It is not enough to simply make the audience laugh to create a successful and outstanding comedy anime. Like any other genre, comedy relies on memorable, vibrant, and appealing characters to carry its story and get the viewers emotionally attached to the narrative.
Many anime series excels at creating compelling characters with multifaceted personalities and fleshed-out backstories. Tragic things may lead the heroes of beloved anime series to embark on their journeys, and those past events may tell the audience a lot about the characters' personalities and motives. Their past is what shapes the heroes into who they are, and that's true for every anime genre. Even seemingly lighthearted and unsophisticated comedy protagonists might have some dark secrets lurking in the shadows of their past.
10 Sakura Had A Life Full Of Unfulfilled Dreams And Never-Ending Misfortunes (Zombieland Saga)
The entire plotline of Zombieland Saga revolves around a group of long-dead girls from various historical eras being resurrected as zombies and formed into an all-dead idol group. The shenanigans of the zombie band orchestrated by a manic necromantic producer are tragically hilarious, as the series doesn't shy away from making fun of pretty dark topics.
For example, its protagonist, Sakura Minamoto, had an extremely tragic life that culminated with her getting hit by a truck. Sakura's life was just a series of traumatic misfortunes, as no matter how hard Sakura tried to succeed in her many areas of talent, fate always threw her a curveball till the day she died.
9 Rudeus Greyrat Escaped From A Horrible Life Into A Fantasy Land (Mushoku Tensei)
The isekai power fantasy is appealing to many due to its escapist elements. A lot of people dream of leaving their ordinary, unamusing lives behind and transporting into a fantasy world filled with awaiting adventures. However, the protagonist of Mushoku Tensei had much grimmer things to escape from than just a dull life.
Before becoming Rudeus Greyrat, he was a nameless, homeless NEET with no goals in life or aspirations to continue existing. After the death of his parents, the future hero was abandoned by his family, only finding purpose in life during its last moments, protecting a teenager from a speeding truck.
8 Haru Didn't Get Along With His Family Members (My Little Monster)
My Little Monster's shojo comedy doesn't drag out its romantic premise, allowing the characters to fall in love early on and work through the difficulties of a blooming relationship. Despite the differences between Haru and Shizuku, they strive to better one another and grow their loving bond together. However, Haru's past makes it very difficult for the boy to have a healthy and trusting relationship.
Haru's family life was always unhealthy, leading the protagonist to become a troublemaker. As a child, Haru had to deal with his controlling father's demands and the hatred of his older brother, Yuzan, who wished Haru had never been born.
7 Saiki's Unlimited Psychic Abilities Forced Him To Lead A Secluded, Miserable Life (The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K.)
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. follows the ridiculous struggles of all-powerful psychics striving to lead a peaceful, normal existence. Despite his best efforts, Saiki Kusuo seems to attract all kinds of bizarre occurrences and eccentric people. However, the troubles of his teenage years are nothing compared to his difficult childhood.
When Saiki was just four years old, he was pursued by an intelligence agency from abroad, forcing him to erase the entire nation. Along with many others, this traumatic incident eventually led to Saiki's decision to never reveal his powers to anyone.
6 Rikka Became A Chunibyo After Her Father Passed Away (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions)
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions explores a cultural phenomenon known in Japan as the Eighth Grader Syndrome. The series' eccentric protagonist Rikka suffers from this peculiar condition, deluded to believe that she has special magical powers.
Unfortunately, Rikka's bizarre fantasy wasn't just an outlandish gimmick. Her delusions were a coping mechanism developed after the death of Rikka's father three years prior to the start of the series. After the incident, Rikka was forced to live with her father's family, unable to accept the tragedy and cope with overflowing grief.
5 Taiga's Difficult Family History Made Her Aggressive And Antisocial (Toradora)
Taiga Aisaka from the romantic comedy Toradora is a difficult person to get along with. Despite her small frame, the girl deserves her intimidating nickname, the Palmtop Tiger. At the start of the series, Taiga behaves like a perfect tsundere, displaying aggression to her peers and getting immensely upset over small things.
The girl's antisocial tendencies come from her difficult upbringing. Following her parents' messy divorce, Taiga stayed with her father, but she had trouble getting along with his new wife. When Taiga decided to live on her own, her father chose his new life over his daughter, leaving Taiga feeling abandoned and betrayed.
4 Kotaro Was Abandoned By His Abusive Parents But Found A New Family In His Eccentric Neighbors (Kotaro Lives Alone)
Despite being a heartfelt and wholesome comedy, Kotaro Lives Alone deals with immensely difficult and mature topics of child neglect and abuse. While being only four years old, Kotaro is extremely self-sufficient, capable of keeping his household way better than his adult neighbors.
Nevertheless, after moving in next to a famed mangaka Shin Karino, the boy gets gradually adopted by the whole neighborhood. Kotaro's newfound family slowly learns of the past abuse the boy has been through, which resulted in him being abandoned by his parents.
3 Otonashi Passed Away Before Fulfilling His Goal Of Becoming A Doctor (Angel Beats)
Angel Beat's plotline focuses heavily on exploring the themes of trauma and past regrets. The show's cast consists of kids transported into a bizarre purgatory after their untimely deaths, where they get the chance to experience the joys of adolescence they've been denied. Like every other character, the show's protagonist Otonashi had things that haunted him before he died.
The boy had a beloved younger sister who died of an unknown illness. Following her passing, Otonashi decided to go to med school but died in a train accident before he even could take an entrance exam.
2 Gin, Hana, And Miyuki Are All Running Away From Their Sorrowful Past (Tokyo Godfathers)
Every member of Tokyo Godfathers' main trio has a tragic past they'd like to run away from. The homeless man Gin used to run a bicycle shop but got addicted to alcohol and gambling. The transgender woman Hana was abandoned as a kid, moving between foster homes and orphanages her entire childhood. And the teen girl Miyuki became homeless after running away from her difficult home life.
Nevertheless, the comedic and uplifting Christmas film leads its heroes to accept their past mistakes and confront the things that made them who they are.
1 Sakata Gintoki Had To Go Through Many Hardships Before Opening Up The Odd Jobs (Gintama)
Gintama's indolent and hilarious protagonist, Sakata Gintoki, doesn't immediately strike the audience as a tragic figure. Nevertheless, the lazy Odd Jobs' leader had to go through a sorrowful life before starting anew in Edo. As a kid, Gintoki lived as an orphaned child of war, surviving off of things he took from fallen soldiers until his mentor Shoyou-sensei took him in.
However, the times of peace quickly ended when Gintoki had to join the rebellion army, resulting in him losing many comrades, surrendering his country to the occupants, and even being forced to kill his beloved teacher.
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