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Parody anime can be a very difficult genre to get correct, but when done right, the results are fantastic, witty, hilarious, and very well-thought out. But first let’s back up a step – what exactly is parody anime anyway? Well, let’s look at the word “parody.” A parody is when something, whether it is a story, person, moment in history, part of life, etcetera, is portrayed in a comically exaggerated way. The original inspiration is still very obviously there, but the imitation has become a lot more extreme and usually a lot funnier.
A parody anime follows these basic guidelines. These anime exaggerate everything from real people and stories to other anime and games in a comedic fashion. Sometimes, the entire anime may be a parody and other times, the anime may feature these sorts of parody moments. Both of these examples will be included in this list. The common features of the Top 10 Parody Anime are that all of them have this exaggerated imitation of something else, and all of them are sure to make you laugh when you see how cleverly they have been delivered.
The list will be in ascending order, with 10 at the bottom and 1 at the top. So please sit back and enjoy our list of the Top 10 Parody Anime, and we hope you can get a few ideas for something fun to watch next!
10. Nourin (No-Rin)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2014 – Mar. 2014
Nourin is about students at an agricultural school in Japan. The main character, Kosaku Hata, is obsessed with the idol Yuka Kusakabe. When Yuka decides to stop her idol career, Kosaku is devastated. But lucky for him, Yuka soon shows up at the agricultural school under the name Ringo Kinoshita! Kosaku thus finally has his chance to actually get to know the idol he has been in love with for so long.
Many plot points and character traits in Nourin are done in a very over-the-top manner, which is why this anime has made it onto our list of the Top 10 Parody Anime. Kosaku’s obsession with idol culture is an exaggerated (or in some cases, not so exaggerated) look at Japan’s own love for idol culture and the people that are at the centre of it. Kosaku owns an incredible amount of Yuka’s merchandise, all the way down to a body pillow of her. Nourin also takes a look at the unique phenomenon of agricultural schools in Japan, though in a comedic way that features teachers that destroy the crops out of rage and out of control farm animals. These exaggerated imitations of real parts of Japanese society set Nourin apart from simply being another comedy, ecchi anime and make it a parody one as well.
9. Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! (Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2015 – Mar. 2015
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! (from here on referred to as Binan Koukou) comes in at ninth on our list of the Top 10 Parody Animes. Binan Koukou is the story of five magical boys – you read that right, magical boys, not magical girls! Each of them has been gifted with a very special power from an alien, and they fight alongside the alien to defend Earth from those who are trying to spread hate. And how do they fight? With the power of love, of course!
If you aren’t already laughing just from the summary, you will be soon if you watch Binan Koukou. With a name that literally translates to “beautiful men” from Japanese, Binan Koukou is a parody of the extremely popular genre of magical girl anime. These anime always feature cute or pretty girls that have special powers that they use to fight against evil, usually with elaborate transformation sequence and overarching themes of friendship and love. Binan Koukou has the same thing, except the cute girls have been replaced with cute boys. Get ready for over-the-top characters and plots, and have a laugh at Binan Koukou!
8. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (Nyaruko: Crawling With Love!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2012 – Jun. 2012
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san tells the story of Nyaruko who for all outward appearances is a normal girl. However, in reality she is Nyarlathotep, the god of chaos from H. P. Lovecraft’s works. The anime begins with Nyaruko saving Mahiro Yasaka from an alien who was trying to kidnap and traffic him. It turns out that all of the monsters described in Lovecraft’s works are actually aliens that are coming to Earth for one reason or another – and Mahiro ends up responsible for several of them in his home in this comedy anime!
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san is unique in the parody world of anime because of the subject matter it has chosen to be a parody of – H. P. Lovecraft’s famous works. Instead of the monsters being portrayed as they usually are by pop culture and other stories, they are represented by comedic anime characters living in Japan. They still have some of the original traits from Lovecraft’s stories, but they have been adapted and exaggerated to exist in a sci-fi anime taking place in Japan instead. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, or just looking for a parody anime that has a source other than other aspects of Japanese culture, then Haiyore! Nyaruko-san might be exactly what you’re looking for.
7. Hayate no Gotoku! (Hayate the Combat Butler)
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Apr. 2007 – Mar. 2008
Hayate no Gotoku! follows the tale of Hayate Ayasaki, a boy who starts out the anime by being sold by his parents to the Yakuza in an attempt to settle their insane gambling debts. Rather than have his internal organs taken and sold, Hayate makes the natural decision to escape, turning to kidnapping as a means to earn the money to pay off the debt collectors. However, while attempting to kidnap the rich young girl Nagi Sanzenin, his efforts are misinterpreted as a love confession! Soon after, Hayate finds himself employed by Nagi as her newest butler. Growing up, Hayate developed many unique skills as he attempted to work to help support his struggling family, and he uses those skills to protect Nagi and her maid Maria from anyone that tries to do harm to them.
While that description of Hayate no Gotoku! may make this anime sound quite serious, in reality it is quite the opposite. Just a look at the translation of the title to “Hayate the Combat Butler” should be your first clue that this is definitely a comedy anime, and the story and characters are quite light-hearted and fun. On top of a fun concept, Hayate no Gotoku! draws a lot of its comedic value from the parodies it makes to other anime, manga, Japanese television, and idols. The show makes many references to these other forms of pop culture, always bleeping out the names to avoid saying them directly and breaking the fourth wall by directly engaging with the audience at times, too. And it doesn’t happen once, but rather many, many times. The constant references to other anime and more are what put Hayate no Gotoku! right at the middle of our list of the Top 10 Parody Anime.
6. Hetalia Axis Powers
- Episodes: 52
- Aired: Jan. 2009 – Mar. 2010
Watching Hetalia Axis Powers is a very unique anime viewing experience however you look at it. At around five minutes an episode, it’s incredibly fast paced and a lot of things happen per episode with many characters. It revolves around the concept of creating the countries of the world as people, playing to all of their major traits, stereotypes, and cultural interests and letting them interact with one another. In Hetalia Axis Powers, the characters specifically are mostly from the major players in World War II. The result is very clever, quickly delivered humour that you can relate to wherever you are from.
Most of the anime on this list has been a parody of other anime, but Hetalia Axis Powers is unique. Instead, it is a parody of history, and of countries themselves. All of the traits used to give the characters their personality are extremely exaggerated and the stereotypes are played upon without shame. For example, Italy is obsessed with eating pasta and pizza above everything else, Germany is extremely intense and serious, and Japan is very quiet and loves cats. If you like history, or even if you don’t and just want to see how your own country is portrayed, Hetalia Axis Powers is a hilarious look at our world.
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2007 – Sep. 2007
Lucky☆Star is, quite basically, an anime about a girl who likes anime. Izumi Konata may be a schoolgirl, but she would rather spend her time reading manga, playing video games, and of course watching anime rather than studying. While Lucky☆Star does not feature much of an overarching storyline, it instead follows the lives of Izumi and her friends throughout their years of high school and showcases the experiences that they have.
Because Izumi likes anime and manga, Lucky☆Star constantly makes references to them. While the references may be a little aged now considering it aired in 2007, for fans that still know their older anime and manga (such as Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, Full Metal Panic! and Code Geass) it is easy to understand what Lucky☆Star is doing parodies of. And even if you are less familiar with older works, most of the references are obvious enough that you can still probably recognize, or at the very least appreciate, how they are used so critically in making Lucky☆Star exactly what it is. Lucky☆Star also calls on “real” daily lives of anime and manga fans in Japan by exaggerating what it is like to be a fan to continue to add to its relatability and humour.
4. Keroro Gunsou (Sgt. Frog)
- Episodes: 358
- Aired: Apr. 2004 – Apr. 2011
Keroro Gunsou is about the Keroro Platoon, a group of five aliens that have the appearance of frogs that are trying to invade Earth. However, they are notoriously unsuccessful each time, and eventually find themselves abandoned by their army and left on Earth. The platoon, led by Keroro Gunsou, find themselves in the care of the human Hinata family, with each alien specifically attached to one human. Keroro Gunsou himself ends up spending most of his time forced to do household chores for the Hinata family, while in his free time building Gundam models.
If a story revolving around a main character that looks like a frog isn’t already a unique enough concept to get you interested, Keroro Gunsou still has more. Throughout its staggering 358 episodes, Keroro Gunsou makes light of so many things – other anime (including even obscure ones!), politics, celebrities, Otaku culture, and more. Nothing is safe from being used and abused in this anime to get a laugh, making Keroro Gunsou a fun addition to our list of the Top 10 Parody Anime.
3. Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2007 – Sep. 2007
As the title suggests, the lead character of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Nozomu Itoshiki is full of despair. Everything that he does can cause him great distress and sadness, even simple things in life. And yet, somehow he ends up a teacher at a school where all of his students are even more emotional in various ways, and he is left to deal with all of them! Each student has their own unique personality and exaggerated quirks, both positive and negative, with each episode revolving around one of them.
Each episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is a parody of some aspect of Japanese life. Even the titles of the episodes are plays on Japanese literature, and usually give a hint as to what the episode will be exploring. Instead of using these themes in a typical manner, however, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei takes them either extremely logically, or incredibly literally. For example, one episode revolves around the idea of arranged marriages in Japan, but in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei you are matched up with someone you make eye contact with. These intense looks at Japanese language and culture are done in a surprisingly comedic way so that even when the subject matter might be dark, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei remains a really fun parody to enjoy!
2. Osomatsu-san (Mr. Osomatsu)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2015 – Mar. 2016
Osomatsu-san is the story of the identical sextuplets Osomatsu, Karamatsu, Choromatsu, Ichimatsu, Jyushimatsu, and Todomatsu. It is a sequel to the 1960s anime Osomatsu-kun, though it can be watched alone. In Osomatsu-san, the story follows the brothers from the first show as they move into adulthood. It turns out that all six of them have become NEETs and spend their whole day being lazy at home! The anime follows their daily lives, showcasing each brother’s unique and extreme personality, and even their neighbours are all eccentric characters as well to add to the chaos.
Osomatsu-san parodies mostly other animes and parts of Japanese culture in its episodes, but occasionally Western pop culture as well. The entire first episode of the anime has an incredible amount of anime parodies that happen very quickly, including big names like Shingeki no Kyojin and Kuroko no Basuke – and has subsequently been removed from the Japanese Blu-ray release. The third episode so closely resembled Anpanman that the network forced it to be reanimated, as Osomatsu-san is written for an adult audience. However, never fear – many, many other parodies still exist in the show, so if you are looking for the anime equivalent to a Western show like South Park or the Simpsons, full of pop culture references and a dry look at society, Osomatsu-san is definitely for you.
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Mar. 2010
Gintama takes place during Feudal Japan, but it’s far from your typical samurai anime. In Gintama, aliens have taken over Japan, and they have placed a ban on the use of swords that makes life very difficult for samurai. The eccentric Gintoki Sakata does his best to live in this society despite being a samurai himself, and has become mostly an errand boy in order to pay the rent. However, keeping life interesting he has constant run-ins with the authorities, assassins, and other criminals.
As one of the most popular anime in Japan, Gintama is doing something right – and that something is utilizing amazing parodies in its storytelling. Gintama breaks the fourth wall by making fun of tropes common in other shounen anime, such as making fight scenes shorter because it is easier for the artist. It also includes exaggerated versions of historical Japanese figures as characters, and has an underlying theme of social equality that is a look at the struggles of modern Japanese society. All the while, Gintama is a funny show, with fast humour and hilarious characters. If you’re curious about why this anime has become so popular in Japan, be sure to check it out and give it a try yourself!
So next time you are looking for an anime that will definitely at least make you smile, if not laugh out loud, be sure to check out this unique genre! Parody anime are fun and well-written, and somehow always feel familiar even when you are watching them for the first time because of the subject matter. Whether you are looking for a witty anime that is a parody for every episode, or just looking to enjoy some parody humour within the rest of the story, we are sure you can find something to check out from our list of the Top 10 Parody Anime.
Do you think there are any anime that are missing from our list? Should some of these ones be removed, or perhaps placed in a different order in the ranking? Please let us know your comments below, whether you agree or disagree with our choices for the Top 10 Parody Anime! Please be sure to let us know your own favourites and opinions!