About My Comedy Anime Pics
These fifteen anime are personal favorites and may not suit the tastes of everyone. I’ll provide a synopsis, my opinions, and general information on each entry to help you figure out if it’s for you. I can’t say I love one of the following anime series more than the others, so they are simply arranged in alphabetic order.
1: Arakawa Under the Bridge (2 seasons)
Synopsis: Young Kou Ichinomiya is the filthy rich heir to his filthy rich family. His father drilled it into his head that he should never owe a debt or a favor to anyone. If he does, he must repay it right away with all the effort he can give. So what happens when the homeless girl known as Nino saves Kou from falling off a high bridge into the river? Well, she quietly suggests that Kou should become her lover, throwing away his priveleged life to live with her under the bridge.
There is no choice but to do this, Kou decides. He is renamed Riku, short for “Rikuruto” or “Recruit.” Now, it’s not just that the community of homeless people under the bridge are unfamiliar; they’re all downright crazy. They include “The Mayor,” who believes he is a Kappa, “Sister,” who is a nun despite being a brawny, gun-toting man, and “Hoshi” or “Star,” who wears a bizarre star-shaped mask and becomes Riku’s rival in love. Incidentally, Nino happens to believe she is an alien from Venus. So begins the insane life under the bridge, where absurdist comedy reigns supreme.
Production Notes: Arakawa Under the Bridge was based on a manga and animated by studio Shaft; the thirteen-episode series aired in spring 2010. Riku is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya and Nino is voiced by Maaya Sakamoto. Both seiyuu are excellent actors and have a lot of experience doing hilarious roles. The same can be said for most of the cast, including Tomokazu Sugita, who plays “Hoshi” and is most widely known for being the voice of Gintoki in Gintama.
My Advice: This anime is a masterpiece comedy if you love absurd humor, over-the-top reactions, some repeated gags, and an overall atmosphere of “what the fudge am I watching?” Give it a try if you’re a fan of studio Shaft works like Madoka Magica and Bakemonogatari. It’s got the exact same kind of cinematograhpy, with close-ups, unusual angles, occasional frames of text, and those dramatic and funny head tilts. There’s no sexual humor like in Shimoneta and not a lot of crude humor like in Gintama; the comedy is brought solely by the absurd situations. If you’re a person who’s easily “weirded out,” maybe skip this one.
2: Asobi Asobase (Workshop of Fun)
Synopsis: Don’t be decieved by the opening, which makes this anime look like a peaceful, healing slice-of-life anime. In a sense, it is slice-of-life, but it’s actually about the highly comedic and often highly inappropriate doings of the three school-girls Olivia, Hanako, and Kasumi. They form a club for playing games and passing the time. Wild adventures ensue. Do you think it’d be funny to have a loud-mouthed girl who isn’t too bright? Check. That’s Hanako. An ultra-serious and sometimes sadisitic introvert? Check. That’s Kasumi. A mischeivous blond who occasionally speaks “Engrish”? Check. That’s Olivia. You’ll fall in love with these irreverent girls sooner than you might think.
My Advice: If you love ridiculous, exaggerated face expressions and loud reactions, give this one a try. It has some of the funniest facial artwork ever seen. Asobi Asobase also contains “adult” language, crude humor, and sometimes mild sexual humor, so consider skipping it if you want something “cleaner.”
3: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
Synopsis and My Advice: This series is innocent but laugh-out-loud funny. It follows the daily lives of Tadakuni, Yoshitake, and Hidenori, some bored boys who have recently started high school. Their escapades include making each other try on skirts, failing terribly to sound cool in front of girls, and some intense role-playing games. This description doesn’t nearly do justice to the hilarity in Danshi Koukousei, so check it out yourself! Go to YouTube and search for “daily lives of high school boys and literature girl.” The scenes with the “literature girl” are to die for.
Production Notes: Danshi Koukousei consists of 12 episodes animated by Sunrise Studio, directed by Shinji Takamatsu, and aired in Winter 2012. Gintama fans will probably love this series because Hidenori is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita (who also played Gintoki) and Yoshitake is voiced by Kenichi Suzumura (who also played Sougo). Sunrise was the main studio for both shows. Hidenori is a little bit like Gintoki, Yoshitake is a little bit like a male Kagura, and Tadanuki is similar to Shinpachi.
4: Gakkou no Kaidan (Ghost Stories) (English Dub)
Production Notes: Gakkou no Kaidan premiered in fall 2000 and was animated by studio Pierrot. You might actually like the visuals if you’re similar to me and like “old” anime, when it was still done with a combination of hand-painted cels and digital artwork. That aside, Ghost Stories isn’t very funny if you watch the Japanese version with English subs. I don’t generally appreciate English dubs, but this is an exception. ADV Films used an extremely comedic script for the dub, forsaking the failed seriousness of the orginal. The dub is what makes it memorable and amusing.
Synopsis and My Advice: In Ghost Stories, elementary school students Satsuki, Hajime, Momoko, and Keiichiro work together to exorcise all the ghosts from the old school building. They experience a lot of horror– and/or hilarity– along the way. My advice is to definitely watch it… unless you’re offended by complete lack of political correctness. There are lines in Gakkou no Kaidan that might even make Trump supporterts cringe from the insensitivity! Such lines are still funny, in my opinion, as long as they are seen as rude jokes and never taken seriously.
5: Gintama (any or all seasons)
Synopsis: As you might already know, Gintama is a widely known and popular action/comedy anime starring Gintoki, Kagura, Shinpachi, and a host of supporting characters as hilarious as the main leads. Living in an Edo-period Japan–but with aliens– the former Samurai Gintoki tries to help people with his Odd Jobs business. He and his crew must watch out for trouble from the Shinsengumi police force, the Amanto aliens, and the Joi rebel faction.
My Advice: First, know that Gintama contains many types of comedy, but is mostly known for crude and slapstick humor with frequently repeated jokes. Since it’s such a classic, I recommend watching some of Gintama regardless of what tickles you or makes you tick. There are more than five hundred episodes with all seasons combined, but watching about 12-20 of them is enough to appreciate the show. (FYI: The first episodes is a filler that isn’t as funny as later episodes.)
6: Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (Humanity Has Declined)
Synopsis: A young woman (“Watashi,” real name unknown) starts her job as a mediator between the dwindling humans and the “New Humanity.” The latter is comprised of tiny, cute, and extremely technologically advanced Fairies. Humans declined as a result of not reproducing enough over the generations. As for the Fairies, they go about their lives heedless of the way their “magic” or technology sometimes harms humans. “Watashi” learns about them and calms them down using human candies and sweets, which the Fairies will do anything for.
My Advice/Notes: This all sounds weird, doesn’t it? Humanity Has Declined is not for everyone. There’s no central plot and not much emphasis on character development either. So what is it really about? Why do I find this show so hilarious when many others disagree? Well, Humanity Has Declined is actually a comedic and satirical social commentary on modern countries– especially modern Japan. (From the point of view of people in Japan.)
The birthrate became so low that humankind fell to near extinction. New Humanity is made of these candy-loving snowflakes who use bizarre technology that Old Humanity can’t understand. Processed food is so bad that even the processed food itself gains a will and rebels. Even robotic factory mascots kill themselves from despair. Fujoshi and Fudanshi culture ruled supreme during the population decline. Are you starting to get it now? If you love clever social commentary, sometimes disguised as absurdist humor, watch Humanity Has Declined.
(I think this show actually made me laugh out loud more than any other anime on this list, besides Nichijou. But that could just be me being weird.)
7: Mahou Shoujo Ore (Magical Girl Me)
Synopsis: Young Saki Uno and Sakuyo Mikage work together as a small-time idol pair. One day, a visitor reveals that Saki’s mother is a real Magical Girl who now needs a replacement. Saki refuses until she learns that her crush, Mohiro, is under attack by demons. After she becomes a Magical Girl and confesses her love to Mohiro, Saki suddenly realizes that she isn’t a typical Magical Girl. Her battle form is that of a huge, ripped man. Later on, Sakuyo becomes a Magical Girl and also ends up with a man’s body. The two girls– but as guys — must protect Mohiro, each other, and the whole city.
My Advice: This is another comedy anime that’s not for everyone. It hasn’t gotten many good ratings on MyAnimeList.net, and not many people have seen it (as of March 2019). Do you like sex/gender switches and fluidity? Fan-service aimed at women? Yaoi and Yuri themes? Parodies and satire? Overall silliness? If yes, this show was made for you. If no, stay far away from Mahou Shoujo Ore. It has nothing else to offer.
(Let me give you some examples of this show playfully making fun of Magical Girl anime. In a genre that’s supposed to show loli girls, the Mahou Shoujo are instead strapping adult men. The mascot character, which is supposed to be cute, has a human form of a yakuza boss. His mascot form isn’t very “kawaii,” either. The demons attacking Mohiro and the city are always cute creatures or else weird, over-sexualized humanoid males with cutesy animal faces. It’s a good-natured mockery of Magical Girl anime made for Fujoshis and the LGBTQ community.)
8: Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)
Synopsis: Yuuko, Mai, and Mio are three school-girls just trying to live their lives. Yuuko and Mio always have exaggerated reactions to events, whether they are ordinary events (like dropping food from a lunchbox) or extraordinary ones (like the principal battling the deer in the schoolyard). Meanwhile, the deadpan Mai likes to troll Yuuko and Mio. Other characters include Nano, a robot with a human soul, and “Hakase,” the child genius who created her. Hakase is a spoiled brat, but who can resist spoiling her? As for Nano, she wants to live a normal, peaceful life as a human.
My Advice: Nihchijou might be my favorite on this list. It’s the one that made me laugh the most, anyway. It’s driven by absurd humor, but less weird than the kind seen in Arakawa Under the Bridge. Assuming they can deal with slice-of-life anime, anyone will be entertained by Nichijou. You don’t have to watch all 26 episodes, and you don’t necessarily need to watch them in order or remember what happened last time. It’s made up of funny skits of a few minutes long each. Just make sure to check it out!
9: Ouran High School Host Club (sub or dub)
Synopsis: Honor student Haruhi transfers into Ouran Academy, a prestigious school but also “a playground for the rich and beauitful.” Haruhi is mistaken for a boy and forced to be the errand-boy for the Host Club, wherein the smartest and most popular boys entertain female students in the style of an actual host club. In the eyes of the club members, Haruha is a commoner, weirdly careless about her sex and gender, and a bit deadpan. However, they can’t help falling in love with her once they finally realize she’s biologically female. To pay off a debt she owes, Haruhi joins the Host Club, crossdressing as a handsome young boy.
Production information: Ouran HSHC was directed by Takuya Igarashi and animated by Studio Deen. The 26-episode series premiered in Spring 2006. The animation and character designs are great, if a bit low budget, and not really comparable to the “perfect” digital animation of the next decade. Tamaki, the club president, was voiced by Mamoru Miyano, famous for playing various main characters and handsome boy characters in anime. Maaya Sakamoto is something of a legend among the otaku like me who know all she’s done. She did the voice of Haruhi.
My Advice: I say give Ouran HSHC a try because it’s a classic school/comedy/drama. It’s a well-known anime recognized for being droll whether or not viewers are the orginal target audience (Shoujo and Fujoshi). If you don’t like the orginal version, I actually think the English dub isn’t too bad for this one. Vic Mignogna did Tamaki’s voice and Caitlin Glass played Haruhi.
10: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (English Dub)
Synopsis: “Profane and Immensely Entertaining” is a simple way to describe Panty and Stocking. The show is about two angels temporarily outcast from heaven—probably because one is a sex fiend (Panty) and the other is a stripper with an uncontrolled sweet-tooth (Stocking). The angels must collect numerous “heaven coins,” which are left behind after a ghost is defeated, in order to return to heaven.
So Panty and Stocking fight ghosts together in the city between heaven and earth. Panty fights by removing her panties, which turn into a gun with holy powers. Likewise, Stocking sensually removes her stockings, which merge into a holy sword.
The angels couldn’t do it without the help of their teacher, the memorable and sometimes immoral Garter Belt.
My Advice: First, a warning: don’t eat when you start watching this. Most of the ghosts in the first five episodes are excretion-themed ghosts. No, really. There is a shit-spewing toilet ghost, an army of angry sperm ghosts, a ghost who tries to cover the world in boogers, and more. Potty humor is far from everything that the show has to offer, though. There’s a lot of adult and sexual comedy, too. In both the original Japanese version and the English dub, everybody swears like crazy, even throwing around f**k and c**t. I prefer the dub, because I can better appreciate all the “adult language.” Watch this show if you’re over 17 and looking for something ludicrous and fun.
11: Saiki Kusuo no ~w~nan (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K)
Synopsis: Saiki Kusou is probably the most overpowered main character in any comedy anime (except maybe One Punch Man). He can do everything from teleporting and psychokinesis to time-leaping ability and turning invisible. His powers even let him brainwash the entire world into thinking that pink hair is natural. The show follows the misadventures of the sarcastic, low-energy Saiki as he tries to attend school without letting anyone know he’s a psychic—and the world’s most powerful one, at that. Saiki’s classmates and acquaintances are exactly what he doesn’t want to deal with; each one is weird, quirky, loud, and sometimes very stupid.
One such friend is Teruhashi, the most beautiful and popular girl in school, perfect to everyone but Saiki, who can hear her every conniving thought. Another is Nendo, an ugly young man so dumb and empty-headed that Saiki cannot read his mind at all. There’s also Kaido, a boy badly stricken with Chuunibyou (middle school syndrome). He pretends to be a “Justice Knight” with demon powers, intent on exposing and fighting “The Dark Reunion,” an evil organization. Those are only three out of the many annoying-but-comical characters that poor Saiki must deal with.
Production Notes: The voice of Saiki is done by Hiroshi Kamiya, who appears and stars in so many anime series that I couldn’t possibly name the best of the bunch. I believe he is widely known as Araragi from the Monogatari series and Levi from Attack on Titan. Incidentally, Kamiya also did the voices of Riku from Arakwawa Under the Bridge and Itoshiki from Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei.
My Advice: If you like just plain silly anime with a cast of archetypical joke characters, you will probably adore Saiki Kusuo. If you get sick of joke characters easily, want quality animation, want “cool” or complex character designs, or prefer more adult humor, skip this one and maybe check out Panty and Stocking or Shimoneta.
12: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Goodbye, Mr Despair)
Synopsis: The kanji characters for despair (Zetsubou) are the same ones in the surname Itoshiki, but arranged differently. Thus, Nozomu Itoshiki is known at his teaching job as “Zetsubou-sensei” or “Mr. Despair.” He suffers from suicidal ideation, meaning he doesn’t truly want to go through with suicide, but he does wish he could die, and he does sometimes attempt half-assed suicides. As he goes on with his teaching job, “Mr. Despair” continues to bemoan the world and existence, while discovering that his students this year are as bat-shit crazy as he himself.
Production Note: Like Arakawa Under the Bridge, Zetsubou Sensei was done by Shaft.
My Advice: This one is kind of along the same lines as Ghost Stories as far as having some “offensive” humor. However, it’s not that it’s politically incorrect; it’s just that the show is dark comedy all the way. It can be described like this: “Teacher with suicidal ideation teaches class of mentally disturbed girls.” If that sounds hilarious to you, then you’re like me and will enjoy the hell out of Zetsubou Sensei. If you’re sensitive to death, suicide and mental illness being handled in a comedic way, don’t try this one.
(Also note: Zetsubou Sensei sometimes hints about the students being the teacher’s harem of lovers. This is really only a joke; no romantic relationships with minors are shown. There is a hilarious harem-themed episode though, involving slaughter.)
13: Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (A Boring World Where The Concept of Dirty Jokes Does Not Exist)
Synopsis: Japan has become even more sexually oppressive than it is in reality. It is now a dystopia where all young people are monitored for “unclean” words and thoughts, and punished if they show sexual behavior. In a world like this, the Dirty Joke Terrorist known as Blue Snow grieves for the loss of sexual humor. She takes it upon herself to teach students about sex and dirty jokes, even if it puts her freedom at risk. Tanukichi, the male protagonist, gets roped into working for Blue Snow. He has no desire to help her at first, but the more he sees in school, the more he is won over.
My Advice: Watch it. Just watch it. I guarantee you will laugh. You should only skip Shimoneta if you’re celibate or asexual and don’t find sexual humor particularly entertaining. (I guess?) It’s one of the dirtiest non-hentai anime out there, but it’s all handled in a funny way, and there’s very little of anything truly unethical.
14: Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)
Synopsis: Try to live a fun life in college, take the easiest opportunities, miss the real opprtunity in front of you, and become a comical, tragic failure. Wash, rinse, and repeat. This is the story of our un-named male MC, “Watashi,” as he tries to achieve his goals of having a “sparkling,” “rose-colored” campus life and end up with “a raven-haired beauty.” It’s time for some serious disillusionment.
Watashi’s best friend is Ozu, a man/creature so mischievous and nasty-natured that he is called a youkai (demon). Ozu leads Watashi down the wrong path in each timeline, and Watashi continues following, missing his chance with the cute Miss Akashi, and heading toward destruction. Where is all this going? When will Watashi wake up to the truth? It will take a very unusual experience before this socially anxious and indecisive young man finally gets the picture.
My advice: This show is a real hit-or-miss for most people, because some love the art while others think it’s crap. I happen to be one of the one who loves it. Series Director Masaaki Yuasa also directed Devilman: Crybaby and Ping Pong the Animation, as well being the original creator of Kaiba. All three are underrated series with similar art and animation. Yes, it’s simplistic art– but that’s what works on a very low budget. It’s also full of so much movement! There are great colors, and animation that tells the mood of each scene. As far as the comedy is concerned, it’s mostly situational, ironic, and absurd. That’s exactly how I like my funny anime.
15: Yuru Yuri (3 seasons plus OVAs)
Synopsis: Poor Akari is just a normal middle-school girl who wants to have presence and be reasonably popular. She hopes it will help to join the club that her two senpai are in. But when she joins, the focus of the show immediately switches to the two senpai, Kyouko and Yui, and the cute first-year student Chinatsu. Supporting characters like Ayano take a front-row seat while Akari is stuck in the back. The girls spend their days innocently… most of the time. Sometimes, they just can’t help creating adorable Shoujo Ai mischief, drama, and love.
My advice: Whether or not you’re particularly into Shoujo Ai / Yuri, you’ll probably appreciate Yuru Yuri. It has more to offer, such as heartwarming moments, platonic friendships, funny and over-the-top reactions, silly puns in Japanese, visually appealing characters, talented voice actresses, and hilarious character interactions. As long as you don’t mind the slice-of-life genre, Yuru Yuri is sure to amuse you, calm you, and warm your heart. (If you are watching it for the Shoujo Ai, note that sexual elements are rare or nonexistent in the show. But because they are “big moments,” things like innocent cheek kisses really stand out.)