If there is one thing that is most synonymous with anime, manga, and Japan as a whole, it's cats and catgirls. If you've ever watched any type of anime or manga in the past 30 years, you have probably come across at least one catgirl or catgirl archetype.
Also known as "nekomimi", a catgirl is basically a human girl with cat ears and often a cat's tail. She generally will exhibit many cat-like qualities, such as fold her hands in the shape of paws, nuzzle or lick her "paws", make literal cat noises, and otherwise act downright adorable. It's super weird when you think about it objectively. That said, these girls are generally so cute, you can't help but find them adorable, even if it's a bit strange.
Like I said before, manga and anime are literally filled to the brim with catgirls. It's such a huge part of the medium, it's literally a character trope, the same as "the chosen one" or "the girl next door". Trust me when I say, Japan loves its catgirls.
Despite the huge roster of options to choose from, I've whittled down the top 15 catgirls in manga and anime. Read and see where your favorites stack up.
A light novel, manga, and anime series, Cat Planet Cuties (あそびにいくヨ!, Asobi ni Iku Yo!, lit. "Let's Go Play!") tells of the story of Kio Kakazu and how, after attending a family funeral, meets an alien catgirl named Eris who seeks to learn about Earth and its inhabitants.
Eris comes from the Catian planet and has come to Earth as a scout. She is tall, beautiful, and well endowed, drawing attention from both cats and people alike.
Throughout the series, Eris's relationship with Kio deepens and matures until she ultimately chooses him as her mate.
#14. Yoriko Sagisawa (Da Capo)
An adult visual novel released in Japan around 2002, and the US in 2009, Da Capo tells the story of Juni'ichi Asakura and his life on the fictional island of Hatsune.
There, Jun'ichi, as well as many of his friends, have developed different powers and physical character traits. One day, his cousin, Sakura Yoshino returns from America to remind of him their childhood promise with one another.
Originally the sickly Misaki, after having her wish granted by the sakura tree, Misaki possesses the body of her cat, Yoriko, transforming it into a catgirl version of herself.
This is slightly different from the anime, where instead, Yoriko is transformed into a catgirl version of her owner and explores the world in her place.
#13. Ao Nanami (Yozakura Quartet)
Yozakura Quartet (夜桜四重奏 ～ヨザクラカルテット～, Hepburn: Yozakura Karutetto) is an anime and manga series created by Suzuhito Yasuda in 2006.
The story is focused around four teenagers; Ao, Hime, Kotoha, and Akina; who each have their own unique powers and abilities.
Throughout the series, the four use their abilities to protect the town from looming threats that seek to destabilize the balance between their world and the youkai world.
Ao Nanami is a fifteen-year-old girl who is most distinctly noticed for having cat ears, to which she often hides under hats or headphones. She can read people's thoughts as well as the power to talk with animals.
#12. Cyan (Show by Rock!!)
A mobile-based video game, Show by Rock!! very much combines elements from rhythm-based games like Rockband or Tap Tap Hero and sim-raising games.
The general plot of the game centers around a first-year high school student named Cyan Hijirikawa who is trapped in a mobile rhythm-based game on her phone. There, she must work alongside her friends to help her escape to her own world. (If you're wondering, yes, it is very meta.)
Cyan, while normal in the human world, when sucked into the game's Sound World, becomes a catgirl dressed in a Gothic Lolita outfit. She is skilled with the guitar, though shy. Her instrument is the legendary "Strawberry Heart" guitar. They must work together to defeat the dark monsters and save Sound World and help her escape.
#11. Himari Noihara (Omamori Himari)
The manga and anime series, Omamori Himari (おまもりひまり, "Protective Charm Himari") tells of an orphaned boy named Yuto Amakawa that, on his sixteenth birthday, meets a samurai spirit catgirl named Himari.
The girl makes an oath whereby she swears to protect him from harm, facing off against various demons and monsters that are all trying to kill him.
Known as a "bakeneko" (also known as a cat spirit or demon), Himari is as beautiful as she is deadly. She is a master swordsman and can defeat many powerful demons with relative ease.
She can stay in her human form or transform into her cat form. Similarly, while in her human form, she can reveal her cat ears and tail, giving her the full-on catgirl appearance.
#10. Nozomi Kiriya (Mayoi Neko Overrun!)
Mayoi Neko Overrun! (迷い猫オーバーラン!, Mayoi Neko Ōbāran!, Stray Cat Overrun!) is a light novel series with a manga and anime adaption.
The story surrounds Takumi Tsuzuki and his friends as they frequent the Stray Cats cafe. His life takes a turn, however, when his sister brings home a mysterious girl named Nozomi Kiriya to live with them.
As mysterious as she is beautiful, Nozomi Kiriya is taken in by Otome Tsuzuki, Takumi Tsuzuki's sister, and allowed to live with them.
She largely resides at the Stray Cats cafe and is generally quite aloof and difficult to read. That said, she shows many of the catgirl character traits such as saying "Nya~" (similar to "Meow"), being a bit of an airhead, and (of course) having a hairstyle that resembles cat ears.
#09. Koneko Toujou (High School DxD)
High School DxD (ハイスクールD×D, Hepburn: Haisukūru Dī Dī) is an anime and manga series that takes place in Kuou Academy, a once all-girl school that has recently become co-ed and is inhabited by fallen angels, angels, and devils alongside unsuspecting humans.
There, Issei Hyodo, a second-year human, is killed by a fallen angel and reincarnated as a devil servant to the beautiful devil, Rias Gremory.
Koneko is a rare species applicant in Kuou Academy known as a Nekomata (another term for catgirl).
While in her Nekomata state, she shows many catgirl qualities, including an aloof and distant personality, cat ears, and matching cattails. As the series progresses, Koneko begins to show more cat-like traits, making her very much a welcome member of the catgirl club.
#08. Karyl (Princess Connect! Re:Dive)
A Japanese role-playing game released in Japan in 2018, Princess Connect! Re:Dive is the sequel to Princess Connect! which was released in 2015.
The game itself doesn't have much by way of a plot and leans heavily on the Isekai-trope, where the main character is transported to another world with their memories wiped. There, the player meets many other members to uncover the mysteries of the world.
Karyl very much is the tsundere character any avid manga reader or anime watcher has come to know and love. She creates the Gourmet Edifice guild alongside Yuuki, Pecorine, and Kokkoro. In true tsundere fashion, she starts the game as a spy for the enemy but ultimately befriends her targets. In the game, Karyl has the Princess Knight ability, which allows her to control several monsters.
#07. Chocola (Nekopara)
An online visual novel developed by Neko Works, Nekopara is the story of Kashou Minaduki, an aspiring chef that moves away from home to open a confection bakery shop.
While unpacking, he finds two twin catgirls ("Nekos") have come along. There, the three of them work to run his shop while meeting several others along the way.
Chocola is the twin sister of Vanilla. Despite being twins, both sisters contrast greatly, both in their appearance as well as their personality. Chocola is regarded as very playful and outgoing, willing to befriend and engage with anyone she meets.
#06. Vanilla (Nekopara)
The twin sister of Chocola, Vanilla differs heavily from her sister in virtually all ways outside of their love for Kashou. Whereas her sister has chocolate brown hair, Vanilla has vanilla white hair.
Vanilla is the younger of the two and is generally quite aloof and inexpressive when dealing with others. It is because of this aloofness, people often mistake her for not being as kind or as caring as her sister which couldn't be further from the truth.
#05. Coconut (Nekopara)
Coming in at #5 is Coconut is the tallest of the Minaduki sisters with arguably the most mature appearance. Despite this, she is the third youngest, only older than Chocola and Vanilla.
Coconut beats out her sisters due to the warring dichotomies between her nature. She is one of the youngest yet has the most developed out of her siblings. She is the tallest and least petite, yet wishes to be seen as cute instead of strong.
Not only is Coconut great to look at, but her personality is incredible as well.
#04. Alicia Rue (Sword Art Online)
Sitting in at the #4 spot is Alicia Rue from Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン, Hepburn: Sōdo Āto Onrain) The series follows Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya and his wife, Asuna Yuuki, as they both play through various virtual reality worlds.
The series started as a web novel between 2002 and 2008 before eventually becoming a manga series and later an anime series.
Alicia Rue is the lord of the Cai Sith (literally translates to "Cat fairy family") and exhibits many of the catgirl traits. She has a petite body and cat ears as well as a cattail.
Unlike most other catgirls, Alicia's cat ears are positioned along the side of the head similar to a human's rather than at the top, as seen in most depictions. She wears a bell collar on her neck and uses clawed weapons, fully emphasizing her catgirl qualities.
#03. Blair (Soul Eater)
Now in the top #3, and one of the most well-known catgirls in recent anime and manga, Blair comes from the Soul Eater manga series.
The series centers around Maka and Soul, a "meister" and "demon weapon" respectively, and their friends as they attend the Death Weapon Meister Academy.
The story follows them and their adventures as they face off against powerful foes and evil entities, such as the witch Medusa and her child, Crona.
Initially thought to be a witch, Blair is in fact a catgirl with the power to transform into a cat as well as a human.
Initially enemies with the main cast, she eventually becomes friends with Maka as well as Soul. While her human form does not normally exhibit many of the catgirl's physical traits, her personality, ability to transform into a cat, and feline nature all perfectly combine to one of the most memorable catgirls in manga and anime.
#02. Rem Galleu (How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord)
Coming in the #2 spot is Rem Galleu from the series, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord (異世界魔王と召喚少女の奴隷魔術, Hepburn: Isekai Maō to Shōkan Shōjo no Dorei Majutsu, transl. "The Other World Demon Lord and the Summoning Girl's Slave Magic").
The series tells the story of Takuma Sakamoto, a man that is transported from his human world to the virtual world. Throughout his time there, Takuma assumes his character as the Demon Lord, where he and his two lovely lady servants, Rem and Shera, traverse the world in an attempt to help him return home.
Rem Galleu is a Pantherian adventurer and invoker with the spirit of the Demon King Krebskrem housed inside of her. She is short with long black hair that goes down to her waist as well as cat ears and a cattail.
While not to the same degree as the others on this list, Rem is somewhat emotionally awkward, tending to keep to herself more often than not, especially when compared to her counterpart, the well-endowed Shera.
#01. Yoruichi Shihōin (Bleach)
And last but not least, sitting at #1, is Yoruichi Shihōin.
Born from the Bleach manga and anime series, Yoruichi exhibits everything there is about a catgirl.
She can transform into a black cat and actually presents herself as a cat for a good portion of the first and second seasons.
She exhibits many of the cat-like behaviors in her personality and even has a transformation that occurs later in the series that literally turns her into a catgirl (complete with cat ears and tail).
While catgirls can vary in their quality and what makes them individually special, Yoruichi does so many of the catgirl traits right, you can't help but put her anywhere but at the top.
If you're a fan of cat girls, and you can't get enough of all things Japanese manga, but live outside of Japan, it can be hard to find a way to get a hold of exclusive Japanese items - And the is a lot!
We've made it easy for fans to buy official Japanese items with our showcase pages featuring some of Japan's most popular anime and manga series. You'll be able to get your hands on any Japanese anime goods you want with our worldwide shipping!
Check out the new ZenMarket today and browse through manga only available from Japan!