The List
7 Strange Alien Species

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Ever since Georges Méliès put extra-terrestrials on the silver screen with his 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) protagonists have battled, been abducted, and questioned if something else was out there on television and in film. This became an ever more popular topic in the early part of the 20th century in America. Anime is also no stranger to science fiction and the weird creatures that show up from galaxies far, far away.

7. Cactus (Outlaw Star)In a world of tribal cat girls and lizard people, one of the strangest aliens Gene and Jim come into contact with is a sentient cactus. By all appearances, the prickly foe is a run-of-the-mill plant, but the crew soon finds out that he (if the voice actor is an indication of the plant's sex) is much more nefarious, like mind-controlling the crew to eat ice cream. Melfina puts an end to it by stomping him to smithereens in the street.

6. Puchuu (Excel Saga) Puchuu are aliens in the already wacky slapstick universe of Excel. They appear to be cute, diaper-wearing creatures wielding a traditional laundry beating stick. The creatures are actually rivals to Excel's ACROSS organization and are plotting an (adorable) attempt to take over the world. Behind their cute veneer is a hardened, seinen character face. Their physical bodies are frail and easily defeated, so they rely on their appearance to win over foes.

5. Keronians (Sgt. Frog) An alien invasion is the is the most expected outcome of "space life form meets Earth," but usually usually our invaders are more sinister than the amphibian-like Keronians. The race shares a lot in common with their Earth counterparts (maybe their love for invading comes from Cane Toads?) but also have distinct differences, like the ability to grow eyebrows. Their only known natural predator is another alien species based on Lamprey fish but is yellow with exaggerated tentacles.

4. Neuroi (Strike Witches) The main antagonists of Strike Witches are kinda like Transformers in that they are biologically sentient beings that resemble machines (in this case, aircraft). Neuroi get their power from...dirt. They will consume large swathes of land to gain power, making them a menace to Earth's ecosystem. They come in various "classes," just like actual aircraft but are usually black with red highlighted areas. Several Neuroi nests engage in combat with the series' pantsless fighters.

3. Gauna (Knights of Sidonia): The Guana are a single life-form composed of an outer, protective covering [placenta] and its "True Body." The Placenta can literally make anything, and shape shift as it sees fit while the True Body is highly regenerative. This is the the kind of enemy humanity is up against in Knights of Sidonia after the Gauna invade and begin slaughtering humans. In the anime, the Gauna appear as pinkish, Lovecraftian space monsters. Sometimes they're humanoid in shape but lack facial features, or they're a mass of tentacles covered in egg-like sacs.

2. Uchuu Kaijuu (Gunbuster) Uchuu Kaijuu (lit. Space Monsters) are maybe best described as insects but on a massive scale. The kaijuu predate mankind by millennia and they aren't too fond of us and our ability to spread, consume, and wipe out resources. Their numbers rival humanity in the billions. As organisms, the kaijuu are categorized as huge carriers and smaller drones and destroyers. The strangest thing about them is their ability to harness power from stars to procreate, weakening the star in the process.

1. Deathgerian (Space Dandy) Space Dandy features a plethora of colorful aliens, from beings that refuse to wear pants to sentient plant life. Mamitas takes the cake as one of the strangest, deadly creatures Dandy and his crew encounter. She appears to be a helpless damsel in distress, but that form is merely a ploy, not unlike the glowing lure of an Anglerfish. In a transformation sequence deemed too revealing for Toonami, Mamitas transforms into a gaping maw of breasts and vagina-mouths before attempting to devour the crew.

The new poll: Have you ever named a pet after an anime character? If you have, let us know in the forums!

The old poll: What anime has the best OST? Voters got five choices, but the allure of Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelt's Cowboy Bebop soundtrack was hard to ignore. Here's the top 20!

  1. Cowboy Bebop 32.0%
  2. Madoka Magica 16.1%
  3. Attack on Titan 14.4%
  4. Fullmetal Alchemist 12.3%
  5. FLCL 11.8%
  6. Samurai Champloo 10.0%
  7. Angel Beats! 9.7%
  8. Wolf's Rain 9.0%
  9. Kill la Kill 8.9%
  10. .hack//SIGN 8.4%
  11. Evangelion 8.3%
  12. Fate/Zero 8.2%
  13. Guilty Crown 7.9%
  14. Ghost in the Shell 7.7%
  15. Terror in Resonance 7.5%
  16. Baccano! 7.4%
  17. Gurren Lagann 7.3%
  18. Death Note 7.2%
  19. Revolutionary Girl Utena 7.1%
  20. Code Geass 6.9%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network, blogs about women and LBGT topics in anime and manga on her blog Engendered Dilemma, and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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