The great thing about anime is that it is so vast yet so self-contained as a genre of media. Many of the same creators that worked on one project will move onto another, and sometimes that love for a previous project can spill over into the new one. This results in cameos and, even better, delicious parody. Self-aware anime creators know what they do. When they craft a harem, they know exactly what they are doing, it is no accident. However, once a trope becomes established, it is particularly easy to parody it by creating something that isn’t exactly trope-breaking, but breathes new hilarity into it. Whether it is an anime reference used for comedy and literal fan service or it is a series that wants to show the absurdity of common anime tropes, here are best parody anime series out there.
Gintama has always maintained the title of King of Parody Anime, and there is a good reason for that. Not only is each Gintama episode packed with ten tons of comedy, it is that same comedy that relies heavily on a number of references. It could be references to anime, games, or more obscure Japanese media, but it isn’t just about the references, it is knowing about when to utilize them for the best comedic impact.
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
Abenobashi is a fine rapid –fire parody about all otaku interests. Every episode takes place in a different world that is ripe for parody. From the space opera/mecha world to the kung-fu fighting world, not only does it parody tropes, characters, and plot lines, but it also is stuffed full of different anime references. Of course, sometimes those anime references are a bit on top of each other, like in the case of the Kenshiro/Bruce Lee reference while also sporting super saiyan hair. Although Abenobashi is getting a little bit dated now, the series and especially the tropes that it parodies are of a timeless nature.
Konosuba isn’t a parody series that has any distinct anime references in it, but rather parodies a genre of anime. Konosuba is meant to parody a portion of the growingly popular isekai genre as well as the heroic RPG genre. In these series, the main character, you standard average teen, will be transported to a fantasy world and typically they will thrive there. It is the ineptitude present in Konosuba from which most of the comedy stems. Things often don’t work out well for the crew and your standard fantasy tropes are almost always thrown on end.
One Punch Man
Like Konosuba above, One Punch Man doesn’t include many anime references, but it parodies many popular anime none-the-less. For those that thrive on shounen, One Punch Man is an attractive prospect. We are so used to the heroes always finding some way to be stronger, whether it is through subtle or more ridiculous story power-ups. However, when the hero reaches the point where they can beat their opponent in one punch, what then? One Punch Man tells you what then, the hero gets bored. However, the real point where One Punch Man shines is that it presents this premise, but it feeds what should be a boring story to audiences in such a way where it is actually both funny and exciting.
Good Luck Girl
Good Luck Girl is an anime about a girl with all the luck in the world, those that protect her, and their battle with the god of poverty sent to humble her. The premise isn’t that exciting and the anime is somewhat obscure except to true parody connoisseurs. However, it is a parody anime up there on par with Gintama. Through it’s over exaggerated characters, shounen-style storytelling, and many pop culture references, it is a series where each 23-minute episode will have you laughing non-stop.
Hayate the Combat Butler
This series hides itself behind a serious sounding synopsis. You thought it might be a dark, serious series ala Black butler, but actually it is a bright and comedic series that is chocked full of pop culture references and nods to the fourth wall. While it doesn’t parody many tropes, at least not well, it is stuffed with anime references and that makes it a great parody series.
As Lucky Star is an anime that centers around the daily life of a girl otaku, you can have certain expectations for anime and manga-related humor. Of course, while it is stuffed with a number of anime references, it also has a certain amount of parody to the story. Typically it pokes fun at the everyday lives of otaku, which is really the perfect set up for references as well.
This series has zero qualms about letting you know what it is. The first episode is packed with anime reference after anime reference and that continues throughout the series. However, it is not just anime references, but some Japanese society parodies and western parodies are thrown in there as well. As it is a newer series, you can expect newer references as well. Although the animation seems childish, it is aimed towards adults, making it the Japanese equivalent of South Park.
Gonna Be The Twin Tail
Gonna Be The Twin Tail is ridiculousness in its finest form. The whole series is a parody on Super Sentai, otherwise known as Power Rangers. However, instead of awesome outfits, the heroes are dressed in skimpy girl armor and draw their power from the coveted twin tails. The ridiculous outfits, the ridiculous hair style, and the ridiculous villains all set up for an addicting watch. While the novelty wears off later into the series, even if you get a kick or two out of it, it is still worth it.
If you have watched both Gintama and Sket Dance, there may come a time where you feel like Sket Dance seems like a slightly worse version of Gintama. There’s a reason for that. Sket Dance was created by one of the old artists that worked on Gintama, and it is structured in an extremely similar way. The plots may be different, but the comedy and pop culture references are very much the same. Sket Dance tries to make them a little more subtle, but that can work against it at times. Despite this, it is still a good parody, especially for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to Gintama.
Not completely unlike shows like Konosuba, Senyuu is an anime that parodies the great RPG premise that many fantasy shows adapt. While a lot of the comedy relies on turning video game tropes on its head, there are other anime references abound too. Although it is a short-episode series, that makes it so the comedy has to be effective, but also delivered in a compact, rapid-fire form. This means each episode just bombards you with stuff. This is great for the anime fan that like anime trope parodies, but also has a fair knowledge of RPG games as well.
AssClass is an anime that has a lot of original plot going on, but when your plot is a classroom full of kids trying to kill their silly monster teacher, there is a lot of room for comedy. While a lot of that comedy is original, every so often they will throw a reference in there. most of this comes in the form of their teacher dressing up as one anime character or another.
Space Patrol Luluco
This anime series is a bit of a unique series. Essentially, it is like a celebration of the previous successes of Trigger. You get references and cameos from Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, and all those other previous Trigger series within it. While it has a more straight-forward plot and doesn’t rely heavily on straight parody as often, its cameos are on point and effective.
There are lots of other great parody series out there, so let the world know in the comments section below.