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Running Gag: Anime & Manga
Examples of Running Gag in Anime & Manga.
  • Merely mentioning the words "small" or "short" or any synonyms thereof around Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist will make him start ranting and raving about the insult. Whether it happens too much is up to you.
    • Every time the Elrics are introduced to someone, they greet Al as Fullmetal. Then every other character in the scene points to Ed. Ah, the small one. See above.
    • Al's armor. Kitties. End of story.
    • If Edward's gonna transmute something, it'll almost always be in an over-the-top gothic style.
    • There's a rich couple of innocent bystanders, whose new cars get stolen a lot...
    • Anytime a spear is transmuted it is almost immediately destroyed by the person it was supposed to be used against.
    • And occasionally a character will be presented with a gift at a time that's awkward and inappropriate, but the person giving the gift doesn't know it and the character receiving will accept it, think for a second and yell about how wrong the whole situation is.
    • And Ed's reactions to suggestions that he loves Winry.
    • Ed's extreme dislike of milk.
    • Shao May being called a black and white cat instead of a panda.
    • Maes Hughes and his Elicia pictures.
      • Additionally, everyone associated with the Armstrong family has a Bishie Sparkle. Even the flower lady.
    • Any time that Colonel Mustang forgets that water is somehow involved, Riza Hawkeye trips him and tells him he's useless. Cue Face Fault and Color Failure on his part.
  • Slayers:
  • Kodomo No Jikan has what may be the most cringe-inducing running gag ever: Aoki getting kicked in the nuts.
  • Shiho's "maki maki" spiral cursing device in Mai-Otome.
  • Hazumu's father's attempts to photograph her naked in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl.
    • And his attempts to get her to bathe with him. And his inevitably getting beaten senseless by his wife as a result. And the alien showing up at strange times. And Asuta getting knocked about. And Namiko-sensei's speeches about 'having no boyfriend for 35 years', and the inevitable fall that follows. The show has a lot of running gags.
  • Momoko's spotlight hogging in Chou Kuse ni Narisou.
  • Sakaki of Azumanga Daioh repeatedly encounters Kamineko throughout the course of the series, who always acts friendly only to bite her hand when she tries to pet it.
    • There was one episode where various things were said to be "flying"—Yukari's car, Kaorin after Tomo interrupted her photographing Sakaki, the knife in Osaka's hand...
  • The way Barnaby of Tiger & Bunny rescues his partner Kotetsu is lampshaded and played for laughs in-series twice out of the three times it makes an appearance. It has even acquired Memetic Mutation status among many members of the fandom.
  • Kimagure Orange Road has a running gag of a couple confessing their love to each other with a variation of William Shakespeare's "wherefore art thou Romeo" speech. They appear in the most unlikely places and are often interrupted by the antics of the regular cast.
  • Bleach
    • Ichigo refering to Byakuya and Mayuri by their first names. He does this to most people (or just nicknames them) but they tend to get irked by it.
    • Ichigo interrupting Renji's emotional moments mostly with Rukia or Byakuya or upstaging him when he's trying to be dramatic
    • Urahara claiming to be a "simple perverted businessman"
    • Rukia's horrible artwork and bunny fixation.
      • The fact that Byakuya's artwork is just as horrible (and his fixation is the Ambassador Seaweed rather than bunnies).
    • Chizuru's crush on Orihime.
    • Zaraki Kenpachi and Yachiru always getting lost.
    • Kon and Keigo's lechery. Most of the breast jokes revolve around one of them, including an occasion when the shinigami come to the living world and are greeted by Keigo leaping towards Rangiku's breasts. Shortly afterwards, they meet Kon who reacts in the identical fashion to Keigo.
    • Yachiru's incredibly embarrassing nicknames for people.
      • Her hyperactivity being caused by a permanent sugar high due to her unstoppable Sweet Tooth is also a Running Gag
      • Also, her relationship with Byakuya.
    • There's also the Shinigami Men's Association, constantly getting shafted.
    • The Shinigami Women's Association constantly holding its meetings on in the sprawling Kuchiki grounds without Byakuya's knowledge or permission and his constant attempts to get rid of them whenever he does find them.
    • Isshin constantly ambushing and attacking Ichigo at inappropriate times.
    • How many times do I have to tell you that Ikakku isn't bald?
      • Yachiru's obsession with his bald head.
      • A visual example in the anime: The anime goes to extremes to give Ikkaku's shaven head a sparkly twinkly (white tooth smile style) even at the most inappropriate moments.
    • Hisagi's crush on Rangiku (anime only, the manga barely covers it).
    • Do not call Hitsugaya a midget (oh, and his voice actor is Edward Elric's voice actor, so the anime loves this one). Or try to give him sweets like he's a child. In fact, don't treat him like a child, full stop.
    • Rangiku's obsession with shopping (anime only).
    • Kenpachi deciding to ignore his enemies to fight his allies
    • The Visoreds quirks and constant bickering all come up a few times for comic effect
    • The fact Urahara's dimensional gates always always results in its users exiting so high in the sky they wind up having to be rescued by someone who can either help them fly or float gently down to the ground before they tumble to their deaths. Lampshaded in Chapter 487.
      Nel: "Aaaah!! The sky! We're up in the sky!"
      Ichigo: "Yeah, this is par for the course with Urahara-san's entrances!"
      Urahara: "Why, I'm flattered you noticed!"
    • Nel accidentally injuring Ichigo (either via glomp or headbutt)
    • Of course there's Ichigo's difficulty remembering people's names, which comes up every 50 episodes or so. Although sometimes, it's a minor character barely worth knowing.
    • Karin telling Yuzu that their life isn't like some manga.
  • Not a particularly funny (and actually a little tragic) example, perhaps more Hilarious in Hindsight: every time Leomon (or a Leomon lookalike) shows up in a Digimon series, he's either terribly abused or outright killed in short order.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, the Leomon that shows up is a particularly nasty, evil member of The Empire. The same is true for SaberLeomon, one of the two Sacrificial Lions in Digimon Savers. The next humanoid lion to appear in Xros Wars, Apollomon, dies twice within the span of three episodes!
    • It's also averted in Digimon V-Tamer 01, where Leo the Leomon survives.
    • To emphasize, we have Leomon/Saberleomon in Adventure, Leomon in Tamers, Leomon within the first three minutes in X-Evolution, Technically Koichi counts, having Loweemon as one of his forms, and there's IceLeomon too, SaberLeomon AND Bancholeomon in Savers, and in Xros Wars, MadLeomon [Who was a corrupted normal Leomon, who was also shwon revived at one point... and never showed up again, unlike the villagers he was with...], and Apollomon... Twice. And that's just in the main shows and movies, and not counting mangas. 10 dead Lions... possibly 11 if Leomon was killed off-screen in Xros Wars [Which, given how Leomon respond to evil, and the fact that Lillymon, one of the villagers, shows up later... is possible]
  • The normally serious and Badass Roronoa Zoro of One Piece gets lost any time he is left alone. Or when he's being led by other people, for that matter. This even extends to the Zombie that is possessed with his shadow. It sort of reached a crescendo post-Time Skip when a ship suddenly appears sliced in two. Guess who's sitting in the crow's nest.
    Zoro: "I got on board the wrong ship."
    • Zoro is also known for sleeping through anything. Even storms at sea, and when the crew is learning important information. He also fell asleep even when he said he wanted to hear Nami's backstory.
    • Luffy has a tendency to call Mix-and-Match Critters the animal they look the least like. This lead to him calling Bananawani (crocodiles with banana-like growths on their heads) "bananas".
    • He also refers to anything new as a "Mystery ______". This little quirk was completely absent in the 4Kids dub.
    • Nami is often adamantly against anything reckless that the crew (aka Luffy) wants to do, but will Heel-Face Turn in an instant if there's money involved.
    • Chopper will insult anyone that compliments him while waving his arms cutely or doing a joyful little dance.
    • People will mistake Chopper for a different kind of animal (usually a tanuki).
    • All of Usopp's lies eventually come true.
    • Sanji's quest to earn himself a bounty. From consistently losing out on getting one to, when he finally does get a bounty, getting a poster featuring a Godawful composite sketch because they couldn't get a good picture (darn tricky lens caps). The topper though, is a man who hated Sanji because his face is near-identical to the godawful composite sketch.
      • Post-timeskip, his new wanted a picture of the back of his head.
      • This actually stretches to any attempt to photograph him ends in failure.
    • Robin's tendency to give extremely morbid descriptions
    • Luffy asking biologically-different creatures if they can poop (notably skeletons and mermaids).
    • In the anime when the Straw Hats are in Laboon and meet Crocus, they do a series of cuts that end with close-ups of Crocus' eye. It sounds ominous, but ends funny every time. Crocus even lampshades it:
      Crocus: "Can't you appreciate a good running gag?"
    • Luffy has been known to ask any strange person or creature to join his crew, much to the annoyance of his crew (except Robin, who only became a crew member because of his spontaneousness).
    • Luffy and Chopper will admire their enemy's techniques in the middle of a battle, with sparkling eyes, and will even temporarily forget their hatred for the said enemy. They will then request the enemy to explain how they did it. The enemy will often oblige before resuming the battle.
    • Eneru's reaction face gets used when one of the Straw hat's skills/abilities allows them to No Sell their enemies
    • The women of Amazon Lily thinking that everything Luffy does is totally normal for a man
    • Zoro and Luffy's obsession with Sake and Meat respectively. They even both make the same argument for why the don't want to be heroes (neither hears the other's) with the only difference being the use of "Meat" or "Booze"
    • Luffy being a reckless dumbass who ignores all planning sessions (even though it looks like he's paying attention) or just straight up misinterpreting what's happening
    • Whenever Brook meets a woman, he politely asks them if he can see their panties. When he meets a mermaid, he asks her if he can borrow some money.
    • Brook also makes constant jokes about his state of being, such as saying he could not believe his eyes before pointing out that he doesn't technically have any.
  • In the dub version of the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, there's something like this involving Martin/Marcel. After being possessed by Yubel, his French accent vanishes, and everyone who talks to him asks "What happened to your accent?" before anything else happens. (This isn't present in the original version, where Martin doesn't speak with an accent.)
  • And while on the subject, Ryōga from Ranma ˝ has getting lost as a major character trait. As Ryōga is an incredibly fit and highly durable martial artist, he is capable of getting very lost, even finding himself in other countries (or even other hemispheres) while trying to travel between two points in Japan. Whenever Ryōga demands to meet Ranma at a specific place and time, he will show up a week late, which is invariably when Ryōga finally finds the place.
  • While on the subject of Rumiko Takahashi series, Inuyasha of InuYasha's running gag is him saying something stupid or derogatory and in retaliation is usually pulled to the ground HARD due to the rosary beads around his neck by the command "Sit!", stated by Kagome Higurashi. Some intrepid individual even took the time to make a video compilation of every sit command from the anime.
    • Miroku groping Sango and Sango smacking him for it.
    • Miroku's habit of asking EVERY cute girl he meets to bear his child.
    • And everyone mistaking any demon based on small mammals (Foxes, Otters, etc.) for a Tanuki (dubbed rather well as a Raccoon-dog). Shippo is often at the end of this but other characters get it from time to time.
    • Jaken saying something that earns a thump from Sesshoumaru.
  • Yet ANOTHER Rumiko Takahashi series, Urusei Yatsura, is almost nothing but running gags, from Ataru's flirting (inevitably followed by a "Darring no BAKA!(ZAP!)") to Jariten and Ataru's "Frying pan duels" to Shinobu's Desk Tossing.
  • Another character with notoriously bad sense of direction is Masaki, pilot of Cybuster, from Super Robot Wars Gaiden.
  • Sailor Moon has many: Ami's obsession with studying, Makoto's always comparing boys to her sempai, Minako's always getting proverbs wrong, Usagi's appetite and unwillingness to study and Rei & Usagi always fighting are only some, and a literal Running Gag; Usagi being late to school. One that's especially funny is how Chibi-Usa's scepter never works the first time, a joke used a few times during the S season, with even the daimons stopping confused and once in the subsequent season, SuperS.
    • Exclusive to the S season—the Witches 5 lab has a sign on the door saying "Witches 5 Research". After Eudial is killed and Mimete takes over, we frequently see a sheet of paper saying 4 has been taped over the 5. After Mimete is killed, there's now a 3 in its place.
  • Prétear the anime: Himeno's older step-sister, Mayune, repeatedly attempts to seduce the Leafe Knights by having them stand outside the bathroom and hold her bathrobe while she takes a shower (usually after meeting in a Crash into Hello-style). This happened to three of them, with the victim escaping each time before Mayune could continue her plan. The fourth time, in the epilogue, she attempted to do this with Mannen, who turned out to be "too young to appreciate her beauty" and just fell asleep.
    • There's also Yayoi thinking that things happening in real life are like a romance novel, and the butler's pay being cut for things that weren't his fault at all.
    • The above three gags are notable for their collective re-appearance in the series' "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, when the comedic side characters returned from their "final battle absence".
    • Also in the anime, Mayune repeatedly tries to set up traps in order to prank Himeno. For the most part these backfire on her, although Himeno does intentionally walk into one in order to make Mayune happy.
  • Whenever Van eats in GUN×SWORD, he always demands "all the condiments you have". He also tends to yell his reaction to the meal at the top of his voice.
    • Van's many nicknames.
    • And Carul Mendoza insisting on being called Carmen99.
    • As well as Van saying he is a virgin, while whoever he's talking to also being one.
  • Miu, Strawberry Marshmallow's poster child for ADHD, is frequently the victim of (well-deserved) off-screen violence at the hands of her friends, ranging from a slap upside the head to being chucked out of a spaceship in the "Episode 0" series preview.
  • The title character of Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan killing Sakura only to resurrect him a couple seconds later.
  • Pokémon
    • Pikachu seems to have taken on the habit of frying girls' bikes, causing them to tag along with Ash until they get it replaced.
      • Except for Iris, who didn't even have a bike. She herself gets shocked instead.
      • Ditto to Bonnie, who simply hugged Pikachu a bit too hard for his liking.
      • In fact, the only one out of all of Ash's female traveling pals to not be the victim of a thunderbolt is Serena.
    • And then there's the ultimate running gag - Team Rocket's ubiquitous exits.
      • This gag finally ended when they Took a Level in Badass.
      • Because they just rocket off themselves when the twerps beat them.
      • The gag returns(along with their original motto) after the Unova League.
    • And Brock flirting with every girl older than him but younger than his mother.
      • And subsequently getting pulled away by Misty/Max/his Croagunk.
      • This specific gag was so overused that it ends up being exploited at least twice. Once to determine which Officer Jenny was an impostor and another time to get Croagunk to free him from an Ariados's String Shot.
    • No one getting Butch's name right.
      • The same gag is passed on to Stephan.
    • Also, in the episode he appears in, Byron's constant and at times unfitting, "I LOVE BASTIODON/STEELIX/FOSSILS/DEFENSE/THIS HOLE!"
    • Nearly every time Ash's Gible uses Draco Meteor it hits Dawn's Piplup. On at least 2 occasions it's even used to find Piplup.
    • Iris calling Ash a "kid" when she seems to be the younger of the two.
    • In the short time period that Meowth tricked the twerps into thinking it had been fired from Team Rocket, and stayed with the twerps, he was nearly caught three times, but always escaped the ball.
    • Mr. Sukizo, the male judge who keeps saying "remarkable," after reviewing a performance or battle in different Pokemon Contests.
    • Bianca attempting to glomp something, tripping, and knocking Ash into a pond.
      • In one episode this happens twice. Poor Bianca looked absolutely mortified.
    • Wobbuffet and Psyduck popping out of their Pokeballs at inopportune times. Psyduck loves to do it when Misty's trying to call out another Pokemon in battle, and Wobbuffet pops out when Team Rocket's trying to do their evil stuff or say their motto or whatever.
    • James's Pokemon always show affection in painful ways. His Victrebeel always wanted to eat his head and so did his Carnivine. His Cacnea always tried to hug him.
    • Ash crossdressing once a region.
    • Ash's starter fire Pokemon having a rough background before joining up with Ash.
      • Charmander was left abandoned on a rock for being weak.
      • Chimchar was abused and overworked to bring out it's Blaze ability.
      • Tepig was left abandoned and got a rope stuck around it's mouth which caused it to suffer from anorexia for being weak.
      • Cyndaquil however, was not be subject to a rough background, but instead, ended up joining Ash before being captured by an abusive trainer.
    • Ash catching the regional bird Pokémon (Pidgeot, Noctowl, Swellow, Staraptor, Unfezant, and Fletchling.). So far, he's 6 for 6.
    • Ash's water Pokémon never evolving has become a myth running gag ever since Krabby's evolution all the way back in Kanto.
    • Clemont's inventions blowing up and leaving everyone with funny hair is already becoming one in the X and Y saga.
      • And his sister, Bonnie would ask any girl to marry her brother before getting pulled away by his Aipom arm.
    • Charizard will always use Flamethrower on Ash whenever he shows up. Initially to show defiance, but now apparently a sign of affection.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
    • Regarding the title JoJos; if it's a vehicle, it flies and it contains at least one of them, it will crash. Joseph managed to weaponize this in Part 2.
    • Polnareff from Part 3 tends to encounter trouble (or something strange) in bathrooms; first, he attempts to use a toilet in India only to find that a live pig's sticking its head out of the commode. Seems that the toilets were placed over a pigsty and the lines weren't dug properly. Later on, when he's attacked by the Stand Justice, he gets trapped in a bathroom; once he's injured by the Stand and placed under its control, he's forced to lick the toilet clean. It's even lampshaded by Joseph, who mentions Polnareff when he's about to use a bathroom in Egypt, where he would have had to let his...dung turn into dust and use sand to clean his hands.
  • In Mega Man NT Warrior, Lan will call his commander "Mr. Famous"/"Meijin-san" every single time they meet, or he's called. And Meijin always responds with "Just Famous!"/"-san wa iranai."
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the other characters made frequent remarks about Kenshin's horrible handwriting.
  • Code Geass has several:
    • One could argue that the Pizza Hut Product Placement ascends to the level of a running gag, along with C.C.'s obsession for said pizza and the lengths she'll go to get some.
    • Kallen, the show's Action Girl, often ends up embarrassingly naked or half-naked.
    • Lelouch's horrible physical skills, as seen during one Festival Episode where he's outrun even by Milly in a big fancy dress; when, in the penultimate episode, when he makes it up several flights of stairs with relative ease, many fans were shocked.
    • The side materials' propensity for putting the male cast in drag, with Lelouch being mortified and Suzaku... enjoying it just a little too much.
    • Suzaku gets bitten regularly by Arthur the cat.
    • Cecile has some unique cooking skills that show up a few times.
  • Persona 4: The Animation has a couple:
    • Yosuke getting set on fire.
    • Yu and his attempts to tape the Midnight Channel programs.
    • Aika making deliveries/working in increasing unlikely places. Not only does she work at Aiya, make a delivery in the middle of a chase scene, and bring food to the protagonists on top of a mountain in the middle of the school camping trip, but she also has a job at a noodle shop at Tatsumi Port Island and at the Amagi Inn. They try to explain away the job at Tatsumi Port Island, but by the Amagi Inn episode, the writers stopped caring.
    • Scenery Censor: In addition to Censor Steam, episode 20 uses this to hide the girls' lady bits from the audience. There are many, many conveniently positioned arms. At one point, a washtub held at a funny angle is used to hide Naoto's entire upper half.
  • Eyeshield 21: Mamori not being able to draw, Monta being mistaken for/compared to a monkey, Ishimaru being forgotten about or not noticed i.e. Demoted to Extra, the Shinryuuji Nagas (who attend an all-boys school) being distracted by girls, Shin's technological impairment, Otawara forgetting to wear clothes, the Ha Ha Brothers having to remind people that they are not actually bothers and/or are separate people...there are a few.
  • Haruhi's obliviousness to others' attraction to her (usually culminating in her asking "Do you mean [obscure interpretation of professed attraction]?") is repeatedly played for laughs in Ouran High School Host Club, finally lampshaded when one of the boys asks her to go out with him:
    Haruhi: "Do you mean—"
    Hikaru: "No, I do not mean "Will you go somewhere with me?" I'm asking you on a date."
  • Dinosaur King: Ursula being called an old lady (which always hits her Berserk Button), and her noticing it, no matter how far away she is, and getting mightily offended. In one episode, this became a plot point-Ursula's uncanny hearing allowed her to find the D-Team after they referred to her as 'old lady' one too many times.
  • Cagalli Yula Atha of Gundam SEED is repeatedly mistaken for a boy, first by Kira and then by Athrun. Her hatred of dresses, despite being a princess and her said displeasure at mistaken gender, also reoccur throughout the series (both in Seed and Destiny).
  • Patrick Colasour of Gundam 00 cannot die. No matter how spectacularly he fails in battle, he always lives through it. The other characters notice and mockingly nickname him "The Immortal Colasour".
    • He gains a second Running Gag in The Movie, where he can never remember to call Kati Mannequin by her new rank: Brigadier General. He always refers to her as "Colonel". Did we mention they are also married by this point?
    • Gundam 00 subverts the "It's a GUNDAM!!!" meme. Even though it's said every other battle, everyone from mooks to major characters, most of the people who say it survive, or, in the case of mooks, aren't necessarily among the dead.
  • In a meta-case for the Gundam franchise overall... if you see Daisuke Namikawa being listed as a cast member, you probably shouldn't put much hope on him because his character will usually end up being the resident scrappy. As noted with Al Izuruha, Katz Kobayashi (although that's only in the newer remakes, when he replaced Keiichi Nanba, and the hatedom has thrived before he took over) Michael Trinity and Riddhe Marcenas. It's almost making you wonder if the Gundam cast directors hate Namikawa.
  • In Soul Eater, anyone who's ever had the misfortune of encountering Excalibur will inevitably get the same, identical, pained expression on their face when he's mentioned in their presence, at the same time.
    • Even The Table Of Contents grows a face simply to show his frustration/pain at Excalibur's existence.
    • Black*Star failing to sneak up on anyone because of his Voice.
    • Death the Kid whenever he encounters something unsymmetrical.
      • Bonus points when he does said unsymmetrical thing he gets on his slumps on his knees and starts pounding the ground.
        Death the Kid: "I'm a hideous pig. <Insert the unsymmetrical thing what he did> I'm a worthless piece of garbage. I deserve to die."
  • In many a romantic-comedy anime such as Love Hina, where a Tsundere female protagonist's daily beating the crap out of the male protagonist is used as a primary source of laughs, expect her assaults become increasingly more violent to keep the joke going, despite the fact that their growing relationship should cause it to be the exact opposite.
  • In Moon Phase, pans, metal objects, and such, will fall on characters' (who take no notice) heads with a loud CLANG! many times per episode, happening more and more frequently over the course of the series. Whether the scene is comedic or dramatic, with no bias.
  • In s-CRY-ed, Kimishima's' ride would constantly get smashed (or destroyed in some odd way), causing to cry out (or a variant of), "NOT THE CAR!"
  • The Sound Stages and Comics of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has a few, such as Shamal's cooking skills ("Shamal is not a bad cook!"). In the series proper, we have Vita's inability to remember Nanoha's name, which subverts the three times rule by getting it right by then.
  • In Keroro Gunsou if something lands at the Hinata household, you can be sure it will land on Giroro's tent. Bonus points if he's inside it when it happens.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has Nodoka using her artifact to read her own mind. She finds out more about herself than she wanted to know.
    • The Mahorafest Arc had Takane D. Goodman, who ended up getting stripped naked every time she showed up. Using magically summoned clothes is bad idea when 1) they disappear when you faint, and 2) the lead heroine uses Anti-Magic. Even the other characters start calling her a stripper, despite the fact that in the Negiverse Clothing Damage is a regular occurrence.
    • Negi sneezing off Asuna's clothes.
    • Clothing Damage in general has gotten to this point. Asuna ( well, actually Shiori, but she's copied Asuna's personality) actually asks Negi if he's capable of getting anything done without blasting people's clothes off.
    • There's also the gag where Koyomi attempts to use her artifact repeatedly, but is always foiled by Jack Rakan flipping her skirt up after stealing her panties. It's happened on at least three separate occasions.
    • Kind of a background Running Gag, but pay close attention whenever the girls are betting on something. Sakurako always wins.
  • CLANNAD: Akio Furukawa talking about his wife Sanae's bread when he doesn't notice she's in the same room as he is. That is all.
    Sanae: "So my bread is... my bread is... <insert whatever Akio said here>!" (runs down the street in tears)
    Akio: (stuffs her bread in his mouth) "I love your bread!" (chases after her)
    • Also, hurting Sunohara. There's actually a running tally of how many times he gets kicked.
    • Kotomi, when asked by Tomoya to introduce herself, ends up saying numerous times, "Hello, Tomoya-kun." Tomoya even lampshades the gag.
      Tomoya: "This is getting really old."
    • Kotomi's violin playing, and her non-awareness of its "quality."
      (everyone nearby collapses in pain)
      Kotomi: "So pretty..."
    • When Fuuko starts an imagine spot, Tomoya plays weird tricks on her due to her refusal to accept she's doing any such thing.
  • Rena, from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni's obsession with cute things. Also, Hanyuu's habit of "Hau"-ing.
    • The series of visual running gags included in each episode after their debut, consisting of: The dog with a stick up its ass, the stork, Kaere's random panty shots.
  • Chobi chewing on Ai's hair in Final Fantasy: Unlimited.
  • Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro: "Just so you know, I'm a girl."
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Miu always throws anyone who comes up behind her.
    • There's also Apachai constantly answering the phone with some variant of "Hello. We have your child."
    • Sakaki acting like he doesn't care about Kenichi when he worries about the kid more than any other master. And getting called on it. It's gotten so bad that SHIGURE has started making fun of him for this.
  • Fushigi Yuugi's list of running gags consists of the following:
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The most notorious one would be Gray's stripping down to boxers without noticing, or simply forgetting to put more than that on before going out.
    • In the first arc she was in, Erza would frequently hug people as a sort of congrats only to have them hurt by her thick armor. She would also explain something before turning to a bystander and giving them orders as if they were expected to have also been paying attention to her.
    • Not to mention the ridiculous amount of luggage Erza would take with her.
    • Any rumor about an accomplishment of a Fairy Tail member, no matter how ridiculous or outrageous it is, somehow ends up being about Lucy.
    • Cana being a horrendous drunk.
    • Makarov freaking out about the trouble he'll have over the destruction caused by the guild (usually Natsu).
    • Speaking of Lucy, her failure to seduce anyone with her looks.
    • Natsu's motion sickness every time he gets on a vehicle.
      • Later serves as Foreshadowing and Chekhov's Skill in the Grand Magic Games as Gajeel develops the same travel sickness and Sting (who is likewise a Dragon Slayer) commenting that his travel sickness indicates his growth as a Dragon Slayer
    • Elfman thinks that running gags is JUST WHAT A REAL MAN WOULD DO! *cue muscle flexing*
    • Lucy walks along the edge of the walkway, and someone in a boat tells her "Hey, that's dangerous kid!"
    • Lucy coming home only to find her teammates have already made themselves at home.
    • Mirajane's comical transformations, which are completely unsuitable to the occasion. For example, she transforms into Happy and Gajeel during the Miss Fairy Tail contest, and then transforms into a snake during the Fantasia parade.
    • Aquarius abandoning Lucy in the middle of a battle to go on date with her boyfriend. With her boyfriend.
  • Takeda Shingen from Sengoku Basara punching his subordinate Yukimura into a wall about once an episode, while they shout each other's names at the top of their voices.
  • Death Note has L's increasingly over-the-top sweet snacks, including a stack of sugar cubes drizzled with sauce and a cup of tea that's mostly sugar cubes.
    • Ryuk and his love for apples, and his apple-withdrawal.
    • For that matter, Mello and his chocolate. Or Near and his toys.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has Isumi who gets lost at every opportunity.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has the classic 'vital regions' gag.
    • Subverted: The times it's actually used in-stry can be counted with the fingers of your hands. Fanon greatly exaggerates how common is it.
    • People forgetting who Canada is.
    • Italy's first instinct in battle — making a white flag and instantly surrendering.
    • Every single character seems to have one, to some extent: America and his hero complex, Belarus's 'married married married', Prussia and his 'awesomeness', England's cooking and his fairies, Russia and his Slasher Smile (and the pipe! The pipe!) and so on and so forth?
    • Whenever Himaruya draws a character that no one recognizes, it's pretty certain that someone will comment with, "It's Mexi-/shot"
    • The same metal bucket keeps showing up (Randomly falling from the sky onto Italy's head, Switzerland pulling it out of nowhere and putting it over his head)
    • The announcer-lady in the American dubbed has a habit of insulting its viewers, well, more so American-anime viewers at any rate.
  • Chrono Crusade: Rosette violently responding to something Chrono said, normally meant to be a barb by him, but not always. The manga also has Satella flirting with Chrono because she "likes younger boys" and Joshua hating carrots.
  • In Episode 11 of Princess Tutu, Ahiru forgets that she's naked when she transforms from her duck form to her girl form and transforms in front of Fakir, who responds by blushing and holding out her clothing, then throwing them at her when she forgets she's naked again. By the time the second season rolled around, there was a running gag of her transforming around Fakir (often with Uzura's help) and him reacting in increasingly over-the-top ways. There's also Uzura's obsession with people's tails and "lovey-dovey", Professor Cat threatening Ahiru with marriage and Autor yelling at people to be quiet in the library. Fandom has also decided that Mytho not liking to wear pants is a running gag, although it's hard to tell if this was meant to be a gag or not.
  • Cromartie High School: Nobody except the main characters realizing that Mechazawa is a robot (including Mechazawa himself), Hokudo's Lackey being interrupted before he can tell someone his real name.
    • At least in the anime, 2 out of 3 field trips are cancelled or go completely wrong. The one that goes 'well' (i.e., where the class actually arrives at its intended destination) has Takanouchi pass out. So in essence, Takanouchi missing out on all the field trips is the real Running Gag.
    • Anytime Bass High kidnaps somebody, that somebody will be Maeda, every time.
  • Gintama: Alright, stay calm. We just need to find a time machine...
    • Yamazaki's badminton.
    • "It's not [x], it's Katsura."
    • "I've been on standby the entire time."
    • The Shogun having something bad happen to him whenever he shows up.
    • Characters acting as though Shinpachi is actually the pair of glasses he's wearing.
  • Expect many characters voiced by Kikuko Inoue to declare that she's 17 years old, be they from anime or video game. Because she did so in Real Life and formed a club about it!
  • Naruto:
    • Guy fails to recognize Kisame every time they clash, which Kisame takes great umbrage in. In chapter 505, Guy managed to mistake Kisame for his own dark side due to some bizarre timing, and laid him out before processing the warning others were shouting that Kisame wasn't. Every time they meet just gets funnier and funnier. In a complete reversal of this gag, after Kisame bites off his own tongue and makes his summoned sharks eat him alive to protect Akatsuki Guy is so impressed that he vows to remember him forever.
    • There's also Shino taking issue with frequently being ignored or left out, culminating in this exchange:
      Shino: "We must avoid drawing attention to ourselves."
      Ino: "You'll be fine, Shino."
    • Kakashi being purposely late for mostly everything.
    • Naruto charging out enthusiatically and then stopping abruptly to ask, "Where is this place anyway?"
    • Sakura punching Naruto.
    • Naruto also has a knack of being forced to swallow extremely unpleasant things, including huge insects, a frog whose midsection is a scroll, and even a crow.
    • Jiriya's lecherous habits and Tsunade's gambling issues
    • Shikimaru being a lazy bum
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, Hiroshi Uchiyamada's Cresta constantly gets damaged badly due to accidents, much to Uchiyamada's dismay.
  • A Certain Magical Index has plenty of these, usually involving Touma's immense misfortune. There's also Misaka's tendency to chase down and try to electrocute Touma in A Certain Scientific Railgun anytime she sees him (several times she chases him for a whole day and well into the night).
    • Touma often walks into a room without knocking and finds a girl in a state of undress inside.
    • Whenever Touma does something to piss Index off, she'll jump on him and bite him.
    • Almost every Index arc ends with Touma in the hospital. If he gets through an arc without getting injured, he'll still go to the hospital to say, "Hello" to everybody.
    • No information is available on the #6 Esper. This comes to a head in NT volumes 6 and 7, with two incidents involving the Level 5s as a group. A cyborg can copy the power of all of them except for #7, whose power cannot be copied because it doesn't make sense. The Cyborg runs through the set, then stops on reaching #5. Later, all the other Level 5s show up for a big fight, along with someone pretending to be the #6. We do not even know this person's gender, much less name or power.
  • A frequent, rather hilarious visual joke in Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu involves an Art Shift, Yuuji placing his hand on Akihisa's shoulder, saying something in a sagacious manner, and Akihisa looking back in awe, often while saying "Yuuji...".
    • Hideyoshi being mistaken for a girl. So much that they create a third gender.
    • Kouta getting nosebleeds
  • Trigun has the black cat Kuroneko-sama appearing in every episode without fail (even in the Flashback episode; look in the statis capsules), and usually in some funny manner.
  • In Gakuen Babysitters, Kotarou will often either call the Chairman "Fluffy" due to her large and extremely curly hair or point out something with as fluffy texture or appearance in reference to her.
  • In Sangatsu no Lion, Akari's cats, who have been spoiled somewhat due to her care, will often beg or react wildly to the sight, and sometimes even mention, of food and/or dinner.
  • The Yellow Flag bar in Black Lagoon has been constantly trashed and flat out blown up on a regular basis over the course of the series. It's owner, Bao, actually has kept count of how many times this has occurred (15 times trashed, 6 times completely annihilated, to be exact). Despite this, Bao has rebuilt every single time.
  • In K the usually serious Kuroh starts blushing like a schoolgirl and uses his cassette to play the recorded voice of his former master, Ichigen Miwa, whenever his name comes up. It's always followed by Yashiro saying "Creepy!"
    • In this radio drama Shiro is substituted with Fushimi Saruhiko who interrupts Kuroh's rambling about how wonderful Ichigen-sama this way.
  • Yuru-Yuri has a ton, like Akari's lack of presence and Sakurako's jealousy of Himawari's chest.
  • The anime version of Elfen Lied gave Nana a habit of losing control of her prosthetic limbs and having them pop off, prompting amusingly horrified reactions from others around her while she calmly reattaches them. This doesn't happen in the manga, and seems to have been added to give her some Cute Clumsy Girl traits.
  • One episode of Excel♥Saga featured Il Palazzo playing a Dating Sim throughout. Every multiple choice branch featured a third "Put it in" option regardless of context (which eventually returned for the final episode.)

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