Throughout the many worlds and settings that players may experience through their JRPG adventures, one thing that is very important is to create a cast of enjoyable and diverse characters for their parties. While the majority may be human-like party members, sometimes the players are given something unlike any other member of their party.
It may be a robot, a hybrid creature, a mascot-like being, and of course, a straight-up animal. A single unique animal companion in a group of humanoids will always stand out and catch the eye of someone looking at the cover. This list will not include animal-human hybrids or non-animals that look like animals, but instead, will focus more on actual animals that are part of the adventuring party.
10 Angelo – Final Fantasy 8
Sant’ Angelo di Roma contributes to the story and personality behind the Final Fantasy 8 party member, Rinoa. While Angelo is not a dedicated party member, they provide some incredibly useful benefits.
Firstly, they provide utility in the form of a trick that can help the party and your playthrough as a whole. The player will select which trick they perform, so long as Rinoa is in battle,, and can be in the form of dealing damage, providing recovery, and acquiring items. They are also part of Riona’s Limit Breaker.
9 Interceptor – Final Fantasy 6
Like Angelo, Interceptor is not a direct party member but rather serves as a mechanic to another party member. In this case, the party member is the Assassin known as Shadow.
What puts Interceptor above Angelo is how they are of more use in battle and thus, allow for faster progression of the game. Interceptor is able to block and counter incoming damage to Shadow whenever they have the status, Invisible. Their name is based on the fact they are able to intercept incoming attacks.
8 Munchie – Dragon Quest 8
This is the trusty companion to the hero of the eighth mainline Dragon Quest game. Munchie is seen catching rides in the hero’s pocket for the majority of the story but pulls his weight in numerous ways throughout the game.
When the player comes across cracks that are too small for them to pass through, Munchie can be used to squeeze on through. Munchie can also be fed different types of cheese in battle which can result in them using abilities. These range from dealing damage, debuffing enemies, healing, and providing utility.
7 Saber – Dragon Quest 5
Some people prefer dogs, and some people prefer cats, but the hero of Dragon Quest V preferred a great sabre cub. This is the second entry from the Dragon Quest games, one of the overall best JRPGs around.
Saber is first recruited by the hero as a cub, but eventually grows up to become a great sabrecat in later portions of the game. Saber is a direct member of the party with their own stats and skills that can be used on their turns, which puts them above all three previous entries. They are one of the best physical options in the game, though they should be benched when magic is a key factor.
6 Red XIII – Final Fantasy 7
Like Saber, Red XIII is not an animal you would find in the world we live in, but rather a phantasmagorical one like a Final Fantasy game. At first glance, it is hard to tell if they are more of a cat or a dog. The game itself never really addresses this leaving players to speculate.
However, it is commented they look like a lion, and they roar just like large cats do. Like Saber, Red XIII is controlled like other party members with their own stats, health pool, and moves to make use of.
5 Ponga – Treasure Hunter G
A lesser-known JRPG, Treasure Hunter G didn’t need to create a violin-playing monkey that can cast magic, but they did anyway, and that is why the game has Ponga.
Ponga is able to learn every damage-dealing magic spell in the entire game, making them useful in every fight for the damage they can contribute despite them being slower than other characters. Other than that, there is nothing else that takes away that Ponga is a typical monkey that can communicate by making monkey sounds and body language.
4 Chocobos – Final Fantasy Tactics
Chocobos are an iconic mainstay of the Final Fantasy games, and while they have been seen throughout many of the games as enemies, and means of riding and exploring areas you could otherwise not get to, they don’t appear a lot as playable party members.
However, in the tactical JRPG Final Fantasy Tactics, not only can you have one in your party, but another one of your characters can mount them in combat to form a unit greater than the sum of their parts. Doing this for the first time is incredibly satisfying and leads to players discovering the full effects of how powerful this combo can be.
3 Repede – Tales Of Vesperia
Repede has a hyper-stylized design that makes it look a lot like it’s some anime protagonist. The color of its crest hair matches its eyes, and it is adorned in numerous aesthetic items such as a sheathed blade that it can use in combat, a harness for said blade, a chain link going around its neck with the rest being dragged across the ground, and most standout-ish of all, a pipe it carries in its mouth.
Repede’s name is Roman for speed, which is very fitting as they are one of the fastest characters in the game that can increase their speed even further using Dash.
2 Boney – Mother 3
Dogs seem to be a go-to good choice for animal companions in JRPGs, and Boney is no exception. They are the loyal pet of the Flints and prove to be a great ally in the early parts of the game. They later become a full member of the party for the rest of the game.
He comes with a great array of options to make him desirable at many parts, including an incredibly high-speed stat when you need a party member to go first in battle. If ever a player is having trouble with a particular enemy, Boney’s sniff ability will reveal what weaknesses you will be able to exploit. If you never played Mother 3, it’s no surprise since it’s one of the most popular games to never be localized in English.
1 Koromaru – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
While Koromaru has made appearances in several spin-offs of the Persona series of games, their debut was back in Persona 3. Koromaru is everything you could ever want and/or hope for from an animal companion in any JRPG.
They are not some mythical creature or special kind of animal made just for the game, they are a Shiba Inu bread of dog that you befriend and create a bond with, just like you can with a real dog, making the social link aspect of the Persona games all the more relatable for any animal lover and/or pet owner.
NEXT: Best JRPG Protagonists