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Manga: Animal Land

Animal Land (Japanese title Doubutsu no Kuni). Also known as "Animal Kingdom" and "Animal Country".

The jungle can be a hard place to live, and is no such place for a baby but Monoko (a tanuki) cannot bear to leave this helpless thing alone, and so takes it in. With the help of the whole tanuki village, they survive the harsh winter while trying to avoid the predators that surround them, even befriending some of them.

It soon evolves into the baby trying to discover what happened to humanity, and how he can make new discoveries that might get the herbivores and carnivores to coexist.

Think Animal Farm meets Tarzan, with a touch of Rugrats thrown in for flavor.

Written and drawn by Makoto Raiku of Zatch Bell! fame and translated by Kodansha, finished with a total of 14 volumes.

Tropes:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Seigo the wildcat from Chapter 0.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The Chimeras that Giller uses are unnatural monstrosities that aren't anything compared to the relatively natural looking animals of Animal Land. A number of them look more like they come from a horror themed manga like Berserk rather than the manga Animal Land seemed to be before this point.
    • Subverted when a few decide to side with the heroes when they develop their own ego and stop being Giller's mooks. One of them even acts like a Plucky Comic Relief. Played dead straight by Globule, the draconic Living Weapon designed by Giller to kill all life on the planet.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Many animals are enormous compared to what normally would be in real life. One example would be Kurokagi, a lynx whose size would be comparable to that of a real life bear. A number of animals in particular are the size of small skyscrapers.
  • Animal Talk: Each species speaks a different language, called a cry. Oddly enough human words are the only language that all animals can understand, which is what makes Tarouza's goal a possibility.
    • And it turns out that most of humanity wasn't able to communicate with animals. The children gathered in the story were chosen specifically because they were amongst the few among the entire recorded human history who could speak to animals, Dr. Doolittle style.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Artificial Human/Humanoid Abomination: Human shaped Chimeras are artificially created creatures that while may look human, can transform themselves in all manner of Body Horror forms.
  • Babies Ever After: Tarouza, Capri, and even Jyu have gender-flipped kids.
  • Badass: In this world of eat-or-be-eaten, Badass is a minimum requirement to survive. As such, almost any animals who fight or kill to survive usually have a shade of this. Even among these animals, a few stand out:
    • Jeek's dad, a wolf who was preying on Tarouza's tanuki family to feed his own family. He is by no mean an exceptionally strong animal by this world's standards but it's still undeniable he is a badass. take a look
    • Catherine the Hippopotamus. She will remind you just why the hippo is one of the most dangerous animals in the world despite being mostly herbivores. that bite gotta hurt.
    • Dougen, a tiger who uses Kung Fu to fight. He is one of the strongest animals in the series. Apparently, this guy is so strong and badass he could kill and eat any animals in this world including bears, lions or elephants, which are usually The Dreaded and considered the top-tier animals in this world. His family left him because they were unable to compete for food with him. Oh and let's not forget his more carnivorous "form" [1]
    • Kiritobi, a weasel who is also a Ninja. If that does not sound Badass enough for you, every ninja from Naruto can learn a thing or two from his final fight. It has to be seen to be believed.
    • Surprisingly, the reigning Badass champion of Animal Land might actually be Kurokagi.His look alone might be more than enough as a suggestion. While he is an exceptionally huge lynx, his size and strength are nothing special by this world's standards. He is also not the fastest animal in the series thus he is by no means a top-tier fighter. However, what makes him stand out is that in almost every one of his fights, the odds are almost always against him, either the enemy is far larger than him or have overwhelming numbers. Yet, apparently years of surviving this harsh world, his instincts, skills and badassery help him manage to keep up with all the top-tiers, fight on equal ground and at times defeat them to save Tarouza's ass. He would go through hell and fight the whole world if it means keeping Tarouza safe. It is very safe to say that, aside from Monoko, he was the sole reason that Tarouza survives for much of the manga. He remains Taroza's main mount until the end and is rewarded for his badassery in its final chapters with cool Powered Armor.
    • Let's not forget about our human protagonist. Even as a baby, he was fearless enough to confront carnivores or animals hundred times his size and give them a piece of his mind. A few years older, he would even dare to go against the Lions, who are generally viewed as The Dreaded and were said by Kurokagi as the type they should never mess with, just to save some lion cubs who previously were trying to prey on them. His badassery goes over the top when his adoptive mother, Monoko, dies. Take a look at the current Tarouza.
  • Badass Adorable: Monoko. While normally displayed as a cute and lovable airhead, she acts as a speedy and competent mount for Tarouza in battle and can look quite feral when she gets very serious.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The bear fought by Jeek's family in volume 2 is the largest animal seen up to that point in the series, and it kills every adult wolf in the family, fatally wounding Jeek's dad. Even after seemingly dying it is revealed to later be alive.
  • Beast with a Human Face
    • On the antagonist side, there is Bahr Milan, an artificial created chimera. The second form he takes on after ejecting his head and combining with several other chimeras is hard to describe. Basically he's a horse headed giant armed multi-legged centaur-like being whose hoofed legs are arranged like jellyfish tentacles. What stands out about him other than that are the two human faces located on his torso.
    • On the protagonist side, there is also the chimera Salad Udon. He can best described as a four legged slug lizard creature with snakes for arms. He also has a human face.
  • Blush Sticker: Monoko has these.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: When Pepper is scared by Kurokagi in chapter 3. Since Pepper's a tanuki, he doesn't wear pants, so we get quite a good view of this. It's not detailed, so it stays funny, but even so at least one scantalator has found it too inappropriate to include in their scanlation.
  • Canis Major: Wolves like Jeek's father and other canines are huge.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Chimeras gain animal attributes and become stronger via this.
  • Canon Immigrant: Ponygon and his mother from Zatch Bell! are introduced in volume five, with "Mamagon" urging Tarouza to make her son a part of his traveling group. Notably, his cry is "mehh mehh" in Animal Land (or at least the English translation) compared to "meru meru me" in Zatch Bell.
  • Character Development: For Tarouza to succeed in his goal of uniting all types of animals, meat-eaters must undergo a major change in the way they think.
  • Cheerful Child: Monoko, even though she becomes Tarouza's "mommy", seems to be only a kid herself at the start of the series.
  • Child Soldiers: Used by the horses in volume five, one in particular serving as a catalyst for Ena the hyena's (and her and her fellow horses') character development. Tarouza is basically a child general.
  • Children Are Innocent: The young meat-eaters are the easiest for Tarouza to influence. Capri and the four lion cubs show up at Tarouza's festival in volume four, while the older lions are too prideful to attend.
  • Civilized Animal: In striving for his goal, Tarouza makes the animals around him smarter. Some characters, like Jyu, disapprove intensely of this.
  • Crapsack World: To the animals of Animal Land, their world is this. A world where the weak lose their loved ones and where even some of the strong question their very existence.
  • Dance Party Ending: After the conflict between Tarouza's animal village and Capri's lion family is resolved when Tarouza helps them fight against evil lions, Tarouza holds a festival for the entire village, including such recently made discoveries as "dancing" and "wine".
    • The series ends with another festival, seven years after the fight against Giller.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Kurokagi.
  • Determinator: Many characters, if not almost everyone.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Tarouza defeats the most evil lion in the pride, the others cool down, and when he later helps them out and feeds them delicious cheese they basically become friends with him (especially the kids).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Tarouza and the other humans who can speak to animals, all go around barefooted. Quo is the notable exception to this.
  • Everythings Better With Llamas: Llamas are abundant and usually provide a form of Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Some animals walk on two legs and some walk on all fours. A number of them though zigzag between walking on two and four.
  • Fur Bikini: Capri wears this, even when she was a child.
  • Genre Shift: The manga starts off as a simple story of a baby being raised by tanukis in the wild. Then after a few years, it turns into a story about the child trying to find a way to allow carnivores to live alongside herbivores without starving in the small but ever growing animal utopia he created. When the child grows up, the manga turns into a straight up Shōnen wherein he commands herds of animals to fight against gigantic Animalistic Abominations in order to change the Crapsack World they live in.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Appears to happen to Tarouza when the strain of projecting the voices of all the animals in the world gets to him. Subverted in that he's brought back to life.
  • Good Is Dumb / Good Is Impotent / Evil Genius: Capri is relatively good but hadn't created anything beyond her own clothes; Tarouza is very good and invents agriculture but is powerless against Jyu's fire and later rediscovered human technology) and Giller's rediscovered and enhanced chimeras; meanwhile Riemu and her gorilla "family" had knowledge of the past and miracle fruit that carnivores could eat but isolated themselves.
  • Hero of Another Story: Jyu appeared to have gone on an interesting journey when he was out of the story, considering he too found ancient human technology and mastered it enough to go toe-to-toe with Giller and his abomination.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tons!
  • Informed Species: The tanukis look less like real life tanukis and more like small humans in bear-like costumes.
  • Jungle Princess: Capri is this.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The manga starts off with Tarouza, a human child, dealing with relatively simple challenges from trying to get the various animals to get along in harmony, to defending against gigantic carnivores. Then comes Jyu, another human child who is a Social Darwinist, who sees all that Tarouza is trying to do an affront against nature and thus burns down all of the hard work Tarouza did in seven years.
    • Jyu is then upstaged in more ways than one by Giller. He is a mysterious Mad Scientist type character who causes all sorts of harm towards the animals in the world. Also he uses Animalistic Abominations known as Chimeras.
      • That's not the end of it. By the climax of the series, Giller plans to commit absolute total extinction of all forms of life right down to the tiniest insect, bacteria and plant seeds by unleashing an unspeakably horrifying Eldritch Abomination that will spend the next billion years of its life span making sure that all life on the planet is utterly extinguished so as to end all suffering through the purification of death. Holy. Shit.
  • Last of His Kind: Tarouza, Capri, Jyu, Giller, and Riemu are the five remaining humans in Animal Land. An interesting twist that they are actually from five separate time periods brought to the future rather than surviving humans.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The appropriately named Chimeras are mix and match animals.
  • No Cartoon Fish: Regular fish for the most part are drawn hyper realistically and are a source of food rather than sentient beings. They were the main food for Kurokagi and Jeek while they lived alongside the plant eating animals.
    • Hector the whale actually calls out Tarouza for this thinking, claiming that even if they don't emit a cry he can hear, it doesn't mean that they are any less deserving to live.
  • Noble Wolf: There is Jeek's family and later Jeek after he grows up and stops looking very gonk-like.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Llama Akiko is an obvious parody of Wada Akiko, a famous Japanese singer and actress.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After Monoko sacrifices herself to protect her children from being eaten, that's when the manga takes a more serious tone.
  • Offing the Offspring: Capri and her adopted lion siblings learn the harsh truth that when a pride is taken over, the offspring of the previous male are subjugated to infanticide.
    • Dougen the tiger accidentally killed his son after the latter killed a deer that he had essentially adopted.
  • Panthera Awesome: The manga features several of these among its animal cast. They range from Kurokagi, a gigantic lynx, to lions the size of small skyscrapers. As well as the tiger Dougen, who before giving up his meat eating ways had spent his life killing and eating any animal he could (including lions, bears and even elephants!) and lying on a bed of their skulls.
  • Papa Wolf/Mama Bear: Many animals throughout the manga.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tarouza, Moses-style; it's implied that the others would have eventually suffered the same fate because of their powers.
    • Parental Abuse: Giller's dad abused him after the world got tired of his "trick".
  • Plucky Comic Relief: This seems to be the entire schtick for llamas.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Hyenas seem to be this, having rules that they follow to distance them from other meat-eaters.
  • Raised by Wolves: Tarouza was raised by tanuki, Capri by lions, and Riemu by gorillas. Suggested by Jyu.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Giller's belief system is this taken Up to Eleven.
  • Shout-Out: The Volume 7 omake of Llama Akiko is one to Dragon Ball wherein she wears a uniform similar to Goku's and performs Tenshinhan's signature move in mid-air. Even the title of the very omake itself is part of the shout out as it refers to Tien's former master.
    • When the Adult Arc comes round, Piman dons an attire similar to Captain Harlock.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: How anthropomorphic the animals are in appearance varies from animal to animal. Some are drawn realistically like real life animals, some look like goofy cartoon characters, and some look completely like Petting Zoo People. Some wear clothes and some don't. Some walk on all fours, some walk on two legs, and some zigzag. Heck, this even applies to animals from the same species, especially Capri's lion siblings who are different combinations of gonk, baby-faced plushy, humanoid, and realistic.
  • Predators Are Mean: Played straight at first. Although most of it had to do with the predators being unable to understand the cries of pain from the prey they killed.
  • The Social Darwinist: Jyu completely believes in the "survival of the fittest" notion wherein strong animals prey on and can do anything towards weaker animals. He is totally against anything that goes against this notion, such as animals working together, as he sees it as a lie to the natural order of things.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Humans like Tarouza are capable of understanding different animal species.
  • Sterility Plague: The main cause (along with wars) of the extinction of the human race.
  • Toilet Humor
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass: Almost everyone after the time skip, but a few of them stand out:
    • Jeek, the wolf. He went from this gonk to this Big Badass Wolf.
    • Chimpan the chimpanzee. He went from this poor little monkey to a huge badass chimpanzee who will cut you down with his gigantic boomerang.
    • Capri, who can now command even adult lions.
    • Tarouza, our main character. In fact, his badassery never stops growing. It just grows bigger than ever with a powerful push, such as Monoko's death. There are a clear differences between this and how he is now, aren't there?
    • And the last but not least, our insane sadistic psychopath Jyu. He was already a major badass in his first debut but that did not prevent him from being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle against Giller. After the timeskip, he is now constantly giving Giller cold sweats and finally handed Giller his ass despite Giller having a gigantic ultimate monster on his side.
  • Tower of Babel: The biblical tower is alluded to with a location named after it however, unlike the biblical one which caused all languages to be separated, it contains a device that will enable all animals to understand one another.
  • True Companions
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: This is one of Tarouza's goals in order to get meat eating animals to get along with plant eating ones. He finds the solution in the form of the Eternity Fruit.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 25: Tarouza and his fellow humans are actually five individuals brought from five separate time periods to the far off future where all humanity has died out from a Sterility Plague. They are actually special individuals who all can talk to animals and it was hoped that one of them might bring harmony to all the animals of Animal Land via the use of the Eternity Fruit, a fruit that carnivores can eat, and the Gaia Spinal, a device that will allow all the animals to understand one another. Chimeras are also revealed to actually be bioweapons. On a lighter note, Tarouza becomes a big brother when Monoko gives birth to Moko.
    • Chapter 26: Monoko sacrifices herself in order to save her children.
    • Chapter 45: Giller is going to release a titanic monster that will wipe out every single lifeform on the planet, even if it takes the next thousand years to do so.
    • Chapter 47: Kuou is still alive and so is "Elaine".


    Creator/Makoto RaikuZatch Bell!
Animal Academy Hakobune HakushoMangaAnimal X

alternative title(s): Doubutsu No Kuni
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