Sonny Boy is an incredibly unique and artistic anime coming to us from the mind of renowned storyteller Shingo Natsume. With such works under his belt as Space Dandy and One Punch Man, needless to say, that Sonny Boy has quite the expectation to live up to. While the season has yet to reach its conclusion just yet, we're already seeing parallels and possible inspirations from several other anime. Let's take a look at some anime that just scream A E S T H E T I C!
Similar Anime to Sonny Boy
- Episodes: 15
- Aired: July 2009 – June 2010
Bakemonogatari is the first entry of the praised Monogatari franchise. After catching a girl he finds to be weightless, Araragi Koyomi takes it upon himself to cure Hitagi Senjougahara of a curse afflicting her. Over the course of the show, we come to learn that Araragi himself is part-vampire, and this is why he is so knowledgeable of all things supernatural. Each subset of episodes finds Araragi curing another of his female companions of curses blighting them. While this may be the plot of Monogatari, the show is more of a series of character studies aside from anything else. With each character, we learn more and more about them over their timeslot, until the eventual battle with the curse must take place.
Bakemonogatari, much like Sonny Boy, is not an entry-level anime. The dialogue is heavy, the action is sparse, and the weirdness is enough to turn some people away. However, for those who stick around, they will be rewarded with a thoroughly engaging plot, realistic characters, and enough snappy neck-tilts to keep every chiropractor in the world under a stable income. The use of absurdist visuals in set pieces and character expressions is found in both of these anime, not to mention the focus on bantering dialogue that flows between the two participants. Both Monogatari and Sonny Boy are aesthetically unique, slow-burner anime, that reward the time investment you place into them.
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: April 2012 - September 2012
Houtarou Oreki loathes all forms of energy exertion. He longs for nothing more than to spend his days conserving energy without social interaction. However, after joining the Classics Club under his sister's request, he finds himself thrown into a decade-long mystery surrounding the club room. Accompanied by the insatiably curious Eru Chitanda, Oreki and the other club members work together to solve mysteries and grow as people.
While the absurdist sci-fi elements are significantly lacking in Hyouka, the dynamic storytelling filled with mystery is just as prevalent here as it is in Sonny Boy. Both protagonists find themselves incapable of action due to their laziness but are pushed forward by an eager and curious female companion. Not only this, but Hyouka is an anime built around mysteries and the basic human need to understand the unknown. Chitanda and Oreki spend their days trying to decipher the many mysteries surrounding their school as do the stranded characters of Sonny Boy who try to learn the rules of each world they encounter and why they have been placed into a Lord of the Flies scenario. Both anime feature school students working together to solve mysteries. The culprit would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for these MEDDLING KIDS!
3. Ping Pong the Animation
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
Makoto Tsukimoto, alongside his friend, has grown up playing ping pong. The two share nicknames in Smile and Peco and, where Peco is incredibly enthusiastic about table tennis (often skipping class to practice even more), Smile struggles to maintain the same levels of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the two throw themselves into various tournaments to support the sport they love so much.
The most common connection between Ping Pong the Animation and Sonny Boy is the artistic direction of the two shows. Both favor a minimalist, avant-garde approach to their character models and scenery. However, both shows contemplate the meaning of life or how to find joy in a world that has given up on you. How can someone so jaded reconnect to the world around them and feel rejuvenated? While the genres for these two anime couldn't be more different, the art direction alone should be enough for you to give Ping Pong the Animation a chance.
Ping Pong the Animation Trailer
Any Anime Like Sonny Boy ?
4. Mekakucity Actors
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 - June 2014
Shintarou Kisaragi is a NEET who one day finds himself forced to leave his room for the first time in two years. While arguing with the computer-generated AI, Ene, who lives in his computer, he spills some liquid over his keyboard. Due to the majority of online stores being closed for the traditional Obon Japanese festival, Shintarou ventures out into the cruel and unforgiving real world to buy a new keyboard at a nearby department store. The thought of entering the real world makes Shintarou incredibly nervous but he must persevere as lacking a computer is a fate worse than death. However, it seems Shintarou's anxiety was well-warranted as he finds himself in a hostage situation. Luckily, a group of teenagers with mysterious powers rescue him and force him to join their group.
As the story of Mekakucity Actors progresses, each of the characters discovers they are bound by more than coincidence. Each of their powers seems to fit together perfectly and, as their pasts are unveiled, they find that this is not their first time meeting. Mekakucity Actors and Sonny Boy both share lazy protagonists thrust into a life they want nothing to do with (mixed with mystical powers). There is also the mystery surrounding the Mekakushi Dan which is similar to the many mysteries in Sonny Boy. Not only this but the unique art style and aesthetic of Mekakucity Actors, blending avant-garde art direction and interwoven musical numbers, is similar to Sonny Boy's unique method of storytelling.
Mekakucity Actors Opening
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2007 – September 2007
Bokurano follows the lives of a group of young children who one day find themselves engaged in a contract to pilot a giant robot and take out a horde of incoming enemies. These enemies enter into our world from a parallel Universe and, one by one, the children must pilot the giant robot named Zearth at the cost of their lives after each battle.
Sonny Boy is often compared to Lord of the Flies and for good reason. A group of students finds themselves abandoned by civilization and must work together to survive. However, in a world with no laws, where people must act for the greater good in order to survive, a lot can go wrong. Sure, some people may fall in line, but others will most likely rise up and not want to be governed. Lord of the Flies and Sonny Boy deal with these notions of deceit, mistrust, anger, and paranoia, in a similar fashion to Bokurano.
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: November 2006
Paprika's story revolves around using a newly created device known as the DC mini in order to enter into people's dreams. Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita have been developing this technology in order to, hopefully, explore the minds of several mental patients and cure their psychological diseases. However, after the DC mini is stolen and those around Atsuko and Kosaku start to act strangely, the realization of what they've created begins to sink. The DC mini, in the wrong hands, is capable of inflicting irreparable damage to one's mind essentially killing them. So, the two band together in hopes of tracking down this mental terrorist both in the real world and in the dream world.
As you can imagine with an anime dealing with dreams, the absurdity here is similar in design to Sonny Boy. The rich and polished animation is beautiful to see play out on screen and the muted colors in the real world only amplify the zaniness of the dream world. Furthermore, both Sonny Boy and Paprika deal with mystery but in different ways. Paprika is more similar to a criminal murder mystery but the suspense and intrigue are there throughout, much like they are with Sonny Boy. Additionally, another anime movie also directed by Satoshi Kon that has similarities to Sonny Boy is February 1998's Perfect Blue. Perfect Blue is a mystery thriller similar with similar tones to Sonny Boy so, if you enjoy Satoshi Kon's other work, be sure to check out this honorable mention as well!
Sonny Boy is a wildly unique anime with an interesting concept and top-notch visual flair to back it up. While some may write it off as another A E S T H E T I C cash grab, only adopting absurdity to appear artistic, we would argue the opposite. Sonny Boy is a slow-burner and from what we've seen already, it definitely has a story to tell and we cannot jump to any conclusions until the series has been released in full. Nevertheless, until that day comes, these were 6 anime to tide you over until the next episode of Sonny Boy releases. What do you think of Sonny Boy so far? Were there any anime like Sonny Boy that we forgot to mention? Let us know down below!