Our 5 Favorite Anime Frogs/Toad Characters
With their wide range of colors and varieties, adorably awkward, slightly slimy bodies, unconventional locomotion, metamorphic life cycle, and trademark croaks and ribbits, frogs and toads are some of the most unusual, yet familiar animals out there and have been a part of many different cultures across history. In this piece, we’re counting down our picks for their best incarnations in anime and touching a little bit on frogs in Japanese culture. Let’s hop to it!
Frogs in Japanese Culture
In Japan, frogs are considered to be bringers of good fortune for several reasons. The country has long been agriculturally dominated by rice, which in turn is heavily dependent on water to flood the rice fields. Japan has 43 different native species and subspecies of frogs, many of which thrive around rice paddies, eating insect pests. They are particularly common during the rainy season, Tsuyu, and thought of as bringers of rain in folklore.
In addition, the Japanese word for frog, kaeru (カエル), is a homonym for the word for “return”. Frog designs and trinkets are commonly used in charms for travelers wanting a safe return home and are a common addition to wallets and coin purses to help the owner’s money return to them, especially for gamblers. Frogs also frequently appear in Japanese poetry such as Basho’s famous frog haiku.
5. Gamakichi from Naruto
Starting off our list is Gamakichi, one of the many toads that can be summoned from the mystical Mount Myoboku. In the Naruto series, toads have many powers ranging from spitting water and oil from their mouths to performing advanced ninja techniques. Gamakichi is the personal summon of Naruto who formed a bond with him after saving him from Gaara’s miniature Shukaku form. Gamakichi himself is something of a smart aleck and a bit condescending but grows to be more mature (and physically larger) later in the series. He has a little bit of a gangster vibe, smokes cigarettes, and definitely is a cool toad worthy of a spot on our list.
4. Yajirou Shimogamo from Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family)
Yajirou is the second son of the Shimogamo family who transformed himself into a frog long ago and has since forgotten how to turn back into a tanuki. He lives in a pond inside a well where he spends most of his time listening to the stories of others and sometimes offering his own advice. He is overall very passive and unmotivated but has a passion for drinking. Without spoiling anything, Yajirou is revealed to be an emotionally complex character who experiences a lot of growth by the end of the story.
3. Eruka Frog from Soul Eater
Eruka Frog is a frog-themed witch in the Soul Eater series who is enslaved by Medusa after a failed attempt to kill her. Her name is a play on kaeru (エルカ vs. カエル) and her powers and appearance are all based on frogs. She has tadpole bombs, a frog-faced hat, giant tadpole mount named Otama Jackson, and the ability to straight up transform into a frog. While a bit cowardly and inherently destructive, Eruka has shown capacity for compassion, unlike some of the other witches, adding to her complexity as a character. Her design is also very cute with her iconic orange hat, polka-dot dress, long silver hair, and wide, frog-like mouth.
2. Tsuyu Asui from Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
Tsuyu, whose name is same as the rainy season mentioned in the beginning, is a student at U.A. High School in the same class as Deku, Uraraka, and the rest of the main cast of students and the current rising star of the frog world of anime. Her quirk, Frog, gives her abilities and an appearance similar to a frog. She is adept at swimming, climbing, and jumping, and can excrete poison, camouflage herself, and use her extendable tongue as a tool or weapon. Besides her froggy face, her most recognizable feature is her long green hair which is usually tied in a big bow. Tsuyu is laid back and has a frank, straightforward style of speaking. She is also quite clever, supportive of her friends, and has a strong sense of justice which makes her a really memorable and loveable character.
1. Sergeant Keroro from Keroro Gunsou (Sgt. Frog)
Keroro is the handsome leader of the Keronian alien invasion of Earth (or Pekopon as they call it) but really is more of a freeloader living in the Hinata household with the rest of his crew. Keroro’s wacky antics, self-centered incompetence, and obsession with Gunpla, disco, costumes, and TV make him a hilarious driving force in the long-running gag comedy series. He is an expert cleaner (and curler, among other things) and also becomes incredibly powerful in high humidity. Keroro’s name is a reference to the Japanese frog sound onomatopoeia “kero-kero”. His design is also very frog-like with green skin, large eyes, a yellow star on his belly, and trademark cap that sort of looks like ears. Altogether, Keroro is a brilliantly fun character that represents the strengths of his series perfectly.
We hope you enjoyed this froggy list! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for more of all things anime here at Honey’s! Frog yeah!
Honorable mentions: Yokozuna (One Piece), Keroppi (various Sanrio anime)