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"Nya!" There's something irresistible about the charm of nekomimi gals - that means girls with cat ears, for those that don't know. Much like their animal counterparts cat girls are both independent and affectionate, winning us over in the same bizarre way our kitty companions do. It might be their finicky feline charm, or maybe it's just the ears. In any case, cat girls have been featured in all sorts of anime for a long time.
Cat girl characters vary in just how feline they are in both appearance and behavior. Some of them sport ears and tails, but otherwise behave in an entirely human manner. Some of them are so cat-like that they wear collars and actually meow when they speak. Regardless of what kind of nekomimi you prefer, hopefully you’ll find an intriguing character on this list.
10) Shizuka Nekonome - Rosario to Vampire
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 3, 2008 to March 27, 2008
What if your teacher was a cat girl? In the Universe of Rosario to Vampire, this situation would be anything but remarkable. After all, the show takes place at Yokai Academy, a school exclusively for monster students. Shizuka Nekonome is the homeroom teacher of the protagonists.
Shizuka is relatively laid back, sometimes to a fault. Sure sounds like a cat to me! She exhibits cat-like reflexes and speed. Her favorite food, little to anyone’s surprise is fish, and she meows when speaking from time to time. Shizuka’s fun-loving feline attitude earns her a spot on this list.
9) Alicia Rue – Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: July 8, 2012 to Dec 23, 2012
Sword Art Online is a series that takes place inside of a video game. In this game, there are all sorts of humans, as well as other races, making for a colorful cast of characters. What would such a series be without a token cat girl character? That’s where Alicia Rue comes in.
Alicia Rue is the queen of a race of cat people in the universe of Sword Art Online, known as Cait Sith. As a ruler, she backs up her position of power with formidable prowess in battle. As the queen of the kitties, she earns a spot on this list.
8) Yoriko Sagisawa– Da Capo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jul 5, 2003 to Dec 27, 2003
Some cat girls are more cat than human. Yoriko definitely falls into this category. After all, Yoriko was a once a cat herself! Through magic, she is transformed into a version of her owner with cat ears. The pet of an introverted girl named Misaki, she knows very little about other people.
With her new humanoid body, she begins to explore and learn about the outside world. However, just because she looks like a human girl, doesn’t mean she knows how to behave like one. Yoriko is a classic and endearing cat girl character, and earns a spot on this list.
7) Cyan Hijirikawa - Show By Rock!!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 5, 2015 to June 21, 2015
Cyan is a timid first year high school student who loves music. Often times she keeps quiet rather than speaking up for herself. The trajectory of her life takes a surprising turn when she is transported to an alternate universe centered around her greatest passion - music.
Cyan is an idol who wears a maid outfit, as well as nekomimi. What’s not to love? She is one of the protagonists of the series, starring as both a guitarist and a vocalist for the band Plasmagica. This series also features other adorable kemonomimi, so if that’s what you’re after it’s worth a watch!
6) Deijiko - Di Gi Charat
- Episodes: 16
- Aired: November 30, 1999 - December 24, 1999
The first time I ever heard an anime character say “nyo” or anything of the sort was in Di Gi Charat. Deijiko is a cat girl who ends every single sentence with that sound. Though you’d think it would get annoying, it’s actually quite endearing.
She sports a big, adorable bell, a cat-eared hat and is also self-centered in the perplexingly endearing way all felines manage to be. Deijiko also has an adorable cat-girl side-kick, Puchiko. She’s one of the most well-known cat girls, earning her a spot on this list.
5) Atsuko 'Nuku Nuku' Natsume - Bannou Bunka Neko-Musume (All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 7, 1998 - March 25, 1998
If you don’t know who she is, you might be looking at her pictures and wondering why she’s on this list. Nuku Nuku may be an android, but she is a cat girl in the most literal sense of the word – the brain in her head once belonged to an actual pet cat.
Nuku Nuku was a stray cat until she wound up being severely injured in an accident. It may have been curtains for this kitty – until her brain was put in a robot girl’s body! She’s still a cat on the inside, and now she must handle the newfound responsibilities that come with her android body. Nuku-nuku is a cat girl in the literal sense of the word.
4) Ichigo Momomiya - Tokyo Mew Mew
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: April 6, 2002 - March 29, 2003
Ichigo is a regular girl struggling with school, boys, and the trials and tribulations of being a secret super hero. Tokyo Mew Mew is a typical magical girl drama with a kemonomimi twist. The members of the Mew Mew Bridgade all have genetically enhanced super hero powers made possible by genetic splicing with animal DNA.
Ichigo is sweet and caring, though she can be a bit dramatic at times. She always has her friends’ best interests at heart, and her deep sense of loyalty is more canine than feline. Ichigo may only sport cat ears and tail in her Magical Girl form, but genetically she is closer to a cat than most of us putting her on this list.
3) Taruto - Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 5, 2001 – September 27 2001
Nekomimi fans who haven’t heard of this series are surely in for a treat. Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto features an entire race of cat girls, who act as pets to their masters. Taruto is the main character of this series. In addition to be a pet cat, she is rumored to be royalty, and believes she possesses magical powers as well.
There are a handful of series where nekomimi are treated more like domestic cats than people, and this is one of them. Like other cat girls, Taruto is often heard meowing or making other cat sounds to punctuate her speech. This spunky feline surely secures her spot on this list.
2) Nozomi - Mayoi Neko Overrun!
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 6, 2010 - June 29, 2010
“Stray Cats” might seem like an odd name for a bakery. Tsuzuki Takumi is a highschool student in charge of the shop, operating with the help of his sister. He is a kind person – perhaps a bit too kind. One day his big heart leads him to taking a literal stray cat into his shop.
Nozomi doesn’t have anywhere to go, and her past is unknown. Takumi takes her in, but it isn’t all smooth sailing from the start. Like many felines, it takes time to earn her trust. Nozomi is a heart-meltingly adorable cat girl, and winds up on this list.
1) Eris - Asobi ni Iku yo! (Cat Planet Cuties)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 11, 2010 - September 26, 2010
Kio's life is pretty boring, until he meets Eris. Eris isn't your average girl - she’s a cat alien from space! Eris is an explorer, on a mission to learn about the people on earth. And if one kemonomimi in his house wasn't enough to complicate Kio's life, Eris's friends aren't far behind her.
The new arrivals look much like the human inhabitants of their new planet, save for their ears and tails. Eris’s feline appearance also endows her with the power to make fast friends with the cats of Earth, and win over the hearts of viewers. Her irresistible feline charm earns her a top spot on this list.
Cat girls have come to be a staple trope in the anime genre. The roles they are cast into vary from magical girls, to crime-fighting robots and, of course, pets. No matter the role they play, they consistently capture the hearts of audiences, and will be around for years to come. Feel free to share your favorite cat girl characters in the comments!