Comics/Graphic Novels

Take a Walk on the Wild Side With These Animal Centric Manga Series

Vernieda Vergara

Staff Writer

Vernieda Vergara is a freelance writer who loves anime, manga, and all things creepy. Her work has appeared on Den of Geek, Women Write About Comics, The Comics MNT, and other venues scattered across the internet. She lives in the Washington DC suburbs where she takes care of far too many plants and drinks even more tea. Twitter: incitata

BEASTARS, the manga behind the Netflix series BEASTARS.

Are You Predator Or Are You Prey? One night at Cherryton Academy, an herbivore student is brutally murdered. Among the members of the Drama Club, the herbivores’ suspicions naturally turn to their carnivore classmates… The prime suspect? Gray wolf Legoshi. But he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Or would he? Will dwarf rabbit Haru bring out the beast in him? Or are his feelings for her…something else?

Who doesn’t love animal-themed manga? I’m partial to the pet manga sub-genre myself. Cute pets bringing joy and mayhem to a household? What’s not to like! But as with all things manga, pet hijinks make up only a fraction of the stories featured. Whether it’s about pursuing romance, world domination, or power, these animal centric manga cover it all.

FukuFuku Kitten Tales volume 1 cover - Konami KanataFukuFuku Kitten Tales by Kanata Konami

Best known for her other cat-themed manga Chi’s Sweet Home, Kanata Konami has a talent for portraying the relationship between an owner and their cat in the most charming way. This two-volume series introduces us to a doting grandmother as she reminisces about the time her beloved cat was still a kitten and everything was shiny and new. I especially recommend this manga for young children.

A Man & His Cat volume 1 cover - Umi SakuraiA Man and His Cat by Umi Sakurai

Another story about an owner and his cat, this manga takes a different approach. On one hand, we have an older salaryman whose wife has passed away. On the other, we have a homely cat who remains unadopted and unnoticed at the pet shop. It’s a sweet story of a lonely man and a lonely cat who help fill each other’s lives.

A Polar Bear in Love volume 1 cover - KoromoA Polar Bear in Love by Koromo

Strange couples walk through the pages of many manga series, and animal centric manga are no different. As you can probably guess from the title, this one is about a polar bear who falls in love. With a seal. Yes, I know. To no one’s surprise, misunderstandings abound. After all, seals are the natural prey of polar bears. Why wouldn’t the poor thing assume the polar bear was trying to eat it instead of romance it? And if you’re looking for more cute arctic animals, don’t worry. A penguin and an orca make appearances later.

Animal Land volume 1 cover - Makoto RaikuAnimal Land by Makoto Raiku

Spend enough time reading manga and you’ll run into tanuki. The raccoon dog plays a significant role in Japanese folklore, almost as much as the pervasive kitsune. After lynxes kill her entire family, a tanuki finds herself the only orphan in her village. That is, until she stumbles across an abandoned human baby. This is a very unusual occurrence because in this manga, animals rule the land. Humans are a mystery and unheard of.

Sgt Frog volume 1 cover - Mine YoshizakiSgt. Frog by Mine Yoshizaki

Sergeant Keroro and his platoon are on a mission to infiltrate Earth and gather information for their superiors, an alien race of frogs who plan to invade and take over the planet. Unfortunately, the mission hits a snag when Keroro is discovered by a pair of human children. Even worse, his superiors consider the platoon compromised and abandon both them and their invasion plans. Now, he must survive captivity and regather his scattered platoon.

Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts volume 1 cover - Yu TomofujiSacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts by Yu Tomofuji

We all love a fairytale retelling, don’t we? This take on Beauty and the Beast introduces us to a kingdom ruled by beasts and demons and where subjugated humans offer female sacrifices to their king. But instead of eating the latest sacrifice as is custom, the king decides to let the young woman live and make her his consort.

A Centaur's Life volume 1 cover - Kei MurayamaA Centaur’s Life by Kei Murayama

Manga loves its school-themed stories. We have places that train superheroes like UA High School in My Hero Academia. We have schools founded on a dream of peace like Cross Academy from Vampire Knight. Other times, we get simple glimpses into the daily life of a high school student. And sometimes those high school students happen to be mythological animals and creatures.

Donyatsu volume 1 cover - Yuusuke KozakiDonyatsu by Yuusuke Kozaki

It always comes back to cats. In a post-apocalyptic world, humans have vanished. That’s nothing new. What is new is that cats have taken the shape of donuts. And sometimes bagels. Is it weird? Yes, I’m not going to deny that. But it’s also charming and cute. Sometimes that’s all we want and need in an animal centric manga.

Looking for more manga? Check out this list of manga you must read. Want something more refreshing and relaxed? Here are some slice of life manga series.