Humanizing the Non-Human

If there is something that humans have done since the beginning of time, besides killing each other and wanting shiny things, it’s putting a human personality on things that don’t have them. I am not the right person to talk about Myths and Legends, but it seems like a lot of mysterious things that happened in nature during the medieval times and beforehand were personified through different creatures that may or may not of had a solidified personality behind them. Makes sense, people didn’t know any better. But then again, we still do that. I mean, I think my dog, Anna has a very distinct and mischievous personality. Objectively, Anna is trying her best to get our attention so she can get what she needs, but the way she does things defines the personality she would have as a human. I think the best or worst part of anime, is the fact that anything can be humanized. Anything. It’s either a lot of fun or not. Depends on what you watch.

The Rebooted Yamato Series


Episode 15 Terrorist Attack Against our leader

The first series I want to talk about is the reboot of the Yamato series. I know this cheating, because I am only thinking of Earth Human perspective and talking the Gamilians and Gatlanteans as obscure aliens. I don’t care, because they deserve to be talked about anyway. The “villains” of Yamato 2199 and 2202 are humans with different color skin. Unlike so many other science fiction stories that had a single representative or model of an alien race and built off it, these series do something different. Each race is full individual people that have their hopes and dreams sometimes crushed by the crew on the Yamato. The blue skinned Gamilian aliens have their own middle war mid series between space nazis and freedom fighters. I feel like I know this race almost as much as our human race. Once again they are also humans of some sort that are far more advanced than our people. Usually aliens like that are just jerks. Not the case here.

The other race, the Gatlanteans, are a different story. Appearance wise, they are humanoids with green skin. This is a race centered the concept of not having emotions. Since they have no emotions, they have no love. Since they have no love, they have no romance. Since they have no romance, they are formed from clones. That is possibly the most inhuman, human experience possible. This is all made worse with the Gatlantean way of eliminating everybody in their race that shows some sort of emotion and everything else that emotion on their paths for victory. How this show adds some humanizing into this non-human feeling race is showing their flaws.

No matter how hard they try to purge their emotions, they are always going to have them. The Gatlanteans that never felt anger before couldn’t let it go because they don’t how to handle emotion. It’s like some one who hasn’t drank anything with caffeine in it before drinks coffee and suddenly gets hyper. Same principle here except eventually the caffeine wears off. Anger doesn’t. Then there are small moments show Gatlanteans show affection or anger in selected moments. Their no emotion thing is a façade that their race is trying to hold up and it’s failing. It’s clear that whoever is writing this show put so much thought into the Gatlantean race and its so good guys.

Natsume’s Book of Friends

Natsume Yokai.jpg

Moving down this road of getting non-humanized things being treated at human, we have the spirits and Yokai (yes I know that this came be the same thing) from Natsume’s Book of Friends. Takashi Natsume runs into a large variety of them throughout the show. All of them have some sort of human personality to them. To be honest, this isn’t perfect. Some youkai are beasts that want to eat humans that enter their domains. Then again, there are plenty of other yokai out there that want to bully humans that can see them because they can. That’s human, don’t you think? My favorite characters are the mischievous types like Hinoe who just appears whenever she wants to and then decides to help or not whether they think have they have stakes in what Natsume is doing during that episode.

I also like the fox boy who is just a fox, but Natsume sees him as a human kid. The fox doesn’t know the world very well but wants to help Natsume as best as he can. Not going to lie tough, my favorite spirit comes from a rock who formed a spirit just because humans have started worshiping it for some reason. That was perfect because it’s a subtle nod to seeing how these spirits started to exist in the first place. A shrine isn’t completely necessary apparently. So fun. While the human characters are more then good, the show wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is without having the wide variety of yokai characters in it. It’s like a small commentary about people dealing with race issues but doesn’t rely on it. Natsume’s Book of Friends would only be a simple slice of life story.

Cells at Work


With Cells at work, we finally dig into the realm of possibly humanizing things that shouldn’t be human. It’s anime after all. Still, I think this series has the largest possibility of helping and hurting people at the same time. According to articles I’ve read from Crunchyroll and from what I remember from biology class, the show is entirely accurate in that department. Seeing all these cells put into human form is a lot of fun.

Platelets in the form of adorable kids who do their best is the best thing ever. Also makes me feel bad for everything time I got scrapes while working during the past two years. Having our protagonists being a red cell who as a plucky girl that continually gets lost and a white cell finds her somehow is great stuff. Viruses and other bad things in the form of DBZ/One Punch Man villains is great as well.

The most dangerous thing in this series are the Macrophages who are at a possible waifu status. You know that kind, maid type with a perfect, polished attitude but also cuts up lots of people with a large clever? Yeah, that kind of person. I can see people getting the flu just to meet their waifus in this case. Humanity is now ruined because of this. Still, the city concept of seeing human body work is not a unique thing, but it’s always a fun concept. Especially with the way Cells at Work is doing it.


In the end, anime is great art form that adds human elements to things that are not human. It’s so crazy, because literally anything could become something that can be explored, studied, and turned into some one’s waifu.  Cells are the smallest imaginable thing I can expect from this, but I want to see larger things being anthropomorphized now. Talking anime girl planets would be amazing and not as explored yet (even if Earth-chan was/is a thing, it’s not a thing that was in an anime yet). Can we all agree about how amazing animation is? It’s extraordinary for a lot of reasons and this is definitely one of them


  1. This was a great post and I think it really does show the power of stories where we explore the world and explain things in ways that make them accessible and in a way that allow people to emphasise with them, which a lot of the time means humanising the inhuman. Thanks for sharing (and thanks for including the fox-boy, he is precious).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right and humanizing something could be so much fun for a story.

      Thank you for reading! I’ve slowly been injecting more Natsume into posts, if you could tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Animism is the name you’re looking for. Its the proto-religion. Pretty much all hunter-gatherer human tribes were animist at the beginning. They eventually evolved into more complex belief systems when food production got better and allowed for priests who did nothing but talk and eat the best food. The most successful culture to still practice animism today are the Japanese, who managed to make it work by mostly keeping it to tax sheltered temples and children raised to visit like funland tourists. When kids grow up they try different religions for the sake of convenience (since xtian marriages are easier than shinto or buddhist) and Buddhism suits older people better than fire and brimstone. Its one of those funny cultural adaptations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a superb post. As someone who very much enjoys narratives, I always appreciate it when creators (animators, filmmakers, writes, etc.) can take something to the next level and offer a perception that is otherwise never explores, such as the humanising of non-human entities. I see it far more in anime, and sometime fantasy literature, than anything else, but when done well, I think it make for a very insightful experience, as your post has pointed out in multiple ways. Yet, it’s not something that people actively contemplate. I loved this so much! Putting it on the Blogsphere Highlights. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much I am blushing right now.

      I think you’re right. It’s not done enough. Anime is great at it, but it would be so more interesting in a science fiction setting which Star Trek does from time to time. The crystalline entity for one.

      Liked by 1 person

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