Anime is massively popular thanks in large part to its ability to touch many genres and attract diverse fanbases. But most anime also have a penchant for silliness, and it's these moments that make even the most obscure series memorable, thoughtful writing and characters totally aside. Sometimes it’s a single funny moment in a series that gets everyone’s attention, spawning memes and years of YouTube clips.
That single moment could be a particular scene, a particular character, sometimes even a whole episode. Just about every anime series from past to present has had at least one such moment that got the entire fandom community talking. From FLCL to Tenchi Muyo to Sailor Moon, here are some hilarious moments in anime that still have fans chuckling.
The Puppet Show in Maison Ikkoku Was an Accidental Hit
Manga superstar Rumiko Takahashi is famous around the world for Urusei Yatsura, Ranma ½ and especially her megahit series Inuyasha. Although Takahashi's 1980s series Maison Ikkoku never acquired the same passionate fan following as her other work from that era, it's still a cult classic. While Maison Ikkoku tells a more grounded coming-of-age story, it's still laced with Takahashi's quirky humor and infamous tropes.
Of all the ridiculous moments in Maison Ikkoku, none had a whole generation of anime fans rolling on the floor like the puppet show scene in Episode 15 of the anime. In the episode, protagonist Yusaku Godai participates in his university's puppet theatre for the school festival. At some point, his young apartment manager, Kyoko Otonashi, is talked into taking over the role of the princess love interest of Godai's prince in the play.
Not being able to contain his own romantic feelings for Kyoko, Yusaku ends up botching the play by breaking character every time Kyoko's princess expresses love for his prince. By not following the script, both Kyoko and another female actor were forced to do damage control to keep the show going, much to the annoyance of both. The unintended humor that came out of Yusaku's tomfoolery unwittingly resulted in the first major hit for the puppetry club.
Minako’s Pure Heart In Sailor Moon S Is Surprisingly Vain
The classic Sailor Moon anime from the 1990s is a loose adaptation of Naoko Takeuchi's popular manga. Where most classic anime focus on thoughtful storytelling and character development, Sailor Moon mainly thrives on humor. This means that the classic anime is chock full of ridiculousness, much of which involves Minako Aino, Sailor Venus.
While Venus could fill an entire Top 5 list all by herself, the moment that tops many people's lists comes from Episode 109. Throughout Season 3 (or Sailor Moon S), both the Sailor Guardians and Witches 5 are searching for three talismans believed to contain some kind of special power. The Witches 5 try to locate the talismans by pulling out the heart crystals of the talisman's owners.
Prior to Episode 109, all of the Inner Guardians have had their heart crystals taken except for Minako, causing her to doubt whether she has a pure heart. When Eudial of the Witches 5 finally targets Minako for her heart crystal, Minako has a brief moment where she chippers for joy before running off with her own heart crystal. This strange behavior ironically frightens Eudial, who's not used to seeing anyone get excited over having their heart crystal stolen.
Mecha Washu Almost Destroys the World in Tenchi Universe
Tenchi Muyo! was a wildly popular franchise in the US during the early 2000s, mainly for its colorful cast of female characters. While the OVA series is the main Tenchi canon, the most popular version of Tenchi amongst American fans was the TV series Tenchi Universe. Like many anime of the 1990s, it's also a loose adaptation of the OVA series with a stronger emphasis on humor than storytelling.
One of the more memorable episodes of the anime is Episode 8 "No Need for a Genius." In the episode, the self-proclaimed genius Washu makes a robotic clone of herself to assist with her more ridiculous inventions. When she attempts to replicate her personality into the robot's AI, things go awry when Mihoshi accidentally gets involved.
Rather than end up with Washu's intelligence, the robot clone ends up with Mihoshi's scatter-brained personality instead. As a result, the lives of everyone in Tenchi's household are immediately endangered when the robot clone accidentally sets off many of Washu's doomsday devices. This calamity lasts for the duration of the episode until the group figures how to turn the robot off.
Haruko’s Debut in FLCL Is Downright Absurd
If there's an anime franchise that deserves its own list of iconic, ridiculous moments, it's the original FLCL OVA from the early 2000s. FLCL is a series that thrives on parodying itself and, as such, it often makes a point of getting downright silly, even taking the entire first episode to sell audiences on that premise.
Episode 1 of FLCL introduces viewers to a cynical 12-year-old boy, Naota Nandaba, and his friend Mamimi Samejima, the girlfriend of his older brother. Naota is just going about his daily routine when he is accidentally run over by a mysterious woman on a Vespa. That woman later introduces herself as Haruko Haruhara.
At first, Haruko panics over the possibility of having killed a kid until she reveals she's just joking around. She then revives Naota with "CPR" and promptly whacks him over the head with her guitar. This causes a mysterious bump to grow on his forehead until a whole alien robot emerges from it, which leads to Haruko deciding to bunk with Naota and his family as their live-in maid. The rest of the series plays out exactly like the first episode.
Drunk Siesta Gets Messy in The Detective Is Already Dead
The Detective Is Already Dead (nicknamed Tanmoshi) is a new anime series based on the popular light novels by author Nigojū and illustrator Umibouzu. While the series' popularity is still in its infancy in the US due to most of the light novels not yet being available in English, the anime is still largely remembered for its seventh episode.
The titular dead detective, Siesta, is who Sherlock Holmes would be if he was a teenaged girl. Known for her sharp intelligence and her ability to solve cases before they happen, Siesta likes to think of herself as an adult -- that is until she tries alcohol for the first time in Episode 7 and completely lets loose.
When she returns to her hotel room in London, a drunk Siesta bounces on her bed like a happy little kid before inviting her equally drunk assistant, Kimihiko Kimizuka, to get in bed with her. One thing leads to another and both detective and assistant end up having sex. When they both wake up in Siesta's bed the next morning, she is more than ready to relieve her assistant of the last 24 hours by injecting him with a memory-erasing drug.