Top 5 All-time Anime Comedies

fullmetab23435

I’m always leery of writing top all-time posts because I realize that I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge that a decade long anime fan might have so I always worry about missing obvious picks. And I’d probably skip them all-together if I didn’t realize that such lists give readers and potential readers a large amount of information about a writer (as was pointed out elsewhere just recently). Before I tackle an overall top all-time list, I want to start with an easier list that I’m more sure upon – my picks for top anime comedies.

The reason I’m more confident is twofold. The first is that of all the shows I watch, it’s the comedies that get rewatched the most so I know how well a show will hold up. After all, if a comedy is only funny one time then it’s nothing more than a flash in the pan. And every show on this countdown has been watched at least twice and a few have been watched more than that. The other reason I’m more confident is because I don’t think I’ve missed too many older series that should be on this list. When people talk about comedy animes, I don’t see many titles that I’ve never watched. I’m sure there’s some out there (and if one wants to point them out – please do) but I’m fairly confident that this is a good list and it does reflect what I consider a good anime comedy.

-

(5) – Azumanga Daioh

fall0928611fall0930255

I just know that my ranking of Azumanga Daioh at only number 5 will get a sizable percentage of anime fans out there angry. And I could try to deflect these comments by saying that just getting on this list an honor but even I want to rank this show higher. The problem is that when I rewatched Azumanga Daioh recently, I still found myself laughing at it but at times I felt a bit bored and wanting the show to get to the parts of the story I especially liked. I think Azumanga Daioh might be suffering from the same fate that individual songs sometimes do – they’re overplayed by everybody and one gets tired of hearing that song over and over again. So, I don’t think there’s a flaw with the show itself and it remains funny enough that it definitely deserves it’s spot.

In case there’s readers out there that have not heard of Azumanga Daioh, let me say that you’re missing out on a very hilarious show. The main characters are an eclectic band of high school girls – very memorable as individuals and their relationships are even more memorable. The show follows them through all 3 years of high school life as they tackle the common pitfalls of school life – immature teachers, mean cats, low test scores, and placing first in the classroom athletic competitions. The show was done by J.C. Staff (Hayate Season 2, Toradora, Honey & Clover, Aoi Hana) and remains one of the best shows that they’ve done.

-

(4) – Lucky Star

fall0910513fall0927120

Where a recent rewatch hurt the previous show, a recent rewatch significantly raised my feeling for Lucky Star. And for the record, I’ve always considered this a comedy and not a slice-of-life show.

Controversy, drama, and sky-high expectations have dogged Lucky Star from the beginning and as a result, it became very difficult for someone to just watch the show and react to it as if it was a normal comedy anime. Collectively, I feel this contributed to many people coming to dislike the show and I’d probably be in that boat if I hadn’t stuck it out long enough for the characters to really grow on me (about 8 episodes). Once I hit that point, I liked the show in ever-increasing amounts; I still wouldn’t have had Lucky Star here if it wasn’t for the rewatch. I realized the second time through that the early episodes where just as funny as the later episodes and the lone defect of these episodes was how long it got the viewer to like the characters. Once the viewer gets to know the characters, the entire show is a stellar comedy and is even better the second time.

For those readers that have not heard of Lucky Star, it follows the not-so-typical lives of 4 high school girls (including a pair of twins). Of the four; the visual novel and MMORPG playing Konata is the main focus, troublemaker, and engine that drives most of the show’s comedy. The show was done by Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) and the director of the first four episodes went on to work on Kannagi (which I was disappointed with) and the rest of the episodes were directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto who did the hilarious Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu. (Which almost made it on and speaking of FMP, there really needs to be a new season of that).

-

(3) – Potemayo

fall0900943fall0923659

fall0933595fall0923594

This is probably the least well-known or more accurately – the least watched show on the countdown because many people looked at a couple screenshots and decided a “moe blob” show couldn’t possibly be worth the time and didn’t stick around. And it’s a shame because these people missed a truly funny show.

Potemayo is a cute little thing that appeared one day out of the main character’s refrigerator and took up residence in his household. He didn’t seem to mind, naming her after the potatoes and mayonnaise that where in the fridge, and allowed her to come with him where he went. She had the vocabulary and apparent mental capacity of a year old baby but that wasn’t the only source of humor. For one, the show had a twisted sense of humor that came out every now and again, for instance I still can’t get enough of the scene that shows a bird eating a piece of fried chicken.

Something that separates this show from the others is that it occasionally swings from being a comedy to being somewhat serious. Never for a long time but it’s enough to get this show a slightly different feel. These transitions are always handled perfectly and never feel out-of-place (the wonderful closing song helps). This show was also done by J.C. Staff which makes them the only studio with 2 shows in the top 5.

-

(2) – Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

fall0908367fall0921507

fall0928891fall0903441

fall0931105fall0912142

Take one teacher prone to despairing over anything and everything, mix in a classroom of oddballs, and flavor with “Shaft being Shaft” and you end up with a very hilarious show. In particular, the second season is (to date) the strongest all-around season and was what pushed this up to number 2. That’s not to say the other seasons were bad but the first season had to introduce the show and it wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders yet and the third season had to split time with Bakemonogatari so it’s animation was a bit lacking.

There’s so much to enjoy with this show. I love to see what Mr. Despair will despair over. I love when the item that he despairs over is actually something I despair over because oftentimes it’s things that I thought I was the only one that did so. I love the societal commentary that shows up in the show. I love the students and their quirks. I love the high quality voice work and the unique animation. I love the songs used. I love how there’s a whole layer of comedy in the background signs (even if that means I have to pause numerous times to catch them all). And I love how it’s a perfect vehicle to allow Shaft to be Shaft.

It’s probably the hardest show I watch fansubbed (between having to read the signs and trying to understand the 15% of jokes that are really Japan culture centered) but it’s really worth the effort.

-

(1) – Minami-Ke (Season 1)

fall0900000fall0931871

fall0924971fall0905552

fall0918342fall0919187

I needed to call out only the first season of Minami-Ke because production of the second and third seasons was given to another animation house (for some reason) and they were know where near as good as Studio Doumu that did the first season.

This show follows the everyday lives of the three Minami sisters – one high school aged, one middle school aged, and one in elementary school and their social circles. The eldest sister is the mature one, the middle one is the trouble maker, and the youngest is the smart one that can’t stand stupidity. One of the exceptional components is how effortlessly Studio Doumu was able to handle the rather large cast and the various ways the different people added humor to the show. And trust me, there’s so many ways to find humor in this show that I won’t start listing them because I’m sure to leave several out. My favorite single character is Hosaka and his fantasies.

I still hold out hope that whatever prevented Studio Doumu from doing the other seasons will get fixed and we get a true sequel worthy of this season.

About these ads

18 thoughts on “Top 5 All-time Anime Comedies”

  1. >> The other reason I’m more confident is because I don’t think I’ve missed too many older series that should be on this list. When people talk about comedy animes, I don’t see many titles that I’ve never watched. I’m sure there’s some out there (and if one wants to point them out – please do)

    Try Gintama, or School Rumble? The former, if you’re up to chair-tumbling moment(s). it’s a comedy, and still up to 200 episodes, and – consider that a feat in competitive TV Tokyo slots, since it’s not your typical shounen (even though it’s from Jump).

    Like

  2. Nice to see Potemayo on the list, although obviously the best thing about Potemayo was Guchuko. I was rewatching a few episodes recently and the bit with Guchuko and the cuckoo clock is just comedy gold!

    Like

  3. School Rumble first season would definitely be on my top 5, but I have to agree with Minami-ke as well. The sequels really have not managed to hit the same note as the first.

    Like

  4. Out of the five shows on your list, I’ve only seen AzuDai and Lucky Star (though I’d like to see the others eventually). I would definitely have Ichigo Mashimaro on my list. Slayers Next too (the only one that wouldn’t be slice-of-life).

    Like

  5. I’d probably toss a bone out to Detroit Metal City for making me laugh so hard that it actually began to hurt. Man, those were good times.

    Other than that, can’t disagree with your list, though I might shuffle some of those around just a bit.

    Like

  6. I actually had the same problem with Azumanga Daioh. Having enjoyed it so much a first time, I rewatched it a second, only to find while it still made me smile, it was nowhere as funny.

    Like

  7. Thanks for the comments,

    Haven’t seen Detroit Metal City, Golden Boy, Excel Saga, School Rumble, or Gintama but I’ll remember them when I’m in the mood to watch a comedy (or a shounen show in the case of Gintama – maybe after FMA:Brotherhood ends).

    @rainbow and Yumeka: One person’s comedy is the next person’s very funny slice-of-life show. In the case of Ichigo Mashimaro, I put the series on the slice-of-life side (just barely) but the OVAs fall onto the comedy side (I think doing Minami-ke pushed Studio Doumu into doing Ichigo Mashimaro more comedic). And shows like Lucky Star or Minami-ke do give off a strong slice-of-life feel but it’s just a vehicle to create the humor.

    @Dop: Thanks for making me giggle :) (As a result of saying Guchuko and the cuckoo clock)

    @Yumeka: I tried to watch the recent new series but I just couldn’t get into it. I wonder if I needed to watch the old series.

    @Janette: Thanks for concurring, my sister thought I was weird for thinking that. Oh, btw – I’m rewatching Sora no Manimani with my sister and I’m enjoying it even more the second time and now I feel bad that I only gave it an honorable mention and my sister is absolutely loving it.

    Like

  8. That’s a nice list :) I enjoyed Azumanga and SZS the most :) Some cultural references in both anime might not be readily apparent to all viewers. Azumanga also has many cute moments that rely on sound or imagery rather than words. Although some scenes in SZS are very funny, I enjoy its visual characteristics more than satire or comedy.

    Like

  9. Hehe… actually I haven’t seen any shows other than a few sayonara zetsuboa sensei… heh ohh and Minami-ke… ohh how I loved minami-ke… especially the fish guy… ohhh how I loved the fish guy…
    but I started watching azumanga… pretty fun… but kinda strange humor…
    well one think I don’t agree whit your list… is that it’s not really err documented? It’s short for one, and it shows that you don’t have such a large “experience” whit anime(that comes for a half otaku u know?)
    yeah… well aniway… if you ever have the time, then DO watch these animes:

    Comedies for guis: 1st:Golden Boy
    2rd:Kampfer!
    3nd:Green Green
    4th:1/2Ranma
    5th: He is My Master(HIMM)
    Comedies for everyone:1st:Full Metal Panic(Fummoffu)
    2nd:Gintama
    3rd:School Rumble
    4th: DMC
    5th:Minami-ke(s1)(true, I loved the first season, but just coudn’t bare to watch the others… they just boored me… especially the fish guy… ohh how I missed the old fish guy)
    6th: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
    Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza

    ohh yeah about that potemayo thing… is it really that good?

    +BONUS: Ongoing: Baka to test to Shoukanjuu
    Omamori Himari
    Ladies vs Buttlers

    thanks for the comment but please don’t mention places to watch illegal anime.

    Like

  10. P.S.: Look for Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged on youtube.com
    if you ever watched yu-gi-oh, you’ll LOE it… if you haven’t… well.. youll like it anyways.
    but if u did watch it, the humor will easily pass EERY existing anime… exept Fummoffu and DMC….and Golden Boy.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s