Strong relationships, a mysterious past, a wealth of fighting scenes, supernatural entities, ninja clans, and a comedic heart… do these sound like characteristics of an anime you’d enjoy watching? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Let me introduce you to the world of Donten ni Warau.
The underlying thread to this entire story is a strong brotherly connection between our three main characters. Tenka is the oldest brother. He is the current head of the family, and his purpose in life is to protect his two younger siblings. Soramaru is the middle child. He desperately seeks Tenka’s approval and respect (especially as a fighter). Chuutarou is the youngest child. He unconditionally admires his oldest brother, Tenka, while seeking to keep a close relationship with Soramaru. These three brothers work together to transport criminals in their area to secluded prison on a remote island. They earn a living by putting those lawbreakers on a ferry and successfully putting them into the custody of the prison with the world’s most dangerous criminals, Gokumonjou.
With that as the premise for this series, you can expect the brothers to fight dangerous criminals, work together to unravel an ancient prophecy and work alongside a cast of characters that have mysterious pasts and hidden motives. These are the core components of this anime, but there is a slew of other reasons to watch this anime. You could very well enjoy the Meiji Restoration setting, over-the-top comedic moments, or the shoujo-esque aspect of Donten ni Warau. Whatever your preference may be, let me show you some other shows I know you’ll be very interested in checking out as well.
Similar Anime to Donten ni Warau / Similar Anime to Laughing Under the Clouds
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: Oct. 2002 – Feb 2007
At its core, Naruto is the story of young boy who grows up in a ninja village as an outcast. His only goal in life is to be respected by his peers and become the Hokage (leader of his clan). From an early age, he makes friends and rivals that propel him to become stronger and more mature as a person. He realizes that the world is bigger than his own personal needs and issues. He has to rise above them so that he can protect the people he cares for.
Naruto has a fictional setting in early Japan, contains ninjas and main characters who have possession of supernatural entities, and there is a strong brotherly relationship between several central characters. This show is a little more over the top and childish at times. But, if you stick with it you’ll be surprised by the amount of depth some of the characters have. If you’re a fan of the fight scenes from Donten ni Warau, then you’ll find plenty of intense and memorable action sequences. This is a must-see!
2. Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2015 – Dec. 2015
Here’s the basic premise of Owari no Seraph: a lethal virus, that kills anyone over the age of 13, has spread throughout the world. This catastrophe has led to vampires surfacing and enslaving what remains of humanity. They offer to protect the survivors in exchange for becoming livestock for their new vampire overlords. Among the last remaining survivors are two boys, Yuuichirou and Mikaela. The show begins with the two boys attempting to escape their orphanage. The series focuses on the aftermath of that attempt and what becomes of the two boys as they grow up.
Similarities between Owari no Seraph and Donten ni Warau come in the form of the fraternal relationship (secrets, betrayal, comradery, forgiveness, etc.) between Yuuichirou and Mikaela, a military setting, orphaned children, strong action sequences, and a central character’s thirst for vengeance. The show may not be as bright or light-hearted as Donten ni Warau can be. But if you enjoyed that show for its ability to showcase how complex a connection between brothers can be, then you’ll find Owari no Seraph right up your alley.
Seraph of the End Trailer
3. Seirei no Moribito (Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 – Sept. 2007
Prince Chagum is the heir to the Shin Yogo empire. He comes into contact with a wandering, spear-wielding girl, Balsa, when she saves his life. From that moment she agrees to be his personal body-guard. However, she does this without knowing that Chagum is being tracked by a group of elite warriors (hired by his own father). They seek to find and kill him because it appears that Chagum is in possession of a dark and evil water demon.
The two strongest similarities to Donten ni Warau are the possession of an evil entity and the protection of “family”. Family is in quotes because although Balsa and Chagum are not related, they develop a bond that is similar to that of a mother and child. The prince is separated from his mother so that he can survive. Balsa steps in to take over as a parental figure.
In Donten ni Warau, Tenka fulfills this same position in regards to Soramaru and Chuutarou. The two younger boys grow up without really remembering their parents. So, Tenka is their provider, protector, teacher, as well as an older sibling. He also has to deal with the prophecy of an ancient evil possibly coming back to the world to wreak havoc. So, you can see the similarities between Tenka and Balsa.
Any Anime Like Donten ni Warau?
4. Saiyuuki Gaiden
- Episodes: 3 (OVA)
- Aired: March 2011 – Nov. 2011
Heaven is a real place where divine beings live. Though they are celestial in nature, that doesn’t prevent them from experiencing the same emotions and thoughts as human beings. One of those divinities, Konzen Douji, has become bored with his life. He finds joy in nothing. But one day, a young boy with golden eyes is brought before him. This youth’s name is Son Goku, and Konzen is charged with looking after this boy. Though he accepts the position begrudgingly at first, he soon becomes fond of Goku. Eventually, they form a father/son relationship. That serendipitous meeting becomes the turning point in Konzen’s life and will change the very foundations of Heaven of Earth.
Son Goku contains within him the Seiten Taisei (The Great Sage Equaling Heaven). It’s a power that only manifests itself when his diadem is removed. Similar to the Orochi, from Donten ni Warau, Seiten Taisei is an entity that has demonic powers. But, in this case, it isn’t a separate being from Son Goku, it is the manifestation of his true form.
Tenka Kumo also shares a similar decision to the one Konzen Douji made. They both decide to put their life on the line in order to protect the ones they care about. Though the people within their care are viewed as dangerous by outsiders, they know they are doing the right thing and continue to protect them until the end.
Saiyuuki Reload Trailer:
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006 – Mar 2010
Gintama takes place in a fictional version of the end of the Edo period. At that time, extra-terrestrials descend upon Earth and wage war with earthlings in a twenty-year battle called the Joui War. These aliens, the Amanto, easily defeat the earth’s forces and subjugate the shogunate to their will. Any and all rebellious humans are hunted down and imprisoned or worse. Along with that, a ban on carrying swords has been put in place. This has broken the samurai spirit of all men except for one, Sakata Gintoki. Gintoki, along with various other characters, accepts every odd job in Edo and frequently comes in contact with the Amanto as well as the Shinsengumi (police force of the shogunate).
Many of the voice actors from Donten ni Warau work on this show as well. There are many, but I’ll just name a few here: Yusa Kouji (Kotarou Fuma), Yuuichi Nakamura (Tenka Kumou), Kenichi Suzumara (Hirari Abeno), and Rina Satou (Botan).
Besides the similar voice performers, Gintama could be viewed as a more slapstick parody of Donten ni Warau. Instead of the Orochi being the main antagonist, the Amanto (aliens) would be the villains. The three Kumou brothers would be replaced by Gintoki and his ragtag group of followers (Yorozuya). Another parallel would be the Yamainu from Donten ni Warau and the Shinsengumi in Gintama. These are just several of a multitude of connections you can draw between the two anime.
6. Hakuouki (Hakuouki ~ Demon of the Fleeting Blossoms~)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2010 – June 2010
In the 1860’s there was a doctor who lived in Edo with his young daughter. Often his work would take him away from home and towards Kyoto. His lonely daughter, Chizu Yukimura, would receive letters from her father whenever he’d leave. However, the letters stopped coming. In her concerned state, she decided to head to Kyoto and investigate her father’s disappearance. At one point, she is attacked by a group of samurai. Fortunately, she is saved by a member of the Shinsengumi. Afterwards, she is taken back to their headquarters where she meets the other members. From then on her life is changed forever.
This show is on the list for two reasons: it shares a similar time period and it shares the shoujo genre. The same era means there are many comparable weapons, clothing, personalities, and samurai to Donten ni Warau. At the same time, the shoujo aspect comes into play with the group of men portrayed in both shows. In Donten, you had the two older brothers, Shirasu, Sousei, and various other characters that were depicted as beautiful men. In Hakuouki, the members of the Shinsengumi and other supporting characters are drawn and animated elegantly while focusing on the personal relationships between the cast. This is a highly recommended title if you’re a fan of the shoujo genre.
Thanks for checking out our top 6 anime like Donten ni Warau. We feel confident that you’ll greatly enjoy some if not all of these titles. Donten ni Warau isn’t a particularly original show in concept, but it makes up for that in its execution. These recommendations are similar in that regard. They may not be ground-breaking in terms of storytelling or animation, but they all contain a genuine heart and memorable characters. That’s what keeps us coming back to these exceptional shows.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts and opinions on these anime. I’ll see you all in the comments below!