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Top 5 Comedy Anime for People New to Anime

Cassidy is an author and a scientist who enjoys watching anime in his free time.

Takasaki psyching himself up to talk to his crush.

Takasaki psyching himself up to talk to his crush.

Many people first get into anime through action shows often geared towards kids, such as Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. However, these types of shows are just the tip of the iceberg. Just like western TV and movies, anime also comes in numerous genres. For many people, their first foray into anime beyond the standard action and adventure fare is comedy. As a light-hearted genre in a variety of styles, there is something for everyone. Plus, watching comedy shows can help someone new to anime determine which other genres they might enjoy. Here are five comedy shows I recommend to people new to anime that are great for laughs and can also help you figure out your taste.

5. Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. (BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense.)

  • Studio: Silver Link
  • Aired: Winter 2020
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Episodes: 12 (second season scheduled for 2022)

Synopsis

Kaede is convinced by her best friend, an avid gamer, to start playing a virtual reality game called New World Online. She has never really played a game like this before, so she is scared that she might get hurt in combat. She therefore decides to allocate all her attribute points into defense/vitality, making her virtually impenetrable to attacks. Her novel playing style makes her well-known in the game as she proceeds to use new skills and items in creative and unorthodox ways. As she continues to advance, she makes new friends and impresses everyone with how ridiculously overpowered she becomes.

Review

BOFURI is an action/adventure comedy that is not meant to be taken too seriously. It's exciting to watch because Kaede (known in game as Maple) gains upgrade after upgrade, demolishing her competition with overpowered and ridiculous skills. She essentially becomes like a last boss herself, which is actually acknowledged by the other players and even the game designers. The ease with which she acquires these skills can at times be a little annoying, but since the anime packs a lot of content into a limited number of episodes, that can be excused. Overall, it's a fun and amusing ride.

Genres to explore similar to BOFURI

If you got into anime watching Sword Art Online, BOFURI is a natural pick for a comedy. If you enjoy BOFURI, you'll likely enjoy Isekai shows, which are those in which people are transported to another world, often fantasy worlds. These may also be comedies, action/adventure shows, slower-paced slice of life shows, or even thrillers.

4. Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)

  • Studio: Kyoto Animation
  • Aired: Spring 2011
  • Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life
  • Episodes: 26

Synopsis

Nichijou is a slice of life show centered primarily on the daily lives of five girls: high schoolers Mio, Yuuko, and Mai, the genius child Hakase, and her robot/wannabe high school girl Nano. There is no overarching plot. Instead, the show is a series of sketches of various lengths depicted everything from very mundane events like ordering coffee to out-of-this-world sequences like massive explosions.

Review

Nichijou is a slice of life sketch comedy. This show will not be for everyone. It has no plot and can be over-the-top at times. Some of the jokes will land and some will not. That said, I enjoyed it quite a bit myself and have rewatched it a number of times. Even if you don't appreciate the comedy, the antics of the girls (and their teachers) can still be enjoyable.

Genres to explore similar to Nichijou

If you like Nichijou, you will probably enjoy gag comedies. These are similar shows focusing on fast-paced jokes at the expense of a plotline. You may also enjoy high school slice of life shows.

3. Barakamon

  • Studio: Kinema Citrus
  • Aired: Summer 2014
  • Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life
  • Episodes: 12

Synopsis

Handa is a young, professional calligrapher who loses his cool when faced with criticism and strikes the critic. As punishment, he is sent far from his Tokyo home to live on the Goto Islands. Though he struggles to adjust at first, he quickly becomes friends with a young girl called Naru and other kids in the community. They help him to find himself and learn to enjoy life as he searches for artistic inspiration.

Review

Barakamon is a laid-back slice of life show. It has a heartwarming plot focusing on Handa's character development through interaction with the kids on the island. Most of the comedy also revolves around these kids. Naru is particularly funny, both because of her antics and her misunderstanding of adult phrases. This is an anime that is hard not to like.

Genres to explore similar to Barakamon

If you enjoy Barakamon, you will likely enjoy other slice of life comedies. These may or may not have a plot, depending on your preference. You may also enjoy heartwarming slice of life shows that aren't technically comedies but focus more on character development or exploration of an idyllic locale.

2. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun)

  • Studio: Doga Kobo
  • Aired: Summer 2014
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Episodes: 12

Synopsis

When high school girl Chiyo confesses to her crush Nozaki, he misunderstands her intention and gives her his autograph. It turns out that Nozaki is a popular shoujo mangaka (writer of girls' manga). In an attempt to get to know him better, Chiyo ends up accompanying Nozaki to his home and assisting him with his manga. Chiyo soon meets a variety of people at her school who also help Nozaki and/or inspire the characters in his manga. They all become quite close, and Chiyo hopes that someday Nozaki will notice and accept her feelings.

Review

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is a hilarious show about quirky high schoolers. The characters have a lot of energy, making the show fun and engaging to watch. The only annoyance is that there is almost no romantic progression between the main characters. However, it is still cute to see the various pairings together.

Genres to explore similar to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

If you like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, you will likely enjoy other romantic comedies or high school club-focused shows. If you want more romantic progression, then a more serious romance would also be a good choice.

1. Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!)

  • Studio: White Fox
  • Aired: Summer 2014
  • Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural
  • Episodes: 13 (second season scheduled for Summer 2022)

Synopsis

When the Demon Lord Satan's plans to conquer Ente Isla are foiled by the hero Emilia, he retreats with his loyal general Alsiel through a portal to Earth, ending up in Japan. However, due to limited magic availability on Earth, they have no way to return and instead begin living normal lives. Satan decides to go by the name Maou and gets a job at MgRonald's, while Alsiel becomes a homemaker. Though Maou is content to rise up the corporate ladder at his new job, his peace is soon threatened by the appearance of Emilia. Hilarity ensues as Maou attempts to keep up his good performance at his job while dealing with plots from other demons and celestial beings.

Review

I always enjoy watching Hataraku Maou-sama! Both the sub and the dub are good. This was one of the first comedy anime I watched myself, and it introduced me to the breadth of anime genres. I particularly enjoy the character interactions and the subversion of demon/angel expectations. However, I find the fanservice to be unnecessary. There is some hint of a possible romance subplot, but don't expect much.

Genres to explore similar to Hataraku Maou-sama!

If you like Hataraku Maou-sama!, you may enjoy other slice of life shows, workplace comedies, or supernatural anime. You will also likely enjoy action shows and those with a fantasy setting.

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