Comedy Anime: What makes a good comedy.

Why hello there, Alex (oocentral) here with something different. This right here is an opinion piece written by myself on a topic anime-related. The subject of today’s blog post is “Comedy Anime: What makes a good comedy.” Many things make a good comedy, all of which differ from person to person. What I like in comedy anime may be different from yours, for example. So I decided to do something different. I wanted to share my thoughts on what I think makes a good comedy anime. Quick disclaimer, this will be one long blog by my standards and will be the first of considerable length in a long while, so bear with me on this one. I do plan to do more blogs like this one in the future. The only problem is it takes me a long time to formulate my thoughts.

Anyway, enjoy!

The more, The better.

Comedy anime will always be more entertaining when more than two characters are running the show. I’m sure we all know that by now, but anyway, I’d like to discuss why I think “the more, the better.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a recent successful anime labelled as a “comedy,” where only two main characters are doing the heavy lifting. “successful” is very open-ended and covers a wide variety of interpretations, so for simplicity sake, we’ll say it has an average rating of 7.50 on MyAnimeList.net (Or any anime site of your choosing).

More often than not, anime labelled as a “comedy” will come with at least four characters. With four characters, you open yourself up to a broader range of personalities and quirks. You’re not limiting yourself by the number of characters you choose to use. Whereas, if the comedy contains only two characters, you’re limited in what you’re able to do. Take Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san as a prime example. Although we see the supporting cast take on a significant role in the anime, Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san is primarily powered by Nagatoro and Hachiouji, who, in my opinion, was not strong enough duo to carry the anime. Since Nagatoro was, by nature, openly very perverted, there is only so far you can go, and there are only so many jokes you can make before it becomes annoying. It didn’t help that the supporting cast was similar to Nagatoro in more ways than one.

I also think that having four characters total is probably the most optimal. The reason is that you’re able to organize each episode so that each of the four characters will have their time to shine by themselves, but also partnered up with one or two more characters from the group.

If Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san, is placed on one end of the spectrum, “Two or less,” then on the other side of the spectrum, “Three to four,” we have Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai (Love is War). Which I think is arguably one of the best, if not the best, comedy to air over the past two years.

If “three to four” is considered optimal, then anything past four characters is what I consider a little too much. 5-toubun no Hanayome is an example where we had a little too many characters for my liking. Considering that each episode was roughly twenty minutes long (twenty-three if you include OP and ED). You then had to make sure you fit all of those five sisters into the episode, along with the male protagonist (Fuutarou Uesugi). You can see that quickly. It can become a handful. Granted, 5-toubun no Hanayome is not just comedy, but it does help get the point across.

If you’re one of the many people to have seen 5-toubun no Hanayome, then you’d know what I mean. Generally, each episode felt a little chaotic because Futaro had to basically juggle with the five sisters all off doing their own things, having their own little adventures and experiences. Each episode felt like we bounced around every five minutes, ensuring each character had their time in the spotlight. Since many of them share polar opposite personalities, it added to the already cluttered episode. 5-toubun no Hanayome isn’t the only anime where this is a problem. There are multiple instances where this is the case. 5-toubun no Hanayome just so happen to be one of the more recent anime I’ve watched.

Not my cup of tea.

Comedic anime is all about balance. You need to have the proper theme, humour that suits the anime, characters that work well with everyone part of the main and supporting cast. A comedic anime is at its best when all the characters in the anime complement each other. However, there are times when that delicate balance slips away, and it becomes too much. There have been many instances where I felt like an anime was a little too excessive when it came to its humour. For example, much more inappropriate comedy anime tend to fall into the ‘excessive’ category for me, Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san and Shimoseka etc.

Regarding the whole inappropriate comedy space, the two anime I listed probably fall towards the bottom of the scale. The scale is 0 to 100. But still, you get what I mean.

Again, this all contributes to the overall theme of the show. If it’s an anime where the general vibe is one where you expect a lot of perverted stuff to go down, then you expect the character and the humour to be geared towards that.

For me, something else that is a deal-breaker is when the humour is something I’ve seen before and is easily predictable. This is very hard to avoid, especially in the world of anime. Anime is the space where there are bound to be similarities between two or more shows. While each anime by itself is its own beast, many things can link different anime together. Obviously, the main things are character design, personalities, genres, etc. You know all the basic stuff. However, in comedies specifically, something that I enjoy but is tough to obtain is… originality. I’ve seen many comedy anime throughout the years, so I think there is some truth in what I’m about to say. A lot of the jokes and humorous moments in comedies (especially nowadays) feel the same. Or it is worded and play out differently, but the joke/funny moment, in essence, feels recycled or similar. Considering that jokes and the overall theme make a comedy, it can be tough to find something that feels ‘different’ without feeling the same. In a world where more than 20+ anime air per season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall), there will always be anime that feels oddly familiar to another you’ve watched or are currently watching.

I guess that’s the problem of having genre-specific anime; chances are, most comedies will feel the same and have the same kind of jokes, as is the case with other anime in other genres.

What is my cup of tea?

Probably peppermint, but that’s beside the point. As I’ve mentioned throughout this blog post. Many things make a comedy. First, you need to have the correct number of different personalities (three to four). Second, each character must be entertaining in their own right and must offer something that the other characters cannot. Third, the theme must be one where a lot of jokes or humorous moments can happen. Like you cannot make jokes or create a funny situation from a murder scene. It just doesn’t work that away. Finally, the comedy must find a way to make itself feel different without feeling the same as all the other comedies out there in the world of anime.

For me, a few anime that hit all these marks for me are; Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, Non Non Biyori (Series), Yuru Yuri (Series), Servant x Service, Seitokai Yakuindomo (Series) and Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii.

Let’s be real here, no one anime is classified under just one genre. It’s about appealing to a broader range of viewers. So regarding my choices, there are definitely other factors and genres that influence and contribute to the comedic aspect of the show. However, for me personally, it comes down to what anime I think puts more effort and focuses more heavily on the comedic side of things.

Final Thoughts

Many things can make a comedy anime great. It’s subjective. What you like may not be what I want, and that’s the beauty of it. Anime is excellent in that respect. Anyway, if you take the time to read through this, thank you very much, which means a lot. It took me a while to get this blog post completed. I won’t exaggerate. This post took me a good couple of days (maybe weeks?) to think through and finish. I wanted to get my thoughts down in a way that made sense. I wanted my opinion to get across in a way that I would be satisfied with. Am I happy with this post? I am, for now. Ask me in a few months, and my opinion would have probably changed.

Personally, I enjoyed doing it. It was definitely different. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, this will be my real first opinion piece. Will I do more in the future? Yeah, probably. I just have to plan out what I want to do instead of jumping headfirst and figuring out as I go. Again, thanks for reading. I definitely do appreciate it.

– Alex