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Token Non-Human

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One of these characters is not like the others. Wait, what's that old guy doing in the back?

When a work has an ordinary setting, your cast is going to be... well, ordinary. Your basic Five-Man Band, maybe with a Token Minority, or a Token Girl.

But when you're the author of Speculative Fiction, authors can make the cast as interesting as they want. Enter the Token Nonhuman to spice things up. He (or she; this is a Unisex Trope) could be a Rubber-Forehead Alien, a Robot Buddy, a Funny Animal, a Civilized Animal, a Partially Civilized Animal, or all of the above at once, but one thing is for sure. They aren't human.

Even Demi Humans like elves can count as examples of this trope.

A Token Nonhuman is not the Team Pet — the team pet is, well, a pet that belongs to the team, but the Token Nonhuman is a sapient being who stands on more-or-less equal footing with the humans.

Unlike other token what-have-yous, a token nonhuman is not there to attract a Periphery Demographic. Probably. A Token Nonhuman instead serves the purpose of exploring the possibility of other species with radically different natures from our own, incorporating beings with cool superhuman abilities, showing that the main cast is not practicing Fantastic Racism, and exploring the question What Measure Is A Nonhuman. If nothing else, the Token Non-Human can serve as the Amusing Alien for comic relief.


Because Most Writers Are Human (to our knowledge), you'll likely not see more than one protagonist who isn't human, hence the "Token" part of "Token Nonhuman". In live-action works, this is often a matter of budget and practicality; human characters can be portrayed with human actors in regular outfits, whereas non-humans require elaborate costumes and/or special effects to depict them (unless they're Human Aliens). If there is more than one nonhuman character, you'll most likely see a cast full of nonhumans, with a Token Human.

Token Heroic Orc is this trope meeting Token Enemy Minority. See also Fantastic Sapient Species Tropes, and Not Quite Human. Compare and contrast Team Pet. Contrast Not Even Human. Inverse of Token Human and Unfazed Everyman. Supertrope to Token Robot.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has Chachamaru as the Token Nonhuman of Ala Alba.
    • Sayo counts to a certain degree, too. Setsuna technically, though it doesn't come up much. Chachamaru is easily the best example, though.
  • Mao from Darker Than Black.
  • One Piece:
    • For the Straw Hats: Tony Tony Chopper, a reindeer who ate the Hito Hito (Human-Human) Fruit, which gives him human-like intelligence and the ability to speak. He's so intelligent, in fact, that he serves as the crew's doctor.
      • The Straw Hats gain a second one in the Whole Cake Island arc when Jimbei (a Fishman) joins. Jimbei being a Fishman on an (almost) all-human crew is actually an important plot point for him, since his dream is to improve relations between Fishmen and humans.
    • Trafalgar Law's crew also has one: Bepo, a polar bear Mink who basically just looks like a talking polar bear. The rest of Law's crew appears to be made up of humans.
  • In Lyrical Nanoha, if you look the non-human characters of the Riot Force 6 or Special Duty Section 6 with all section members together, they are the minority. But if you exclude all nameless characters, they are the majority in the latter section.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion had Bebe, the only witch who befriended the girls and became part of the team as the mascot; and now she's human.
    • Kyubey also counts.
  • The titular character of Doraemon is a blue cat robot from the future who currently lives in present-day Japan where sentient robots have not been invented yet.
  • The Guild of Bungo Stray Dogs has Lovecraft.
  • Piccolo, the 7'5" green-skinned Namekian in Dragon Ball. Downplayed, because the Saiyans are Human Aliens whose only distinguishing characteristic from humans are their tails (which are all cut off by the time the Freeza saga starts).

    Comic Books 
  • Early in Runaways, despite several of the other characters having power, Karolina Dean was the only one that wasn't remotely human (Molly's a human mutant and Old Lace is the Team Pet). For a time she did angst over being an alien, to the point of letting a vampire feed on her.
  • In X of Swords, the human mutants of Arakko have an uneasy peace with the demons of Ament. But these mutants are all unified in their hatred of Apocalypse and want revenge. The thing holding them back is a Trial by Combat involving prophesied swords. Since one of these swords is held by a huge demonic crocodile named Pogg Ur-Pogg, the first Horsemen hold their noses and try to bribe him into becoming one of their champions. He only takes the job when the Horsemen offer to take him to a new world for him to plunder.

  • In Empathy, Oh is this to the rest of the Big Hero 9, as the only alien member of the team where the rest all come from Earth (although Baymax is a robot while Riley has empathic abilities).

  • Star Wars:
    • In the original trilogy, excepting the droids, there's Chewbacca, Han Solo's Wookiee co-pilot. He's one of the few alien characters who are even given a name in A New Hope. The Empire Strikes Back and especially Return of the Jedi show more, but Chewbacca remains the only nonhuman, non-droid member of the main cast.
    • Jar Jar Binks, a gungan, in The Phantom Menace, succeeds Chewbacca as the only nonhuman in the main cast, though unlike the OT many background and minor characters are aliens in the prequels.
    • K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial security droid in Rogue One.
    • Among the bad guys, Supreme Leader Snoke is the only visible alien member of the First Order in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
    • Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace was the only non-human true Sith in the theatrical films, though this isn't immediately obvious.
  • Galaxy Quest: In-universe example is Dr. Lazarus (an expy of Mr. Spock from Star Trek) in the case of the Show Within a Show, in the movie itself the Therbians in general and Laliari in particular became this in "Real Life" for the cast. Ironically Laliari will not play an alien after she chooses to stay on Earth and is added as a "human" character in the show.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Though the cast contains several examples of not quite human characters, including the titular protagonist, Angel has Lorne as the only visibly demonic main character who is unable to alter his appearance in any way.
  • Blake's 7 has Cally, an Auron with limited telepathic powers.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor is usually this to the TARDIS crew. Though during Peter Davison's era this was inverted, with Tegan Jovanka serving as the token human in a TARDIS full of Human Aliens.
  • Grimm: Monroe and Rosalee, the two Wesen characters of the show. (Notice that Renard is actually half human and Adalind is no longer Wesen).
  • The Robot in Lost in Space is, well, a Robot living among humans.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Teal'c from Stargate SG-1. An odd example in that Jaffa are genetically altered humans, and thus Teal'c—being played by the African American Christopher Judge—is also a Token Minority (specifically, a token Black character in a mostly White main cast).
    • Subverted, averted, and inverted (possibly) in Stargate Atlantis — the Pegasus Galaxy is full of humans, but almost none of the non-Terran humans work for the Atlantis expedition, but then by the end of the pilot, the flagship exploration team adopts a non-Terran member.
    • By the second season of Atlantis, the main team is split 50-50 between Earth humans and locals — Sheppard and McKay from Earth, and Teyla and Ronon from the Pegasus Galaxy. This stays for the rest of the series.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: Spock half qualifies, as he is half-Vulcan and half-human.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Three out of the starring cast of seven or eight were non-human. While the human-looking Deanna Troi (half-Betazoid, half-human) was less obvious, both Worf (Klingon) and Data (android) qualify as Token Nonhumans.
    • Averted by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which is set on a space station that's mainly made up of non-humans, and there are multiple aliens in the starring (Kira, Odo, Quark, Worf, both Daxes) and recurring cast.
    • Star Trek: Voyager averts this trope as well, with Neelix, the holographic Doctor, Tuvok, Torres, Kes, and in later seasons, former Borg Seven of Nine. The nonhuman main cast slightly outnumber the human main cast members (Janeway, Chakotay, Paris, and Kim).
      • Seven is a strange borderline case since she was born as the human Annika Hanson, assimilated, and then severed from the Collective.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise has T'Pol (Vulcan) and Dr. Phlox (Denobulan). This is a Justified Trope as humans are still new to interstellar exploration, so they need aliens to advise them (and it's implied by the Vulcans, to keep them on a leash).
    • Saru (Kelpien) in Star Trek: Discovery regarding the main characters, some recurrent alien characters can be seen among the crew.
    • Star Trek: Picard: By the end of "Absolute Candor", Elnor (a Romulan) is the sole non-human member of Picard's ragtag crew.
  • Multiple characters in Super Sentai are aliens or other non-human beings in otherwise human teams.
    • Sion from Mirai Sentai Timeranger is a Human Alien and the last survivor from the planet Humard.
    • Doggie Kruger in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger is an alien from the planet Anubis who looks like an anthropomorphic dog.
    • Hikaru, the Sixth Ranger of Mahou Sentai Magiranger is more or less the equivalent of an angel. Later on, it is revealed that the father of the main team is also an angel.
    • Tensou Sentai Goseiger has a rather strange example. In this case, the entire team is not human, but rather a race of human-looking angels. But their Sixth Ranger is from the same race as their mecha are and therefore does not possess a human form. So in this case, it's a token nonhuman looking being in a team of human-looking beings.
    • Beet J. Stag in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters is an AI-driven android and not one able to blend in with humans, as his appearance and mannerisms clearly betray he is a manmade construct.
  • Supernatural:
    • In Season 3, the demon Ruby shows up and joins Sam and Dean for a few adventures, even though Dean does not trust her. She's also the Token Evil Teammate.
    • Season 5 sees the angel Castiel joining Team Free Will, making him the only nonhuman along with Sam, Dean, and their surrogate father Bobby.
    • For a while in Season 7, Bobby sticks around as a ghost and is the boys' only ally at this point.
    • Later seasons see more non-human allies move in and out of the story. The demon Meg foists herself on the brothers for a few episodes, though she is only occasionally the only supernatural being on the team since Castiel is often on the team as well. This also happens when Crowley joins the action, and later, Jack.
  • The Orville has three: Bortus the Moclan, Alara Kitan the Xelayan and Isaac the Kailon. A recurrent character voiced by Norm Macdonald is Yaphit, a gelatinous blob.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy has a history of this:
    • Final Fantasy VI: Mog and Umaro. Possibly Gogo as wellnote . VI has a large enough cast size for three to still be token. Four if you count the fact that Terra is a Half-Human Hybrid.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Red XIII. Possibly Cait-Sith as well, although it's controlled by a human.
      • Though as the two interact in Dirge of Cerberus, at least some Cait Sith models are sentient.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Nearlynote  half the party, making them not really "token" at all.
      • The only one that is clearly human is Steiner. The other include a tailed Genome (Zidane), human-like summonersnote  (Garnet & Eiko), a Black Magenote  (Vivi), a Burmecian (Freya), a Qu (Quina) and a blue-skinned man who might be human (Amarant).
    • Final Fantasy X: Kimahri.
    • Final Fantasy XII: Fran. Somewhat obvious here, as Ivalice is replete with sentient nonhuman races (Viera, Moogle, Bangaa, Seeq, Aegyl, etc.). but Fran is the only one such among the protagonists.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: This trope is averted for the first time since Final Fantasy VIII. Or subverted if you look at it from another way: the game could be the first in the series to have no (technically) human playable characters, as everyone in the party becomes a L'Cie. Which means in the first two chapters of the game Vanille is the Token Non-Human in the group...
  • Ne'ban in Unreal II: The Awakening, while the rest of the main cast is human he is, apparently, an intelligent parasite living in a jelly-like alien, housed in a robotic suit.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de franchise:
  • Odium has Jan Kurtas/Medusa, the only Humanoid Abomination victim of the Viral Transformation who didn't go murderously insane. For now. Though this can be avoided by refusing to go to a certain optional place. He's special in that he cannot carry weapons, instead using his mutant abilities. He also happens to be immune to tranquilizing and doesn't need to increase his Accuracy stat since all his abilities are treated as melee attacks (and thus have a 100% accuracy).
  • Golden Axe has Gilius the dwarf together with the male and female human heroes, and the sci-fi based Spiritual Successor Alien Storm has Scooter the robot.
  • The later Persona games have a non-human character, mostly used to address something along the lines of What Measure Is a Non-Human?.
    • Persona 3 has Koromaru, who's a (very intelligent) dog, plus the Anti-Shadow Suppression Weapon Aigis, who gradually becomes more human over time. Persona 3 FES and Persona 4: Arena also introduces Aigis's two "sisters" Metis and Labrys.
    • Persona 4 has Teddie, a mysterious entity native to the TV world resembling a cute mascot suit. Teddie himself laments that he's not sure what he is, and is sad that he can't join the rest of the Investigation Team in the real world. It is eventually revealed that he was a shadow that developed a personality out of a desire to be loved, and over the course of the story he gains both a Persona and a human body, effectively becoming a real person.
    • Persona 5 has Morgana, a talking cat-like creature the protagonists meet in Kamoshida's Palace, who turns into an ordinary cat in the real world (with the exception of the fact that he can still talk to people who have talked to him in the Metaverse). Like Teddie, Morgana has no memories of his past but is convinced he was a human whose form was distorted by the Metaverse and joins the protagonists after they promise to help him find a way to restore his true form. Before the final dungeon it's revealed that Morgana is actually an embodiment of humanity's hope, created by Igor to gather those who can oppose Yaldabaoth.
  • In the Mass Effect series, most of Shepard's crew are human, but typically feature about two or three aliens.
    • Among teammates it's averted in Mass Effect. The human squad members are actually outnumbered 2:1 by the aliens.
    • In the second game, we are introduced to Legion and EDI as the token robot and Normandy AI respectively.
    • Lampshaded in Mass Effect 3, where Garrus refers to himself as Shepard's "token Turian friend".
  • In Beyond the Beyond, every character that can join your party is a human, save for the summoner Tont, who is basically an amorphous blob of goo.
  • Overwatch has a diverse cast of characters, but of the 21 original heroes, there were only three non-humans. Bastion and Zenyatta were the Omnic representatives (basically sentient robots), while Winston is a hyper-intelligent gorilla. Since launch, they've added Orisa and Echo, other Omnics, and Wrecking Ball, a mech piloted by a non-speaking (yet intelligent) hamster, but there are still six times the amount of humans compared to non-humans.
  • Blanka in Street Fighter II was originally supposed to be just a Tarzan Expy, the decision to make him have green skin has because Capcom though there were "too many humans" among the selectable fighters.
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark has Bzaro, a member of the insectoid Bzil race, as the only nonhuman with plot importancenote  that the player can recruit into their party.

    Web Animation 
  • Faunus in RWBY are a minority race on Remnant and Menagerie (the primary Faunus settlement) lacks a Huntsman Academy of its own like the four kingdoms. As a result, every Huntsman team that has appeared in the series has either been composed completely of humans, or has a single Faunus member (Blake from Team RWBY being the most prominent example). This even extends to other groups, like the inner circles of both Ozpin and Salem.

  • In Good Ship Chronicles, Mike is literally a token alien, hired only to fill a quota; consequentially, he serves no real purpose on the ship.
  • For the first 500-some strips, the central mercenary crew in Schlock Mercenary had only one nonhuman — the titular Schlock. But that ended in 2002.
    • Schlock Mercenary is generally pretty good about averting this trope, even prior to the hiring spree on Ghanj-Rho. The first two months see the introduction of not only the eponymous ball of amorphous violence but Flib Sh'vuu, communications slug/squid with a cool flying chair; Ennesby, a viral AI that used to be a boy band; Ch'vorthq who was genetically tailored to be the perfect ambassador that explodes. All of whom are, or become part of Tagon's Toughs, although Sh'vuu doesn't really get much of plot and character development thrown at him.
  • Carson the muskrat from Dork Tower.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has Molly the Peanut Butter Monster.
  • El Goonish Shive has Grace Sciuridae who is a Tulougol Seyunolu (Greater Chimera).
  • Legostar Galactica gives us T.A.G. (Token Alien Guy) who only puts up with being called T.A.G. because of his Embarrassing First Name and lack of a last name, although the cast quickly expanded to include numerous aliens, robots, and the likes, including an air-breathing giant squid and a Deep One
  • Rak Wraithraiser from Tower of God. Egomaniac Hunter, Big Guy, Blood Knight, giant freaking alligator.
  • Sam Starfall from Freefall is the only alien in the whole comic; everyone else (excepting a few housepets and the like) is either human, robot, or genetically engineered uplifted animal. His species doesn't even have space travel of their own; he snuck onboard a human ship that made landfall and embarked on adventure from there.
  • In Crimson Knights Itham is the only one of the four main heroes who isn't a human, being an earthfair.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series has several non-human members of the team: the Genie (a Genie), Iago (a parrot), Abu (a monkey), and the flying carpet.
  • Seven characters make up the Planet Express crew in Futurama. Out of those seven is one robot, one alien, and one mutant. The last of these three is almost completely human save for the lack of a second eye.
  • Men in Black: The Series has The Twins as the Token Aliens of MIB. In the fourth season, sci-fi affirmative action causes MIB to hire an alien field agent and alien scientist.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a token non-equine: Spike, the baby dragon.
  • Slimer the Ghost in The Real Ghostbusters.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series didn't have to deal with elaborate makeup so it managed to get away from this trope with Lt. M'Ress and Lt. Arex being part of the bridge crew.
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel is a Fallen Angel in a world of humans.

Anthropomorphic Animal Examples

Comic Books

  • Double Jumpers: In the world of the "Dungeon Lords 2" video game, the Player Characters are Kane, Sela, Mongo, Sebastian, and Pilfer. The first four are humans, while Pilfer is a goblin.

Live-Action TV

  • Red Dwarf had the Cat. Arguably, he could also be construed as Team Pet, as he was descended from Lister's cat Frankenstein, but let's count 3 million years of evolution to his credit.
  • seaQuest DSV had a dolphin that could talk.

Video Games


Western Animation


Video Example(s):


The Executioner

The second playable character who is of non-human origin and is monster manifested from the dark power of Silent Hill.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / TokenNonhuman

Media sources:

Main / TokenNonhuman