Talkin’ Nerdy: AnthropomorphiZm

Today Talkin’ Nerdy takes an in-depth look at an often overlooked minority, a sub-culture of society which doesn’t get a lot of press or attention, but nonetheless is a fraction of the populace that exists and stands out.

I’m speaking of course of the ‘animal people’ from Dragon Ball/Z.


You can’t address the elephant in the room here, because he went to get a snack from the commissary.


Since Dragon Ball‘s debut, these crispy critters have been sprinkled across the population of Toriyama’s version of Earth, yet few of them have ever gotten any major screen time or especially large parts, the exceptions being Oolong and Puar…


A Cat & Piggy Show



…And Shu, the dog ninja minion of Emperor Pilaf, along with his human general, Mai.


Shu looks pretty hot in that costume, Mai just plain looks hot.

Have you ever wondered where these ‘animal people’ come from? What their origin is? I’m glad I pretended that you asked that. I have my own personal theory as to where these ‘animal humans’ came to be; it’s a bit of a crackpot theory, and it’s not canonical, as it relies on Dragon Ball, Hero: 108 and Animal Jam all taking place within the same universe.

Politank Z

Also Waku Waku 7, since the Mechanic of Politank-Z is a dog.


“A dog who’s a cop/mechanic? What sort of sober, drug-free mind would come up with something like that? A regular Hemingway, this one!”


“I have another theory which links the Manhattan Project to the emergence of boy-bands and reality TV, if anyone’s interested.”

Anywho, this is my totally made-up, not true, but it works-for me theory:

In ancient times when the world was block after block of savage, untamed jungle, there were 2 major sapient tribes inhabiting the Earth: humans and animals, who lived together as equals and co-existed in peaceful, joyous harmony.


Peaceful, joyous harmony. We’re full of it.


As time progressed, the humans, i.e., the tribe with the opposable thumbs, began showing off their smarty brains, learning to master tools, discovering fire, inventing the wheel, covering their junk with clothes, etc., eventually creating what we now know as what passes for civilization and migrating to create more modern and technologically advanced cities and towns.

Couple in Car

“Well we’re movin’ on up….to the East Side…to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky….”


The animals, meanwhile, stayed in the wild and remained “savage” for the most part, doing the jungle/tribal thing. However, the human and animal tribes stayed fairly close, and in due time, some humans began taking in animal ‘companions’ with them to the new cities, for one simple reason…

AJ Peck

The animals were freakin’ adorable!

Since they were living in ‘man’s world’ (and also due to the the strict legal regulations), in time the transplanted animals began to learn to speak the language and adopt some of the mannerisms of humans, thus giving rise to the ‘animal people’ sub-class we know today. While they’re not considered to be of the same level of intelligence or evolution as humans (they can’t vote or own property and are rarely asked for their opinions in polls), they have nonetheless become an accepted part of modern society.

That’s how I’d do it anyway. No offense to Toriyama-San, but I like that idea better than the one of animals just being people with animal features. When anthropomorphism is exaggerated to the point where the animals are basically odd-looking people, that’s where I draw the line.

One final question I’ve always had regarding Dragon Ball‘s animal populace: why are there no animal Z-Fighters?

Dog Stars

“We fight for truth, justice and Liv-A-Snaps!”

Can the animal people be taught to manipulate ki?  Videl is an ordinary human who learned to fly…


“Just remember to think happy thoughts, dude!”


…So could an animal be taught this as well? Getting back to Hero: 108, First Squad a token animal member, my favorite character on the show, Jumpy Ghostface.


He would wrap his ears around his head like a ninja mask and work your behind with a jump-rope. Don’t laugh.

Jumpy Ninja

“I’m a ninja, I’m a Bunny Ninja!”

Not to be outdone (again!), Second Squad also had their own animal warrior, Golden Eye Husky.

Second Squad

G.E.H. has a super-durable body and can breathe fire….


Yet he still had his soft, cuddly side.


(I told you the animals were adorable.)

Personally, I think it would be kind of cool to see an animal kicking some ass alongside the Z-Soldiers.

-But wait, no, that would never work. That would just be ridiculous. Animals can’t be fighters. Can you imagine animal martial artists?

The Furious Five

Where the heck was my head??



2 thoughts on “Talkin’ Nerdy: AnthropomorphiZm

  1. I’ve heard of a trope called Furry Confusion, where the less, slightly, and not anthropomorphic animals and the more and very anthropomorphic animals (some of whom so anthropomorphic that they are basically like humans in animal suits or humans with animal traits) of same (like Pluto and Goofy), similar, and related species share the same universe. There are also a few companion tropes to this one, Humanoid Female Animal in which the female animals are more anthropomorphic than the male animals (e.x., Tiny and Candy Kong to the male Kongs in the Donkey Kong games), and one in which adult and older animals are more anthropomorphic than baby, child, and younger animals (e.x., Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his 420 bunny children in Epic Mickey). Some examples of both these tropes are so pronounced that they overlap with Furry Confusion itself.

    I consider the two cats in Disney’s Pinocchio, the male kitten Figaro and the dumb, mute, adult tomcat Gideon to be a pronounced example of Adults Are More Anthropomorphic as well as one of Furry Confusion. They are the only two cats in the movie, they are both mute, and the adult one is the more anthropomorphic of the two, wearing clothes and walking bipedally whereas the kitten wears no clothes and walks quadrupedally. Also, there are neither anthropomorphic kittens nor nonanthropomorphic adult cats in the movie

    Levels of Anthropomorphism (Both Appearance and Behavior)

    1) “Animals with No Human Traits” or Not Anthropomorphic
    2) “Animals with Few Human Traits” or Slightly Anthropomorphic
    3) “Animals with Some Human Traits” or Less Anthropomorphic
    4) “Animals with Many Human Traits” or More Anthropomorphic
    5) “Humans in Animal Suits” or Very Anthropomorphic
    6) “Humans with Animal Traits” or Extremely Anthropomorphic

    Levels of Animal Anthropomorphism with Specific Cartoon, Animated, Anime, Manga, Video Game, and Comic Animals

    1) Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and other ducks: Anthorpomorphic ducks with body shapes roughly like that of non-anthropomorphic ducks but with arms, and Donald and his nephews have quacky voices, but they are frequently portrayed like “humans in animal suits” level and Interacting with “ordinary” ducks as humans would despite that .
    2) Goofy, Max, and other Dogfaces: Depending on the dogface character, either a “human in animal suit” or a “human with animal traits.” They’re also basically human in behavior. Max and Goofy themselves are more the “human in animal suit” in appearance.


    1. Hmm..I thought that “Furry Confunsion” was just the title of an article that I wrote here last September. I had no idea that it was an official trope.


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