Many works of fiction have animal characters. They could be anywhere on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism, from Nearly Normal Animals to Petting Zoo People. They might be pets and companions to humans, simply coexist with them, be humans turned into animals, or exist in a world where there are no humans at all. This page categorizes the works by the proportion and prominence of animals compared to humans in their cast.
The levels of animal cast are the following.
1. All-Animal Cast With No Humans At All: There are either explicitly no humans in the setting, or their existence is left ambiguous - there is simply no mention of them at all. A common variant is World of Funny Animals, when animals (usually at the on the higher end of the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism, at least on the Civilized Animal level) take the roles that are normally taken by humans. Often the setting of a Xeno Fiction or a Beast Fable. Often shows up in an Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation.
2. Animal Cast With Humans As Living Props: There are humans in the setting, but they are not personified and do not interact with the animals, apart from occasionally threatening them. Often they will be an inconceivable horror in this kind of work. May take place in a Mouse World. Even more common in Xeno Fiction than the previous category.
3. Animal Cast With Humans As Minor Characters: There are human characters (sometimes just one or two, sometimes more) with actual personality and names, who may interact with the animals, but they are mostly secondary characters or Plot Device and the animals are the real protagonists. These may also take place in a Mouse World, and animals can still see humans as horrors. A World of Funny Animals with one or a few Token Humans can also belong to this level.
4. Animal Cast With Humans As Major Supporting Characters: There are human characters (sometimes just one or two, sometimes more) with actual personality and names, who may interact with the animals similar to Level 3, except the humans are major supporting characters. Like Level 3, albeit to a lesser extent, this may also take place in a Mouse World, and animals can still see humans as horrors. A World of Funny Animals with one or a few Token Humans can also belong to this level.
5. Animal Cast With Human Protagonist: The protagonist is a human (often a Token Human, but there may be a few other humans as well, resulting in Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!), but the majority of the cast are still animals. May be a World of Funny Animals with a Token Human protagonist.
6. Equally Human and Animal Cast: Cast is equally human and animal, and both are equally important and prominent. Protagonist can be either human, animal, or both. Can be a Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My! situation.
7. Human Cast With Animal Protagonist: The inversion of 4; the cast consists mostly of humans, but the main character is an animal. May also overlap with Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!.
8. Human Cast With Animals In Supporting Roles: The inversion of 3: the main characters are humans, but there are supporting characters with proper personality who are animals. The animal is often a Non-Human Sidekick to the humans. The animals can either have a major supporting role or a minor one.
9. All-Human Cast: All important characters are humans, animals are either only Living Props, are not mentioned, or do not exist at all. As this, with the exception of variants with nonhuman animals being completely nonexistent in a given work, is really common in real life. All three variants are extremely common in fictional works. Thus, this level is meaningless and doesn't work as a trope), so No Examples (of this level), Please.
- The Lion King has a cast of entirely African animals. There is no mention of humans.
- The Land Before Time mainly has dinosaurs as its main characters. It takes place in the mesozoic era, before humans existed.
- Similarly, Dinosaur has dinosaurs and prehistoric lemurs as main characters, as it also takes place before humans.
- The Adventures of Milo and Otis is a rare live-action example of this category.
- Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies has animal characters and shows no humans in sight.
- Dinosaur Train has dinosaurs and other Mesozoic Era creatures. The show takes place before humans existed, so the main episodes don't show any humans.
- The Disney short Lambert the Sheepish Lion has a lion, some sheep, a wolf and a Delivery Stork in its cast, but no humans.
- The Dog Island Has no humans mentioned in the plot, their are only dogs and Ancs, creatures that come from another world outside The Dog Island.
- Bravelands is the only Erin Hunter series so far that has no humans, only African animals.
- Guardians of Ga'Hoole and the movie based on the first three books has a big majority of owls being characters, along with other animals like wolves, bears, puffins, and many other animals inhabiting Ga'Hoole, the Northern Kingdoms, and Beyond The Beyond. Humans, however, aren't in the series at all, except as skeletons (justified, as the narration reveals that the humans had died out a long time before the series began).
- Tumble Leaf has technicolor animals and insects as the cast. Some, like the chickens and Stick, don't appear to speak in words.
- The Raccoons was initially Level 3, but the only human characters (a forest ranger and his children) were written out early on, placing the series in this category.
- The book Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, and the more famous Walt Disney film based on it, focuses on the life of a young deer, with various other animals in supporting roles. Humans only appear as un-personified, faceless threat to animals.
- The book Watership Down by Richard Adams, and the animated film by Nepenthe Productions based on it. A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren, seeking refuge elsewhere. Humans Are Cthulhu in both the book and the film. The book subverts it for a single chapter near the end, which is written from farm girl Lucy's point of view, with the farmer and Doctor Adams also in talking roles), and one of Fiver's visions where he can talk to humans, which put the book closer to Level 3. These scenes do not appear in the film.
- The U.S. Acres comic strip by Jim Davis, and the segments of Garfield and Friends based on it, have a cast of farm animals. No humans appear, except for one Crossover with the Garfield segments when Roy talks to Jon Arbuckle on the phone. The farmer is mentioned from time to time but is never seen.
- Flushed Away stars a pet rat, but his owners don't really appear. The majority of the movie takes place in a Mouse World inhabited by rodents and amphibians.
- Antz stars ants and other insects. Humans Are Cthulhu is in full action.
- El Perro Y El Gato is a World of Funny Animals, but the humans shown are Living Props who are usually seen shoulder down. In the few times human heads are seen, they are faceless. Unlike many other examples, the humans don't pose a threat to the animals.
- An American Tail is a Mouse World with cats and mice. Humans are Living Props shown only below the knee to the feet and don't interact with the animal characters.
- Similarly, The Great Mouse Detective has animals in a Mouse World and the humans (e.g. the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes) are Living Props who are only shown in a scene early in the movie.
- The Hungarian animated film Vuk the Little Fox. The protagonist is a fox, and the rest of the cast are various forest or farm animals. Humans Are Cthulhu, their face is never seen and the only actually active one is the antagonist.
- Humans are a driving force in the plot of Once Upon a Forest, being responsible for the gas leak that destroys the forest, but are regarded as Humans Are Cthulhu by the animals and never fully seen on screen. However some friendly humans appear near the end to clean up after the gas leak, in full Hazmat Suit, showing the animals that humans aren't all bad.
- Warrior Cats is about Clans of feral cats living in the woods. Humans mostly are viewed as threats, particularly their machines. It is accepted that not all of them are hostile, though - even friendly - though the cats still want nothing to do with them, and house cats ("kittypets") are scorned for their easy life. In some of the graphic novels, notably Sasha's trilogy, there's a few that are named and that speak, though the cats are unable to understand them.
- The cast of The Amazing World of Gumball are Funny Animal and other non-humans with a similar level of anthropomorphism, like food, plants, non-living objects, and Cartoon Creatures. Humans only show up as part of in-universe media, like televisions shows and magazines. The exception is "The Sweaters", which had three humans as the antagonist, making it a Level 5. However those three character are (poorly) animated, whereas all the other humans shown are in live action, meaning they might not be "real" humans.
- Survivor Dogs is about a stray dog named Lucky helping his sister and her friends survive after an earthquake devastates the city they live in. Humans appear often, mainly only appearing when they approach the dogs' territory to clean up radioactive messes.
- Ginga Densetsu Weed, the Sequel Series to Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, focuses more on the dogs than the humans, who have their role reduced compared to its predecessor.
- The second and final arc of Seeker Bears (Return To The Wild) has humans reduced to a more minor role compared to the original arc.
- The Deptford Mice trilogy fits here, as do most of the prequels. The trappings of human society are present, but the animal characters do not interact with humans. The only exception is The Alchymist's Cat, which reaches Level 6 because humans and animals both feature prominently.
- The first Ice Age movie, having a human baby as a central Plot Device. In the sequels the humans are not mentioned, so they are closer to Level 1.
- Animal Farm by George Orwell. There are named human characters (Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Pilkington, Mr. Frederick), but the majority of the cast are farm animals.
- Rio stars mostly birds, but some of them are pets with human owners who are also important.
- Finding Nemo: Humans Are Cthulhu for the fish, but there are named and personified human characters such as Dr. Sherman and his niece Darla.
- Rango takes place in a Mouse World or World of Funny Animals, but the titular chameleon is a pet for humans at the beginning of the film, and the Spirit of the West takes the form of Clint Eastwood.
- Sonic the Hedgehog takes place in a World of Funny Animals with a hedgehog as the protagonist. However, the main antagonist, Dr. Robotnik, is a human.
- SpongeBob SquarePants has a cast of sea creatures, but also the minor human characters Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
- Happy Happy Clover: Humans Are Cthulhu for the forest animals while Clover herself encounters two humans characters who are nice, much to the confusion of her friends.
- Babar takes place in a World of Funny Animals, but there are minor human characters such as the Old Lady / Madame (Babar's surrogate mother) and an evil Egomaniac Hunter.
- In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, all of the Rangers are animals, and so are most secondary and background characters. Among the humans, there's one recurring villain (Doctor Nimnul), and many one-shot and background characters.
- Don Bluth's The Secret of NIMH is mostly mice and rats. However, Farmer Fitzgibbons plays a critical role in revealing to Mrs. Brisby that NIMH is coming to the farm to bulldoze the rats' rosebush.
- Humans exist in The World of Vicki Fox, but they don't appear often and have almost no bearing on the plot.
- In Zig & Sharko, most of the characters are animals, and humans only appear occasionally.
- Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin has humans as the main characters for the first six episodes. But at the seventh episode, the rest of the episodes show dogs as the main characters.
- The Red Vixen Adventures is a Space Opera focusing on the Foxen, a race of aliens that closely resemble anthropomorphic foxes. Humans appear in this universe, but aren't the main characters.
- Fire Bringer almost entirely focuses on the struggles of the deer, and later, the other animals, but there are two humans, a boy and his father, who appear while the main characters wander close to their homestead and end up temporarily domesticated. But since no human can understand animals, these humans have no meaningful interaction with the rest of the cast and have no knowledge of the plot whatsoever, even when the boy, now grown up, kills the Big Bad while hunting.
- The Hillbilly Bears features a family of Petting Zoo People bears, and a rival bear family they feud with are Recurring Characters. Other than that, all the guest stars are human except for two Little Green Men who appear in an Alien Abduction episode.
- The Last Dogs has most of the cast being animals (mainly dogs), while the humans (though vital to the trio's mission) don't get a major appearance until the second book. Once the third book rolls around, Dr. Lynn becomes a mainly important character when Max and his friends go to find her.
- Seeker Bears is about three North American bears joining a shapeshifting bear cub on a journey to save the wild. Humans gets a bit more focused on compared to the other Erin Hunter series, showing some that are pretty nice and others that don't care about animals or other people. When "Return To The Wild" comes around, this becomes more Level 3.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (both the book and the film) stars a fox and has other animals as supporting characters, but the main antagonists are three human farmers.
- Oliver & Company (an Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation of Oliver Twist) stars Oliver the kitten, and most characters are dogs. However, Jenny, Fagin and Sykes are humans.
- Winnie-the-Pooh has a cast of animals, most of them being Living Toys. Christopher Robin, the owner of the toys, is the Token Human; although he is definitely The Leader, he's not the protagonist.
- Tiny Toon Adventures has a cast of Funny Animals, but also has two Token Humans: Elmyra Duff and Montana Max.
- The Mowgli stories in The Jungle Book (and the Disney film based on them) star a young human who was Raised by Wolves. The majority of the supporting cast are animals, although humans (such as Buldeo and Messua in the book or Shanti in the Disney film) also appear.
- The Ant Bully has a human boy as the main character, but most supporting characters are insects.
- The first act of Disney's Tarzan is like this. In the second act, the humans arrive, including Jane and Clayton, pushing the animal characters to the background and the film to Level 7. The midquel, Tarzan 2 is clearly Level 4.
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey stars a human child enrolled in a school of Funny Animals.
- The first Planet of the Apes movie stars a human astronaut who lands on a planet inhabited by sentient apes. While there are other humans in the story (the astronaut's companions and the planet's non-sentient humans), they are relatively minor characters.
- In all the Animal Crossing games, the only human(s) is/are the Player Character(s), up to four per game.
- Spell Singer has a human who is summoned to a magical medieval fantasy world populated by Animals and Humans, though aside from a few main human characters. Almost all other humans (aside from one villain) are background characters. About 96% of the characters are animals.
- The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under: The protagonists (Bernard and Bianca) are animals, but there are equally important human characters, both good (Penny and Cody) and villainous (Madame Medusa and Percival McLeach)
- Top Cat: Mr. Dibble the human character is as important a character as the cat characters are.
- Yogi Bear: Ranger Smith the human is just as important as Yogi and Boo Boo the bears.
- Any Looney Tunes cartoon that features Bugs Bunny and/or Daffy Duck against Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam is this.
- Pinocchio stars a humanoid wooden puppet, but has both animals (Jiminy Cricket, Honest John the fox, Gideon the cat, Monstro the whale) and humans (Gepetto, Stromboli, the Coachman) in its supporting cast.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch And the Wardrobe has human protagonists and a humanoid witch as the main antagonists, but also has a number of talking animals or animal-like mythical and fairytale creatures in its main cast, most prominently Aslan the lion.
- In Garfield, the titular cat and his human owner, Jon Arbuckle are equally central characters. The supporting cast has both animals (Odie, Nermal, Arlene) and humans (Lyman, Liz, Jon's family).
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the two protagonists are Roger, a toon rabbit and Eddie, a non-toon human. The rest of the cast includes both non-toon humans and toon humans and animals.
- The Wind in the Willows and its adaptations, including the Disney adaptation that is part of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, has Mr. Toad as the main protagonist, with both humans and animals as supporting characters.
- Chis Sweet Home has the titular kitten character as a protagonist. Supporting characters include both humans (Yohei and his parents) and animals (Cocchi, Blackie, and Alice, the cats and David the dog).
- The main cast of Regular Show is made up of Funny Animals and anthropomorphized objects. Background characters are mainly human, as are about 50% of the one-shot characters.
- The cast of BoJack Horseman is evenly split between Petting Zoo People and humans.
- While there are only a few major human characters in Doctor Snuggles — the eponymous Doctor, Miss Nettles, and the wicked Professor Erasmus Emerald — many of the show's one-off and recurring characters are human as well. The rest of the regular cast consist of Petting Zoo People, talking trees, and the Doctor's creations.
- Isle of Dogs: The movie have five dog protagonists (Chief, Rex, King, Boss, and Duke) and a human protagonist (Atari). All the other characters in the movie focus on the dogs and their survival on Trash Island, as well as the humans and how the corruption of Mayor Kobayashi's rule is explored and slowly exposed.
- Pokémon fits here. Naturally, the Pokemon, most of which are essentially animals with Elemental Powers, feature prominently, but the human characters are just as important. Indeed, the relationship between Pokemon and their trainers is a recurring theme throughout the series.
- Ratatouille has Remy the rat as protagonist and a few rats as supporting characters, but the deuteragonist Linguini is a human, along with the rest of the cast.
- King Kong has mostly human cast, but the main character is a giant, monstrous gorilla.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the titular turtles and Master Splinter, a rat among its main characters, but the majority of the cast are humans.
- Pinky and the Brain stars two mice who try to Take Over the World. This world is mostly inhabited by humans.
- Wishbone runs on the idea that the titular dog plays the protagonist of classic literary works, while every other character is played by humans.
- In Hong Kong Phooey, the title character is an anthropomorphic dog and his sidekick Spot is a cat, but everyone else is a human.
- The Emperor's New Groove stars Kuzco the llama, although he's actually a human who fell victim of Baleful Polymorph. The rest of the cast are humans, except for Bucky the squirrel.
- The sequel and TV series would be at a Level 7 because it features a human cast and Bucky the Squirrel is a supporting or minor character with a proper personality rather than a Living Prop. Though Kuzco (or another character) would turn into a different animal every couple of episodes. This Running Gag was toned down in later episodes.
- Oggy and the Cockroaches. Oggy, his parents, Jack, Bob, Olivia and the three cockroaches are the only anthopomorfic animals, while everyone else is a human being.
- Calvin and Hobbes. Hobbes is a toy tiger who may or may not be really alive. Calvin and all other characters are human.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle are a squirrel and a moose, respectively, living among humans. The Peabody's Improbable History segments from the same show star Mr. Peabody, a dog, as the only animal character.
- Freefall is about the adventures of Florence Ambrose, a genetically-engineered talking wolf, Sam, her squidlike alien spaceship captain, and a whole host of humans and Ridiculously Human Robots.
- In The Houndcats, the titular heroes are the only funny animals in an otherwise all-human world. Nobody ever mentions this.
- The same is true for The Lionhearts.
- In We Bare Bears, the titular brothers are a grizzly bear, a panda bear and a polar bear, but almost every other character is a human.
- A Dog's Purpose and the movie it's based on have a dog trying to find his purpose in life alongside a mainly human cast.
- Much of the Disney Animated Canon has human protagonists with an animal Non-Human Sidekick or two.
- Cinderella has Gus and Jacques the mice and Lucifer the cat and in its supporting cast.
- Sleeping Beauty has Diablo the raven as the sidekick of Maleficent, the humanoid wicked fairy.
- The Little Mermaid stars humans and humanoid merfolk, but also has Flounder the fish, Sebastian the crab, Scuttle the gull and Max the dog, as well as Flotsam and Jetsam the eels.
- Aladdin has Abu the monkey, Raja the tiger and Iago the parrot.
- Pocahontas has Percy the pug, Meeko the raccoon and Flit the hummingbird.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame has Djali, Esmeralda's pet goat.
- Mulan has Cri-Kee the cricket and Khan the horse as Mulan's sidekicks, and Hayabusa the falcon as Shan Yu's sidekick.
- Tangled has Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon.
- Frozen has Sven the reindeer.
- Scooby-Doo has the titular dog and his nephew Scrappy-Doo the Team Pet of an otherwise human gang. Though other major animal characters would appear depending on the show, like Scooby's cousin, Scooby-Dumb and Professor Pericles the Parrot.
- George of the Jungle has a human protagonist and many human supporting characters, but also Ape the ape, Shep the elephant and Tookie Tookie bird.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz stars Dorothy, a human, and has mostly humanoid beings in its supporting cast, but has the Cowardly Lion, Toto the dog, and the flying monkeys as supporting characters.
- Family Guy has a mostly human cast, but there's also Brian the dog. In some episodes he is the central character (with or without Stewie Griffin); these episodes are closer to Level 6.
- Dragon Ball has mostly humans or humanoid aliens, but also Oolong the anthropomorphic pig. Though the original Dragonball featuring quite a few anthropomorphic animal characters, but they were toned down in Dragon Ball Z to make it less whimsical and more serious.
- Peanuts has mainly human cast, but also Snoopy the dog.
- Similar to the Family Guy example, some Peanuts movies and specials have Snoopy be the central character, making them more of a Level 6. When Snoopy is the central character rather than Charlie Brown or (sometimes) other human characters, he has Woodstock the bird as a sidekick.
- Brickleberry has Malloy the bear in an otherwise human cast. Sometimes, Malloy is a central character, making those a Level 6 instead.
- The Cleveland Show has next door neigbors: Timbear Sanitiago, a half dressed bear, and his wife Arianna & son Raymond. It rarely comes up outside of the Theme Song that he's a bear but still, he is a bear in a world mostly without Funny Animals.
Cleveland: AHHH! A BEAR!
Tim: AHHH! A BLACK MAN! AHHH you see? Don't feel so good, does it? It's very reductive.
9. All-Human Cast: No Examples, Please