A cute little pet sidekick whose emotions and reactions are closely synchronized with their keeper. The pet serves the function of the traditional zany
from the Commedia dell'Arte
, aping their human's reactions, and frequently revealing attitudes that the main character may be keeping hidden.
When alone, the character could also talk with this pet
, treating them as a separate person
with the knowledge that would make the pet an extension of the owner's personality.
Related to Expressive Accessory
, which is the garment version of this trope. Not to be confused with a Morality Pet
, which is a character that redeems a villain or dark anti-hero. Compare Loyal Animal Companion
who may lack this empathy despite their devotion to their owner. Mons
may act in this role, especially the main character's.
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Anime and Manga
- Guvava from Macross 7 (→ Mylene)
- Q-chan, a holograph resembling a floating blob, from Vandread (→ Misty Cornwell)
- Melpo in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!. (→ Syrup)
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Xiao-Mei (→ Mei-Chan, to the point that Xiao-Mei also mimics the girl's movements)
- Black Hayate → Riza Hawkeye. Like his master, he is quiet, cute, and has a whole lot of persistence and courage packed into a small frame (witness his attack on Gluttony when the latter has Riza cornered).
- Puu from YuYu Hakusho (→ Yusuke). Justified because he is a representation of Yusuke's soul or 'inner self'. Yusuke is a deliquent and Puu is an affectionate stuffed animal.
- Maya from Azumanga Daioh, though he shows up much later in the series than most (→ Sakaki)
- Happens in the Pokémon anime a fair deal, but the Mime Jr. species is particularly notable - its very nature means it exactly duplicates the gestures and expressions of its owner. The fact that one of the main characters happens to own one helps show this.
- One Piece: Chimney's Bunny/Cat thing Gonbe. He's probably the most literal example being a second Chimney in every way. He mimics her movements, facial expressions, and even his growls/mews/whatever-the-hell sound he makes are the same number of syllables as every one of Chimney's statements.
- Boogie-kun from Karin (→ Anju) clearly reflects his master's thoughts, even the ones she resents having.
- 07-Ghost takes this trope to a whole new level: Not only is Burupya Teito's certified empathy pet as he is also Mikage's incarnation. Thus making this cuter than cute dragon a mix of pet and best friend, bonus points for the Heroic Sacrifice involved.
- Yumekichi the monkey (→ Keiji) in Sengoku Basara often mimics his master's actions and serves to reflect his true emotions when he enters Stepford Smiler mode.
- Old Lace from Runaways is telepathically bonded to Gert and after her death to Chase.
- Kitty Pryde's dragon Lockheed.
- Doctor Nemesis of X-Club gets stuck with one after a telepathic starfish bonds to his head. Said starfish broadcasts his thoughts, which he first discovered when the starfish revealed that Nemesis often admires his co-worker Doctor Rao's "shapely behind" (while Doctor Rao is standing right next to him). The starfish later reveals that Nemesis is jealous of Cyclops' cool costume. It also reveals that while Nemesis doesn't think too highly of his co-worker Jeffries' scientific methodology, he does crave his friendship. Nemesis understandably wants said starfish gone as soon as possible. At the end of the series he keeps it because he "[gets] lonely without it."
- Green Lantern: Hal Jordan had a pet alien starfish named Itty in his space trucker days.
- Bob the Insecticon serves as this in IDW's Transformers comics for Sunstreaker. This leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Sunstreaker is feeling rejected and sad and Bob curls up next to Sunstreaker and comforts him.
- Tank in My Little Pony Micro Series Issue #2 , even just holding his flag to cheer on Rainbow when the rest of town has given up hope.
- Salacious Crumb from Return of the Jedi (→ Jabba; for those who don't recognize the name, he's the little "Oh, OHH hohohohohoho!" guy)
- Disney Animated Canon examples:
- Abu → Alladin for the theiving and points out his Love at First Sight with Jasmine.
- Rajah → Jasmine. Watch his reaction to the Sultan talking about the bethrohal.
- Meeko and Flit (→ Pocahontas) act out her "I Want" Song while she sings it.
- The villain, Ratcliffe, also has one, a pug named Percy, who does a Heel-Face Turn and joins the good guys. Percy, while he is meant to be an Empathy Pet, doesn't exactly share much in personality with Ratcliffe. All they really have in common is a preference for the finer things in life.
- Djali from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, who was from the original book (→ Esmeralda). With the gypsy 'magic' and the timely rescue at the gallows, one could be forgiven for thinking the goat was her familiar.
- Pegasus from Hercules, was given to Hercules at birth and then accompanied him during all his adventures. It's expected he would know the boy better than he knows himself.
- The dog and cat from Swing Time (→ the Watsons)
- Although it would be in the worst taste to label them as "pets", Dćmons (animal avatars of a person's soul) in the His Dark Materials trilogy often serve this purpose to their person. Will is disturbed by the idea that someone could learn so much about him just by looking at the animal that follows him around but Lyra, who is used to this sort of thing, says that means his daemon would be an animal that looks like another animal.
- A Song of Ice and Fire
- The direwolves belonging to the Stark children seem to be capable of feeling the same emotions as their owners. Normally they are capable of discerning whether or not a character is to be trusted but there have been a few instances where the wolves acted aggressively towards a character their owner had been angry at, even if they were trustworthy.
- Daenerys's dragons seem to be empathic as well.
- Dairine from the Young Wizards series has a telepathic link with her sentient laptop, so it makes some sense that he reflects her moods. Exactly how Spot can do this without a face is a bit of a mystery, but he manages.
- The cat on Ian's head in Mac Hall.
- Chester in College Roomies from Hell!!! (→ Dave). Of course, he does have half of Dave's soul, making it a Justified Trope.
- Lita, Zii's cat in Ménage ŕ 3.
- In their definitions Ryuu-Nekos from Dreamkeepers are described as having this as an attribute when they bond with or are tamed by their owners in addition to the personality quirks already present in their breed.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rarity's cat Opalescence is shown hissing and growling at a set of ugly dresses Rarity made, even as Rarity herself tries to pretend that they are fine.
- An episode of King of the Hill revolves around Hank's dog Ladybird being uncharacteristically aggressive to a black man, causing Hank concerns that he might be racist. He's not. Lady was aggressive because the guy was a repairman, and Hank hates repairmen.
- The concept is Truth in Television; some animals react very markedly to the emotions of their keeper and sometimes others. Though like everything else, fiction obviously exaggerates the effects.