Want to get into some weird anime? Here is your guide.
While anime has maintained a very important place in popular culture, it can remain challenging to convince the uninitiated to give the art form a chance.
It goes without saying that to truly enjoy some of the best anime requires a certain suspension of disbelief, but the experience is so rewarding for those who can let go of real-world details. With that said, these anime adventures below may not be for the faint of heart, as it's true that anime can sometimes go to some truly strange places. For those who want to dive into the grittiest and most bizarre shows this art form has to offer, here is a list of the strangest anime ever made.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Following several generations of the Joestar family, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure features pulsating hyper-masculine characters performing outright foolish endeavors. The Joestar family members all possess uncanny supernatural powers, and each travels the world to fight vampiric villains who have obtained occult powers from a mysterious ancient mask.
The premise itself may sound fairly straightforward for fantastical anime, but the way the series balances the characters' silly absurdist antics with its disturbing story elements make for a captivating experience.
For example, longtime fans of the anime may remember the character of Forever: a psychic orangutan that loves human p*rn and has a special power that creates a massive ship. If that doesn't make sense now, I promise it will in the context of the show.
Saint Young Men
This charming comedy is about Jesus and Buddha. They're roommates living in Tokyo, and they like to take selfies, blog, and drink beer. They've come to Earth merely for a vacation, and throughout the anime, they try to understand and further immerse themselves in Japanese society.
Despite the potentially heavy-handed subject matter, the duo's resulting shenanigans are surprisingly lighthearted and whimsical, such as when Jesus unintentionally convinces a senior Yakuza member that he's the head of a crime syndicate. While one would assume the series would be plagued with controversy, very little backlash has arisen against "Saint Young Men," mostly because the duo is so gosh darn likable.
Makura No Danshi
One of the only shows to be shot in the first person, Makura No Danshi frames you, the viewer, as the main protagonist in this odd anime. The plot? You lie in bed with gorgeously drawn men, who all say sensual and erotic things. The mini-series comprises 12 episodes with 12 different men, each one vastly different, and that's pretty much the gist.
When Kazuki, Toi, and Enta accidentally break a statue of a kappa that serves as a guardian for the district of Asakusa, the prince of the Kappa Kingdom appears and transforms the three middle schoolers into Kappa themselves. While Sarazanmai covers some deep thematic material around anti-capitalism, the endeavors of the kappa are weird enough to warrant Sarazanmai a spot on this list.
For those who don't know, Kappa are an aquatic creature from ancient Japanese folklore that love cucumbers and engaging in sumo wrestling. They're also known to sexually assault humans and somehow remove a mythical organ called a shirikodama from their victim's butt.
This light series is about anthropomorphic soda cans that engage in grotesque battles to determine whether steel cans or aluminum cans are the superior material. The protagonist, a young boy named Kakeru Daichi, purchases a melon flavored soda only for it to transform into a woman. The woman tells Kakeru that multiple liquids in this strange world can actually come to life, including grape juice, sports drinks, and sweet red bean soup.
A lot of longtime viewers of Toonami back in the early aughts will remember the ludicrous series of Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo fondly. It was one of the most nonsensical shows on TV and remains one of the most bizarre anime's to have graced our television screens.
In the year 300X, a tyrant named Baldy Bald the 4th and his band of misfit soldiers attack innocent towns and rob its citizens of their hair, leaving them bald and their home in disarray. Finally, a muscular and blonde-afroed savior named Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo says, No more!
Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo decides he will stand up against this terrible regime and recruits a powerful team comprising a cartoon sun, a young guy with bad B.O., and a teenage girl. Together they fight to topple Baldy Bald the 4th by taking on his legion of bizarre but powerful allies.
The series moves at a ludicrous pace, relying on many manzai tropes such as cheesy puns, fourth-wall breaks, and obscure pop culture references, meaning the series packs a lot of insane content into its brief runtime. Regardless of its bizarre nature, the series was hilarious and incredibly popular among Toonami viewers. It even spawned a line of equally-as-bizarre video game additions to the PS2 and other consoles.
Pop Team Epic
When it comes to nonsensical comedy, no series thrives at bizarro antics more than Pop Team Epic. This surrealist comedy is merely comprised of shorts that find the show's 14-year-old protagonists engaging in some truly bizarre misadventures.
One short shows a flight attendant asking the girls if they'd prefer beef or chicken for their in-flight meal, to which Popuko gets irate before Pimimi merely responds, "Beef."
"Your life has been spared," Popuko tells the flight attendant. Obscure comedy like this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it sure is the strangest anime show we've seen in quite some time.
A versatile community of brown poop fairies all reside on a strange island in the middle of the ocean. One of the fairies, Unko-san, has a supernatural ability of giving others good luck. So he traverses the island, hoping to help his unlucky poop friends get a little luckier. By the way, Unko-san loosely translates to "lucky crap."