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aka: Ambiguous Species
We're guessing... Koala Monkey?
"No! What ARE you kidses? Look at you! With those ears and those tails... That's not normal! I mean what ARE you?"
Nonhuman drawn or animated characters of ambiguous species.
There are several cartoon characters who are certainly not human. However, they are also clearly not any species of readily identifiable animal either. Some of them appear to be Mix-and-Match Critters
. They don't really have a species, they're just... cute
Not to be confused with Informed Species
, where the character is
supposed to be a specific animal, but doesn't look like that animal.
Many are either Ridiculously Cute Critters
or Ugly Cute
Critters. Compare the Waddling Head
. See also certain Humanoid Animals
and Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
You may be able to ride them like a mechanical bull
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- One of the Sci-fi Channel's ads featured a woman playing with her pet. Said pet—presumably extraterrestrial—had a vaguely Chihuahua-like overall appearance, large batlike ears, huge expressive eyes, an extremely long striped tufted tail, and a long forked tongue that it used to daintily touch the tongue of its owner.
Anime and Manga
- Plue from Rave Master/Groove Adventure Rave. He's something like a snowman crossed with a dog. The theme song identifies him as a "carrot-nosed" dog. You know it was thought up when the creators were high if even they don't know what he is.
- In Fairy Tail, from the same writer of Rave Master, Plue is the Canis Minor Zodiac summon. What this means is debatable, since nobody but himself and the summon system believes he's a dog, and he doesn't even trigger the caniphobia of the blue-furred, tuft-tailed, flat-toothed, oft-bipedal winged cat.
- Chiyo's dad in Azumanga Daioh, who looks like an elongated, vaguely anthropomorphic cat, most likely pulled from an in-show plush toy by Sakaki's cuteness-obsessed mind.
- Played with in Revolutionary Girl Utena, Chu-Chu the monkey resembles a cartoon mouse but seems otherwise like a regular monkey, so fans assume he's some kind of marmoset/tariser/lemur thing, despite not looking quite like that either. Utena rightly points out ChuuChuu as a name would make him sound too much like a mouse.
- Viral the beastman in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. While the Beastmen generals have much more recognisable Animal Motifs (gorilla, scorpion, peacock/owl, armadillo), he looks like a human with shark teeth and paws.
- Many Digimon are cleary examples of this trope in action. There's some who look like animals or plants◊, there's some who look like humans◊, some who look like objects or machines◊ and we have stuff like these.◊
- Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica has a tail like a ferret or fox, but a head more like that of a cat, only with an extra pair of ears. According to Word Of God, he was designed without any real animal in mind.
- Yusuke's spirit beast in Yu Yu Hakusho, Puu◊.
- Q-chan from Pet Shop of Horrors is some sort of rabbit-devil creature with a cream-coloured pear-shaped body and rabbit ears, little white horns, black bat wings, a black devil tail, and black duck feet. No-one ever really asks what he is.
- The Bone creatures from Bone. Big-nosed, half-dressed cartoon humanoids in a setting that has both normal humans, talking animals, normal animals, and everything in between.
- Max of Sam & Max: Freelance Police is rabbit-like in shape, but with sharp, carnivorous-looking teeth and a highly aggressive attitude. He's referred to as a "rabbity-thing" by other characters, but prefers the term "lagomorph" himself (which is Greek for "rabbit-shaped"). Strong Bad refers to Sam and Max as "Rabbit-dog and Bunnyman".
- Furthermore, Moai Better Blues reveals that he's amphibian, and a workplace sexual harassment chart seen in What's up, Beelzebub? has a question mark placed over Max's body.
- Erica of Hepcats. While the other principal characters are clearly identifiable by species, Erica is just... "an Erica."
- Marsupilami, featuring the titular yellow-spotted creatures among other jungle critters.
- Guess which species these◊ two◊ characters from German comic Fix & Foxi are supposed to be. The first one's a wolf - his name "Lupo" should be a hint - and the second one a raven, but honestly, could you have told?
- The main character of Frank.
- Sonic The Comic often had some sort of generic psuedo-Dog Face animal that looked strange compared to other characters, that would appear to populate city areas. Grimer is..Something. He looks like a Goblin, or at least something non-animal; how he came to be on Mobius is never explained.
- Well, Grimer started out as an expy of Gríma Wormtongue from "Lord of the Rings", so...magically corrupted human?
- The Smurfs are close to being an Ur Example.
- Cheburashka from Russian cartoons, pictured above. He appears to be part teddy bear, part koala, and part monkey. Cheburashka is the name of his species they agreed on. Originally his name was translated into English as "Topple". Cheburashka, according to the book, is "a funny little creature, unknown to science, who lives in the tropical forest". Some people say that he is reminiscent of lorids.
- Hugo from the Danish film series Jungledyret Hugo. He is often described by fans to be a bear/koala-like thing like Cheburashka.
Live Action TV
- Several Muppets, most notably the "Anything" and "Whatnot" Muppets. There are also specific characters, like Scooter, Beauregard, and Gonzo the Great, who was revealed to be an alien in Muppets From Space. Gonzo was defined as a "Weirdo" in Muppet Babies, and a ".... whatever" in most of his other appearances. In The Muppet Movie, Kermit described him as "sort of like a turkey, but not much."
- In Jim Henson's early 1950s shows, all the puppets were fairly abstract. Even Kermit (one of his earliest characters) was only declared to be a frog in the mid-60s, and only consistently one following his role as The Narrator of The Frog Prince in 1971.
- Sesame Street's Anythings are kind of like cartoon humans. The Muppet Show's Whatnots tended to look like Fraggles.
- Fraggles themselves, as well as Doozers and Gorgs. And all the other weird stuff that lives down there.
Mythology and religion
- The god Set in ancient Egyptian religion has the head of a unknown and mysterious creature that resembles a composite of an aardvark, a donkey, and a jackal. Modern Egyptologists usually refer to it as the "Set animal", "Typhonic beast", or "sha".
- A few theorize that the head isn't an aardvark, but rather some species of gar or other pointy-faced carnivorous fish; whatever they are, they were the ones that ate Osiris' willie when Set cut him up and threw him in the Nile. It can't just be a fish, though, since statues show it as some sort of emaciated hyena-looking thing.
- Eugene the Jeep from Popeye comics looks like a dog sized, yellow, spotted, ambiguous looking cat-thing with a big, lightbulb-looking nose. Meanwhile, the animated cartoons define him as some sort of dog.
- There are a few of these in Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door. Most of the characters are recognizably some kind of established Mushroom Kingdom creature, but some, such as the Glitz Pit security guards, just look like bizarre anthropomorpic things.
- If you'd never heard or seen Sonic before, you probably wouldn't be able to tell that he's a hedgehog just by looking at him. Same goes with Amy, Shadow, and Silver who are also hedgehogs. Knuckles is an echidna, but it wouldn't be too hard to mistake him for a "hedgehog".
- Not to mention the Chao. Small blue creatures with teardrop shaped heads, a connection to an ancient deity, and the ability to evolve based on what animals are around them.
- Gen An from Samurai Shodown.
- Several of the potential students in Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times/Enchanted Folk and the School of Wizardry don't have any readily identifiable species. While many of them are based on animals (or plants, or inanimate objects), some of them are just... things. Good examples include the "cupcake girls" (human-ish yet not all that human girls with cupcakes/ice cream/something on their heads), Matthew the cat/dog/bear critter, and Matt the... the... err, alien? It's not very clear.
- Many characters from Final Fantasy IX are either people with various animal parts or anthro-animalesque creatures.
- Many Pokémon are viewed as this, but a lot can be traced back to at least one real life species. Nevertheless, it has the king of this trope, Eevee. Thanks to an Unstable Genetic Code, it has seven evolutions, and all of them are as indeterminate as it is. Word Of God says the original Eevee is inspired by a fox; probably a Fennec — compare: Fennec pups and Pikachu◊.
- Some people say Klonoa is a cat. Others say he's a rabbit. Some people even call him a "cabbit". The only thing anyone can agree on is that he's adorable.
- The Unndergrounders in Mr. Driller, they're some kind of round, blue creatures with small arms and feet, and huge eyes; there's no way to tell what the hell are those things.
- The hero of the Sega Saturn game Bug!. Besides being a Four-Legged Insect, he doesn't seem to be based off any real-life bug- he's a green bug with the head of a praying mantis, the body of a grasshopper, and the stinger of a bee.
- What are the "ghosts" in Pac-Man? Are they living creatures made of flesh or ghosts?
- Many Monster Rancher characters fit the bill. Many are based off plants, inanimate objects, mythological creatures, and animals (albeit rather loosely with most examples).
- Nobody can figure out what kind of animal Ardy Lightfoot is supposed to be, although "fox cat" is the best guess.
- Nergal from The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy is supposed to be a demon. The name is taken from Sumerian (I believe) mythology, and medieval demonologists placed "Nergal" as the head of Hell's secret police.
- The Warners in Animaniacs. Although often referred to as "puppy-children," they insist that they aren't puppies. They even have a song about it. The page quote is what starts the Warners singing about what they are. In case you're wondering, they're cute! Animaniacs creator Tom Ruegger confirmed in an interview that their species is Cartoonus characterus.
- During the production process, they started out as ducks. But everyone thought they looked too much like three miniature versions of Plucky Duck from Tiny Toon Adventures. So they added red noses, doggy ears, and kitty cat tails.
- Bosko and Honey from Tiny Toon Adventures, who were antecedents to the Warners of Animaniacs. He's a living blot of ink as shown in his premier "Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid", and was vague enough that the creators were asked, at least once, what he was supposed to be. They look like either dogs, cats, or rabbits.◊
- The Tiny Toon Adventures redesign came about because the original design◊ of Bosko and Honey owed a great deal to blackface caricature — when the characters' creators transferred to MGM, they were redesigned◊ to look unmistakably like caricatured black children. Redesigning the characters to resemble the Warners was a less problematic option.
- Most of the characters in Arthur are borderline cases; you have to take Marc Brown's word for it what specific species they are meant to be. Really, can anyone tell, at first glance, that Arthur is an Aardvark? In the first books he did look like an aardvark◊, but then Art Evolution happened. The cartoon uses the newer and more well known style, of course.
- Goofy could be accused of this. To quote Stand By Me: "If Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck and Pluto's a dog, what does that make Goofy?" Goofy's name was originally Dippy Dawg, so "anthropomorphic dog" (as opposed to a pet dog like Pluto) is probably correct.
- Standard portrayal of Pete, Junior, and PJ◊ from Classic Disney Shorts and Goof Troop is that of a cat. In Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Gooy Movie, Pete and PJ seem to be portrayed as Dogfaces, but are considered cats even in that show and those movies.
- Originally (before he was pitted against Mickey Mouse in 1928), Pete was depicted as a nondescript American black bear. In the early days when he was pitted against Mickey, he was a black cat with a white face, a modest looking chin, and a tail. Now he is depicted as an ambiguous looking cat without a tail, a flesh colored muzzle, and a really big chin.
- The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse version of Pete looks reasonably like the cat, but the Kingdom Hearts "present day" version of Pete, though still a cat, looks more like a French Bulldog.
- In Epic Mickey, Small Pete says of Big Bad Pete, "My cousin over on Mean Street makes me seem like a cuddly little kitten."
- And while we're on the subject of Disney, Mickey would probably count as one of these if his species wasn't right there in his name.
- The main character in Chowder is, according to Word Of God, part cat, part rabbit, and part bear. Most of the other characters count too. Panini looks like a rabbit with some cat bits. They are apparently the same species.
- The show lampshades this trope from time to time, such as Chowder making a scene as a distraction, demanding that people "label him" as the appropriate animal.
- Uniqua from The Backyardigans. Nobody knows what she's supposed to be. Word Of God says that Uniqua is "her own unique species".
- The eponymous Fat Dog Mendoza doesn't look very dog-like. He's orange, with a spherical body, four stubby legs, a long flexible tail and a vaguely human face that covers half the front of his body.
- Everyone in Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, but it's easy to guess which species each one is based upon.
- Except Wubbzy itself, what the hell is that thing?
- Antoine from Sonic Sat AM is one of these. This was even called out in a reader's letter in the Archie comic. It was established a while ago that he's a coyote. But for years (pre-Internet), the same question was asked as to what species Sally was, until she was established as a squirrel-chipmunk hybrid. Or a ground squirrel. Or a ground squirrel/chipmunk hybrid. We think.
- Many of the characters from Sonic Underground don't have an established species. Sonic's still vaguely hedgehog-y and therefore so are his immediate family, Robotnik's still vaguely human-y... but what any of the sibling's foster-parents are meant to be is an open question.
- Tico, "the mascot", from Around The World With Willy Fog. Is he a hamster? A mouse? A... rabbit?
- The comic adaptation said he was a hamster, but this didn't show up in the TV series.
- Wooldoor Sockbat from Drawn Together is described by the narrator in the first episode as a "highly annoying underwater whatsit". He's more of a parody of this type of character in general and Spongebob Squarepants specifically.
- Kuma, the Team Pet on Pole Position. He's eventually revealed to have been bioengineered.
- Humf, the titular character from the cartoon series of the same name. Looks like a purple carnivorous lamb, but really, what exactly is he? The creators call him a furry purple thing, which is what he's referred as being in the show. One of his friends, Wallace, is equally ambiguous in design (resembling a Waddling Head). At least his other friend, Loon, looks like a pink peacock.
- Rare non-animal example: Percy of Thomas The Tank Engine. While most other characters are based on real locomotive classes, Percy is a heavily hybridized mix of several other steam engine designs.
- Another non-animal example would be Cars' Lightning McQueen. According to his toy bio, he is actually "a 2006 all-new, one-of-a-kind race car."
- Ralph in Twice Upon A Time is an "All Purpose Animal". His Shapeshifter Default Form is a generically cute little animal of... some sort. With nerd glasses.
- Gideon from Disney's Pinocchio is clearly a cat, but what type of cat (domestic or lynx) is uncertain. He has a long tail and lack of prominent ear tufts like a housecat, but he has cheek tufts like a lynx.◊
- Bobcats (which have similar cheek tufts) had bred with housecats, so Gideon might be a Lynx/Housecat mix.
- The Snarfs from Thundercats are a species of intelligent cat-like creatures that are native to the planet Thundera.
- Cat-like creatures, or chibi-Smaug?
- Bravestarr's jurisdiction, the planet New Texas, is inhabited by little things called Prairie People...basically Snarfs with cowboy clothes.
- Peri from Spliced. Even In a World of Mix-and-Match Critters, they've not explained just what Peri is. He looks kind of like some sort of cat/rodent thing with tentacles for legs. Fuzzy Snuggums' species is never revealed, either.
- Peri's genetic combopack was explained, he is a cat/octopus or octocat if you like. Entree himself was created specifically to be eaten being a melange of cow, pig, chicken and prawn making him very indeterminate.
- Denver the Last Dinosaur. Pear-shaped body that stands upright on short thick legs, slim human-like arms and hands, a long neck topped by a round head with puffy cheeks and lips and big expressive eyes, snake-style belly scales down his neck and chest and stomach and tail, and forward-facing fins along his back. And he's blue.
- The people of Miseryville in Jimmy Two Shoes. They have every strange body trope you can imagine, and they're all different.
- The characters in Out There are pretty inhuman what with their clawed handstubs, round black noses and oddly coloured skin/fur but it's unclear what they are exactly as they never actually address this and refer to themselves as human. Even Chad's family are a different indeterminate species to the rest of the cast and resemble rodents of some kind but again, this isn't questioned and is more a source of Furry Confusion for the audience than anything.
- Keswick from Tuff Puppy is of a species that even the other members of T.U.F.F. can't name.
- Alfe from The Problem Solverz. He's supposed to be part man, part dog, and part anteater, but he's basically a giant brown thing with a long nose.