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Funny Animal

"I am not an animal! Hear me? I'm not an animal. Well... okay, maybe I am kind of an animal, I'm a duck. And I don't wear pants. But I talk and live in a house, so you know what I had in mind."
Duckman

They're animals who think, talk and act mostly like human beings. Unlike the Speech-Impaired Animal or Talking Animal (whose priorities and motivations are still that of an animal despite their ability to speak), the Funny Animal has almost all the mannerisms of a human being. Sometimes, only his appearance distinguishes him from the hairless primates who draw him. Indeed, one of the main incentives in using such characters are that they are more distinctive, and hence easier to draw as recognizable individuals, than ordinary humans. Or maybe it's just because Furries Are Easier to Draw.

A good comparison, from the Scooby-Doo cartoons: Scooby-Doo is a Speech-Impaired Animal. Scrappy-Doo, who might as well be a midget in a dog suit, is a Funny Animal. (This jarring difference is one reason why Scrappy-Doo's character seems to be universally loathed.)

The main distinguishing trait of many Funny Animals is that in most situations, they can be replaced by a human and the plot would be mostly identical. Unlike Petting Zoo People, which have animal heads and tails on humanoid bodies, Funny Animals have a body that is generally shaped like that of their respective species (or no species in particular). Funny Animals are bipedal even if their species is not naturally so, and most Funny Animal birds have Feather Fingers, whether their wings look completely like wings or look (to varying degrees) like arms. Some Funny Animals can shift between using two legs and four.

Practically any cartoon series from the Golden Age Of Animation, or video games aimed at children younger than 13 have at least one such character.

Funny Animal is the technical term used by cartoonists to refer to the genre and characters. Also note that the "funny" in the title isn't literal: Funny Animals can be serious characters too.

Frequently overlaps with Animal Superheroes and Intelligent Gerbil. May live in a World of Funny Animals. May suffer from Carnivore Confusion and Furry Confusion. See Petting Zoo People for characters who are even more anthropomorphized, and Civilized Animal and Talking Animal for those who are less anthropomorphized.

For characters who are somewhat between Funny Animal and Petting Zoo People there is the subtrope Borderline Petting Zoo People:
  • Borderline PZP have a body that does not look simply like an animal-accented human body, nor does it keep the basic shape of the animal entirely like a Funny Animal. They look partly humanoid and partly like their species, often they have either humanoid legs and non-humanoid torso, humanoid torso and non-humanoid legs, or look semi-humanoid all over. Many top heavy bipedal animal characters are of the humanoid torso and non-humanoid legs variety. Females are depicted with human-like breasts fairly often.

For further tropes pertaining to funny animals, furries and the tropes that appear frequently in their genres, see Funny Animal Tropes. Compare Intellectual Animal.

Closely related to Beast Fable, which is the ancient form of the genre.

On the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism, these fall somewhere between the Civilized Animal (who still looks and acts like an animal, but lives in a Mouse World of some sort) and the Petting Zoo Person (who might as well be human).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Alexandr and Sergei from Compare the Meerkat.
  • Several Orangina! ads feature anthropomorphs having a dance party. In their underclothes. For some reason.
  • One british lottery has a fox-man as a mascot.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The title character from Black Cat Detective. If Samuel L. Jackson were a cat, then he would also apparently be a Chinese police officer.
  • Tama from Hayate the Combat Butler. He speaks perfect Japanese, can walk on two legs, has a degree in economics and is a qualified boiler room operator. Hayate is the only person who knows he can do it, however; to the rest of the cast he is just a lovable, oafish and above-average intelligent tiger (or 'big cat'). He's also spoken in front of Wataru. When confronted about speaking in front of others he says something about not wanting to shatter the girls' (Maria and Nagi) dreams.
  • Cat Soup :the cats have human characteristics but you have to stop and wonder if at least one of them really is processing the world around them.
  • In Studio Ghibli's Porco Rosso (The Crimson Pig) the main protagonist is a pig, or more exactly a "pig-headed" human as he has the complete anatomy of a stout person except for the head. He is the only one of his type and lives among a human society who, while aware of his difference, don't find it bizarre and sometimes openly point it out. It's stated that he somehow became a Baleful Polymorph, given that there are pictures (and a flashback) showing him in human form.
  • Pokémon
    • Meowth of the Team Rocket trio taught himself "human talk" and how to stand on his hind legs, all for the love of a female Meowth named Meowzie who said that a human could do more for her than anything he could (as in, the food, housing and adoration), only to be rejected as now she considers him a freak.
    • In one manga adaptation, a story arc centers around the kitten of the very same Meowzie; she's found in a Poké Ball the gang purchases (unable to get captured herself, the mother pops her kitten into an unsold ball to ensure that whoever finds her will give her a good home). When Team Rocket, and thus Meowth, come around making trouble, Meowth meets this kitten and instantly sees her mother in her face and shining coin. Then she tells him it's creepy how he acts like he's a human. Oh heartbreak.
    • Mewtwo seems quite human-like, but his psychic powers make that easy. In Pokemon Special, he actually has Blaine's DNA and is thus a Half-Human Hybrid.
  • Princess Tutu's Mr. Cat looks exactly as his name implies, and occasionally meows and cleans himself with his paws, but is otherwise a marriage-obsessed ballet instructor. While he is the most prominent one and has the most screen time, there are other guest characters that also fall under this trope.
  • Chamo in Mahou Sensei Negima!, an ermine with a suspicious attraction for human girls. Most definitely a human mage that was slapped with the Academy's very specific punishment for breaking The Masquerade. The punishment is explained by Negi himself.
  • There's a couple examples in Dragon Ball Z, which stick out like sore thumbs among the overwhelmingly human/space alien cast.
    • Oolong, an anthropomorphic pig.
    • Puar probably also counts. They only stick out if you never saw or read the original Dragon Ball, which was a much more light-hearted series and almost overflowing with Funny Animals as secondary and tertiary characters. Dragon Ball was originally based on Journey to the West, which had Zhu Bajie (known as "Cho Hakkai" in Japan and "Pig" or "Pigsy" in most English translations) and Sun Wukong (better known by his Japanese name "Son Goku") as two of the main characters-Oolong and Goku, only in their original forms.
  • Damekko Doubutsu takes this to it's logical extreme with the characters looking like humans in costumes. It never actually comes up in the series.
  • Fairy Tail's Happy and Charle, the flying cat companions of Natsu Dragoneel and Wendy Marvell, respectively. Happy even becomes offended at one point when an enemy doesn't count him as being a mage.
  • One Piece
    • Tony Tony Chopper, a gullible reindeer doctor. Justified in that he ate the Hito Hito no Mi (Human-Human fruit), which gave him human intelligence; before that, he was an ordinary (albeit blue-nosed) reindeer.
    • Bepo, an apologetic, self-conscious polar bear. Whenever he's aware of people who are surprised at the fact that he can speak, he'll get depressed, hold his head down in shame, and apologize to them.
    • When Pappagu the starfish was young, he mixed up the word hitode (the Japanese word for "starfish") with hito (a Japanese word for "human"), so he thought he was human. By the time he realized he was a starfish, he had already learned how to speak like a human. He has also created the successful "Criminal" clothing line.
    • Pekoms, one of Big Mam's subordinates is a lion, with little eyes (which he counsel behind sunglasses) a formal attire and excellent fighting skills. One might expect that Pekoms was a human who ate a lion Zoan fruit and stays in the hybrid form, but no. He's a human-like lion who ate a turtle Zoan fruit.
  • Shirokuma Cafe is pretty much about this, as well as their interactions with humans.
    • Inverted with Mr. Shoebill from Episode 8. He does not talk or act anthropomorphosized, but he is still sentient as the Funny Animal characters and is the editor in chief of a local food magazine.
    • Is lampshaded in one episode where a nameless human (Nicknamed Mr. Necktie) visits from out of town. And is bewildered that animals can walk and talk and tries to study them. (Despite it's been shown that Funny Animals are everywhere in that universe)
  • Kero the Guardian Beast from Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Gorilla from Cromartie High School.

    Comicbooks 
  • DC Comics' Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, which contained several Continuity Nods to the other Funny Animal comics DC published.
  • In Amulet, the population of Kanalis. Unusually, it's due to a curse, and we actually see people in the process of turning into them.
  • Tawky Tawny is a very civilized version of this in the original Captain Marvel.
  • The titular duo of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, with Sam leaning slightly further towards being a Petting Zoo Person than Max but still having enough animal coding to be this trope. Some characters, like Sal from the video games, also qualify.
  • Carson the Muskrat from Dork Tower. He doesn't wear clothes note , but otherwise uses computers, gets jobs, drives cars, and functions socially like everyone else.
  • Very common in British Comics examples include Biffo the Bear and Big Eggo from The Beano, Korky the Cat from The Dandy, Mickey the Monkey from The Topper and Rupert Bear.
  • Superlópez: The Poet Ant, a humanoid radioactive ant from El castillo de arena (The Sand Castle).
  • In the Doctor Who comics, the Sixth Doctor's companion Frobisher is drawn to look like this kind of character, though he's technically a shapeshifter who chooses to take the form of a funny anthropomorphic penguin most of the time.

    Film 
  • Deconstructed by Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. He's a walking, talking raccoon that can stand on two legs and hold heavy weaponry because he had multiple painful experiments performed on him.

    Literature 
  • The works of Richard Scarry, particularly the Busytown books.
  • All of the non-human sentient creatures in the world of Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger novels.
  • All the characters in the Geronimo Stilton series.
  • Wicked makes an important distinction between animals, who are your average unintelligent beings, and Animals, who are this.
  • Black Dogs has Funny Dogs, Ferrets, Wolverines, Badgers, Polar Bears, Hyenas, Giant Ground Sloths, and it is implied that humans are just another breed of Funny Animal that resemble monkeys.
  • Later parts in the story The Wind in the Willows like Toad's car and Toad Hall
  • The animals from Animal Farm especially the pigs.
  • Elephant & Piggie
  • Koziolek Matolek. Oddly enough, in the first few illustrations he is apparently an ordinary goat like the others, and suddenly becomes anthropomorphic once he goes on his quest.
  • Findus the cat in Pettson and Findus is this, he's basically a small child in a cat's body.
  • Brave Story has quite a large population of these. Of course, they're looked down upon by some.
  • Spectral Shadows has a bunch of these in Serial 11. Going off the Synopsis Page on the Live Journal site, they're also slated to appear in other serials.

    Live-Action TV 

    Newspaper Articles 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Snoopy from Peanuts is an odd corner case, in that he lives in a dog house and doesn't speak, but still manages to be very expressive, and largely acts human, with some members of the cast occasionally forgetting that he's a dog.
  • Otto, Sarge's dog in Beetle Bailey, is another example of a non-talking Funny Animal. When first introduced in the strip he was more of a regular dog, but over time Mort Walker began having him walk upright, don a full uniform, etc.
  • The Far Side has funny animals of all kinds, from cows to insects to amoebas (the Rule of Funny superseding the fact that protozoans are not animals).
  • Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes. Hobbes is really a mix of Funny Animal and Talking Animal; he walks on two legs and sleds, plays baseball, and talks with Calvin sometimes and walks on four legs, pounces, ands runs around friskily other times.
  • The main characters of Pearls Before Swine are all Funny Animals who live in a Crapsack World.
  • My Cage is a funny animal world taking place in a universe where all the humans disappeared and the animals left behind eventually evolved into anthros.

    Pinball 
  • In Police Force, almost everyone is a Funny Animal, wearing little to no clothing and exhibiting natural body proportions. The only exceptions are the police officers, who are Petting Zoo People.

    Toys 

    Videogames 
  • It'd be easier to list the few human characters in Animal Crossing as the sheer number of examples of funny animals in each entry in the series (including Japan-only villagers) put together could possibly fill up half of this page alone (let's just say the game's title is well deserved). The only human(s) in the games are the Player Character(s).
  • Beyond Good & Evil has these for most of the NPC's: Pig-men, shark-men, walrus-men, etc. Taking pictures of them with the camera names their species in the form of "[Species] Sapien."
  • Brutal: Paws of Fury, a game that came out during the 16-bit fighting game boom, has a cast entirely made up of funny animals (most of them Half Dressed Cartoon Animals)
  • Bug. Most of the arthropod enemies in the game aren't, though.
  • Cave Story. The Mimigas from are rabbit-people. Other than subsisting on flowers (and not wearing pants) they don't act any different than their human neighbors. (And at least two of them are humans who were magically transformed.)
  • Crash Bandicoot, well, to an extent, with Ripper Roo and Tiny Tiger who averts this somewhat.
  • Dark Chronicle. Dr. Dell.
  • In Inherit the Earth the entire cast is like this, more or less, due to humans being extinct.
  • Lugaru. And its upcoming sequel Overgrowth is a somewhat more realistic take on this trope.
  • Tail Concerto and Solatorobo are set in a world of floating continents in the sky, populated by dog-people and cat-people. While they mostly act like humans, the dogs are prone to chewing on bones and their national pastime seems to be frisbee-cathing.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • The "core" stars of the Classic Disney Shorts - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and so on.
  • Count Duckula.
    DUCKULA: You mean human sacrifice?
    YUBI: Well, almost human sacrifice, give or take a feather.
  • The cast of TaleSpin. Baloo started as a Talking Animal living in the jungles of India and wound up an Anthro flying a plane and living in a city.
  • Porky Pig and (sometimes) Daffy Duck are rare Looney Tunes examples. (Porky is probably like this because he was created earlier, in an era when Disney had made Funny Animals universal; Daffy probably learned how to drive and wear clothes from hanging around Porky.)
  • Hamton J. Pig from Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog. While everyone acknowledges that Courage is a dog and usually treat him as such, other Funny Animal characters get by with no reference at all to their species. Courage's own characterization as a dog slips sometimes. Often the alien/evil entity/villain of the day (who is sometimes also a talking animal) will treat Courage on the same level as the humans. Often by trying to kill them.
  • The Get Along Gang
  • The penguins in Happy Feet are an odd case; at times they uncomfortably straddle the line between penguins who can talk and penguin-people.
  • Brian Griffin of Family Guy usually falls squarely into this category, albeit with occasional Talking Animal moments (particularly in the first run of the series, where they were more frequent).
  • The chickens in Chicken Run are difficult to categorise—the humans treat them just like any other chickens, but most of them wear at least one article of clothing and the stupidest one is capable of knitting.
  • All of the cast of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!!
  • All members of the London Clan in Gargoyles resemble humanoid animals with feathered wings. The Mutates are a genetically-engineered, chimeric version.
  • I Am Not An Animal. The animals were genetically engineered to talk and were raised with celebrity magazines photoshopped so half the people had animal heads. They escaped and didn't realise that animals aren't supposed to talk.
  • The Schnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show: Schnookums and Meat themselves, plus many of the characters on the Pith Possum segments.
  • Chu-Chu from The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan is responsible for a lot of the show's funniest moments.
  • Regular Show both plays this straight and averts it with its main characters. Mordecai the bluejay might as well be a human, seeing as he doesn't eat like a bird, fly or do anything else birdlike. Rigby the raccoon, on the other hand, is shown to dig through trash and run on all fours, but otherwise acts almost as humanlike. Lampshaded in this conversation:
    Mordecai: Dude, don't dig in the trash. It's not natural.
    Rigby: You're not natural!
    • Of note is that in the Regular Show universe, everybody who can talk is considered human, and nobody really seems to question it.
  • The entire cast of The Great Mouse Detective could be replaced by humans and it wouldn't make any difference at all. Well, except for Toby who is very much a dog.
  • A few of these show up as background characters on Jimmy Two-Shoes. When you consider how other citizens look, it's no surprise they don't stand out.
  • Disney's Robin Hood
  • One-off antagonist Zeb (A zebra) from the original My Little Pony cartoon. Rather jarring given that most of the cast are also equines, but are not anthropomorphized to the extent Zeb is.
  • Every character in Alfred J. Kwak, barring a rather beastlike human.
  • Strangely Popeye The Sailor encountered one of these in "The Hungry Goat". The short overall felt like more of a Tex Avery cartoon than a Popeye cartoon.
    • Funny animals are featured prominently in "Popeye The Sailor" and "I Eats My Spinach". Justified, as Fleischer Studios was known to use these in the Betty Boop cartoons, where the Popeye series branched out of.
  • Although some of them dip near-ish the Talking Animal end of the spectrum sometimes, the cast of Tuff Puppy is essentially this. Although they retain some animal like mannerisms (Dudley, a dog, has a superhuman sense of smell and an unfortunate habit of chewing his own butt, and his partner Kitty loses all self-control and star whenever she sees a mouse or a ball of string
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers is straddles the line between this and Talking Animal, with a healthy dose of Furry Confusion for good measure. The main cast usually falls squarely into Funny Animal territory, though at times might slip into Talking Animal (Chip and Dale more than the others, as they will sometimes run on all fours like actual chipmunks. Monterey and Gadget almost never behave like actual mice). Most other rodents in the series are also portrayed fairly consistently as Funny Animal. Cats generally tread both sides, while dogs and almost everything else tend to be Talking Animal exclusively. Furry Confusion occurs with pretty much everything, particularly fish and incidental or background characters.
  • The cast of Sponge Bob Square Pants.
  • The cast of Kung Fu Panda. In particular, the characters use their animal attributes in their fighting styles, like Crane's wings or Po's body fat. Tigress and Tai Lung come the closest to crossing over into Petting Zoo People, but they are still distinctly feline.
  • EVERY SINGLE Almost Naked Animals characters.
  • The character of Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Everyone in Camp Lazlo.
  • The Goof Nutz Pizza band from the first epidsode of Napoleon Dynamite.
  • Rex the cockroach from Gawayn seems to be somewhere between this and Civilised Animal
  • The cast of The Backyardigans.
  • Most of the cast (sans Fee and Foo) of Bad Seeds.
  • All of the characters in Pig Goat Banana Cricket except for Banana.
  • All citizens of Elmore in The Amazing World of Gumball are Funny Animals/Food/Objects/Whatevers. Species is reflected in their behavior to various degrees, but all of them live in houses, have jobs, and send their children to school like humans.

    Other 
  • Older Than Dirt: The Ancient Egyptians apparently liked funny animals. The story of The Mouse As Vizier features talking animals who have a very human political system, and several papyri depict animals such as mice, cats, hyenas, antelope, crocodiles, donkeys, monkeys, and lions playing board games, using weapons, drinking out of goblets, and playing musical instruments. Except for standing on their hind legs, they aren't anthropomorphic at all. And they completely ignore natural predator-prey relationships. They even herd livestock and ride chariots pulled by normal animals.
  • A fancy Sumerian lyre, dated to c. 2600 BCE, features inlay scenes that depict funny animals. A bear, jackal, and donkey play music, while a lion and an antelope serve beverages. Except for standing on their hind legs and having hands, they look like normal animals.

Our Gnomes Are WeirderFantastic Sapient Species TropesHalf-Human Hybrid
Domestic Only CartoonAnimation GenresThe Golden Age of Animation
Feather FingersAnimal Anthropomorphism TropesFurries Are Easier to Draw
Ear NotchCartoon CharactersGratuitous Animal Sidekick
Framing DeviceOlder Than DirtThe Gambling Addict
Follow Your NoseZany CartoonGravity Is a Harsh Mistress
Baseball BugsSports StoriesFoot 2 Rue
Intelligent GerbilSliding Scale of AnthropomorphismCivilized Animal
Dragged into DragImageSource/Anime and MangaGeneric Cuteness

alternative title(s): Funny Animals
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