Self proclaimed dark writer, mad scientist, anime fanboy, and gaming enthusiast. Witness the latest creation from my lab, and enjoy ^_^.
There's Always Room for Stupid and Fun
One of the best things about anime is that there’s something for everybody. Under the rising sun of Moe-eyed, perfectly proportioned idiosyncrasies, you have friendship-powered Shonen, witty comedies, the heavy gravitas of space dramas, the well-woven realms of fantasy, the political-war intrigue of mecha, and so much more, all with the well structured balance of plot, art, world-building, and themes to suspend our disbelief for our viewing pleasure.
No matter what you’re into, some shows are known to “get it right,” and become masterpieces in their respective genre (Full Metal Alchemist, Deathnote, Attack on Titan shoutouts), then, naturally, you have shows that either miss the mark entirely (Green-Green, Trinity Blood) or fall so short in one area it ruins the overall experience for both. Now, what if I were to tell you there’s a genre of anime not caring about any of this?
The Rise of "F*%@ It" Anime
What if I told you there were anime studios bold enough, in Starkiller-ripping-Star-Destroyers-from-the-sky fashion, to put characters on paper and say, “Okay, that’s awesome! And this is awesome… and this is awesome… and this… and this…” and when the dork with glasses, a pocket protector, and three PhDs in psychology, physics, and marketing says, “But sir, that won’t sell, people don’t act that way, and it’s breaking Newton’s and Einstein's laws of mumble gumble thumble,” these daring studios said, “F*%@ it!”
I’m here to describe to you such anime, the type that throw all common sense and logic out the window for pure awesomeness. Plot? Power-Scaling? Characterization? You’ll be having too much of a good time to care with these top ten stupid, fun action anime.
10. Black Lagoon
We start our list with a show that at first appears grounded in reality: a boring, Japanese businessman gets taken hostage by a group of modern-day pirates known as the Lagoon Company, and when his bosses decide to forgo his ransom, he says “Screw it” and becomes a pirate himself.
Things seem normal enough for a criminal pirate group, with the cool Dutch as their frontman, their genius hacker rescuing them from binds, and Rock, the christened name of our boring, businessman lead, bringing some humanity to the team. That is, until you consider their dual-pistol-wielding bruiser, Remy (and the only woman in their group, btw), is an unstoppable killing machine, and their competition is a branch of the Triad (also led by a dual wielding badass), a former special forces group straight from mother Russia (all full of badasses), an organization of drug smuggling nuns, and a one-woman-army housemaid out for revenge.
Sure, Remy has a tragic backstory, the plot point about gothic, teenager twins with machine guns was pretty sad, and there’s some themes about morality and “staring into the abyss too long” sprinkled in there, but in between the gunning down Nazis, housemaids surviving explosions, and Yakuza cutting bullets mid-flight, you’ll be too giddy to let a single tear reach your cheek.
9. Panty and Stocking w/Garterbelt
Panty and Stocking w/Garterbelt seems innocent enough… You have a show about two fallen angels trying to save enough souls to get into heaven, with a cutesy, kid-Disney animation. This, of course, takes a turn for balls-to-the-walls when our two female leads open their mouths to a bunch of f-bombs, and start their magical girl transformations…by removing their panties and stockings.
Add in the constant dark and sexual humor one wouldn’t expect from Disney-friendly graphics, the wacky demons, and an episodic formula, and you have one of the oddest action anime you’ll ever see. Just don’t ever talk about the ending to the haters of Studio Gainax.
Hold on, did that cute Disney character just slash through a horde of demons with her panty-sword, while that one blasted through a army with her stocking pistols while f-bombing her lungs out? A inconclusive, cliffhanger ending? Never seen it… replaying the first three episodes again.
The classic train-heist is a trope anyone familiar with spaghetti westerns will recognize, and train detective stories have been popular since Thorpe Hazell started memorizing train timetables. However, only in anime can you combine it with super assassins, a race of immortal alchemists, an evil cult worshiping one of these alchemists, a group of thugs led by an unstoppable pugilist who’s obsessed with death, and an idiot, Robin Hood couple who have the luck of the devil.
Despite most of the plot taking place on a train, Baccano! keeps your eyes peeled with nonstop action, gore, and more eccentric characters than your local psyche ward. Oh, and for the dub haters out there, Baccano! does a great job keeping its characters’ regional accents. Miss it and you’ll feel deader inside than a goon-in-white staring down a Rail-Tracer.
It should come as no surprise the spiritual sequel to Baccano! (or at least two shows taking place in the same timeline) brings with it the same taste for insane, nonsensical action with characters treating destruction and mayhem like a Tuesday. When comparing the crazy antics of Baccano!’s train heist to two high school buddies hanging out in the city, at first I imagined there’s no way this show could match the wildness of its predecessor, with its grounded pop-culture references and an analysis of the human need to belong to something bigger.
That is, until the city reveals a thug who can punch people out of their clothes, whose rival is an information broker who can cut through steel with a pocket knife, a headless horseman riding a motorcycle, and a serial killer wielding a cursed sword. In the seemingly plain city of Ikebukuro, you’ll learn everyone has a dark secret, like a pop culture version of Kung Fu Hustle. In fact, there are so many secrets that they’ll distract you whenever the show tries to explain the underlying angst that led to each character becoming ridiculously awesome.
6. High School of the Dead
High School of the Dead is the textbook example of a guilty pleasure anime. You have high schoolers with miraculous martial arts abilities, the great triad of the female harem (friend, pixie, and milf), the badass nerd we all wish we were, and all in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. What more could a ridiculous plot ask for, right?
The thing making High School of the Dead so stupid/good is it throws all this in your face, not caring about your suspension of disbelief in this seemingly realistic setting. You have a shut in dork who knows so much about guns you’d swear he was planning a massacre himself, a flirty high school nurse with boobs so big you know her morning prayers start with “breast reduction,” kendo girls who can literally dodge bullets with their breasts, and the show demands you shut up and accept all of this.
Oh, and did someone say something about a cliff-hanger ending and no second season? You’ll shut up and accept that too as these kung fu master high schoolers fight/machine gun/boob-dodge through another army of the undead.
5. Kill La Kill
Most people get wide-eyed when I try to argue how a show with “Kill” in the name, twice, is a magical girl anime, and then stare wide-mouth when I explain to them how ridiculous it is. Magical Girls may have darker themes thanks to Magical Girl Madoka opening the floodgates for angst and edge to enter the genre, but only this show in the sphere combines the clothes and the mascot familiars.
Mix this further with a megalomaniac plotting to control humanity with a sentient fashion line (resulting in a rebellion of nudists fighting against the oppression), human wave tactics that would make World War II blush, and characters strong enough to level mountains, and you have the most incredulous magical girl tale to date.
4. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan
Since Kill La Kill was made by a studio that emancipated itself from Gainax, it’s no surprise its Daddy anime made this list. In Gurren Lagan, things seem bleak with humanity as the race has been driven underground, living a mediocre existence as Beastmen rule the surface with iron claws and giant mecha.
All of this begins to change, however, when Kamina, a man with more charisma than a pack of Jack Garlands full of Chuck Norrises, decides to rebel by dragging along the meek Simon, a teenager who just happens to be a genius at piloting mecha. It’s an anime, so of course he is :P. With the power of their drills (all puns intended), they penetrate through the Earth, all the Beastmen, corporate greed, the sky, the galaxy, and even the universe, literally!
With mecha eventually outscaling the known universe and enough male-chest-pounding to start a Richter-5 earthquake, Gurren Lagan easily makes the top five for stupid/fun action anime.
3. Mobile Fighter G Gundam
I bet you think you know Gundam, don’t you? Political maneuvering, the terrors of war, child soldiers, military arms races abetting conflicts, understanding each other with space magic… No my friend, let me explain to you Gundam.
Gundam is a world tournament represented by caricatures of the world’s countries, and each said country being your best bro. Gundam is being on a quest for revenge and reminding everyone you plan to kill your brother for murdering your mother and stealing the Devil Gundam. Gundam is about abandoning complicated arms races for yelling into your cockpit for more power.
Until you’ve roared at the masterpiece that is Mobile Fighter G Gundam, you, my friend, do not know Gundam.
s-CRY-ed may be one of the older entries, but it still exudes more stupid/fun energy than most of the anime listed, and it does this without needing giant robots to compensate. In fact, s-CRY-ed minimizes its scale with its characters using a power called Alter, a mysterious force awakened in a quarantined zone in Japan called the Lost Grounds.
Our protagonist, Kazuma (who has no last name, because he’s that awesome), must make a living in his lawless land by battling other Alter users for odd jobs, defend himself from the Mainland trying to arrest Alter users, and a mad usurper on a quest to steal Kazuma’s loli waifu and other Alters for experimentation.
You may catch some themes of colonialism sprinkled in between the fantastic powers, but then remember what you really want to see is Kazuma punch through an original range of abilities with just a bionic arm while shouting for extra power.
1. Akudama Drive
And here we stop our bus at the current king of stupid/fun action anime. Made by the same studio who brought us the detective-thrill ride, Danganronpa, Akudama Drive revolutionizes the world of justice by labeling criminals as Akudama, and then granting them ratings based on their crime/kick-ass level.
The plot starts when five S-ranked Akudama are hired to rescue an Akudama more heinous than all of them combined: A serial killer known as Cutthroat, all while an innocent schoolgirl is dragged along for the ride.
The anime delves into some deeper themes about the evils of corrupt justice and the top percent of rich abusing said justice to enforce their tyranny, but who cares? You have a group of superhuman criminals fighting super soldiers armed with lightsaber juttes and giant robots!
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