Top 10 Anime Made by Doga Kobo [Best Recommendations]

Engaged to the Unidentified (Mikakunin de Shinkoukei) wallpaper

Set up in 1973 by former Toei Animation staff, Doga Kobo have made their presence known over the years as their output has increased substantially. With the success that YuruYuri brought to the company, Doga Kobo has capitalised on this with a dedicated team of experienced character animators both in-house and freelance. This has resulted in Doga Kobo becoming one of the best animation studios when it comes to character animation alongside Kyoto Animation.

Thanks to their recent works, Doga Kobo have become my favourite animation studio and just their logo is enough to encourage me to dive into something new. They’re the undisputed kings of comedy series and Doga Kobo producers know exactly who to get for each and every new venture they take within the genre. So here are 10 anime series that have made me regard Doga Kobo so highly.

10. Laughing Under the Clouds (Donten ni Warau)

Donten ni Warau dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2014 - December 2014

Continuing the tale of Doga Kobo’s diversity as a studio that is so commonly typecast for its comedy works, here’s a historical, supernatural series set in Japan 1878. Donten ni Warau, or its English title, Laughing Under the Clouds follows a group of three brothers who are tasked with delivering criminals to the prison of Lake Biwa. But after being suspected of being the demon Orochi’s vessel, things turn for the worst.

It’s always great to see Doga Kobo doing something new and whilst it doesn’t hold up to their other works, it was something valuable in its own right. It offered something new for fans of shoujo series with appealing characters and the dynamics between them and if that sounds good enough for you, you should definitely check out Laughing Under the Clouds.

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9. Majestic Prince (Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince)

Majestic Prince dvd
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: April 2013 - September 2013

Majestic Prince is one of those mecha series that you don’t watch for the mechs themselves. Whilst the driving plot does indeed involve mecha battles, it’s these moments aboard the spaceship before deployment that are really interesting. Following Team Rabbits, these mecha pilots must learn to get along and work together as they fight the invading alien forces.

It’s a mecha series for those that aren’t particularly interested in mecha and it works as a great gateway into the genre. Even the mecha battles themselves aren’t so much about the mech’s capabilities and instead are about the character dynamics at play as conflict breaks out during the heat of battle. This is the primary difference between Majestic Prince and other popular mecha series such as Mobile Suit Gundam. It’s not so much about the politics that drive these battles rather than the people who do the battling themselves and it makes for a great watch.

Majestic Prince


8. Himouto! Umaru-chan (My Two-Faced Little Sister)

Himouto! Umaru-chan dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2015 - September 2015

If you’ve been watching anime for a while, you’re probably familiar with the “little sister character” trope. The younger sister who cooks, cleans and rarely complains is a popular idea amongst some anime fans. Yet, the reality is very much the opposite and Himouto! Umaru-chan is prepared to completely crush this idealised fiction. Whilst at school, Umaru is the perfect student, she’s a complete slob at home and it’s this disparity that leads to the jokes and references throughout. Whether it’s a reference to Monster Hunter, Metal Gear Solid or Mario Kart, Umaru-chan is filled with video game and anime references throughout.

It’s Doga Kobo’s most recent work and the animation quality is consistent throughout with great character animation and expressive moments. With the hamster imagery tied into absolutely everything, the entire aesthetic is comical in nature and it doesn’t take itself seriously for more than a minute. It’s pure fun bundled into this short sibling comedy series.

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7. Mikagura School Suite (Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku)

mikagura gakuen kumikyoku
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 2015 - June 2015

Time for something more recent! Mikagura School Suite, originally based on a vocaloid series is a show guaranteed to put a smile on your face. In a school where you possess powers based on your club, the students of Mikagura Academy must compete in these battle tournaments for the glory of their clubs. Following the excitable Eruna Ichinomiya, she participates in these battles as a member of her own club in her attempts to help the student council president

One of the key talents of Doga Kobo animators are their incredible character and follow-through animation. But not only does Mikagura School Suite achieve this, but it also includes great action and effects animation turning these battles into something amazing each and every episode. If you can get along with Eruna and don’t find her at all annoying, then you’re going to love this comedy show.

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6. GJ Club (GJ-bu)

gj bu dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2013 - March 2013

With lovable characters and hilarious antics all based around club activities (Or lackthereof), GJ Club (Good-Job Club) is a charming comedy series that you can’t help but laugh your way through. Whether it’s playing board games, reading manga or just lazing around, the GJ Club is the ultimate setting for limitless adventures, even if the majority of them happen within the clubroom itself. All of the jokes throughout bring you closer to each of the club members as it subtly provides more

This is part of the list where we’re diving right into Doga Kobo’s specialties. These are comedy, slice of life series that are often regarded as being bottom-of-the-barrel series by some anime fans. But Doga Kobo takes this stuff seriously and the character animation involved is not to be scoffed at. And if you’ve already seen GJ Club, all I can say is “Good Job!”

GJ Club wallpaper


5. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun)

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2014 - September 2014

Being one of the most popular comedy series of 2014, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun tells the tale of an oblivious mangaka and those that are driven to help him out. Whilst it is advertised as a romcom, the romance aspects serve as an inspiration for new jokes throughout the series as Chiyo tries to confess to Nozaki, always ending in failure. However, Nozaki-kun’s charm comes primarily from the side cast who all have their own quirks and jokes that arise within each of the smaller skits that the show presents.

This was a breakout hit within the season of Summer 2014 amongst Western fans. Since then, I can refer to Doga Kobo as “Those guys that made Nozaki-kun” to immediately give a good impression of what to expect from their newer works. It’s the charming series that will always leave comedy fans crossing their fingers for a second season.

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4. Yuru Yuri (YuruYuri: Happy Go Lily)

Yuru Yuri dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2011 - September 2011

Yuru Yuri is absolutely fantastic. Currently on its third season, this comedy series provides a mix between the lighter moments we might see in stuff like Nozaki-kun and GJ-Bu, only to combine it with moments that have no interest in logic at all. Whilst most comedy series make attempts to diversify over time, introducing new characters and jokes between them, Yuru Yuri somehow manages to use the same character dynamics to provide something new and fun every single episode. With Akari, Toshino Kyoko(!), Yui and Chinatsu, there is not a single dull day at the Amusement Club.

There’s a reason Yuru Yuri is on its third season, a feat that many other series fail to achieve and it’s because of its growing popularity over the years. Yuru Yuri is impossible to dislike and Doga Kobo is very much responsible for this with an in-house director following the project and turning it into one of the studio’s best works.

yuru yuri Live Streams


3. Love Lab

Love Lab dvd
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: July 2013 - September 2013

Sometimes love takes a little practice. Love Lab follows a group of girls as they practise romantic activities such as going on dates and even holding hands! It’s these moments and the subversion of character expectations that make Love Lab a real joy to watch. It never feels awkward or overly dramatised as it goes through all these scenarios comically. There is not a single dislikeable character within Love Lab and it stands tall amongst the sea of other comedy series that strive to achieve what this series has mastered.

I made a claim at the very start of this article that I’ve been yet to prove. Character animation is something that is often overlooked within the grand scale of things. Whilst people are always eager to talk up the coolest new fight scene in their favourite action scene, there’s rarely anyone talking about an exemplary moment where a character did a particularly well animated smile. But Love Lab is the series that really proves the value of character animation with some incredible moments of smooth motion and detailed expression. Seriously, watch Love Lab. I guarantee that you’ll *love* it!

Love Lab wallpaper


2. Engaged to the Unidentified (Mikakunin de Shinkoukei)

mikakunin de shinkoukei dvd
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: January 2014 - March 2014

“Cliched”. It’s not an uncommon term when you’re swimming through the comedy genre. Whilst there are indeed a whole load of exceptions to this rule, it’s hard to deny that we do get repeated jokes across multiple shows. However, Engaged to the Unidentified does both at the same time. It is both cliched and an exception to the rule as it takes all of these common tropes and ideas, only to completely subvert your expectations and present something that nobody could have expected. Following a girl, shocked to find that she is engaged to a fairly irregular boy, we watch on as a series of ridiculous events pop up and they deal with them in a way that leaves us in a fit of laughter.

Engaged to the Unidentified is exceptional in so many ways and it truly stands tall as a hilarious comedy show that any fan of the genre should watch. Featuring great animation, rivalling Love Lab, it’s given birth to a selection of great scenes and gifs that have been scattered around the internet. You’ve probably already seen parts of it! Now take the next step and actually watch it.

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1. Plastic Memories

plastic memories happy new year
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: April 2015 - June 2015

Sometimes comedy doesn’t have to be used for the sake of laughter. In this tragedy series about terminal illness, Tsukasa meets Isla, an android who is approaching her expiry date. Throughout this romance, tragedy series, comedy director, Yoshiyuki Fujiwara employs comedic situations throughout to make light of the oncoming disaster. It makes for a unique sort of presentation in its attempts to deliver an emotional story without the use of any overly melodramatic moments. Whilst the series does present itself as some sort of AI story within the vein of the science fiction genre, it quickly connects with the viewer as something far more emotionally driven.

Plastic Memories is incredible and it’s the sort of series that can make you laugh and cry all at the same time. Through brilliant art direction and incredible character animation, the world of Plastic Memories is brought to life and the plights of our characters are more evident than ever. It’s the best series made by Doga Kobo and if you can handle the emotional weight, it’s an experience that you won’t want to miss.

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gekkan shoujo nozaki-kun wallpaper

Doga Kobo’s portfolio is rapidly growing each and every year. With the currently airing Hidan no Aria AA and the upcoming original magical girl series, Breetschlag, they are definitely at the top of their game. Even when they’re not producing their own original series, Doga Kobo always seems to make every project they work on their own. They rise high as my favourite animation studio and I become more confident of that every single season.

Callum May

Writer

Author: Callum May

Hi, I'm Callum or 'Canipa' as I'm occasionally referred to online. I enjoy long walks on the beach, reading dramatic poetry and studying philosophy... or I would if watching anime didn't sound way more fun! Usually focused on watching shows seasonally, I'm always keeping up with whatever's new. I'm also always taking the opportunity to promote the greatest anime of all time, Chronicles of the Going Home Club. Watch Chronicles of the Going Home Club. You can also find me on TheCanipaEffect.com

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