There’s a lot of strange anime in the world. A metric ton of the stuff. Here is a list of the weirdest of the weird. For those of you who don’t like to read subtitles all of these shows have English dubs versions.
10) Keijo!!!!!!!! (12 episodes)
Also known as Hip Whip Girl is a sports anime that follows the sport of Keijo, where women try to knock each other off a floating platform with only their boobs or their butts. I stumbled across this show by chance (and in part due to the 8 exclamation marks), and became completely obsessed with this show. The characters have special moves like the slow swinging “Titty Hypnosis” and the super powerful “Vacuum Butt Cannon.” One even has a demon dog named Cerberus come out of her backside chomping away at her opponents. Hip Whip Girl forever!
9) Paranoia Agent (13 episodes)
A famous cartoonist is attacked by a kid with a golden bat and skates known as Lil’ Slugger. Soon there are multiple seemingly random attacks. It’s up to a pair of detectives to stop Lil’ Slugger. The attacks become more complex and reality becomes distorted. While often filled with fantasy and humor, the show explores what fear can do to an individual and how it can spiral out and shift to others. Nothing in this show goes as expected, and that’s part of what makes it so exciting.
8) FLCL (6 episodes)
I’ve watched all of this show at least a dozen times since it first came to Adult Swim in 2003. At its core, FLCL is about two main things: 1) breast fondling; 2) robots bursting out of people’s heads. Everything gets kicked off when Naota gets smashed in the head by a strange woman on a yellow vespa with blue bass guitar. He grows a very phallic horn and let’s just stay (slight spoiler), that a couple of giant robots ejaculate out of his head. This short run series is a great coming of age story, with one of the best soundtracks out there. The Pillows rule!
7. Elfen Lied (13 episodes)
This show has a famous opening sequence where Lucy goes on a very casual kill spree of dozens of guards down long hallways without so much as a scratch. She can protect herself with her psychic invisible murder hands called “vectors.” She is shot in the back of the head and falls into the ocean develops a second, innocent, personality and is taken in by a local guy and his cousin. The government comes after them and there are some truly graphic fights scenes. You see human anatomy ripped apart in detail. So, this one isn’t for the squeamish. Also, the opening credits used art inspired by Gustav Klimt.
6. Oruchuban Ebichu (24 episodes)
The horny hamster maid anime. This Hamtaro fever-dream follows Ebichu, a hamster maid who often screws up her tasks and is thoroughly beaten by her master, only known as “Office Lady” or “OL” for short. What makes this show so special is the insanity around sex. Ebichu is either oblivious to what’s going on, or wishing she could receive the affection of Office Lady’s boyfriend. This was introduced to me by a friend, and if I can’t unsee it, neither can you.
5. Kill La Kill (24 episodes)
The high school hierarchy at its best. The set up seems simple enough, a girl seeks revenge of her father’s murder and has to fight her way to the boss. The students are given strange uniforms that transform and grant the wearer incredible powers (i.e. one changes into a massive speaker system, another into a self-whipping latex bondage suit complete with ball gag), not to mention the fan-service transformations. But there’s something sinister about these clothes and the people distributing them, and a rebellious team of nudists try to stop their plan. There’s a lot of blood, sex and violence, but it’s balanced out well with all the slapstick. Strip down and give it a watch.
4. RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne (6 episodes)
The story spans between 1990 and 2055. It follows a private detective named Rin. She’s absorbed a “Time Fruit” that’s made her immortal. Assassins are sent after her. It turns out the only way for her to die is to have sex with a man who’s eaten a time fruit, and whenever she’s around one of these guys, she becomes uncontrollably turned on. It’s this cool weird balance between sex and death. The show deals with big topics like cloning, what it means to be human, and the path of human evolution. There’s a ton of sex and violence. (Seriously, there’s a scene early in the series where she gets tortured that’s not for the faint of heart.) My personal favorite thing in this show how it shows technology advance, from hackers bragging about using 120mb to the internet becoming as ubiquitous as air.
3. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (76 episodes)
In a world where bald bad guys are trying to shave people’s heads, a hero will rise. With his blonde afro and sunglasses with retractable whipping nose hairs, the rogue Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo will confuse and destroy anyone in his way. The episodes are crude and silly. They use randomness and misdirection in a way similar to “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.” This will leave you asking yourself, what did I just watch?
2. Parasyte – the maxim- (24 episodes)
A strange parasite tries to get into this Shinichi’s head to take over his body. Except he’s wearing headphones and the parasite ends up taking over his right hand instead. More of these parasites, who have successfully taken over a human host, show up and try to kill him and absorb his parasite. Their heads and body transform into these grotesque masses surrounded by teeth and razor-sharp claws. The story tackles topics like survival, intelligence, evolution, transformation, and murder. If you’re a fan of body horror, do not miss this one!
1. Excel Saga (26 episodes)
This show follows Excel, and her dedication to the group “Across” that wants to take over the world. Excel is super spastic and their plans never get completed. There’s a lot of over the top slapstick, like with the character Hyatt who (much like South Park’s Kenny), keeps dying and returning. My favorite parts of this show involve their poor dog which they try to eat on multiple occasions, and the trippy relationship between a migrant worker and a physical personification of the universe with arms. It’s technically an affair since the guy has a wife and kid back home. This show is best known for its last episode, called “Going too Far,” in part for its taboo topics and that the episode was a minute too long and they couldn’t air it on TV. Ha!
Maxwell Bauman is a halfway-decent Jewish boy from the Bronx. He is the author of The Anarchist Kosher Cookbook and Editor-in-Chief of Door Is A Jar literary magazine. Follow him on twitter @maxwellbauman