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Friday, April 1, 2016

Anime Ichiban: LofZOdyssey's Top 10 Anime Comedies


I do try to review a wide mix of genres. There’s nothing, short of hentai, that I’m not willing to talk about. I want to get the dramas, I want to get the horrors, I want get the romances, the mysteries, mechs, and whatever else there is.

However, I feel it’s undeniable to see that comedies are the shows I’m most drawn too.

Now I’m talking about straight comedies where that's the main point. Other shows might have comedic elements, but are predominantly something else. I have laughed at jokes in series that I still classify as incredibly grim and heavy. But that’s not what we’re looking at here.

We’re focusing on the shows that are out to make you laugh. These are the shows that are extremely lighthearted and do not take themselves that seriously. Does that mean that these anime have nothing but hilarity? Not necessarily. A few of these entries do have occasional somber or touching moments, but they never break the silly, fun atmosphere that’s created.

There were a lot of candidates to narrow down and some, actually most, of the shows on this list aren't ones that I have reviewed on this site. However, you can assume that they all have my full recommendation.

Before we get started, let me example how the following made my list and were ranked. Firstly, please remember that with all anime, but especially with comedies, its pure subjectivity. These are the shows that made me laugh the hardest. With that out of the way, here are the three things that I was looking for.

  1. The series must be completed.
  2. How consistently funny is the show? Does it have a few gems here or there or is it funny throughout? Dud or flat jokes should be at a minimum; one or two a series is fine, but a handful an episode is not.
  3. Was it only funny the first time or does it keep being funny with each re-watch? If the answer is yes, the better the chance of it making this list.

That's my processing, but really though, there’s no science behind this.

But without any further ado, here are my Top Ten Anime Comedies.

Original Run: April 8, 2007 - September 16, 2007

Number of Episodes: 24

Without question, there's bias behind this one. Despite that, its inclusion on this list is more than justified. I largely consider Luck Star to be the show that got me interested in anime; which was long before I stared writing reviews.

When I first watched, many of the jokes completely went over my head and I had no idea what was being referred to. However I still found it to be funny nonetheless.

What keeps Luck Star going is its reliance on anime culture and cute humor. It was the later that resonated with way back when, but the former is actually much stronger. Yet there's a third type of humor that's also extremely prevalent; complete randomness.

This show is just a collection of scenes that sometimes connect, but since you never truly know what's going to happen next, it makes it all the more fun. Along with that, this series is also quite crowed.

Normally this can lead to problems, but Luck Star makes it work through its non-reliance on everything being connected. This is a great series to throw on whenever you want something that will give you a laugh.

Original Run: July 3, 2008 - September 25, 2008

Number of Episodes: 13

I think that every entry of this series has its own merits for being an outstanding comedy. The dialogue is well written, the characters are fun and enjoyable, and the overall mood and atmosphere is an outstanding mix for some truly hilarious situations. Yet the thing that this series excels in is its use of visual humor and Hidamari Sketch 365 is simply the strongest one of the bunch.

From the creatures of the Monogatari series, which in itself has quite a few hilarious moments, this is an example of letting the art and style do most of the work for you.

Honestly, this show would be funny even if it had your typical anime art style and energy. The residents of the Hidamari apartments, Yuno (voiced by Kana Asumi), Miyako (voiced by Kaori Mizuhashi), Hiro (voiced by Yuko Goto), and Sae (Ryoko Shintani) are more than enough to get plenty of laughs. However, the visual work is what was able to push it onto this list.

365, unlike the other entries of the Hidamari series I have look at, was able to find the perfect balance of style and substance, and the results truly speak for themselves.

Original Run: January 10, 2010 - March 28, 2010

Number of Episodes: 12

This show is adorable, one of the cutest there is. Incidentally, it also happens to be one of the funniest. This is mostly because of that cute factor, as well as a good combination of visual humor and dialogue.

Hanamaru Youchien never forgets the fact that its characters are mostly little children and adjusts its style of comedy accordingly. This is not to say it has jokes that only a little kid would laugh at because it doesn’t. It deals with semi-older themes but puts them through a child’s perspective.

Because of which, again, it’s cute; I don’t if I can stress that enough.

I've worked with kids in the past and I can say that things are not always as peaceful or easy going as in this show. But what it does get right is illustrating how amusing a child’s outlook can be to an adult.

The three main kids, Anzu (voiced by Kei Shindo), Koume (voiced by MAKO), and Hiragi (voiced by Ayahi Takagaki), are what make this show so much fun to watch; particularly Koume and Hiragi. Yet it’s how they interact with their teacher, Naozumi (voiced by Satoshi Hino), and how they unintentionally exploit his inexperience that puts this show on my list. 

Original Run: July 4, 2010 - September 26, 2010

Number of Episodes: 13

There was something I said in my Seitokai Yakuindomo review that I’ve come to realize as being simply not true. I said that there was a noticeable and unfortunate lack of laugh out loud moments.

Um yah…that’s just wrong.

This show is hilarious and there are plenty of moments that had me in stitches. All the members of the student council, Tsuda (voiced by Shintaro Asanuma), Shino (voiced by Yoko Hikasa), Aria (voiced by Satomi Sato), Suzu (voiced by SayuriYahagi), really bring out the best of this series; oh and also Hata (voiced by Satomi Arai) who I think is one of the funniest characters ever.

However the real reason is because of the type of humor in this series. Most of the other entries, either lower or higher, simply do not have the kind of jokes that you will find in Seitokai Yakuindomo; or at least not as frequent. It matches my immaturity, and apparently I will almost always laugh at a penis joke.

I’m extremely happy that this was my first review, but I don't think I did this series justice. This isn’t the reason why it made it here. It made it because Seitokai Yakuindomo is indeed one of the funniest anime I have ever seen.

Original Run: October 7, 2013 - December 23, 2013 / July 6, 2015 - September 21, 2015

Number of Episodes: 12 / 12

I couldn’t bring myself to determine which of the two series is better. They are both equally amazing and are perfect compliments to each other. Therefore, I’m treating them a single entry. Every time I watch this series, a wave of calmness washes over me. I cannot help but smile the biggest, stupidest smile every. Non Non Biyori instantly relaxes me. It emanates good feelings.

There are funnier shows on this list, but this one is simply one of my all-time favorites. Everything about it is supremely made and put together. That beings said, it’s on this list for a reason; its legit funny. The dialogue and the visual humor is perfectly timed and well done.

Yet it is this group of characters, Renge (voiced by Kotori Koiwai), Hotaru (voiced by Rie Murakawa), Natsumi (voiced by Ayane Sakura), and Komari (voiced by Kana Asumi), that keeps bringing me back, over and over. It’s fascinating, they can be doing absolutely nothing and I don’t think I could enjoy myself any more.

I’ve probably romanticized the Japanese countryside like crazy in my head, thanks to a combination of this show and my own experiences, but if I can end up there I feel as though I will have done alright.

Original Run: April 4, 2007 - September 26, 2007

Number of Episodes: 26

Nagasarete Airantou gets its charm through its scenario. The main character is trapped on an island that is made up of only women. This seems like a prime set up for a typical harem anime, and while there are hints of that, it’s not the driving force.

The island and its residence already have a long established community amongst them. While it might be silly and completely out of the ordinary, it’s one that has worked and no one has any intention to mess with. And though their typical day to day life has been enjoyable, suddenly there's this new element, a guy, which changes everything up.

However, everything stays just as it was. What this creates is a familiarity among a really close group of friends and the show illustrates this so well. 

The characters play off each other tremendously, delivering amazingly funny bits of banter. The physical and visually comedy, which is by far the strongest of element of the show, is always on point. The animal characters are both really cute and fun to watch; I still love the fact that the pig's name is Tonkatsu (pork cutlet).

I am hard pressed to think of another show that has made me laugh so hard and for so long as often as Nagasrete Airantou did.  

Original Run: July 2, 2010 - September 26, 2010

Number of Episodes: 13

If you want a good idea of what Mitsudomoe is, think of an above average high school comedy and then set it in elementary school; it becomes ten times funnier. This series is destructive, a little bit violent, slightly perverted, and all around hilarious.

And when it comes down to it, it’s all thanks to the three sisters, Mitsuba (voiced by Ayahi Takagaki), Futaba (voiced by Satomi Akesaka), and Hitoha (voiced by Haruka Tomatsu). These three play off one another so well because of their wildly different personalities.

Mitsuba is one of the biggest, most violent, and most selfish brats you will ever meet, but she always gets what's coming to her and she does know, kind of, when to tone it back. Futaba is a lovable airhead that sees fun in everything and can easily break you in half with her inhuman strength and excitement. Hitoha is soft spoken and quiet, who appreciates cute things, but also has the meanest death stare you will find.

So yes, when these three come together and how they interact with the world around them, it makes for some really funny moments, as well as many sweet and adorable ones as well.

Original Run: April 8, 2002 - September 30, 2002

Number of Episodes: 26

If there was one series that I knew was going to make this list, it was Azumanga Daioh. This show triggers some really good memories for me, most of them because it is extremely funny.

This is the character comedy of character comedies. The humor is wholly reliant on the personalities of its cast, which is quite large making it extra impressive. It's this group that has created some of the funniest and most memorable moments in anime; many of which still give me a good laugh just thinking about them.

Yet if I had to narrow it down, there are two characters in particular that shine the brightest. The first is Chiyo (voiced by Tomoko Kaneda), the adorable child prodigy who manages to hold her own in high school despite being only eleven years old. The second is the lovable queen of all airheads, Osaka (voiced by Yuki Matsuoka); who is one of, if not the funniest characters in anime.

I have nothing but praise to give this show and it’s one that I am always willing to throw back on at a moment’s notice. Hell I’m tempted to do a full review of the series, but I think its place on this list says more than enough.

Original Run: July 4, 2012 - September 26, 2012

Number of Episodes: 13

Binbougami ga is loud, fast, and off the walls insane; which is why it's fantastic.

In my review of the series, I believe I said something to the effect of this being an anime for anime fans. A staple of the show is the absurd amount of referential humor that is busting at the seams. Along with that, the show is highly self-aware and plays it up to no extent.

So while both of those things are hilarious in of themselves, hands down this is a character comedy. Everyone, to some extent is greedy, selfish, and egotistical, there are no good guy characters. But this is what makes it work. Everyone is going after each other and no one is getting singled out; everyone is able to hold their own.

But at the core of this series are Ichiko (voiced by Kana Hanazawa) and Momiji (voiced by Yumi Uchiyama). By themselves they carry this show. There’s no one more outlandishly other the top then them. So whenever they are on screen, they are what make this anime such a treat.

That's why when they're together and going at each other's throats, they make up one of the best duos in anime.

Original Run: April 3, 2011 - September 25, 2011

Number of Episodes: 26

I have compared this show to so many, both good and bad. It has been a staple benchmark of mine when I want to illustrate how a comedy is meant to be done. Therefore, it was without a doubt, an inevitability that it would be here. For me, Nichijou is the funniest anime of all time.

Why is that?

It’s because it embodies the very meaning of randomness. It’s loud, intense, over the top, insane, and it's the kind of humor that rings the most true to me.

Great visuals, fantastic writing, interesting characters are all important in a comedy. However they are ultimately meaningless when a series is not willing to commit to the joke. Other shows have managed to do this, in fact all of the entries on this list have done this, but none go as far as Nichijou.

It’s never been about high class or intelligent humor. It’s never been about how absurd or outlandish a situation is. It’s never been about low brow or immaturity. It’s always been about weather or not a show makes me laugh.

Nichijou made laugh and that’s why it’s here at number one.

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, my Top Ten Anime Comedies.

There were a lot of contenders to consider and only ten spots available. If an anime didn't make it on this list, there are two likely reasons for it.

  1. I haven't seen it.
  2. It didn't make me laugh as hard as these ones did.
Remember, these are the series that made me laugh the hardest and are rooted in my opinion. However that's the interesting thing about opinions; they can change. I want to hear your list. Which shows do you think should be here? And which one that are here do you think I'm just completely wrong about?

I'm going to be reviewing for awhile and I guarantee, an anime is going to come along that will completely change this make up. When that day comes, a new Top Ten list will probably be in order.

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