What’s the weirdest story you’ve ever heard? When you’ve caught your fair share of anime, certain things stand out for various reasons. Some of the strangest plotlines and characters get attention because sometimes you have to sit in silence to contemplate the piece of anime eccentricity you just witnessed. For the most part, closed pockets of weirdness suspended in your favourite shows is definitely inevitable; but we’re talking entire shows that leave you a little confused, shocked, bewildered; yikes, maybe even amused! Top 10 weird anime – because who doesn’t like a little weird?
10. Mawaru Penguindrum
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2011 – December 2011
The Takakuras are a trio of siblings whose parents are no longer with us. Kanba and Shouma live together with their sickly little sister Himari, whose health is always in question. One day, Himari is given permission to leave the hospital for a little while, so her brothers take her to the aquarium to celebrate! However, while at the aquarium, Himari collapse;s but she’s somehow revived by a penguin hat from the aquarium’s gift shop, kicking off a fated series of events that change the siblings’ lives forever. Himari’s illness is miraculously cured; however, in her body resides a mysterious entity who will keep her alive and healthy if and only if Kanba and Shouma go off searching for something called the “Penguin Drum”, delving into their own past and meeting others who hope to choose their own destiny.
This anime’s uniqueness is one of its greatest strengths because it really stays with you long after you finish episode 24. There’s so much that makes Mawaru Penguindrum feel like it doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet, the plot is quite the serious piece of art at times. The three little penguin companions that arrive in a box at the Takakura residence are perhaps an expression of the series’ fixation on penguins and their influence as a whole on the events that unfold. With a great dose of humour, a lot of strange interactions, relationships and even character development, Mawaru Penguindrum is really, really good; but wow, it’s weird.
9. Arakawa Under the Bridge
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2010 – June 2010
Ichinomiya Kou is the son of a wealthy businessman. The Ichinomiya family motto is to never be indebted to anyone, so when Kou falls from the Arakawa Bridge and a random stranger saves him from drowning in the Arakawa River, he finds himself owing his entire life to a stranger. He insists on paying her back; however, the blonde, stoic, tracksuit-clad homeless girl known as Nino lives under the bridge and wants nothing more than to fall in love. When Nino asks Kou to be her boyfriend, he has no choice but to accept – so Kou moves in with Nino under Arakawa Bridge!
Okay, so this rich guy who happens to be the heir to an immense fortune ends up being part of a ragtag group of homeless people living under Arakawa Bridge and the entire experience is a beautiful chaos for him. Long story short, anyway. When you begin to see the specifics about what goes down under Arakawa Bridge, you’re exposed to some of the funniest anime escapades you’ll ever see but also possibly the most bewildering events and a cast of characters each wearing around their weirdness like… like… like a kappa costume, or a star-shaped mask!
8. Sekkou Boys
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2016 – March 2016
Ishimoto Miki’s first day at Holbein Entertainment Co. is eventful as she’s given the task of being manager to a new idol group! Eager to get her career off the ground, Miki’s surprised to learn that the “new idols” are… well, actual idols of St. George, Mars, Hermes and Medici. The band, known as The Sekkou Boys, is made up of four busts looking to catch their big break – and Miki’s the one responsible for making their dreams manifest into concrete reality.
Look, even the main character finds this a little bit weird, but she’s looking to become a rocking success with this new rock band made entirely of rocks. Trying to understand where such an idea came from is a rocky path indeed; however, if it comes to relaying just how weird this whole experience is, we’re barely caught in between a rock and a hard bass. That’s not to say this isn’t a rocking time though – Sekkou Boys is a nice example of weird not necessarily meaning bad.
7. Seikon no Qwaser (Qwaser of Stigmata)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2010 – June 2010
St. Mihailov Academy is going through a frightening time as a serial killer who targets young women lurks in the shadows. Oribe Mafuyu and Yamanobe Tomo are adopted sisters who attend the school. They come across an injured young man one day and take him back to their place to recover. Later that night, the serial killer targets Mafuyu, but she is saved just in time by Alexander, their injured stranger. Turns out that Alexander, or “Sasha” for short, is a Qwaser – an individual capable of controlling elements by consuming “Soma”, an essence found in… breast milk. Sasha enrols in the academy after taking care of the serial killer and from thenceforth becomes Mafuyu and Tomo’s sworn protector.
Yes, you read that right, breast milk. Some children breastfeed long after their fourth birthday and it seems that these kids have some special powers! Jokes aside, this particular anime is laden with fan-service (as you’d expect). Given the amount of sexual content in this show, it is actually heavily censored and deviates heavily from its source material. While the anime does milk most of its weird points from the whole breast milk aspect, anime where protagonists gain a profound amount of power because of the female body aren’t as uncommon as one would expect. Either way, it’s gushing blood and breast milk at St. Mihailov Academy!
6. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
- Episodes: 76
- Aired: November 2003 – September 2005
At some point in the future, the Maruhage Empire is a tyrannical organisation dedicated to stealing people’s hair. However, a gold-afro warrior named Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo stands up to the Maruhage Empire, saving a young girl named Beauty from their evil clutches! Together, they aim to dethrone the Emperor Tsuru Tsurulina IV, making interesting friends and enemies along the way!
We have ourselves an overpowered protagonist with a 24-karat afro, deadly nose hairs and sunglasses. Nothing weird at all, except for the fact that this entire show is one huge comical comedy coming with comedic coolness and well, a coin-toss’s level of certainty as far as the metaphysics of this world go. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is not one to be taken seriously, in fact, this anime is the kind of weird that reminds you how much fun anime can be sometimes.
5. Saint Onii-san (Saint Young Men)
- Episodes: 2 (OVA)
- Aired: December 2012 – August 2013
Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, the main men behind the religions of Christianity and of Buddhism, find themselves living together as roommates in an apartment in Tokyo. They’re currently on Earth taking a vacation; however, given their immense fame here on Earth, they have to make various attempts to keep their identities concealed while also trying to understand how modern Japanese society works.
To those who believe, Jesus Christ and Buddha were shining examples of wisdom, mercy and grace. Saint Young Men takes these two individuals who are the archetypes of human brilliance and well, throws them into modern times. How fun, particularly for those who don’t feel too strongly about comedic depictions of religious figures. What would Jesus do? He’d probably watch this with his roommate – you should too!
4. Samurai Flamenco
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2011 – March 2014
Obsessed with superheroes from when he was just a little kid, Hazama Masayoshi is a famous model by day, but at night, he dons the identity of the hero, Samurai Flamenco. Putting on a brave face under his mask, everyone who breaks the law will feel Masayoshi’s firm hand of justice! His heroic activities soon catch the attention of the police and soon after, Masayoshi’s real identity is discovered by the policeman Gotou Hidenori. Although he initially told Masayoshi to leave crime-solving to the police, the impressionable Gotou ends up joining him. However, the stakes are suddenly ramped all the way up as their activities go from busting petty thieves and litterbugs to carrying the fate of the world on their shoulders! Together, Masayoshi and Gotou go on a journey to learn what a hero truly is.
We’ve all heard this before: a character feels inspired to make a difference, so they craft a secret identity and head to the streets to dish out their brand of vigilante justice. Except, with Samurai Flamenco, we have an eccentric hero fanatic trying to live out his dreams in reality. He’s not much of a hero initially, more of an upstanding citizen who will stick it to you if you don’t stop littering! Flamenco is quite fun and a bit of a ditzy ride but an interesting ride nonetheless.
3. Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan (Near Death!! Ekoda-chan)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Jan 9, 2019 to Mar 27, 2019
Based on a seinen 4-koma manga about the author’s real-life events and escapades, Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan follows a single woman living in Tokyo through her experiences of Tokyo’s nightlife as she searches for romance. A type of social commentary brought to viewers in bite-sized three-minute chunks, Ekoda-chan is a fairly unique anime with direction that is very avant-garde.
Each episode of this anime has a completely different director. In all honesty, the meat and bones of this show are simply Ekoda-chan’s ability to score multiple partners but nothing in the sense of a long-term relationship. It also touches upon her disdain for women who use their cuteness and feminine wiles to secure themselves the men that they want. It’s strange, given that each episode is a mere three minutes long and as previously stated, staff working on the show change constantly – including voice actors and directors.
2. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2010 – December 2010
Panty and Stocking, otherwise known as the “Anarchy Sisters”, have been cast down from heaven for their misbehaviour. They now must work their way back to heaven by exterminating ghosts living in Daten City, led by a priest named Garterbelt. They use very… unconventional weapons, transforming their underwear into weapons to defeat these ghosts. However, Panty and Stocking, being Panty and Stocking, don’t really take their job too seriously, spending their time doing other things that they really like to do.
From art direction to animation and even the premise, Panty & Stocking is an anime that definitely seems like a unique and interesting anime in comparison to what is considered the mainstream. It almost presents itself like certain kinds of American cartons as far as the art and animation go. The main characters’ use of their lingerie as weapons and the ways in which every episode unfolds speaks to an eccentricity of the anime that simply cannot go unappreciated
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2019 – June 2019
Yasaka Kazuki is an 8th grade student living in Asakusa who is one day turned into a Kappa by a strange creature called Keppi, along with two of his classmates, Enta and Toi. This incident happens after the three accidentally break the statue of a Kappan which so happens to be the guardian deity of their city. Keppi then tells the three of them that the only way to return back to normal is to fight against enemies of the Kappa Kingdom. In order to defeat their targets, Kazuki, Enta and Toi have to make a certain sound called “Sarazanmai”, which reveals their secrets to each other. Keppi possesses “Plates of Hope” which can grant them their wishes; however, this isn’t without its fair share of trouble. Together the three learn what it feels like to have a real bond with other people.
Kappas, Kapa-zombies, lots of plates and a special noise that creates a psychic connection. Okay, we might need to run through this again because Sarazanmai is an extremely weird show, but lots of fun too. The entire anime plays off the Kappa, a creature in Japanese folklore known for its mischief. Kappa have a small dent on the top of their heads that holds a small pool of water – this is the “sara” – the plate. Hence the name – Sarazanmai. It’s definitely not like anything else out there and that’s a good thing.
We’ve given you a batch of weird anime that you could head out and try; however, we know it’s impossible to truly get to every single weird anime. The stranger and more experimental an anime seems, the likelier it is that the particular show will stand out. Are there weird anime you’ve seen that you think would be great on a list like this? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!