Jokes. We get it. We all like to laugh. Science has proven again and again that laughter truly is the best medicine. Laughing for a bit each day has been proven to make us enjoy life better, lower blood pressure, release endorphins throughout our bodies (take that exercise!), and according to a study done in Norway, it might even help us live longer. So why not explore it through our favorite medium on this site, anime?
Comedy is… something that is at a bit of a crossroads in Japan. While it’s okay for men to laugh, sometimes women can still be frowned upon for laughing in public. At home is one thing, but in front of others is another. Anime however, is one of those safe zones since people aren’t usually watching it in public–except the guy we saw watching it on the train in Akihabara the other day–but at home. So welcome, if you are new to anime, this will help you see some anime that are easy to get into if you are new to comedy anime or just comedy. If you are a pro, then you might already know the ropes.
This is another example of the crossroad point we brought up in the introduction. Comedy in Japan comes in many, many forms, but the biggest thing that seems to get people to latch onto it is cultural humor. Did you know that Japan has a version of SNL? Did you know that it’s very popular? Well, it is. The reason why it does so well is because of the fact that a lot of the jokes aren’t taken from Western humor, but rather made into Japanese humor. There is a famous skit from SNSD where a group of old men copied the group’s breakout song Gee, and after performing the entire thing in ill-fitting clothing causing the audience to laugh, the camera pans back to the studio where the staff says “that was disgusting. I never want to see that again for as long as I live.” and that too was met with raucous laughter. Now while stereotypes exist, Japanese people can find many things to laugh at even if those things end up being problematic by western views and standpoints. One thing is for sure though, if you mix humor and history, something Japanese students learn throughout their lives and not just in schools; it’s a familiar zone that they feel comfortable in. That and the flair for something ridiculous to happen when it shouldn’t is what they love.
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006 - March 2010
Aliens from outer space known as the Amanto have invaded Earth in the past. Japan just so happened to still be in the feudal era and this led to swords being banned. Samurai, in fact, were scorned and not revered. Still though, Gintoki Sakata, one lone samurai, still persists. He runs a shop called Yorozuya and takes basically any work he can get his hands on. He is assisted by a glasses-sporting young man named Shinpachi, and a girl who will eat anything and everything, Kagura. Kagura’s pet Sadaharu also lives with them. Money is always tight, but that doesn’t stop Gintoki from taking any and every job available. The thing is though, is that some of those jobs aren’t traditional by any means...
Gintama is a unique gem among Japanese people and comedy anime fans. The series is often celebrated as one of the greatest comedy anime of the modern era and the numbers show. The series has more or less been on air for over a decade and just will not stop. From the antics of Gintoki to the ridiculousness of Kagura and Shinpachi, the series has so many jokes and gags, that it is next to impossible for someone to not crack even a smile while watching. There are stupid police, the shinsengumi–a watered down version from the monsters that they were in the past–, assassins, rebels and more. There is a reason that the Gintama live action movie was the only live action movie to not bomb at the box office: it’s plain funny. Do yourself a favor and check out this great series today.
School Can Be Just as Funny as the Past
With Japan’s obsession with young people and education, it only makes sense that lines would be crossed and comedy would be brought in. It’s no secret that education in Japan is rough with a capital “R”. Hours are spent in school only for many a student to then spend their evenings in a cram school trying to drill information into their heads for their futures. We all need a release and what better way to do it than to look back on your own past days and see humor in it? It might have been funny, but trying to watch an anime character who is capable of doing something not only fail at it, but avoid it as well, is nothing short of hilarious. Whether it is something simple like trying to play games with your friends or something complicated like trying not to get stuck in a never-ending loop of time, comedy and school anime just go hand in hand. See what we mean with our two selections below.
Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2016 - December 2016
Saiki Kusuo is a genius. Not just any genius at that, he is a genius with superpowers. He has X-ray vision, he can teleport, move things with his mind, invent things, and more! While most would consider this a boon, his sneezes can also destroy everything within a 1-2 mile radius, if he lets his power leak out, some people might die, and to top it all off, he has to keep his powers under control with ridiculous green glasses that contrast with his shocking pink hair, and he has to keep antennas in his head at all times to keep said powers also under control. One wrong move, say, dropping his glasses or someone pulling on his antenna, can cause disasters. All Saiki wants to do is be left alone to enjoy his coffee jelly. Sadly, that will never happen for him as he always manages to get dragged around by one of his friends, or worse, Teruhashi-san, a girl in love with him. Either way, today too, he is trying to avoid everything like the plague.
Saiki will catch you off-guard. It seems like a normal school anime at first glance, but the series is bound to make you burst into laughter due to the ridiculous antics and moves that Saiki has to pull to get away from Teruhashi-san, or get away from Shun, Riki, Kineshi, and Aren. While they are his friends, they end up causing problems for him or others and his constant narration just makes it all the more funny. Here too, we can enjoy seeing all of his classmates and their quirky personalities. Some other great benefits are watching Reita get himself into issues only to have Saiki help him get out. The second season also brings another psychic in named Makoto who will leave you in tears over all of her actions and decisions. If you really want a fantastic school comedy anime, then look no further than Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan
Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan PV:
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2018 - September 2018
Hanako is playing games with Olivia, a girl who appears to be an international student, when they ask Kasumi to play with them. Kasumi wants nothing to do after watching Olivia slap Hanako in a punishment game for losing, but then a thought pops into her mind. Kasumi realizes that Olivia is white, and therefore, should be excellent at Japanese. It doesn’t hurt too that Olivia speaks with what should be a thick accent. Kasumi agrees to play the game on the condition if Olivia loses, then Olivia has to teach Kasumi English which is something that Kasumi is catastrophically bad at. Olivia agrees but after she slaps Kasumi in the boobs and Kasumi gets her back with the nose, somehow these girls all agree to come together and form their own club where they play games. Surprise though, Olivia cannot actually speak English, and has to keep up the farce for a bit. The girls spend their days happily with their teacher as they play games.
Just watch the trailer below. Okay, you’re back? Alright, what you saw in those few moments is what to expect from Asobi Asobase: the unexpected. To say that this new series caught us off-guard is more than an understatement. If you thought that rock paper scissors was funny in the context of this show, wait till the girls play with a pool, the episode about lasers that fire from your butt, or how they managed to indirectly burn down a coffee shop. Asobi Asobase is doing it right and we have zero complaints about how well it is doing it. If you are ready to cry while laughing, we strongly urge you to check out what has to be one of the most dangerously hilarious anime in years.
Asobi Asobase PV
These are just some of the few best comedy anime that we feel are great for those wanting to know more or start from the basics. These, of course, are not the end-all as humor is subjective, but these are sure to make you laugh in some context. If you are looking for more, then shows like Mob Psycho 100, Sakamoto Desu ga?, Nichijou, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Aho Girl, Hinamatsuri, Cromartie High School, Detroit Metal City, Tonari no Seki-kun, Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, SKET Dance, Hayate no Gotoku, and more are fantastic anime to sink your teeth into. What about you? Do you have favorite comedy anime that leave you on the floor laughing that you would recommend for our readers? If so, be sure to let us know down below. Till next time!