So 2020 wasn’t all bad – well, it was... but having an abundance of genuinely hilarious comedy anime to take the edge off certainly helped a bit. They run the gamut of genres: dark absurdism, workplace/family sitcom, educational, reverse harem, and borderline hentai, but all of them kept up our spirits through the hard times and provided some top-tier reaction gifs that we’ll treasure forever. These are the five best comedy anime of 2020!
Honestly, we’re still not exactly sure what Dorohedoro is about. It’s a fully CGI anime with a dieselpunk setting and a penchant for pitch black humor that we absolutely adore, but the fact that the plot is about a homicidal lizard man trying to exact revenge on devil-worshipping sorcerers who stole his memory and human face is something that we can never completely wrap our brains around. Even so, this anime revels in absurdism and features such meme-able moments as a baseball game where the “stands” are just corpses on pikes and a self-indulgent propaganda film for a mob boss who can kill people with mushrooms. Our advice is to just enjoy the show and not think too hard about it!
Kakushi Gotou is a mangaka who specializes in risqué comedy, but he’s determined to keep his job a secret so that his precious 10-year-old daughter Hime can think her dad is just a normal salaryman. Much of the humor in this anime comes from the web of misunderstandings the painfully awkward Kakushi forms around himself, leading to scenarios like accidentally leading on several separate women into thinking he’s in love with them and holding a meet-and-greet right next to a school event Hime is attending. Not everything in the story is just for laughs, though – Kakushi and Hime have a heartwarming relationship and the once-an-episode flash-forwards to adult Hime discovering her father’s work raise questions about what happens to him in the future. You’re in for an emotional rollercoaster with this one, but it’s well worth it.
3. Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!)
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the intimate details of how anime is made and the passionate people who bring it to life, then look no further than Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken for your intro into the field. Set in an intricately detailed alternate version of Japan dreamt up by Sumito Owara and legendary director Masaaki Yuasa (of Devilman: Crybaby fame), the three creative but socially challenged members of the animation club work themselves to the bone perfecting every aspect of their original anime shorts, from art direction to finances to marketing and much more. Asakusa and Kanamori are particularly fun to watch, since the former’s infectious excitement and gremlin energy often butt up against the latter’s miser tendencies and no-nonsense taskmaster attitude. It’s definitely one of the most unique anime to come out this year!
2. Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta... (My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!)
A peppy teen who loves otome games suddenly dies and finds herself reincarnated as Katarina Claes, the antagonistic bully character who either dies or gets exiled in every ending of her favorite game Fortune Lover. Thinking quickly, the new Katarina decides to strategically prevent these outcomes by making friends with her supposed enemies and cultivating survival skills to ensure her welfare even if she does get exiled. Of course, her naturally sweet demeanor and encyclopedic knowledge of the other characters’ backstories changes everyone’s opinion of her for the better and she ends up with a harem of suitors (made up of both the male romance options from the game as well as the female main character and rivals) who would do anything for her. Katarina’s ditsiness and the clashing personalities of her friends keep the comedy flowing through every episode, but we also love the more serious moments that humanize the characters a bit more. We can’t wait for season 2!
1. Ishuzoku Reviewers (Interspecies Reviewers)
And then there’s this one. Interspecies Reviewers is a fantasy ecchi anime that’s just a few strategically placed body parts away from straight-up hentai, and boy does it love reveling in its own depravity. It got itself banned from two different Japanese TV stations and Funimation itself for excessively lewd content, which only added to its power like a spirit bomb of controversy. It’s about a group of dudes who visit different monster girl brothels and review their experiences for the benefit of the masses, and even though the show is mostly concerned with bafflingly creative fantasy sex, it’s surprisingly thorough with its worldbuilding and has some genuinely likeable characters. If you missed out on the commotion back in winter and are wondering if this brazen self-aware comedy is actually worth watching, we’re here to say that it absolutely is. Just don’t watch it in public!
We also loved Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out, and Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense. They’re all lighthearted comedies that make us feel for just a moment like we aren’t living in a real-life version of alternate 1985 from Back to the Future Part 2. But what are your favorite comedies of 2020? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!