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Eastern Zodiac

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The Eastern zodiac is similar to the western one in that is consists of a repeating cycle of 12 totems that correspond to personality types — the eastern ones are all animals, while the western ones are only partially so (e.g. Aries, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio). The number 12 is one of those numbers often given mythical significance. While the western signs of the zodiac each represent a month, eastern ones each primarily represent a year, though they are also applied to both months and hours. With both types of zodiac, a popular activity is calculating the romantic compatibility between two people.

The Chinese zodiac derives from the Twelve Earthly Branches system which was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter. Chinese astronomers divided the celestial circle into 12 sections to follow the orbit of 歲星 Suìxīng (Jupiter, the Year Star). Astronomers rounded the orbit of Suixing to 12 years (from 11.86). During the Han Dynasty, the Earthly Branches began to be used to record time and also started to become associated with animals for fun. Stories began to be associated with the zodiac with the most popular one known as The Great Race which tells about how the Jade Emperor decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they reached him. After Buddhism was introduced to China, the Jade Emperor would be replaced with Buddha in some variations of the tale.

The 12 signs of the Chinese cycle, in order, are: the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep/Goat/Ram, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig/Boar. (The Cat missed out on the Chinese Zodiac alternately because the Rat purposely gave it the wrong meeting time, or because the Rat pushed it off the Ox into the river during their crossing. note ) They are governed by the 5 Eastern Elements. Earth, being the central element, governs all the signs but chiefly the Dragon, Sheep, Dog, and Ox.

The Tiger and the Dragon are commonly regarded as the two most powerful signs, but since There Can Be Only One, the two are Arch-Rivals. Other rivalries and affinities also exist, however — for example, two Tigers rarely get along.

There are other methods to classify the signs, all of which can be used together. These include polarity (yin/yang), power and romance, and trine (four in total). Unlike the elements, these repeat through the 12 as yang/yin and first/second/third/fourth — the first sign, Rat, is a yang sign in the first trine, while the eighth sign, Sheep, is a yin sign in the fourth trine. In addition, each pair of consecutive years corresponds to a specific element, which also affects a personality reading — an Ox is typically seen as stern and inflexible, but a Water Ox (1973) or Wood Ox (1985) will be seen as more flexible than a Metal Ox (1961) according to a simple reading.

The above listed is the Chinese Zodiac, and this is the one most familiar to most Western and Eastern audiences alike as well as being the original one, but other Eastern zodiacs exist. The Korean and Japanese are functionally identical to the Chinese Zodiac, with changes primarily in nomenclature. The Vietnamese zodiac, however, replaces the rabbit with the cat, and the Thai zodiac replaces the dragon with the naga.

For a more in-depth look at the animals of the Zodiac, see The Analysis page.

For tropes on the animals mentioned in the zodaic see the pages below, but do note that those pages do not necessarily follow the distinct characteristics as described in the Eastern Zodiac itself:

  1. You Dirty Rat!
  2. Brutish Bulls
  3. Panthera Awesome
  4. Righteous Rabbit
  5. Dragons Are Divine
  6. Snakes Are Sinister
  7. Horsing Around
  8. Sweet Sheep
  9. Silly Simian
  10. Cocky Rooster
  11. Heroic Dog
  12. Gluttonous Pig

See Also: Western Zodiac, Fictional Zodiac, Animal Motifs, Tiger Versus Dragon, Dragons Up the Yin Yang, Zodiac Motifs, and Astrologer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Tamers had a group of 12 enemies called Devas (Based on the Twelve Heavenly Generals), each Digimon representing an animal from the eastern zodiac. The rabbit Deva, Antylamon, became the partner of Henry's little sister after devolving into Lopmon.
  • The main characters of Eto Rangers are a team of anthromorphic animals made up of the Zodiac who fight monsters to prevent the destruction of the Novel Worlds. The race plays a crucial part of the plot, as it led to the Cat becoming the main antagonist for most of the anime.
  • Etotama revolves around personifications of the zodiac, focusing on Nyaa-tan (the cat) coming up with various ways to get herself into the group. Chuu-tan (the rat) is more or less played up as a sadistic villain by comparison.
  • The ring girls from the Tournament arc of Flame of Recca are dressed thematically after the zodiac animals.
  • Fruits Basket has the Sohma family, which has several members who are under a Hereditary Curse where they each transform into an animal from the zodiac if hugged by a member of the opposite sex or their bodies going under physical stress. The characters all have personalities supposed to be typical of that animal. There is also a character who transforms into a thirteenth animal, the cat, who plays the villain in a traditional eastern myth about the origin of the zodiac, and one member of the family embodies the God or Emperor who set the race in the first place. Unfortunately for the owner of the dragon spirit, a little wordplay means that instead of turning into an actual dragon (which would be badass), he turns into a "baby dragon", or seahorse. The tiger owner isn't very intimidating, either. The "true tale" of what really happened in the Zodiac legend (and why the cat was excluded) isn't revealed until the end of the manga.
  • The student teams in In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki are named after one of the twelve animals on the Zodiac.
  • In Good Luck Girl!, the main character Ichiko can manifest her good luck as cute versions of the Zodiac to aid her.
  • Hunter × Hunter has a group of twelve Hunters called the Zodiacs named after the animals from the eastern zodiac. With the exception of the Rat and Boar, all of the members have their appearances modeled after their respective animal.
  • Mr. Fullswing has zodiac-animal-themed characters and names. All of them go to Juunishi High whose name is just as on the nose. See Anime & Manga for a further breakdown.
  • Naruto has hand signs for all zodiac animals.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX portrayed Judai and Misawa as the Dragon/Tiger rivalry at first.
  • Vampire Knight: The author is said to have modeled the main trio after their respective signs. Kaname is hinted to be the Tiger while Zero is canonly the Dog. Some confusion exists on whether Yuuki is the Rabbit or Boar.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Introduced in Alpha Flight was the government-sponsored China Force, a group of superhumans with each member given a codename from an animal of the zodiac.
  • Birds of Prey once encountered a mercenary team of martial artists known as the 12 Brothers In Silk, who had been conceived specifically to be born under a specific zodiac sign by their father Huang, a legendary martial artist, for the sole purpose of taking his place once he was too old to fight. Any child born in the wrong sign or as a girl was immediately killed. Each brother is named after the sign he was born under and the group is led by the brother named Rabbit. Ironically, the group is eventually killed by their sole surviving sister, whom they had themselves trained, who goes under the name White Canary.
  • A plot point in the Abrafaxe arc set in Meiji era Japan was that former Samurai Toru was more amenable to the idea of Westerner Heinrich von Himmelgut becoming his son-in-law because his daughter Toshiko was considered all but unmarriageable by Japanese because she was born in 1846, a Bingwu (Fire Horse) year.note 
  • The main characters of The Mighty Zodiac are twelve anthropomorphic animal warriors from the Vietnamese Zodiac while the villains are rabbits, the animal replaced by the cat. Gets interesting when the group's Tiger turns white and the Dragon turns blue, thus becoming two of The Four Gods.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)'s spin-off comic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Amazing Adventures had the first story arc centered around a ram mutant named Zodiac kidnapping mutants to power an "artifact" called the Zodiac Key, which would grant him immense power if the animals are assembled. The "animals" are represented as mutants sharing the species of the Zodiac's animals (Splinter=Rat, Bebop=Boar, etc.), although the dragon is strangely replaced by Leatherhead, a mutant crocodile.

    Fan Works 
  • In This Bites!, Jeremiah Cross creates an organization called the New World Masons dedicated to reforming the world and putting an end to corruption on all sides. His pirate allies in the Masons are "the Zodiac of the Damned" and use the Eastern Zodiac as Code Names. They are, in order of joining:
    • Monkey - "Roar of the Sea" Scratchmen Apoo
    • Rooster - "Black Bart" Bartolomeo
    • Goat - "Fiendish" Foxy
    • Ox - Dorry "The Blue Ogre" and Broggy "The Red Ogre" sharing the position
    • Rabbit - "Mist Maiden" Charlotte Lola
    • Dog - "Hellbeast Princess" Perona, though she prefers to be called "Puppy"
    • Tiger - "Surgeon of Death" Trafalgar Law
    • Boar - Former Warden Magellan
    • Snake - "Pirate Empress" Boa Hancock
    • Dragon will forever remain vacant so as not to be confused with Dragon the Revolutionary.
  • In Power Rangers Zodiac Force, a fusion story between Power Rangers and Kim Possible, Kim and four of her friends become a team of Power Rangers with a Chinese Zodiac theme: Kim being the Red Dragon Ranger, Monique being the Yellow Serpent Ranger, Josh being Blue Ox Ranger, and Tara being the Pink Rabbit Ranger.

    Films — Animated 
  • The various animals of the eastern zodiac are the subject of the earlier Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf Film Series movies. Creative Power Entertaining was originally going to make films for all 12 of the animals in the zodiac, but stopped doing so after the seventh film.note  Specifically, the animals represented by the films are as follows:
    • The first film, The Super Adventure, uses the bull as its associated animal. No actual bulls appear in the film, but the bacteria kingdoms are called the White Bull Kingdom, the Black Bull Kingdom, and the Yellow Bull Kingdom.
    • The second film, The Tiger Prowess, uses the tiger as its animal by featuring a tiger named Lord Japper as its antagonist.
    • The third film, Moon Castle: The Space Adventure, features the rabbit as its animal by featuring the goats helping Wandi the rabbit and his sister, Queen Luna, to save their home planet of the moon.
    • The fourth film, Mission Incredible: Adventures on the Dragon's Trail, as suggested by the title, prominently features dragons as characters and has one of the dragons, Xiao Shen Long, helping the goats to save the Dragon's World from evil dragons.
    • The fifth film, The Mythical Ark: Adventures in Love & Happiness, uses the snake as its animal by featuring a family of snakes as some of its main characters. The goats have to find a snake to activate the Ark spaceship and save everyone from a big flood, which is hard for them since snakes are believed to be an extinct species to them; the snake family comprises the last known members of the species.
    • The sixth film, Meet the Pegasus, features a horse as its animal, or more specifically the pegasus. The goats try to create a happy ending for a fairy tale involving a pegasus prince who wants to marry a princess.
    • The seventh film, Amazing Pleasant Goat, uses the goat as its animal by having the main characters travelling back in time and meeting a bunch of prehistoric goats.
  • The 2015 Chinese CGI-animated film Where's the Dragon? is about the Dragon's mysterious disappearance, which forces the Jade Emperor to summon all kinds of animals for a new zodiac race, while the other 11 animals scramble to find him with the help of a human girl whose mother, a Dragon native, had her behavior suddenly changed after the Dragon disappeared. The dragon turns out to have been kidnapped by cockroaches, of all animals, because their master feels they deserve a spot since they have been roaming the Earth far longer than most any other living creature. They even manipulate the Cat into helping them for another shot at making the zodiac.
  • The Zodiac Stone in Minions: The Rise of Gru is a medallion that grants its wearer the power over the Zodiac spirits and turn into any of the twelve animals. In the climax of the film, the Vicious Six use it to turn themselves into large forms of these animals: the dragon, the ox, the monkey, the snake and the tiger. They also turn some of the Minions into the (less intimidating) animals: the rabbit, the goat and the rooster. After the villains are defeated and arrested, they are turned into rats, another zodiac animal.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The titular heroes of the Taiwanese kung fu film Zodiac Fighters are based on the eastern zodiacs. These are reflected in their fighting styles, for example, the rat fighter attacks by biting, the monkey fighter climbs, the snake is known for her agility, the pig uses his Kevlard in battle, etc.

  • There's a retelling of the Zodiac Race for children called something like "The Great Race," which describes the race as having been a contest of six teams of two — Rat was paired with Ox, and so on. Every participant was given a character that fit with their personality type, and many didn't finish the race at all (Snake and Horse, for example, were paired together, and Snake twined himself around Horse's neck to be the guide. However, Horse stubbornly elected to take the road that Snake advised against, leaving them trapped in an endless forest with Snake going "I Told You So"), and when Rat passed the finish line, the placement of the animals at that moment determined their place in the Zodiac. The cat wasn't there as the rat tricked him into thinking the race was a day later than it really was, so the cat showed up too late to get on the calendar. That's why cats hunt rats.
  • The fact that Judge Dee was born under the sign of the Tiger comes up in one or two stories.
  • There is a book called Chinese Astrology by Suzanne White. It goes through the 12 animals, describes their characteristics and their relationships with each other.
  • Jane Lindskold's Breaking the Wall trilogy has thirteen family lines representing the Eastern Zodiac and the Cat. The characters subvert some of the details noted above, such as the current Tiger and Dragon being Childhood Friends. Pearl, the current Tiger, is initially hostile to a second Tiger when he appears, but she eventually warms up to him.
  • The main characters in Broken Gate are a Rat youkai (Nezumi), a tiger youkai (Toramaru), a dragon youkai (Ryuuji), and a horse youkai (Miyako), the which serve as an allusion to this.
  • Stan Lee's The Zodiac Legacy revolves around this. The Zodiac is represented as twelve animal spirits present in every human being (to some degree) while the level of Zodiac energy depends on the year they were born, like in Chinese astrology. The catch is that although the Tiger and the Dragon are equal in power (likely referencing their rivalry), the Tiger is always the leader of the Zodiac. High levels of energy grant the twelve current members superhuman abilities:
  • Jin Rou from Beware of Chicken appears to be gathering at least one of every animal from the zodiac: Rizzo is the Rat, Tigger is the Tiger, Washy is the Dragon, Big D is the Rooster, and Peppa and Chunky share the role of the Pig.
  • Juni Taisen: Zodiac War has a group of twelve warriors, each assigned to a zodiac animal, pitted against each other in a battle royale death match where the last one standing can have one wish granted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In many ways, the characters of Fraggle Rock have personalities identical to the animals in the zodiac. Examples include:
    • Gobo Fraggle = Rat (ambitious, loves his friends, tries to help)
    • Mokey Fraggle = Sheep (gentle, kind, creative)
    • Wembley Fraggle = Pig (optimistic, honest, dislikes serious conflict)
    • Red Fraggle = Horse (active, energetic, loves challenges)
    • Boober Fraggle = Rabbit (timid, sensitive, introverted)
    • Uncle Traveling Matt could be seen as a mixture of different animals; he has the perseverance of the Ox and the Dragon's need for freedom to explore, but also harnesses the carelessness of the dark side to the Tiger, and the arrogance that comes with that of the Monkey
  • In Juken Sentai Gekiranger/Power Rangers Jungle Fury, the GenJuken users/Phantom Beasts are creatures based on animals from the Chinese Zodiac. The Snake and Rooster are the only ones not part of the roster while the Dragon and Tiger are used in a The Four Gods motif, leaving the remaining eight as Monsters of the Week.

  • Year of the Rat by Badly Drawn Boy — also doubles as a Music Video of Heartwarming.
  • Since 2006, Canadian hardcore band Fucked Up has released a 12" vinyl single titled Year of the ___, starting with Pig. The most recent release is 2017's Year of the Snake. The band originally wanted each song in the series released in its relevant year, but the series has experienced some Schedule Slip due to each member's personal schedules (2017's Snake should have come out in 2013, for example.)
  • Sufjan Stevens' album Enjoy Your Rabbit is labeled "Programmatic songs for the Chinese Zodiac". It's fourteen tracks of instrumental electronica, each named for an animal of the Zodiac, except the intro track (Year of the Asthmatic Kitty) and the epilogue (Year of Our Lord).
  • Year of the Cat by Al Stewart.
  • In the Tears for Fears song "Rhythm of Life (Demo)," note  it's repeated twice that Lucy is lucky that her astrological sign is the dragon.
    She's got luck
    Lucy's sign is the Chinese dragon, oh

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Jadeclaw the twelve species of the zodiac were the first twelve to come together and form the kingdom of Zhongguo. The first emperor was a horse, while the current one is a rat.
  • The Chinese Zodiac plays a very important role in the Mystic China sourcebook for Ninjas And Superspies by Palladium Books.

    Video Games 
  • Alnam no Kiba: The twelve main characters are each from 12 tribes of people that can each transform into one of the zodiac animals. The tribes are even named directly after the Japanese names for the zodiac signs.
  • Ensemble Stars! has a new years card set themed around the Eastern Zodiac, notably featuring an increased number of cards compared to usual (four 3* cards compared to the usual two) to cover each of the animals. And unlike most gacha sets, the story is divided into a number of smaller tales rather than featuring every card character together at once. Here is part one, and here part two.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • When Fire Emblem: Awakening officially introduced the Deadlords of Geanealogy and Thracia 776 to Western audiences, their former Theme Naming based on the first twelve German numbers was changed to Latin forms of the Eastern Zodiac.
    • Given the feudal Japanese motif of the kingdom of Hoshido in Fire Emblem Fates, the scrolls its magic users wield are named after all the animals of the Eastern Zodiac barring the Dog and the Pig.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Every year, a new character based on the current year's Zodiac is introduced: Anila is the Goat, Andira the Monkey, Mahira for Rooster, etc. Unfortunately, that means that if you can't get said character during the year, it's Permanently Missable Content for a year before being put back in the gacha.
  • Holy Beast Online Plays around with this. The six animal clans you get to choose from are based on the Zodiac, but as the plot and other elements of the game reveal themselves, you learn that the developers decided to switch around some things, Dragons are associated with water and birds are associated with fire among some other things.
  • King's Quest V lampshades the rivalry between The Tiger (who becomes The Rabbit) and The Dragon during the final Wizards Duel.
  • Starting back in 2012, League of Legends has an annual game event called Lunar Revel to celebrate Chinese New Year, with the event's skins being based on the zodiac animal of that year. Usually, a champion based on the same animal gets a featured skin to represent the event, including 2013's Cassiopeia (snake), 2016's Wukong (monkey), 2017's Azir (rooster), 2018's Nasus and Warwick (dog), 2019's Sejuani (pig), and 2021's Alistair (ox).
    • Launched in 2022 was the Porcelain skin line, which featured five champions as protectors of the twelve Zodiac spirits. The premiere skin being Ezreal with the tiger spirit for the year of the Tiger.
    • There was also this shirt released for the Year of the Rooster.
  • Mega Man Star Force also does the Eastern Zodiac in addition to the Western Zodiac with the following symbols Ox (Taurus Fire), Sheep (Kung Foo Kid), Snake (Queen Ophiuca), Horse (Pegasus Magic), and Dragon (Dragon Sky).
  • MouseHunt (2008) has a Lunar New Year event for every year it's been running, and adds a Costumed (Animal) Mouse corresponding to the current year's zodiac animal for the event.
  • In Mystery Trackers: Memories of Shadowfield, one of the collection sidequests involves finding the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- features the Twelve Heavenly Generals, a set of Buddhist deities each of which representing an animal in the zodiac.
  • In Ni no Kuni, the Zodiarch antagonists' masks are directly based on the Chinese zodiac. Punny Name intentional.
  • In Ōkami, the Celestial Brush Gods are represented by the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, as well as the Cat.
  • Ōkamiden adds Brush Gods that aren't part of the Chinese Zodiac, such as a Penguin and a Whale.
  • Overwatch had an event in 2017 to celebrate the year of the Rooster, which includes exclusive cosmetic items that can be gained from Loot Boxes, remaking the three Lijiang Tower Maps to have the appropriate decorations including many firecrackers that can be attacked to set them off (fortunately, they're harmless to players), and the "Capture The Rooster" special mode. The event returned (albeit renamed to "Capture the Flag") for the years of the Dog and the Pig.
  • While not officially confirmed, it would seem the Fire starters of each successive Pokémon generation are each patterned after a different animal of the Chinese Zodiac. The majority are fairly cut-and-dry and line up with one of the iconic 12, but there are several which seem to take inspiration from both the extended 36-animal calendar and different culture's substitutions for certain animals. So far, we have:
    • Charmander: Dragon.
    • Cyndaquil: Possibly the Rat and certainly its best fit of these starters, but Cyndaquil would seem to match better with the Hedgehog, which is the second decan in the Rabbit triad. In addition, Typhlosion resembles a Badger, the second decan of the Pig.
    • Torchic: Rooster. Blaziken may also fit the Eagle, the second decan of the Goat triad.
    • Chimchar: Monkey. The second decan of the Monkey's triad (of which regular ol' monkeys are the 3rd) is the Ape, which could further account for the tail-less Chimchar and its baboon-like butt, as well as the mandrill-like facial markings of Monferno and Infernape).
    • Tepig: Pig. In the extended zodiac, the first and third decans are actually the Domesticated Pig and the Wild Boar respectively, fitting for how Tepig begins and eventually evolves into Emboar.
    • Fennekin: The closest thing to the Dog, though the line itself might better fit the Dholenote , the third decan within the Dog triad.
    • Litten: The whole family works as the Tiger, though particularly Incineroar. The Leopard Cat, the first of the Tiger decans, is a smaller striped cat both Litten and Torracat might be closer to. It's worth noting that in the Vietnamese and Gurung zodiacs, the Rabbit is replaced with the Cat, which is also a closer fit for Litten in particular.
    • Scorbunny: Rabbit.
    • Fuecoco: You could really stretch to fit this family as the Snake; Skeledirge is a longer reptile compared to Charizard. However, there are two much closer approximations in the extended roster: the Jiaolong, the 2nd Dragon decan, is a hornless aquatic reptile, which this family's animal basis certainly fits the outline of. The third decan is the Fish, which this family certainly ain't,note  but the Old Turkish calendar replaces the Dragon with either the Fish or the Crocodile.
      • Because of this pattern, it's quite common for fanworks to make their own Fire-type starters based on the ox, horse, or sheep signs, or possibly the signs already represented in canon if the fanwork was made first.
    • For the Lunar New Year in 2019, Pokémon GO created an event themed on these twelve animals, though as the game, at that point, had only reached Generation IV, they had to take more liberties than usual. In particular, since 2019 is the Year of the Boar, Spoink was the event's main Pokémon. The others were Ponyta, Rattata, Ekans, Mankey, Dratini, Electabuzz,note  Mareep, Miltank, Buneary, Torchic, and Poochyena.note 
    • According to Shigeki Morimoto's avatar in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Piloswine was designed specifically with the intent of each of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac having at least one Pokémon representing them among the first 251, and that there wasn't any pig-based Pokémon before Piloswine was designed.
  • Puppeteer (2013)'s Moon Bear King has twelve generals corresponding to all the signs working for him that function as the game's bosses. They can nicely be divided into two guarding each area:
    • Castle Grizzlestein: Generals Tiger and Dragon.
    • The Moonwood Forest: Generals Rat and Snake.
    • The Moonshine Sea: Generals Pig and Sheep (yes, sheep, not goat).
    • The Wild Wastes: Generals Horse and Bull.
    • Hallowee-Ville: Generals Dog and Monkey.
    • The Land of Time: Generals Rabbit and Rooster.
  • REFLEC BEAT colette added two crossover songs in January 2013 to celebrate the year of the snake: "Snake Stick" and "Kagachi" (Snake God).
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, there are twelve demons modeled after the animals of the Chinese zodiac who are named after their Juni Shinshou counterparts.
  • In Sleeping Dogs (2012) The main protagonist Wei Shen has to collect the statues of the zodiac in order to unlock new fighting techniques leading up to the final move known as Dim Mak. His Kung Fu instructor Sifu Kwok had the Rat statue and revealed that the other statues were stolen by a former student of his. The player must find the other 11 statues scattered around Hong Kong and going on a date with one of the girls named Tiffany Kim will reveal their location on the map. There is also a DLC mission called The Zodiac tournament which is a parody of the movie Enter the Dragon. While on the island the player will have to collect all 12 fire opal animal statues scattered around the island. Each statue tells you about the different fighting styles. Collecting all 12 fire opal statues will reward the player with the Muay Thai and MMA costumes. Another expansion from the game is The year of the Snake in which Wei Shen must stop an evil cult known as the Snake clan from blowing up Hong Kong before the new year.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon came out in 2000, the year of the dragon. It revolves around dragons being born every 12 years. This plot point was re-used in the Continuity Reboot The Legend of Spyro, but it isn't made clear how much time passes between each year of the dragon.
  • The World Ends with You has each clothing brand based one of the 12 Animals, with the 13th (Gatito) being based on the Cat. Gatito is not available until the New Game Plus, because it represents the cat that was left out of most versions of the zodiac. It's also the only brand that plays a big part in the storyline.
    • NEO: The World Ends with You does the same with its clothing brands. While a few return (Natural Puppy, Jupiter of the Monkey, Tigre Punks), the rest are new, especially the Gatto Nero brand replacing Gatito; Shiki Misaki has influence with Gatto Nero, since her plush Mr. Mew serves as the brand mascot.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the New Year's season is celebrated with Heavensturn. In Eorzea, Heavensturn is when one of the Twelve takes their turn at ruling the heavens for the next year. The Eastern inspired region of Othard celebrates the new year in the same style as the Eastern Zodiac. Ever Heavensturn, a representative of Othard comes to Eorzea to spread awareness and celebration of the zodiac animal of the year, including free mochi to encourage people to interact.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney lampshades the Dragon/Tiger rivalry by having Phoenix (whose Japanese name, Ryuuichi, has part of its name meaning 'dragon') being impersonated by a guy named Furio Tigre who is the real killer, and of course Phoenix has to set him straight.

  • In Axe Cop: The Songster, P.T. the Rapper has bene (re)born in every year of the Eastern Zodiac, which gives him All Their Powers Combined — apparently this means he can transform into an extreme version of each of the animals.
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Fighter practices "Zodiackenshido", with his combat styles based on animals of the Eastern Zodiac.
  • Used in The Order of the Stick as the Twelve Gods of the South, who rule over, among others, the Asian-themed Azurites.
  • The story of Strings Of Fate (now offline) centers around the story of the Zodiac and the animal gods themselves, especially the Rat and his relationship with the Cat. The Dragon and the Tiger are also part of The Four Gods.

    Western Animation