All comedy need not be bright and happy to have you rolling on the floor with laughs. Maybe it speaks to how twisted some of us are, but black comedy – the comedy that is hilarious but also deeply disturbing – can be the best of the comedy genre. It often combines dark themes with jokes that poke at those themes in a number of different ways. If you enjoy black comedy anime, then give these distinctly disturbing and hilarious anime recommendations a try.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
The titular Zetsubou-sensei, star of the show, maintains a distinctly negative and critical view of everything. So much so that it often culminates with him attempting to take his own life. Ironically, he is also the molder of young minds in the series. However, while the show can have its serious mindfuckery moments, it is primarily a pretty amazing comedy, made more impressive by how fucked up much of the content in the show is.
This lesser known OVA features a young angel descending to earth with order to kill a young junior high man who, in 20 years, will create the lolicon paradise of stopping all girls aging at 12 and making them immortal. She instead decides to become a complete nuisance to this boy to prevent him from ever doing the work. While this all seems pretty light, many of the central jokes of the show involve Dokuro brutally murdering the boy and reviving him over and over again.
Welcome to the NHK
Welcome to the NHK is legendary among dark comedies. The whole show has a very distinctive depressing vibe that accompanies the NEET lifestyle, and yet, it is also a brilliant comedy. Much of the comedy comes from the awkwardness that most anime fans know well. However, the main character does find himself in some distinctly disturbing situations, like thinking a suicide pact was really a friendly meet up with an old acquaintance.
Paranoia Agent isn’t always a dark comedy, it has somewhat of a psychological and dramatic plot, but many of its episodes do have strong comedy despite the innate mindfuckery going on within. Episodes like Happy Family Planning contribute to the plot in their own way while being about a suicide pact of people trying to kill themselves and failing hilariously.
Like Paranoia Agent above, Angel Beats isn’t dedicated dark comedy, but it is a pretty good comedy when it’s not being a tearjerker. The fact that all the characters are dead and they all are there because they lived miserable lives in one way or another hurts. Yet, despite all the sad moments, one could argue that it makes the more comedic moments of an episode even better.
Inferno Cop is a cop story where the cop is both the law and an outlaw in a town that has very loose rules. Basically it turns violence and a revenge story up into the extreme where sometimes you wonder if they can even be serious. Yet, with extreme violence going on, they still have time for the jokes that make a dark comedy.
Excel Saga will always be one of the most wacked out comedies you will ever see. It is excessively random, often vulgar, and most of all, you will realize pretty quickly that you are actually watching villains and not heroes like you are made out to think. Excel works for an organization that wants world domination. Of course, thanks to Excel, they are pretty bad at it.
Detroit Metal City
As a music anime, Detroit Metal City seems pretty innocent even if it is about metal music. However, like some metal music, it specializes in some pretty dark lyrics, like 10 rapes per second moment. Despite this serious subject matter, it is nothing but comedy and a bunch of satire about the music industry.
Azazel-san is a detective show, but not just any detective show. In it, the detective summons low-level demons to help him solve mysteries. Well, they could have taken this seriously, they didn’t. The devils are the main source of comedy in the show and they sometimes stoop to the vulgar kind of disturbing means to get the job done.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
This series in infamous. While Panty and Stocking may fit the bill better as a vulgar comedy, there is no question that the jokes made and the setting distinctly make it pretty dark. Essentially, it is angels acting very, very badly.
Did we miss any more good dark comedy anime series? Let us know in the comments section below.