Comedy is an integral part of the shonen genre. Even shows with the darkest themes usually have some lighthearted moments spread across some episodes, serving to lift the overall mood of their respective scenes. In some cases, it may feel out of place, but if done properly, it only makes the experience more memorable.
In many battle shonen anime, comedy might not be the main genre, but they do a great job incorporating it into their shows. The shows in question may include scenes with comic relief characters, humorous activities, or exaggerated mannerisms. These are all common ways of factoring in cheerful entertainment, and with the anime included on this list, they are usually effective.
10/10 The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins is an anime that tells the story of seven legendary knights banished from the kingdom of Liones on suspicion of planning a coup. They were consequently scattered across the land of Brittania, only to be reunited by the kingdom’s princess and their leader, Meliodas.
All members of the former knight group are extremely powerful, but each has their individual quirks. For example, Meliodas is blunt to a fault, Ban is carefree but offers interesting reactions, and Diane’s early one-sided crush on Meliodas makes for some entertaining scenes. Furthermore, the misleadingly named talking pig, Hawk, acts as a constant source of amusement, taking the role of the comic relief character on many occasions.
9/10 Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail is one of the more popular shonen anime, and it has a more lighthearted feel than most titles within the genre. It follows the adventures of the main character Natsu Dragneel and the other Fairy Tail guild members as they embark on important missions and exciting adventures.
Many of the characters within the guild have peculiar attributes that serve as important catalysts for comedic moments and interesting interactions. For instance, Natsu and Gray Fullbuster are constantly at each other’s throats partly due to the contrasting nature of their powers, Lucy can be easily intimidated, and Erza’s blunt yet serious demeanor makes her a joy to watch. There are many other individuals in the show who fall under this category, and the tone of the anime often compliments the comical aspects of their personalities.
8/10 Soul Eater
An anime filled with talking weapons and their peculiar wielders, Soul Eater is a show with fascinating dynamics everywhere you look. The story originally follows the students of the Death Weapon Meister Academy on their quests to evolve their weapons into Death Scythes. However, it eventually adopts a more serious tone as a significant threat is gradually reawakened.
The comedy in the series is largely facilitated by the eccentricity of many characters, including the academy’s headmaster, who, despite being the shinigami, is a rather cheerful being. Characters like Soul Evans and Black Star are also worth mentioning, as their regular antics and mannerisms are laughably irregular. The animation also helps to deliver many amusing scenes, as characters sometimes take distorted forms to reflect their emotions.
7/10 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise is spread across multiple parts that have their own unique characters and appeal. Despite its first part taking a more serious tone, the following installments include a lot more hilarious moments. On many occasions, it is unclear if the show is explicitly trying to be funny, but numerous important scenes have become popular internet memes regardless.
The anime is known for its exaggerated tone, as some characters regularly offer over-the-top reactions. A prime example of this is Joseph Joestar, the grandson of Jonathan Joestar, who frequently utters specific phrases in English and finds himself in irregular situations. Though there are other characters of the same mold which also complement the series’ humor, not many do it quite like him.
6/10 Fire Force
Made by the author of Soul Eater with a seemingly connected storyline, Fire Force is an anime featuring powerful pyrokinetics in a mysterious world. The plot is centered around Special Fire Force Company 8 and their efforts to destroy infernals and uncover the secrets behind the state of their land.
Many characters within the force are unique as they were seemingly designed to each have their own gimmicks. For example, Shinra constantly likens himself to a devil, Arthur to the popular historical figure of the same name, and then there’s Maki, who retaliates aggressively whenever her muscles are referenced. The show regularly finds a way to include comedy. Even during intense scenes, there are moments where opposing forces share humorous remarks.
5/10 Assassination Classroom
Despite being an anime centered around the arts of killing, Assassination Classroom features a lot more jokes than actual bloodshed. The story involves the students of Kunugigaoka Class 3-E and their mission to kill the supernatural being and teacher named Korosensei.
Though he is repeatedly subjected to the bloodlust of his treasured students while also having to fend off multiple assassination attempts, Korosensei is the driving force series’ comedy. He is capable of making witty remarks even in the face of death and is prone to taking unnatural actions as if they were commonplace. Furthermore, the student’s attempts to kill him often devolve into comical situations, especially when he is able to easily evade them.
4/10 One Piece
One Piece is arguably the most popular shonen anime in the world, and with over a thousand episodes released, it consistently includes unserious moments that many fans have come to love. In addition, the comedic aspects can be found almost anywhere in the series as they are factored into character designs, landscapes, random constructs, and even laughter.
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The author of the series, Eiichiro Oda, has openly expressed his distaste for the more “serious” direction other battle shonen are forced to take and has always wished for his work to be different. As a result, his preferences are expressly reflected in how One Piece approaches its comedy, and the anime has retained a certain degree of uniqueness because of it.
3/10 One Punch Man
Much like the title implies, One-Punch Man is a series that features an astoundingly powerful protagonist named Saitama, capable of ending most of his battles with a single punch. Despite his amazing power, however, Saitama is hardly ever content as he cannot find an equally strong opponent and struggles with other, more mundane aspects of life.
These little inconveniences are a great part of what makes the show so entertaining to watch. For instance, Saitama might be strong enough to knock a giant off his feet, but he still has trouble killing a regular mosquito. He gets annoyed easily in moments like these, and his exaggerated reactions to regular problems compensate for his otherwise apathetic approach to battle. Furthermore, he offers a stark contrast in moods whenever he appears in serious moments, leaving others in awe and keeping viewers entertained.
2/10 Mob Psycho 100
On the surface, Mob Psycho 100 may seem like yet another anime with an overpowered protagonist and intense battles, but it features many more enjoyable elements. It tells the story of the main character, Mob, who is a powerful psychic but not without typical troubles. He repeatedly finds himself in interesting situations surrounded by equally interesting characters, all of which contribute greatly to the show’s comedy.
A great example of an interesting character is his boss at work and “master” Reigen Arataka, a charismatic con man who is endlessly entertaining whenever given screen time. He is known for his special moves, usually involving salt, and is fond of misleading others in the most amusing ways. Mob’s aloof personality and the anime’s proper use of gag humor are also very enjoyable to watch.
Renowned as one of the greatest anime comedies of all time, Gintama is a series largely unconventional in its approach to humor. It employs a wide variety of techniques, most of which work to great effect, and it consistently does so over a long period of time.
It is famous for parodying and referencing other anime, breaking the fourth wall, gag humor, and entertaining characters that are bound to get you attached. Though not all anime fans see the appeal of its unique comedy, it has captured the hearts of many and is thoroughly entertaining to those who can appreciate it.
MORE:How Gintama Manages To Balance Comedy And Drama