Anime characters like Death Note’s Ryuk or Attack on Titan’s Sasha shine a much-needed light in some otherwise dismal stories.
Just because an anime is dark doesn’t mean it can’t be hilarious. In reality, there’s a good number of anime out there that balance their existential dread and overt horrors with a comic relief character or two.
If these individuals aren’t innately humorous, they’re frequently thekind of comic relief who find themselves at the receiving end of every joke or unpleasant scenario. Either way, these people cast a much-needed brightness in some otherwise gloomy situations.
1. Dorohedoro — Jonson’s Mere Existence Is Comically Hard To Fathom
To be fair, there is nothing ordinary in Dorohedoro; Caiman having a lizard head is arguably one of the tamest of magic to occur in The Hole. And then there’s Jonson, a big humanoid cockroach that’s initially presented when it tried to violently attack Caiman and is last seen in its premiere episode consuming the corpse of its former handler.
Things took a turn at the comically odd when, just one episode later, Jonson is portrayed as a member of The Hole’s baseball team. Jonson can only yell its designated name and “Shocking!,” though it’s capable of independent reasoning. Johnson isn’t naturally humorous, but its existence is just so unexpected and odd, even by Dorohedoro’s standards.
2. Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex — The Tachikomas Are Practically Section 9’s Kids
Life for Section 9 is everything from a cakewalk. When they’re not dealing with deadly cyber terrorists and other such radicals, they’re contemplating the value of their lives and existence in a society where dehumanization is the norm. The only ones who scarcely mind this sense of gloom are the youthful Tachikomas, Section 9’s sentient combatdroids.
The Tachikomas may be silly, but they’re a lot sharper and introspective than they let on. Despite growing self-aware and comprehending the world’s problems, the Tachikomas continued to aid Major Kusanagi while also having fun. Further establishing their role as necessary comic relief are their omake shorts “Tachikomatic Days” and their own stand-alone episodes.
3. Baccano! — Isaac Dian & Miria Harvent Bumbled Into Conflicts Bigger Than They Realized
When Baccano!isn’t centered onancient immortals killing one other, itswitches to atimeline wherecriminal gangs fight one another for turf or fortune. Amidst all that brutality that’s only broken by the occasional streak of dark comedy are Isaac and Miria, a pair of inept thieves who live in their own universe.
Isaac and Miria are an outlaw pair whose crimes are so ridiculous that police don’t even bother going after them. Any time they appear up, everyone else in the cast is either baffled or delighted by their hijinks. Not only did they accidently get engaged in the anime’s main conflicts, but they also became eternal via sheer luck.
4. Black Lagoon — Bao Is The (Un)Luckiest Guy In Roanapur
Roanapur is the world’s worst criminal swamp, and it’s governed by professional criminals, brutal murders, and sadistic masterminds. Despite that, Bao decided it would bethe perfect site to establish his business, the Yellow Flag bar. Unsurprisingly, the combination of alcohol and gun-slinging clientele always resulted to property damage.
The Yellow Flag has been blown up more times than anyone could recall, yet Bao has managed to recoverand rebuild every time. The devastation of his business has become so normal that he’s more upset than anything else whenever a gunfight breaks out, making his dilemma all the more funny.
5. Re:Zero — Natsuki Subaru’s Clumsiness Is One Of This Dark Isekai’s Few Light Spots
Re:Zerocame released at the height of the isekai craze, but unlike its peers, it’s anything but a joyful and excitingpower fantasy.
Natsuki Subaru’s life in another world is more of a nightmare and a cautionary tale than wish-fulfilling escapism, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to some much-needed moments of levity.
Regardless of how many times he repeated a timeline through Return By Death, Subaru is still a rookie in Lugnica, meaning he’s still uninformed about everything. When he’s not engaged in absurd fish-out-of-water escapades, Subaru finds himself at the mercy of his companions’ propensity for comedy,such asRam’s stinging sarcasm or Emilia’s denseness.
6. Cowboy Bebop — Ed & Ein Were Just Having Fun On The Bebop
Cowboy Bebopis about a number of things,such as revenge, remorse, meaningless nostalgia, and other sorrowful sensations. Amidst all that are thehacker Ed and the corgi Ein, the Bebop’s youngest crewmembers who are also the anime’s most active and wacky characters. Individually they might be quite a lot to handle, but together, all kind of delightful havoc erupts.
Ed and Ein introduced a youthful delight to the galaxies, that, while populated with people, are devoid of connection. In reality, the anime morphed from a crime thriller to something of a sitcom after Ed and Ein joined the Bebop’s crew and goofed around on it. The momentEd and Ein left and never looked back,Cowboy Bebopbecame darker and more gloomy than normal.
7. Junji Ito Collection — Souichi Tsujii Is Hilariously Inept At Being Evil
Junji Ito Collectionis an anthological adaptation of horror maestro Junji Ito’s shorter works and, accordingly, practically all ofthis anime’s episodes are dark and existentially horrifying. Any episode in which Souichi, a humorously edgy child who’s more of a walking punchline than a scary villain, appears is a notable exception.
Souichi isn’t a bad guy, and his antics are prompted by the most trivial of motives.
There are several examples of this, such as when hecast curses at his classmates in Episode 1.
Aside from that, all of his schemes go horribly wrong, and he always ends up getting the last laugh.
8. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — Inosuke Hashibira Is Hilariously Bad At Social Interactions
A shonen anime, Demon Slayer can get so dark that it crosses over into seinen realm. Inosuke joining the Demon Slayer Corps is a welcome diversion from Tanjiro Kamado’s harrowing quest to turn his sister Nezuko back into a human.
Inosuke, who was raised in the wilderness, has no concept of civilization or customs, which causes him to overreact with excitement at the slightest thing that piques his interest. Either that, or he headbutts anyone or anything that catches his attention or irritates him. The contrast between Tanjiro’s tragic plight and his tenacity in taking on “the strongest in the land” is amusing.
9. Attack On Titan — Sasha Braus Just Wanted To Eat Anything & Everything
At first, Attack on Titan was all about humanity’s last remaining bastions fending off the Titan threat, but it still managed to have a comedic icon in Sasha, the protagonist of the series. Sasha, known as “Potato Girl” by Survey Corps and the anime’s fanbase, was one of the few bright spots in a dreary show.
But even though she had a terrible motive for her overeating and hoarding, Sasha couldn’t stop herself from overindulging in her favorite foods. Trying to figure out what Sasha is up to in the background makes rewatches even more fun. Sasha’s death marked the beginning of the anime’s darkest storyline because she was such a bright point.
10. Death Note — Ryuk Enjoyed Kira’s Rampage From The Sidelines
Light Yagami, the protagonist of Death Note, carried out his warped justice on the world in the notebook that bears his name. Ryuk, a Shinigami, joins him in his crusade, but he is simply an aide at best. Ryuk did nothing more than watch Light succumb to his delusions of godhood, savoring the trip the entire while.
For when Ryuk isn’t making fun of Light’s antics, he’s eating apples, going through an apple withdrawal, or making the craziest comments Light has ever requested. One of Death Note’s most human characters, Ryuk, is an oddity in a series that is all about sociopathic masterminds and mind tricks.