Anime as a medium has many tropes and archetypes, although some of them are more understood than others. The appearance of penguins in anime is a particularly noticeable but unexplained trend. These flipper-like creatures appear in many anime series and movies, at times in leading roles. Despite this, there’s really no solid explanation as to why they’re there.
This penguin phenomenon has been going on for decades, with anime of different demographics and genres all featuring penguins in some major capacity. The result is a craze that seemingly no one can explain, equating penguins to catgirls and other weird concepts that anime seems to justify running.
From mecha to moe, anime loves penguins
As mentioned, penguins are included to varying degrees in many anime of many genres, including shows where birds are the central protagonist. Examples include film penguin highwayplus shows like polar bear cafe And mawaru penguin, The latter two are animal-focused anime, the former of which features a penguin as one of the main characters in a series about zoo animals. Zani Slice-of-Life Series Azumangah Daioh Sometimes even bringing penguins to their hilarious events, which range from dreams about penguins to Chiyo falling into massive penguin costumes. All of these productions have a kind of nerdy, low-key vibe to them, though that hasn’t stopped Penguin from moving into more warm-blooded anime as well.
football anime Inazuma Eleven There are athletic techniques around penguins, including “Emperor Penguin No. 1” among other moves. Similarly, Emperor Penguin is a cast member in the Pen Psychic mecha series. Neon Genesis Evangelion, The role as Misato’s pet isn’t exactly prominent, but he adds fervor to the series and has become one of the franchise’s most beloved elements. In fact, the pen pen plays a role in this. Evangelion This might help explain why birds are so popular within anime as a whole.
Penguins perfectly encapsulate the “cute” elements of anime
In many of the shows mentioned above, penguin antics add laughter and excitement to an already funny show or show where the stakes are usually very serious. Thus, like cats, it seems that penguins are some “cute” creatures used in anime to make things more cute. above chio in azumanga dioho There was already the show’s resident cute baby character, so adding Penguin to the mix with his costume turns into something even more unique. The exact reason for this may never be given, as penguins do not live naturally in Japan. Despite this, they have become as integral a part of Japanese popular culture as the cat or rabbit.
Penguin cafes are also a trend in Japan, as are made cafes and cat cafes. These establishments allow patrons to sit back and enjoy the evening as penguins swim, slide and even fish at their leisure. Given that it is very similar to Cat Cafe, it again talks about the cuteness factor of penguins and how it automatically prepared them for Japanese culture. Penguins are arguably the cutest of birds due to their strange nature, locomotion and are easily anthropogenic flippers. Swim instead of flying and generally possessing an aesthetic that makes them seem happier and more cuddly than a chicken or an eagle, penguins are more “related” to mammals than most other birds.
Japan being a country where marketing makes cuteness a priority, it’s no surprise that anime and other forms of media have taken to penguins whenever a bird is in need. There’s also the simple irony of shows set in cities or remote Japanese countryside featuring an animal that’s supposed to live in a cold, arctic environment. This irony makes them even more adorable, which is why penguins are easily some of the most ubiquitous animals in anime.