C’mon – you had to know that an article about dogs in anime was coming from me. Well maybe you didn’t. I did tease the idea on the Pure Fandom Facebook page (which recently crossed the 10,000 Like threshold). Sadly, I’m posting this a bit belatedly. I’ve been busy catching back up from my extended weekend at Wizard World Chicago.
I’ve shared this sentiment before, but I love using holidays and celebrations in these little vignettes. The holiday itself provides a frame of reference that is easy for all to enjoy. It is no different for National Dog Day. As a dog lover, I feel like I just had to explore this day of celebration for man’s best friend. Dogs in anime are battle companions, protectors, and family.
Spoiler: There will be a handful of small spoilers regarding these canines. However, I will endeavor to keep them as insignificant as possible. It will always be my hope that there is just enough interest generated in my article to motivate you to search out these animes.
Dogs in anime – Akamaru
Akamaru is a ninja-dog partnered with Kiba Inuzuka. He is a dog with heightened senses and physical strength. As befitting a ninja, Akamaru possesses skills in information gathering and tracking. His combination attacks with Kiba are particularly devastating. Akamaru marks his targets by urinating on them while acrobatically twisting in mid-air. Because their attacks rely on intense speed this marking allows them to track by scent. The intense bond Akamaru and Kiba share is visible in the way they fight for one another.
Dogs in anime – Makkachin
Makkachin is Victor’s pet poodle. He is a well trained and friendly dog. One need only watch the few scenes with Makkachin to see what a loyal pet he is, not only to Victor but to Yuuri as well. Despite his age, Makkachin is active on morning runs with Yuuri. He has much affection and enjoys being close to Victor. The time they get together is special and precious.
Dogs in anime – Den
There are a few great possibilities to talk about from Fullmetal Alchemist. Forgive me for choosing what could be seen as a “bit part”. Den is just an extremely good girl. Somehow fittingly she has an automail limb, no doubt constructed by her owner Pinako. Den is as much bodyguard as she is a family member to the Rockbells. Moreover, she keeps close to those in distress, almost acting as an emotional support dog. But Den’s instincts are set on edge when new or dangerous characters come onto her territory.
Dogs in anime – Ruth
Part of the joy in dog companionship is having that little shadow following at your feet. Ruth, the church grim and familiar of Chise, does this literally. He is a creature of fae, possessing magic to always be there for Chise. As her familiar, Ruth is a steadfast companion and closer to being a sibling than mere pet. His loyalty is a force worthy of admiration and source of his transformation from dog into church grim.
Let me diverge from my usual conclusions to share something personal. Finding myself in a pretty bad place after college, I ballooned up to a dangerously unhealthy weight. I spent far too much time on my own, shut up in my apartment. As a result, it made me depressed, unhappy, and consistently low energy. But the day came when I decided to adopt a dog.
At first my only motivation was to have a companion to play fetch with. However, that quickly evolved. I was never responsible for a pet growing up. Housebreaking, leash training, and budgeting for a pet were totally new concepts. The best part was simply getting up and moving though. In the ten years since then my life has blossomed open. I have my dogs to thank for that.
Do you have any dogs? What about a favorite dog from anime? Please share with me! I said that dogs could be a fandom too – I really believe that. It is something to bond over, something to share! Leave a comment below or engage with me on my social media (Facebook – Twitter – Instagram).
Featured image: Viz Media