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- Voiced in English by: Bryan CranstonVoiced in Japanese by: Taiten KusunokiVoiced in Latin American Spanish by: Octavio Rojas
- The Anti-Nihilist: He won't sugar-coat that life on Trash Island holds nothing but misery and poverty, nor will he entertain the idea that they might ever return to Megasaki City, but he still motivates the dogs to realize survival is better than just giving up.
- Badass Baritone: Having the voice of Walter White himself helps.
- Blood Knight: Rex remarks that he's the best fighter of the five-pack dogs and that he likes to fight. At the end of the movie, though, Chief reveals that he actually doesn't like to fight and he doesn't want to be violent.
- Bruiser with a Soft Center: He's the best fighter in the pack and a tough scrapper, but he truly cares about the other members of the pack and softens up quickly when he and Atari are alone together.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Hes a black dog and is the protagonist of the film. Subverted as, after his bath, it turns out he's actually white with black spots. He'd just been absolutely filthy before then.
- Decoy Protagonist: With the way he's first introduced as a harsh, somewhat uncaring leader of the group, you might be forgiven for thinking he'd end up being an antagonist, especially when put next to the more sympathetic Rex. Chief is actually the most central protagonist; he just has a lot of Character Development to go through.
- Defrosting Ice King: After spending some of the movie being a hardass, Chief ends up opening up more about his past and bonding with Atari. He even gets a bath from Atari, revealing a black-spotted white coat like Spots', and this results in him looking kinder and friendlier as opposed to his usual scowls and sneers, showing that he's become a nobler dog.
- Good Is Not Nice: He bites another dog's ear off for a bag of garbage and is at first reluctant to help Atari find Spots.
- Long-Lost Relative: He and Spots are brothers, sharing the same fur color and eye color but with different-colored noses.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Over the course of the movie, Chief goes from a gruff Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a kinder and friendlier (and even noble) dog. His Important Haircut even shows him going from his usual scowls to a more innocent look.
- Trademark Favourite Food: He denies having one, saying he's "used to leftovers". Then he reveals that he actually does have one; a bowl of homemade chilli, during his brief stint as a housepet. He later changes his mind when Atari gives him a Puppy Snap.Chief: This is my new favourite food.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He calls out Spots for abandoning his duties as Atari's guard dog.
- Voiced in English by: Edward NortonVoiced in Japanese by: Tokuyoshi KawashimaVoiced in Latin American Spanish by: Oscar Flores
- Decoy Protagonist: Is the first of the Tribe to actually speak and takes the initiative in rescuing and helping Atari. He's also the dog who realises that Spots is still alive and chases after Atari's plane to let him know. He loses the protagonist spot to Chief a third of the way into the movie after the group is separated.
- Humble Hero: All he wants is to return to his owner, who is but a school teacher in a retirement home. Not exactly the richest of owners, but he still misses him.
- The Lancer: He is this to Chief at times.
- Motor Mouth: Is very thorough in his explanations, and usually the one to analyse and plan out a scenario on the spot. Notably, he gives out more commands than his pack's supposed Alpha, Chief.
- Trademark Favourite Food: "A double portion of Doggy Chop from the can mixed into a bowl of broken Puppy Snaps with a vitamin crushed up into it."Duke: Was that your daily meal?Rex: Not always. My master was a school teacher, we weren't rich, no.
- Work Hard, Play Hard: Ed Norton describes Rex as "comfortably middle class"; he does have a work ethic, but he just isn't cut out for roughing it on a desolate island. This is reflected in the movie, where he's often the first to complain, yet still takes the initiative in most situations.
- Voiced in English by: Jeff GoldblumVoiced in Japanese by: Wataru YokoshimaVoiced in Latin American Spanish by: Jesus Cortez
- Catchphrase: "You heard the rumor, right, about (subject)?"
- Gossipy Hens: Always the first to voice the latest gossip, in spite of having no possible way of learning or ascertaining the rumors that he spouts. Subverted in that all of his made-up "rumors" are completely accurate through dumb luck and happenstance (except for the Nutmeg/Felix scandal. Probably.)
- Spoiled Sweet: Apparently came from a well-off family, and is quite friendly and sociable.
- Trademark Favourite Food: "Uh, green tea ice cream. My master had a sweet tooth I probably inherited from her."
- Verbal Tic Like his voice actor, Duke sometimes slips a little "uh" into his dialogue.
- Voiced in English by: Bob BalabanVoiced in Japanese by: Masahito KawanagoVoiced in Latin American Spanish by: Gerardo Reyero
- Abandoned Mascot: Before being sent to Trash Island, he was the representative of Doggy Chop, and apparently starred in 22 consecutive commercials.
- Badass Moustache: The fur on his snout curls out on both sides in a way that calls to mind a spectacular curly moustache.
- Comically Missing the Point: He mentions he used to be in doggy commercials, then complains that now, he'll never get a part again. ...Because of how he looks.
- Trademark Favourite Food: "Center cut Kobe ribeye, seared on the bone with salt and pepper."Rex: Wow.King: It was my birthday supper. Every year.
- Voiced in English by: Bill MurrayVoiced in Japanese by: Akihiko Ishizumi
- Abandoned Mascot: Before being sent to Trash Island, he was the mascot for a high school baseball team, the Dragons.
- Good Luck Charm: The Dragons were undefeated while he was a mascot. Subverted when he returns and they're crushed by the rival team, but they don't seem to mind as they happily feed him treats.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The only dog to wear something more than a collar; a shirt of his old baseball team.
- Irony: He used to be the mascot for lifting his baseball team's spirits. Yet, his banishment to Trash Island has dampened his own spirit.
- Small Role, Big Impact: After seeing a dog's skeleton in a cage, Atari is ready to head back home, thinking that Spots is dead. But Boss sees a dog tag in the cage, noticing that it was instead a dog named Sport who had died. Boss's discovery of this makes Atari realize that Spots is still alive, and it also sets off their journey throughout Trash Island.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: In his introductory speech about how he was a baseball mascot before being banished to Trash Island, he bluntly states: "I've lost all my spirit. I'm depressing."
- Trademark Favourite Food: "Mine's hot sausage, yakitori style. The snack vender always saved me one on game days."
- Abnormal Ammo: He has military graded teeth, which he spits out at enemies and explode like small bombs.
- Babies Ever After: He and Peppermint have a litter of puppies together and raise them at the memorial dedicated to Spots.
- Eye Scream: Among other injuries, he loses his left eye defending Atari and Kobayashi from one of the robot dogs.
- Living MacGuffin: He is the main driving force of the film.
- Long-Lost Relative: He's Chief's brother and the oldest in the litter.
- Nice Guy: His voice actor confirms that Spots is definitely a very loyal and kindhearted dog.
- Badass Baritone: He is voiced by F. Murray Abraham.
- Big Good: The Dogs go to him for where to find Spots.
- Saint-Bernard Rescue: Downplayed for the most part. Jupiter's not a Saint Bernard nor does he rescue people, but he does carry a keg of turpentine brandy, which he shares with Chief and his pack.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: During the prologue, Jupiter adds this in while reciting the Boy Samurai's battle cry.I turn my backON MANKIND!Frost on window pane
- Voiced in English by: Tilda SwintonVoiced in Japanese by: Hiromi Machiyama
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Frequently distracted by watching TV programs.
- Clarke's Third Law: From the canines' perspective, the words and imagery on the television is all but indecipherable. As Oracle is one of the few dogs that can not only watch TV, but actually understand it, she does live up to her namesake by the standards of her species.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: She is believed by the other characters, and herself, to have visions of the future. Her "visions" are actually just her watching TV. However, she is the only one of the dogs that actually understands what is shown on TV.
- Vocal Dissonance: Oracle is a tiny pug; the smallest dog in the film by far, and of a breed that can get Cute, but Cacophonic, yet she gets the deep, refined voice of Tilda Swinton.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She's not into "tamed" dogs.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Even after spending months on the island, her fur is still soft and shiny. Lampshaded by the other dogs, who note that there isn't even shampoo on the island.
- Love at First Sight: Chief only properly meets her once before the mission, but falls fast and hard for her anyway.
- Morality Chain: She's the main factor driving Chief to help Atari when he'd rather just abandon him.
- Nice Girl: Kind, polite and friendly.
- Old Shame: She doesn't like being referred to as a show dog and doesn't consider that her identity despite it being what she was bred to do. After warming up to Chief, though, she does perform a couple of tricks for him.
- Face of a Thug: He has huge fangs, half of his face is bare skin and he always has a tough expression, making him look the part of a fearsome cannibal. He's a truly nice dog, though.
- Howl of Sorrow: He and his pack howl in sorrow when they recall eating Fuzzball to stay alive.
- I Did What I Had to Do: All the dogs were going to die if they didn't eat the terminal, comatose Fuzzball, so they were forced to eat him to survive. Gondo takes this particularly hard, as Fuzzball was his best friend.
- Mismatched Eyes: One's red, one's blue.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He calls out Spots for assuming that they make a habit out of cannibalizing. Spots does apologize for this.
- Voiced in English by: Fisher StevensVoiced in Japanese by: Haruomi Hosono
- Voiced in English by: Kara HaywardVoiced in Japanese by: Youko Yoshida
- Voiced by: Koyu Rankin
- Badass Bookworm: Fearless, determined and a menace with a slingshot but also eloquent enough to move an entire audience — as well as his own Big Bad uncle — to emotion with a sentimental speech and haiku.
- Brats with Slingshots: He brings a slingshot with him on Trash Island, which initially proves to be effective against Kobayashi's rescue team, but becomes less useful when said team gets a lot bigger and armed with more robot dogs.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Atari lost his parents in a bullet train crash. His adoption into the Kobayashi Dynasty by the Mayor, who is his distant uncle, is what led him to meeting Spots, his guard dog.
- Determinator: Despite being trapped on an inhospitable island made of trash filled with hostile animals and with a chunk of metal lodged in his temple, he continues to search for Spots.
- Friendless Background: He was raised in isolation after the accident. Spots is likely the only friend he's made since coming to live with his uncle.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Cobbles together a functional plane and rafts from the trash on the island.
- Heroes Love Dogs: He's clearly a dog person, and the pack (except for Chief, at first) almost immediately becomes loving and protective of him. He is even armed to the teeth with equipment for nursing and caring for a dog, and while it's clearly all meant for Spots, he doesn't hesitate to use it on other dogs that need him.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Most people wouldn't be as composed as he is about having part of a plane crankshaft embedded in their skull. Aside from briefly passing out when he tries to remove it he acts like it's not even there.
- Nephewism: Adopted by his Distant Uncle, Mayor Kobayashi.
- Tranquil Fury: He is really good at this, most notably when he finds the skeleton of a dog in Spot's cage.
- The Unintelligible: Played with. Atari speaks exclusively Japanese, apparently without subtitles. While he can be understood by other Japanese people, the dogs have no idea what he's saying. Lampshaded in the trailer:Duke: I wish somebody spoke his language.
- Voiced by: Kunichi Nomura
- Affably Evil: While hes a cruel dog hater, hes quite professional and even allows his opponents to voice their disagreements.
- Big Bad: Of the film.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Modeled off of Toshiro Mifune, particularly as Kingo Gondo in High&Low.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He took in his nephew after his parents died, and eventually gives up his evil plan after Atari shows just how much it's affected him. Before that going to great care to protect Atari from his own shady dealings with things like the yakuza, by keeping him at home with a guard dog even though he hates dogs
- Evil Uncle: Atari's distant uncle, who is shown to have yakuza connections from the tattoo on his back.
- Graceful Loser: He admits his conspiracy and goes to prison after donating a kidney to Atari. He offers no complaints about it.
- HeelFace Turn: After Atari explains through haiku of how his uncle raised him in spite of having no place to go, Kobayashi (thought steaming mad at first) has a change of heart by unstamping the Trash Island Decree, trying to abort the poisoning scheme, and even donating one of his kidneys to Atari.
- Mayor Pain: He gave the order to send all the dogs to Trash Island.
- Moral Event Horizon: Very nearly goes over the edge in the film's climax, but instead of reliving the legend of the Boy Samurai, Atari's words cause him to have a Heel Realization, prompting him to publicly admit his misdeeds.
- Right-Hand Cat: Is a cat-lover, and is shown holding one in an early scene.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The people of Megasaki prefecture see him as a great leader who is eliminating a serious threat to the population. In reality, his motivations are far more nefarious.
- Conspiracy Theorist: She theorizes that Kobayashi has some exceptionally sinister motivations working behind his actions, and while she starts off unable to convince her club due to a lack of evidence, she soon develops a typical wall of documents linked with string and a huge binder to work with.
- Funny Afro: A huge blonde one, which makes her really stick out from everyone else in the film.
- Intrepid Reporter: For a school paper, granted, but she still uncovers the sordid details behind Kobayashi's conspiracy and Professor Watanabe's death.
- She's Got Legs: Her first appearance involves her standing up to reveal a great set of legs.
- Ship Tease: As she goes deeper into her investigation of Mayor Kobayashi, Professor Watanabe, and Atari, she repeatedly fumbles her recorded assessment once she gets to the latter. Eventually she stops to flatly proclaim "Oh damn, I have a crush on you."
- Wrong Genre Savvy: She's very on-point as to the "hows" of Mayor Kobayashi's plan, but she spends much of the movie believing that he's turning the country against the dogs as a publicity stunt so he can maintain his political power when in actuality it's entirely in service of his family's ancient, genocidal grudge against canines and their desire to wipe out all the ones in Japan.
- Voiced by: Akira Takayama
- The Dragon: He is the second-in-command to Mayor Kobayashi. Becomes a Dragon Ascendant at the very end when Kobayashi has his Heel Realization. Major-Domo becomes furious at him for not following through with his Evil Plan and tries to finish the job himself.
- Evil Is Bigger: A very tall, intimidating man.
- Looks Like Cesare: He is skinny, pale with dark shadows around his eyes.
- Obviously Evil: While Mayor Kobayashi is simply big and intimidating, Major-Domo looks straight-up monstrous, with imposing height, ghoulishly white skin, Creepy Long Fingers, and an even creepier-looking face that makes him look like a rectangular Orlok. Fittingly, he attempts to continue Kobayashi's evil plan even after he changes his mind.
- Punny Name: A "majordomo" is a real term for "the chief steward of a large household," roughly comparable to Major-Domo's position as Kobayashi's henchman.
- Voiced by: Akira Ito
- Big Good: He is the most prominent opponent of the mayor's anti-dog policies and leads the research team developing the cure for dog-flu.
- Hope Spot: Regarding both the cure for snout flu and his death. The cure is buried then discredited by the Mayor, and even though he's able to spot the poison meant to assassinate him, mere contact was still enough to do him in.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He is poisoned by Kobayashi's men before he can reveal the cure for the dog-flu.
- Voiced by: Frances McDormand
- Hollywood Hacking: K. Hacker manages to hack all electronic systems of the Dog-Catchers. Given the 1960s - 1970s era computers and networking systems. This is a more realistic portrayal than most as he hardlined his computer into their central network onsite.
- Meaningful Name: The name tag on his "Dog-Catchers" uniform says K. Hacker and his is a young (Kid) computer Hacker.
- The Mole: Infiltrates the Dog-Catchers Task Force on Trash Island to steal critical intel for the Pro-Dog Activist group.
- Spanner in the Works: When Kobayashi accidentally gives the command for the Dog-Catchers task force to begin executing the dogs still on Trash Island, all of their systems begin to misfire, backfire, or outright explode. All thanks to K. Hacker hacking their systems and sabotaging their equipment.
- The Voiceless: Appears in several scenes and plays a pivotal role in the climax, but has no spoken lines and thus no voice actor.