Comedy is one of the best TV genres to watch while hanging out with friends. The current pandemic affects the lives of many, and it can take a lot out of someone — the environment can feel depressing and empty. Why not have a few laughs and take the stress away? With access to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, there are many funny shows to choose from. When it comes to anime, particularly comedy anime, anything can happen, but you’ll have a guaranteed blast with these shows to choose from.
“Daily Lives of High School Boys”
Ah, high school: a simpler time where you’d wake up, get dressed and go to school like a decent teenager. The age where you hang out with your friends and do idiotic things like stealing your sibling’s underwear or ambush one of your classmates when you find out they are walking with a girl.
Regardless of whether you have been in those situations, “Daily Lives of High School Boys” revolves around events like that. The show stars three friends: Hidenori, the one who usually drags the trio into wacky scenarios; Yoshitake, the one who joins in on the fun and puts his all into it; and Tadakuni, the one who questions and tries to rationalize every mess they put themselves in. Think of them as the Three Stooges, except they’re high school boys who sit in a room all day formulating their adventures.
The trio is joined by a supporting cast of characters who are either just as wild as the three or more so. You’ll be in for the ride of your life as you watch giant robots, a fight during a light music concert, a boy struggling to go to the bathroom and more.
Do you have an interest in diving? Want to explore the coral reefs and gaze upon all sorts of colorful sea life and bask in all its glory? You’ll be right at home watching “Grand Blue.” The primary plot of this anime involves characters drinking nothing but alcohol with friends — oh, and diving, of course.
The show follows Iori, who moves to a new town for his freshman year at a university and stays in Grand Blue, a scuba diving shop owned by his uncle. Iori hopes to have a blissful life as a successful college student, but the moment he opens the doors, he gets dragged into the alcohol-filled parties of the members of the Diving Club. Iori eventually becomes part of the drunken crowd, causing his cousin Chisa to look at him in disappointment and disgust continuously.
This comedy anime is a more distinctive series due to the characters being all adults in college. It tackles all sorts of situations that happen in the lives of college students. So grab a beer, and dive into “Grand Blue.”
“Hetalia: Axis Powers”
America sure is a great country; he’s passionate, confident and one of the funniest characters. I’m talking about the personification of America, of course, found in “Hetalia.”
Whether you watch the English dub or with subtitles, you are in for a massive fever dream. Not only is it comedic, but it’s educational as well. The main cast comprises the Axis Powers — Germany, Italy and Japan — and the Allied Forces — America, England, France, China, Russia and Canada. The show portrays historical events from the times of ancient Rome to World War II and the modern era. It is also quite popular, with movie and manga adaptations having been released. “Hetalia” is worth giving a shot if you want to see your favorite country in action.
“Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto”
Is it possible to be the perfect student? For Sakamoto, anything is possible. “I Am Sakamoto,” or “Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto,” is a show about a not-so-average high school boy who is perfect at everything, yet he is shown in such a fantastic way that you can’t grow bored watching him be perfect. Throughout the show, all sorts of characters and scenarios affect Sakamoto due to his popularity and personality; however, he can escape each with grace. He is somewhat mysterious as well; after all, how is he able to do all this? Who is he? What are his goals? He is as vague as he is cool, for he is simply Sakamoto.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you gave actors free rein to do whatever they wanted? This is how “Ghost Stories” became the first abridged anime — that is, a parody that gives an original anime a more comedic take. The story starts with Satsuki and her little brother Keiichirou moving to a new hometown with their family. They meet Hajime, their neighbor; Leo, their classmate and a friend of Hajime; and Momoko, an older classmate.
Eventually, the group finds out Satsuki’s mother sealed many ghosts that haunted the school; however, they were released due to the urbanization happening in the area. All that is left is her mother’s book that details how to exorcise the ghosts. However, an unfortunate event with a demon occurs, and it ends up being sealed into Satsuki’s pet cat. With the help of her friends and the monster, they find and exorcise the ghosts that haunt her hometown.
This story does not seem funny at all. The genre is horror, so why is this considered a comedy anime? The comedy was added with the English dub. Animax, the company that owns the series rights for the West, was not happy with the translation, so they had ADV Films make a new version. What resulted is a miracle of comedic genius. The plot is the same; however, it became funny with humor based on pop culture, gags and fourth wall-breaking jokes. “Ghost Stories” helped inspire more abridged anime and became one of the most well-known comedy anime for its English dub. It goes to show how free rein can create something so memorable.
While “Daily Lives of High School Boys” featured mainly boys in wacky situations, “Nichijou” instead features girls in wacky situations. “Nichijou” presents the daily lives of the people of Tokisadame, a small town. The leading trio is Yuko, Mio and Mai; only two get carried away at times while Mai forever keeps an aloof expression and mannerisms. The show also follows Nano, an android who wishes to become a student in high school, and her creator, an intelligent young girl called the Professor. The show also includes a talking cat called Sakamoto. (He is neither perfect nor a demon.)
All sorts of random events happen, like the girls shooting lasers out of their mouths whenever they get hurt. The school principal suplexes a deer, and a girl who has a crush on her senpai uses weapons whenever he does something that causes her to blush. In this peaceful town, all sorts of wild events occur, and you can never predict what will happen next.
“Asobi Asobase: Workshop of Fun”
Another anime about a trio? Yes, and this one is just as wacky as the other two. However, it is less about random events and instead about the characters themselves causing these events with games and the occasional screeching. The series focuses on Hanako, Olivia and Kasumi, a trio of friends at an all-girls middle school. They eventually create a club called the Pastimers, where they play games that pass the time. They are the only members, sadly, and theirs is not an official club, but they are determined to make it work as they do whatever they can think of, which consists of ideas that end up blowing out of proportion.
“Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt”
The original creative team for this show got the idea on a trip. While drunk, they got inspired by American adult animated shows like those on the Adult Swim channel, and “Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt” was born.
A city called Daten City is a place between heaven and hell. And in this city lie ghosts lurking in the shadows, causing all kinds of trouble. The city needs the aid of heroes to save them from this madness — but who can save it? How about two angels obsessed with sugar and pleasure, respectively? They are the Anarchy sisters named Panty and Stocking.
Due to their bad behavior, the fallen angels live under Reverend Garterbelt, who tasks the sisters with slaying the ghosts. The sisters can turn their lingerie into weapons and lay waste upon the evil souls. In every episode, if they succeed, they earn “heaven coins,” which they can use to purchase their way back into heaven if they save up enough. However, due to the sisters’ lousy behavior and fixation on men and sweets, the road to heaven is a long one. The only downside to this comedy anime gem is that fans were robbed of a Season 2 that may never come.
“Kaguya-sama: Love Is War”
Love can make you do acts you never considered doing in the first place. Love can give you the happiness you never dreamed of having, but it can also crush you and leave you alone in a dark, cold place. That is why “Love is War,” and you must never falter in the face of the enemy, for if you get careless and confess your love first, you will lose everything.
Here we meet our two soldiers: student council president Miyuki and vice president Kaguya. They seem to be the perfect couple. One is the daughter of a powerful, wealthy family; the other is the top student of Shuchiin Academy and well-known in the area. Yet they refuse to give in to their love for each other because if one shows weakness, they will be torn asunder, and so they make schemes to make the other confess. Student council secretary Chika and treasurer Yuu are usually caught in the middle.
One of the best romantic comedy anime shows, it contains funny scenes mostly happening in one room: the student council office. From there, the fiercest battles occur: Both sides win at times, while other times they both lose or end in a tie. Where will you stand on the battlefield? Find out in “Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War.”
“KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!”
Isekai is one of the most overused genres within anime. Most isekai plots are the same, and it seems like the genre has dried up. The number of meta-jokes and stereotypes a “new” isekai anime includes, the more predictable it becomes. It seems like it’ll never get better — until “KonoSuba.” It is one of the best isekai because of its great comedy, and its popularity led to a movie adaptation that is just as funny as the show itself.
It begins with a boy named Kazuma who, after being killed, is sent to a fantasy world. He then forms a role-playing game (RPG) party that is not your typical party: It consists of a goddess who sent him to this fantasy world (and yet is one of the most useless characters in the show); an archwizard whose spells are so powerful they create massive explosions; and a crusader who loves pain. All sorts of adventures occur, and the boy becomes more and more annoyed throughout it all.
The isekai is one of the best due to its characters. For instance, while most shows’ main characters are as bland as sandpaper, Kazuma is sarcastic and blunt. He eventually becomes lazy and wants a quiet life after realizing his RPG party is full of weird women. That alone makes him so much more interesting than other protagonists.
“Gintama” is a classic that everyone who has an interest in anime should know about. Set in the late Edo period in an alternate reality, aliens called Amanto, or “sky people,” are the primary source of humanity’s problems. The Samurai of Edo Japan tries to fight the aliens but quickly gives up after finding out how powerful the aliens are. Afterward, a contract is made, which allows invaders to enter the country. With the Samurai’s swords being taken away, the government becomes corrupted.
The protagonist is Gintoki, a freelancer who does odd jobs. His apprentices are a teenager named Shinpachi, and an alien teenage girl named Kagura. They form a group called the “Yorozuya.”
From there, the plot features story arcs as well as antagonists that appear and develop. “Gintama” gained immense popularity. It is one of the most well-known anime that features pop culture, gags, crossover episodes and fourth wall jokes. It became featured in all sorts of media as well. It will always be one of the best comedy anime shows, and it well deserves it. The humor is bizarre and all over the place, but the creators execute it all so well. Despite its age, it still holds up as one of the best comedy anime shows to date.
These shows aren’t the only comedy anime around; there are plenty more out there if you look. Ready to have a watch party with your friends? Grab some snacks and enjoy!