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Who doesn't love an anime comedy about a lazy neet and his adventures? More often than not, it results in a fair amount of belly laughs. So, how about a series about six lazy neets? What if they are siblings? Identical siblings? Sextuplets!?! Osomatsu-san!
A re-imagining of Fujio Akatsuka's 1962 manga, Osomatsu-kun, and a sequel of sorts, to the original two series released in 1966 and 1988, this follows the infamous sextuplets as they hit their dangerous late teen years. Facing adulthood, and by extension the need to get a job, the brothers decide to hide away in their home while doing their best to ensure that nothing ever changes. A coming of age story with characters hell-bent on fighting that natural progression.
Packed with sex jokes and adult humor, the funniest aspect of Osomatsu-san might just be how unfitting the animation is to the content here. With a simplistic and colorful art style and a seemingly family-friendly plot, often an episode would abruptly shift into such surreal madness that you're left wondering if this is just someone's fever dream put on film.
If you found the raunchy humor and mean-spirited, but still hilarious, comedy in Osomatsu-san to be your cup of tea, here are six recommendations that can fill that void.
Similar Anime to Osomatsu-san
1. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2010 – Dec. 2010
Insanity condensed into action-packed 10-minute intervals, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is the benchmark anime series for gags about sex and sugar. Centering around the less-than-innocent angel sisters, fittingly named Panty and Stocking, most episodes see them face off against some grotesque abomination known as a ghost. These arrive in all shapes and sizes (but mostly poop) and seek to reign mayhem on humanity in general. It's the angels' job to put them back in their place.
Although they are more than capable of handling most challenges, the sisters are driven less by a heroic need to protect humanity and more by whether they are bored at that moment. As Panty would rather spend her time working her way through the college football team and Stocking the local bakery, they are placed in the care of a priest called Garterbelt, who can whip them into action.
Like Osomatsu-san, Panty & Stocking is a pure parody series. There is not a single moment of the 13 episodes that is meant to be taken seriously. The two shows actually are a perfect double bill, since the sextuplets generally mock Japanese and anime culture, while the angel sisters focus primarily on more Western media. Classics like Charlie's Angels and Back to the Future are just two examples of many that get roasted.
The art style is vibrant and not particularly detailed, going for a very cartoonish and over-the-top presentation. Saying that there are segments that completely alter that style, to better illustrate the sketch. This is a tool that is used brilliantly by Osomatsu-san, and is welcome in Panty & Stocking as well.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Trailer
- Episodes: 328
- Vired: Apr. 2006 – Mar. 2017
With 328 episodes, 5 seasons, 2 films and more to hopefully come, Gintama is one of the biggest anime series around today. Starting off from relatively humble beginnings in 2006, the show really took off when Crunchyroll began to air a version with English subtitles in 2009. The first episode they showed was number 139. Still, it managed to find an audience, despite so much having already been missed. Why? It is actually pretty straightforward. Gintama is comedy gold.
Based on the manga drawings of Hideaki Sorachi, Gintama follows Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi, as they try to make ends meet in an alternative late-Edo period Japan where Earth has been taken over by aliens. Existing in a society where having food on your plate is more of a pipe dream than reality, they form Odd-Jobs, an outfit which accepts any job, as long as the client can pay. As can be imagined, this leads to some precarious situations.
There is no other parody show, Eastern or Western, that measures up to the heights set by Sunrise's anime. Every single episode is filled with so many references and gags, that most English translations have to leave a section explaining the gag or otherwise most people would not even know that there was a joke.
Similarly to Osomatsu-san, most of the comedy comes from injecting a hint of absurdity in otherwise normal-ish situations. Gintama primarily targets Shounen anime, with a lead character that is a direct play on Rurouni Kenshin, but is not afraid to make fun of anything that happens to exist under the sun.
Gintama 2017 Trailer
3. Nichijou (Nichijou - My Ordinary Life)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2011 – Sep. 2011
Like pretty much every entry so far, Nichijou is a sketch series that combines the mundane proceedings of everyday life with the absurd. Taking place in a picturesque Japanese village, the heart of My Ordinary Life lies with the trio of friends - high school girls Mio Naganohara, Yuuko Aioi and Mai Minakami – as they find ways to turn their boring run-of-the-mill existence into something more. Their lives eventually intertwine with other characters living peacefully in the village, resulting in what feels more like an ensemble comedy series.
If there is a single word that could be used to describe Kyoto Animation's show is “Innocent”. From the crisp and old school drawing style, to the mostly younger cast and wide-eyed nature of most of their adventures, Nichijou can be rather heartwarming. It deals with themes like friendship, love, family and self-discovery. Although they are not as adverse to growing up as the sextuplets, My Ordinary Life also presents a universe that seems to exist in its own time. Like Mio, Yuuko and Mai are destined to be high school girls until the end of days.
The structure of each episode is identical to Osomatsu-san, with a series of sketches, each presented with their own heading. Although the comedy rarely ends up quite as mean-spirited, the laugh-out-loud moments result from how these unique characters bounce off each other.
And there is also a scene where the Principal fights a deer. So, what are you waiting for?
Any Anime Like Osomatsu-san ?
4. Detroit Metal City
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Aug. 2008 – Oct. 2008
Picture this: It's Japan, a young musician from a small mountain village with aspirations of creating emotional and relaxing pop music, songs that even his mother can enjoy, takes a leap of faith and moves to Tokyo. As one could expect, making it in a large buzzing metropolis is not a dream that is easy to reach. As he spends his days performing his melodic fluff at a nearby park, he is given the opportunity to front an indie band that seems destined for greatness.
And that is exactly what follows. Suddenly, this unknown is the face of one of the most popular groups in all of Tokyo, with hordes of fans that are willing to jump off a bridge for them. With such success, one would assume that life is going pretty good right? Well, not quite. After-all, Negishi's dream was hardly to be the frontman of a demonic death metal band. One that sings exclusively about Satan, rape, and murder. Still, for someone that shivers at even the thought of such acts, he sure can sing about them like nobody’s business!
A fish out of water scenario, Detroit Metal City is an insane trip through Tokyo's death metal scene, with a lead character that is simultaneously awesome and a complete pushover. The way that Negishi transitions from his humble, loving persona to Krauser II, the demon king that is the face and voice of DMC, is hilarious to behold. With a theme of self-discovery, Studio 4°C's 12 episode series keeps the comedy quite grounded, at least compared to Osomatsu-san, with the absurdity coming mostly from the concerts that Detroit Metal City perform and the flip-flop nature of Negishi's personality.
5. Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (Daily Lives of High School Boys)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2012 - Mar. 2012
With an art style reminiscent of Nichijou and Osomatsu-san, Daily Lives of High School Boys is set around the all-boys Sanada North High School, with three students taking center stage: Hidenori, Yoshitake and Tadakuni. Like all the best comedy routines, these three friends compliment each other perfectly. Hidenori is the eccentric mastermind with an unrivaled imagination, Yoshitake is laid back and constantly trying to hide a dark back story which contains oh so many embarrassing moments, and Tadakuni is the straight man.
Similarly to both My Ordinary Life and, again, the sextuplets, this is a pure sketch comedy show. Each episode would feature a variety of short skits, each introduces with their own title and would center on 2-3 specific characters that might not be in the rest of the episode. Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou rarely goes for the over-the-top absurdity found on nearly every other show in this list, instead focusing on the little embarrassing moments that can arise from typical normal life.
Despite there only being 12 episodes, Sunrise's ode to high school life features a huge cast that can rival their 300+ opus Gintama. Nearly every character is endearing, in their own way, and genuinely good-natured, as they try to find ways to get through their lives without dying from boredom. Themes like young love, freedom vs responsibility and family are commonly brought up, making it an easy recommendation for fans of Osomatsu-san.
Daily Lives of Highschool Boys Trailer
6. Binbougami ga! (Good Luck Girl!)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July. 2012 – Sep. 2012
Luck can make or break a life. It could be the difference between being the princess of the ball or one of the many faceless onlookers. Ichiko Sakura would definitely fall into the previous category. Actually, calling her the princess might be underselling her perfection. Born to a rich family, she is beautiful, smart and athletic, and has an entourage surrounding her at all times whose only purpose is to ensure that her perfect little bubble never bursts.
On the other side of the coin, there is Momiji, the god of poverty. And that isn't some cruel nickname created by a bully in second grade, Momiji is ACTUALLY a god. She has been sent to Earth to bring Ichiko a peg or two down, as her overabundance of good luck has created an imbalance in the force, resulting in everyone she comes into contact with being zapped of any positive luck they might have had. In some ways, she is an unwitting vampire, sucking the fortune of those who surround and worship her.
Binbougami ga! it’s a battle anime, if instead of swords and guns, the characters uses verbal jabs and dirty tricks to defeat their opponent. Whenever the series focuses on the relationship between Momiji and Ichiko, it is pretty much hilarious. Their petty antics can be quite a sight to behold, and when they do eventually start to blur their relationship, it leads to some actually heartfelt and endearing moments.
Good Luck Girl! Does not hold back from piling on the references and the clichés either. The cast includes a perverted monk and even a masochist character that just loves to get hit by girls. Although they can be good for a laugh or two, these moments do not manage to really say anything all that new or clever. Considering all of the out-of-left-field homages done in Osomatsu-san and Gintama, referencing Dragon Ball and Lupin is hardly all that impressive.
Good Luck Girl! (Binbogami-ga!) Trailer
This brings an end to our recommendations list for this time. The original Osomatsu-kun is a landmark release in anime, one that continues to stand the test of time and has influenced many comedy series over the last 20 years. Osomatsu-san is an impressive update to that classic, masterfully balancing adult humor, heart, and social commentary.
Although their main focus might vary, all the other entries in this list aim to do the same. Resulting in dozens of laugh out loud moments, a few head-scratching ones and a rare tear as well.