Anime has the perfect comedy setup ranging from mini-gags, skits, and parodies to over the top unrealistic circumstances. Even from way back, Japan never really ceased to impress with its odd humor. You might remember the human Tetris gameshow, Hole in the Wall, where contestants had to fit through odd shaped gaps. If that name didn’t ring a bell, maybe the Silent Library from the variety show titled Gaki no Tsukai might be more familiar. But Japan wouldn’t just stop there, comedy in anime takes the hilarious and odd humour displayed in variety shows and exploits it even further, breaking past the boundaries of reality. Here is a short list containing some of the funniest anime that we’ve seen. Have we missed out on any of your favorite titles? Want us to review more? Let us know in the comment section which anime we need to watch!
One Punch Man (Wanpanman) is a superhero parody spin off of Anpanman, which is one of the most highly distributed and heavily merchandised shows in Japan. Our shiny bald-headed hero, often accused of being an impostor, started off as a regular, unemployed ex-salaryman, but soon left with the dream of becoming stronger. His iconic baldness stems from his harsh training to defeat the sometimes awkwardly pants-less monsters with one single punch. Reminiscent of the slapstick comedy of Charlie Chaplin, Mr. Bean, and Road Runner, our serious-faced hero punches monsters before they can even finish their sentences and anticlimactically defeats them in one blow. With this anime, expect buildups to be suddenly interrupted and for the unexpected to happen at the blink of an eye. Most of all though, – expect a hero that is no different from an ordinary guy, minus the one punch powers.
Space Dandy is an episodic science fiction comedy. A group of misfits; a space dandy as leader, a talking alien cat, and a robot companion are continuously on the search for rare phantom aliens. But no mission can be accomplished without little detours, baby! Before they successfully, or not so successfully, catch their prey, our space explorers can often be found at their mandatory pit stop at Boobies, which has become their own perverted oasis. For the more innocent minded, we shall explain: Boobies is very similar to a Hooters-like restaurant, where customers admire the female attributes – clothed although slightly exposed. Otherwise, beyond the mandatory fan service, you’ll enjoy the travels of a well dressed alien hunter with a Greaser-like hairdo, and if you don’t understand what’s going on, that’s ok, because it will all make sense once you reach the end of the series, but for now just enjoy the hilarious ride. All aboard the *ha! ha!* shuttle!
Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! (Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-Bu Love) is a hilarious and cringe-worthy magical boy parody. If you enjoy Sailor Moon-like transformations, cute costumes, and embarrassingly girly magical combat, this could be the comedy for you. A pink outer space alien, who is really just a talking wombat, is sent to save Earth. To keep his cover, he attaches himself to an elder teacher that he uses as an intermediary talking device. The effects of the alien taking over are, – not so great. Really though, – Is he dead!? And often, the boys will have to cover for the seemingly lifeless body of the teacher. But, let’s leave the morbid humor behind and continue. The Earth-saving love brigade was formed, where the alien forces male students to transform into cute magical boys that save the world with love. Yes, love is the power to defeat the various negative monsters which try to take over the world. If only everything could be solved so easily.
FLCL (Fooly Cooly) is an absurd anime with odd, furious, and dynamic visuals. Faces are stretched beyond recognition and bodies are distorted. It’s as if the visuals cannot handle the speed at which things are happening and everything’s on a speed trip. A young boy’s life is drastically changed by the sudden appearance of a selfish and self-centered woman, as she runs him over with her yellow Vespa scooter, performs CPR to resuscitate him, and then finishes him off with a blow to the head with her carry-on bass guitar, all while the boy’s friend watches helplessly. The girl’s actions and flamboyant entrances make her the center of this comedy. Additionally, the unfortunate and violent abuse towards the boy is also part of this anime’s rather dark humour. Needless to say, an episode won’t go by without seeing a guitar to the face. And to add to this, after the first blow, the boy gains a strange condition where a huge robot-alien being manifests itself from within the bump on his forehead. Things happen fast and although the boy is forced into a devious plot to conquer the world, he seems to just give into it all and accept his fate. This anime is confusing and has dark, but charming humor and plays on themes of male sexuality and masculinity.
School Rumble is a high school romantic comedy that revolves around love triangles and unrequited love. Tenma, a silly dumb pony-tailed girl who cannot cook is infatuated with her crush, Karasuma, a rather plain looking, expressionless but good-at-everything male classmate who is oblivious to her advances. The characters of this school love-fiasco have their own quirks and silly traits, such as Karasuma, who happens to have a bowl cut and is often imagined by Tenma and other characters as a kappa, – a japanese mythological being with a turtle shell on its back. Kenji – a soft, dumb classmate – loves the innocent and childish Tenma, who is also oblivious to the boy’s interest towards her. Tenma’s cooking can be so bad that others will stay away from her meals, – while Kenji will sacrifice himself to make her happy, the worst part is that she will never realise how deadly her cooking can be. The anime is turning Kenji’s unfortunate and rather sad fate – to never be recognised and loved by Tenma – into a light-hearted comedy – and it is in fact hard to not feel bad for laughing.
Love Hina is another wonderful love triangle comedy, this time centered around a boy who is actively searching for his childhood love in order to fulfill their promise of going to Tokyo University once they have grown up. While desperately trying to pass the entrance examination for the promised university, he is forced into taking over his grandmother’s position as the head of an all-girls’ dorm with an outdoor bath. There are no dull moments during the days at the inn, as the various girls living in this apartment complex all have peculiar traits, some more than others. Motoko is a hot tempered and traditional lady obsessed with the art of the sword, Mitsune is a lazy and mischievous drunkard, and Su is a hyperactive young monkey-like technologically-inclined goofball exchange student who wants to take over the world. At the end of the day, the boy treads through dangerous and turbulent waters, and is often sent flying with the cartoonish slapstick punch delivered by Naru. If you’re looking for a laugh, this one will surely deliver.
The list of hilarious and odd anime doesn’t stop here. Check back soon for more anime comedy reviews and suggestions!