Top 10 Comedy Anime Movies [Best Recommendations]

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No matter where you call home in this world, everyone loves to laugh. So it should come as no great surprise that amongst all of Japan’s releases, comedy anime films number among them. As luck would have it, thanks to this fact, we who don’t frequent cineplexes in Tokyo can enjoy them as well.

While anime films have been known to make audiences feel a myriad of emotions, today we’re looking at some specially crafted with laughter in mind. Here’s our list of the Top 10 funniest anime films to come out of Japan.

10. Hayate the Combat Butler! Movie (Hayate no Gotoku! Heaven Is a Place on Earth)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Aug. 2011

Poor Hayate. Poor, poor Hayate. He is both unfortunate and financially poor. In his main anime series he has been abandoned by seemingly the world’s worst parents and is now forced to fend for himself. This leads him to become the servant of the wealthy Sanzenin Nagi, who often finds herself beset with some matter of violent encounters. As luck would have it, Hayate, due to his traumatic upbringing, is a master of combat and does his utmost to protect her. Along the way, several other female characters join the cast, all with their focus on Hayate. Although comedy is always at the forefront, the show does belong to the harem genre as well.

The film is a side story to the long-running anime series. In it, Hayate and co. begin enjoying their remaining summer break at a side character’s vacation home in the countryside. In true Hayate the Combat Butler fashion, nothing remains quiet for long, with hilarious results.

The series has frequently been known to parody other popular anime series that audiences outside of Japan are likely to be familiar with. Its signature style of never taking itself too seriously, even going as far as to subvert plot for a laugh is also present in the film. Fans of the show will definitely find this an enjoyable watch.


9. Toriko Movie: Bishokushin no Special Menu

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Jul. 2013

Toriko is a superhuman man in an already unusual world. His world revolves around food, earning a living at the beck and call of the most prestigious restaurants and gourmets in the world. Amazing food equates to battle strength, and having the edge is everything to those with the means and will to collect prized ingredients, known as Gourmet Hunters.

The Toriko movie chronicles the latest adventure of the great hunter, who is on the trail of an exceptionally rare ingredient fit for the next dish. Fans of the anime series are accustomed to the battle-shounen style fights, and the action provides a new spice from the mainstay. The over-the-top nature, from the premise, to the fights, to the characters, all lend to an enjoyable experience. While this movie is more for returning fans, newcomers may find laughs to be had as well.


8. Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint it, White! (Hetalia Axis Powers Movie: Paint it, White)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Jun. 2010

If you ever wanted to see a show about the world’s great, superpower countries personified as bishounen (pretty boys), then Hetalia Axis Powers would be the series for you. The show stars countries like the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom and has them involved in hilarious, historical-based hijinx.

While the main series was known for just putting the characters into situations based on their past histories with each other, the movie spins off into new territory. Aliens invade earth, taking the even more ridiculous into a completely new direction. The aliens’ main goal is to remove all the unique cultural aspects from each country, making peace on earth by making them all the same.
The movie is the longest form of the series at 80 minutes in running time. The regular series typically clocked in at 5mins each episode, so fans can enjoy seeing their favorite characters interact for far longer than usual. In the Hetalia Axis Powers movie, laughs come first and serious plot comes in dead last. The movie even takes steps to give fan service to the core audience, delivering a more enjoyable experience.


7. Keroro Gunsou Movie 4: Gekishin Dragon Warriors de Arimasu!

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Mar. 2009

Keroro Gunsou, which literally translates to Sgt. Frog, is a cutely drawn space invader tasked with preparing Earth for a hostile takeover. He finds himself taking refuge in the home of the Hinata siblings, Fuyuki and Natsumi, only to be forced to reveal his true nature to the two. With the show featuring alien frog soldiers living amongst Earth children, an unusual amount of hilarity ensues.

As the fourth movie in the franchise, Gekishin Dragon Warriors de Arimasu! features a new plot revolving around new foes. Mysterious beings known as Dragon Tails have appeared, and one of the frog troop’s cast of characters has gone missing. Amidst this mystery, the Earth is in jeopardy, and the heroes must find a way to save it before it’s too late.

Another parody series on our list, the main franchise is a full length series spanning more than 350 episodes. New characters, foes and allies alike, are continuously added with the alien invasion subplot tucked neatly away. The show places an emphasis on the on-screen comedy, and the movies do as well. Fans who enjoyed the series and want a few extra laughs will definitely get a kick out of the fourth installment.


6. Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan - Habatake Tenshi-tachi

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Mar. 2011

Doraemon is one of the longest running comedy anime series in Japan. Beginning in 1979 and spanning 1,787 episodes (yes, that many) it was rebooted for modern audiences in 2005. Doraemon, whom the show is named after, is a robotic cat sent back in time to help Nobita Nobi. Nobita’s family faces great peril in the future due to their ancestor’s mistakes, and thus his descendant sent Doraemon to save them.

The 31st film in the franchise is actually a remake of the 1986 released 7th movie, titled “Nobita and the Steel Troops”. In this film, Nobita selfishly requests a giant robot, much to Doraemon’s dismay. In his attempt to fulfill his wish, they uncover a mysterious mirror world, and the resulting anarchy it brings to the cast is all laughs for the audience. Although the film is primarily aimed at a younger audience, fans who grew up with the characters can always enjoy seeing them revived in a modern way.


5. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 09: Arashi wo Yobu Mouretsu! Otona Teikoku no Gyakushuu

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Apr. 2011

Although he is indeed five years old, Shinnosuke “Shin-chan” Nohara acts unlike any kindergartner you have ever seen. Swearing like a sailor, dropping his pants to show off his “elephant”, and causing much strife with his just as unusual parents is business as usual for him. He often drags his friends along with his whims, who are just as unusual themselves at times, go along with it.

In the 9th film of the series, new amusement parks have been springing up in Japan and they’ve been affecting many adults in odd ways. Their strange behaviour is causing their children to become curious as to the link between the adults and these parks. This leads Shin-chan and his friends on their quest as to the underlying cause, with hilarious results.

Crayon Shin-chan is a deceptive series in how it appears and who its target audience is. Although it is indeed aimed at children and features children, its jokes and subject matter are often aimed at an older group. As a show that has been running since 1992, it has endeavored to keep its audience laughing throughout the years. The ninth film is no different, and those who look forward to laughing at the zaniest of casts in the most perplexing situations will undoubtedly love this film.


4. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Dec. 1979

First and foremost, this is perhaps the most prestigious film on this list as renowned Hayao Miyazaki’s first animated film. Arsene Lupin the 3rd is a master thief if ever there was one. He and his companions travel around the world, stealing from the super rich, other criminals, and government organizations alike.

In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin is pursuing a legendary counterfeiter known as Goat Bills, who has just made Lupin’s score of a lifetime worthless with fake cash. His pursuit finds him exploring the castle, and finding a woman imprisoned there with her own circumstances. With his constant nemesis Inspector Zenigata closing in, Lupin must once again act outside of the law to do the right thing, all while hoping to land a prize worthy of his legacy.

There’s something truly magical about older animation that is just lost in today’s modern anime. It’s no surprise that the founder of Studio Ghibli would bring a creative spark to this film. The characters who existed before this film are brought new life, and the action, suspense, and jokes all work in tandem to deliver an engaging experience. Lupin III is a funny series in its cat and mouse chases resulting from Lupin’s exploits, and this film is a perfect entry point for newcomers as well.


3. K-On! Movie (K-ON! The Movie)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Dec. 2011

K-On! tells the story of high school first year Hirasawa Yui, who has decided to join the light music club of her new school. She, however, does not play an instrument, but is passionate and carefree enough to not let this fact stop her. Over the course of two seasons and 39 episodes, the audience of the main series grew to love, laugh with, and feel for the main characters. The film finale marks a new chapter for the graduating cast and the closing of the series.

Setting off on a whirlwind tour of Europe to play at various venues, the girls make memories and laughs at every stop along the way. Made with fans of the series in mind, the audience will enjoy the new and classic songs, as well as seeing how the characters have changed and grown throughout their viewership. An enjoyable swan song, the K-On! movie delivers somber laughs as we remember it fondly.


2. One Piece Film: Strong World

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Dec. 2009

One Piece tells the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a young pirate on a quest to reclaim a treasure of the same name. Although piracy is an odd occupation for it, Luffy is adventuring simply for fun and wonder. His exploits and adventures always manage to entertain as well as deliver laughs, especially when his fellow adventurers are involved.

The popularity of One Piece as a series is monstrous. Airing since 1999, the series has captured readers and viewers, and kept them returning for nearly two decades. One of many films in the franchise, Strong World pits the cast against legendary pirate Shiki, who has his sights set on revenge against those who thwarted his plans in the past. To see his goals fulfilled, he captures Nami and uses her friends as hostages to enact his plans.

The series has always mixed sea-faring adventuring with stylized comedy antics. Fans who have enjoyed the series thus far and have gotten to know the diverse group of characters over the years know just what happens when they’re pit against the odds. If you’re looking for an action shounen style adventure with lots of laughs, this film is right for you.


1. Gintama Movie: Kanketsu-hen - Yorozuya yo Eien Nare

  • Episodes: 1
  • Air Date: Jul. 2013

Gintama is a show with a preposterous premise, an over-the-top cast, and the craziest plot lines you could ever find from Japan. It all comes together in a beautiful mixture, all designed to keep your gut busted. In the show, aliens have invaded feudal Japan, and the way of the samurai has been cut short. However, protagonist Gintoki Sakata is not stopped by this fact. He still stays true to himself and forges a path he can abide by.

In the film, an encounter with what he believes to be a film pirate lands Gintoki hurled five years into what turns out to be a grim future. Edo has changed, and those who survived in this bleak time have changed with it. His two partners in crime, Kagura and Shinpachi, are barely recognizable from how they used to be. Gintoki is now forced to confront what led to this undesirable outcome and hopefully change it for the better.

The film takes a more serious development than the main comedy series is used to, and fans may enjoy seeing how these drastic changes enhance the plot. Laughs are still frequently to be had, and as the series is known for, it’s very entertaining to watch. The high production values and attention to detail are a big reason as to why this made our number one selection for top comedy anime films.


Final Thoughts

Being able to laugh is one of the few things that transcends the culture and language barriers. Universally funny actions, events, and scenes can be found in just about every country's entertainment. Being able to enjoy the cream of the crop in our native language can be a welcome treat.

You definitely should check out the films on this list. If you already have or have some others that you thought were great, be sure to tell us in the comments below!

by Hercule SSJ

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