 7, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Yes, these are all Zero Context Examples, and no, they don't need to be Zero Context Examples. Just by mentioning where the works fall in the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism these examples would have more information value than a flat zero.
  • September 7, 2013
    Stratadrake
  • September 7, 2013
    DAN004
    • Surfs Up mainly consists of penguins and an occasional chicken.
  • September 7, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ISTR that in Heathcliff And The Catillac Cats the Cattilac Cats segments showed no humans, although it took place in a human city.
  • September 8, 2013
    Snicka
    It should be made clear how this is different from World Of Funny Animals. A good distinction would be the following:

    In an All-Animal Cast, there are no humans present at all, only animals. They could be anywhere in the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism.

    In a World Of Funny Animals, there might be a Token Human or two, although not necessarily. The animals are on the higher end of the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism (at least on the Civilized Animal level).
  • September 8, 2013
    Snicka
    Most books by Richard Scarry have a Funny Animal cast.
  • September 8, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    o_o... strange description.

    anyway, another possible distiction is that in World Of Funny Animals, the animals substitute for humans and may have "animal pets". in this trope every animal is well, an animal, only capable of speech so we can understand them (via Aliens Speaking English).

    basing it on the fact that Ice Age counts here. given the stylized depiction of every creature, the animals likely appear "realistic" in context of the story. they are only ever seen talking with each other and act like animals in front of humans.

    another example would be Madagascar, though they are Funny Animal rather than realistic.
  • September 9, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ Yeah, odd description. I never meant my comment above to become the whole description.

    Why do you think Madagascar is an example though? Although the main characters are animals, all three movies feature humans prominently in minor roles or background characters, and even as the primary antagonist in the third one.
  • September 10, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ you're right. it's not. typed that very late at night and i was at my limit and thought they count because i forgot about humans being major antagonists there.
  • September 11, 2013
    TonyG
    The Kung Fu Panda movies are set in an animal version of Ancient China, where all the characters are animals native to the region.
  • September 13, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ Except for the gorillas (unless they are Gigantopithecus).
  • September 14, 2013
    RedBuster
    In The Animals Of Farthing Wood all characters are various animals.
  • September 15, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Don't humans also appear in the series?
  • September 15, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Those Looney Tunes 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.
  • September 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^^ If I recall correctly, humans are a somewhat unpersonified threat in the series. There isn't any recurring human characters, or rather, the humans are not characters at all. I wouldn't say they belong in the cast of the series on even the most superficial level.
  • September 16, 2013
    Alucard
    Would Redwall count?
  • September 17, 2013
    Cider
    Xeno Fiction is enough I think.
  • September 18, 2013
    dyson88
    US Acres segments of Garfieldand 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.

  • September 18, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ The original US Acres comic strip by Jim Davis as well.
  • September 20, 2013
    Stratadrake
    @Cider: I think it's safe to say this could be a Sub Trope of Xeno Fiction.

    BTW, would Bambi count as an example?
  • September 20, 2013
    Snicka
    I am not sure about Bambi. Humans certainly exist (heck, they are the main antagonists), but they are certainly unpersonified.

    In the description it should be made clear if we're collecting only works where humans don't exist at all in the setting, or also works where humans exist but there are no active human characters.
  • September 23, 2013
    Cider
    The hunters are not active characters in Bambi but they are not particularly antagonistic. They shot a deer to get something to eat, that's life. Too bad they had to leave Bambi without a mom (there is a reason a lot of guys do not like shooting a Doe) but it was something he had to get over.

    Anyway, besides Xeno fiction there are also beast fables.
  • September 23, 2013
    RedBuster
    • Possibly averted in Digimon X Evolution all characters are Mons, but some Digimons are humanoid-like include the final evolution of Dorumon: Alphamon.
  • September 24, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Examples Are Not Arguable. and that would be subverted. averting this would probably mean having no animals.

    V down — ah, that, you're right.
  • September 24, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ No animals at all would rather be inversion than aversion. An aversion would be a work where there are both humans and animals playing important role.
  • September 24, 2013
    reflaxion
    Adding Alucard's Redwall example. It fits the trope - at least as far into the series as I've read (which, by this point, is about halfway).
  • September 24, 2013
    reflaxion
    Added Star Fox and Duck Tales (and spin-offs thereof). Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers averts the trope with human antagonists. This is really common in western animation, actually - I am not doing the research, but there's a treasure trove of trope-worthy stuff there, if anyone wants to confirm specifics and throw examples up.
  • September 25, 2013
    RedBuster
    The Secret Of NIMH all characters are biologically modified rats, humans appears in the show without show the head and in a short period of time.

    Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Series you play with Pokemons.

    Most of Sonic The Hedgehog games doen't have humans except Dr.Robotinick/Eggman .
  • September 25, 2013
    Snicka
    I think the overlap with World Of Funny Animals, despite the distinction, is still very high. Do you think this could work as a proper, distinct trope?
  • September 26, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Dunno, but I think World Of Funny Animals can still work with some humans around (though it's then mixed with Lions And Tigers And Humans Oh My). This trope is strictly no-human.
  • September 26, 2013
    reflaxion
    It would be a sub-trope, then?

    And how on earth is Animal Farm not an example under World Of Funny Animals? I'm pretty sure the human presence in that book is rather light. Am I wrong?
  • September 26, 2013
    Snicka
    ^ The animals in Animal Farm are not really anthropomorphized (other than the pigs in the Four Legs Good Two Legs Better scene). If you read the description of World Of Funny Animals, you'll see that it's where animals more or less replace humans.
  • September 26, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^Humans in that one too.
  • September 26, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    It seems we need a definition for the "all-animal" part of All Animal Cast. Basically, we have two options:

    1. Humans do not exist in the world of the work (Robin Hood, works with Funny Animal cast, etc.).

    2. Humans do exist in the world of the work, but all the central characters are animals. The presence of humans in the story is so close to nonexistent that they cannot be considered part of the cast (The Animals Of Farthing Wood, Animal Farm, etc.).

    Personally, I would prefer the option #2. As long as humans are portrayed as faceless and unpersonified creatures, I don't think they can be considered part of the cast in any meaningful way. This would also make it easier to distinguish this from World Of Funny Animals (to which this would be a supertrope).
  • September 26, 2013
    Snicka
    Actually, in Animal Farm there are many named and personified human characters who interact with the animals (Farmer Jones, Mr. Pilkington, Mr. Frederick, etc.), so it is at least a subversion.
  • September 27, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ I would prefer humans limited as background props too.
  • September 29, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    This one's a judgment call: mostly rabbits with a smattering of humans. It's an animated feature based upon a book. The book names the incidental humans, while the film doesn't.

    Western Animation
    • A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren, seeking refuge elsewhere in Nepenthe Productions' Watership Down, adapted from the book by Richard Adams.

    Humans appear, I believe, three times in the course of the film: 1) Men are heard but not seen, pounding a signpost into the ground. This sign gives Fiver his visions of death and doom which inspires the exodus from Sandalford Warren. 2) While exploring Nuthanger Farm, the rabbits Hazel and Pipkin arouse the farmers, who shoot at them. Hazel takes some birdshot in his right thigh, necessitating a rescue by his brother, Fiver. 3) Hazel gets pounced by the farm cat, Tab. Before the cruel cat can torment Hazel further, farm girl Lucy intervenes, but is not shown.
  • September 30, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ I haven't read the book but the film definitely qualifies. It was pretty much the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this trope.
  • September 30, 2013
    Snicka
    ^^ 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.
  • October 1, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film-Animated

    To be specific: 1) a human arm holding a glass bottle is seen resting on the sill of a passenger car window. The arm discards the bottle, which shatters on the roadway; 2) the driver of a tanker truck that crashed escapes from the truck cab, sees the danger in the leaking gas, and runs for help. The driver is seen only from the shoulders down; 3) mentor Cornelius recounts his youth in Willowbrook, where a human hand lays a snap-trap at the exit of the badgers' home. Cornelius and his sister were small enough to avoid the trap, while his parents were ultimately poisoned to death; 4) construction machines are shown in operation, though the operators are not shown. These machines are termed "yellow dragons" by the local birds, which regard them as a hazard to be avoided; 5) and the mole Edgar loses his spectacles and his jacket, and stumbles blindly into a steel cage trap. Some humans wearing haz-mat suits are conducting a clean-up operation nearby, and one haz-mat worker frees Edgar, then smashes the trap and stuffs the junk into a trash bag.
  • October 2, 2013
    Snicka
    If Watership Down is included, so should Bambi be.

    • 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.
  • October 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Often humans will be an inconceivable horrors in this kind of work.
  • October 2, 2013
    Snicka
    The description needs a total rewrite. How about the following:

    "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 - an All Animal Cast. They might be anywhere on the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism, from Nearly Normal Animals to Petting Zoo People.

    At times there are explicitly no humans in this setting. Sometimes the existence of humans is left ambiguous - there is simply no mention of them at all. In other works, humans exist, but their role is reduced to Living Props. Often they will be an inconceivable horror in this kind of work.

    A Sub Trope is World Of Funny Animals, where animals (usually at the on the higher end of the Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism, at least on the Civilized Animal level) take the place of humans (although that setting occasionally allows a Token Human or two).

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

    Compare Xeno Fiction."

    What do you think?
  • October 3, 2013
    Argon2
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The comic Birdland is a variant; its cast consists entirely of birds.
  • October 3, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ That could work.
  • October 5, 2013
    ChromaNebula
    [[Western Animation:TUFF 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.
  • October 5, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
  • October 7, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    Does Finding Nemo count? there are humans but the main players are all fishes. Humans Are Cthulhu here.
  • October 8, 2013
    Snicka
    Finding Nemo is about on the same level as Animal Farm. There are named human characters with actual personalities, but they are mostly Plot Devices; all main characters are animals.
  • October 9, 2013
    Snicka
    I just realized: maybe this trope could work the best as a "sliding scale" type trope, similarly to Sliding Scale Of Anthropomorphism. Something like this:

    1. World Of Funny Animals 2. World Of Funny Animals with a Token Human 3. Humans Are Cthulhu 4. Mouse World 5. Lions And Tigers And Humans Oh My 6. Works with a token Animal Companion 7. No animal characters at all.
  • October 11, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Agree.
  • October 11, 2013
    Snicka
    What would we call it then? Sliding Scale Of Animal Cast?
  • October 11, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Maybe.
  • October 11, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^^^^ Great move. Suddenly this trope seems a lot more viable in my eyes. Hatted.
  • October 11, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Sliding Scale tropes really only work where it constituent tropes can be arranged in a linear sequence from one end of some spectrum to another. I'm not sure the middle of Snicka's list fits the pattern...
  • October 11, 2013
    Snicka
    The spectrum is from only animals - only humans, with everything inbetween. Let me rewrite the list.

    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 Partners 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 is too common, so it's just needed as the far end of the list.

    The list can be more refined.
  • October 11, 2013
    EdnaWalker
    I think there is a level between 1 and 2 which is basically like 1 but has one or a few Token Humans that are not the main protagonist.
  • October 11, 2013
    DAN004
    ^^ Just thinking that Ratatouille goes to Lv 6 because the rats are generally despised by humans still. They only live with one human, Linguini.
  • October 11, 2013
    pawsplay
    current writeup of #7 perpetuates the misunderstanding that People Sit On Chairs has to do with how common a trope is. People Sit On Chairs just means something has no particular significance, not that it's common or uncommon.
  • October 11, 2013
    Snicka
    ^^ I initially thought of that, but now I think that version is closer to (an can be included in) 3: "There are human characters with actual personality, but they are mostly secondary characters..."
  • October 13, 2013
    Snicka
    The description is a big mish-mash right now (why would a "Sliding Scale of Animal Cast" be a work with no humans at all? That is just one end of the scale), so it needs serious rewriting.
  • October 13, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Or maybe you may just wanna make a new YKTTW. Rewriting something new on an old YKTTW would make quite a mess.
  • October 13, 2013
    EdnaWalker
    ^One of the YKTT Ws could be called All Animal Cast and the other one could be called Sliding Scale Of Animal Casts.
  • October 13, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ World Of Funny Animals, Xeno Fiction and Beast Fable already covered "All Animal Cast". :/
  • October 14, 2013
    Snicka
    Is it possible to start a new YKTTW with the same name as an already existing one? Or do I need to rename this one to start one with this name?
  • October 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Yes, yes it is
  • October 15, 2013
    Snicka
    I remade this YKTTW here: [1]

    Please continue the discussion there.
  • October 19, 2013
    Snicka
    What should we do with this old one? Motion to Discard?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fhhf3do6yxkepf51fdufo6v2&trope=DiscardedYKTTW