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Gag Series

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"Dearest Mother: We're thinking of portraying various dramas from everyday life from now on.
Just kidding. This episode was a one time thing."
Kamiyama, Cromartie High School

A comedic show specifically concentrating on being humorous before any concern of plot, drama or even comprehensibility. Noted for a complete lack of tact or pomposity on the part of the writers, and frequent postmodern commentary. Can have occasional Fanservice which the series will openly acknowledge. The Rule of Funny will be observed.

Because they don't take themselves seriously, gag series tend to experiment across the board with parody, lewd humor, random cutaways, and short-lived drama. In a win-win situation, these can be very successful experiments when they succeed, or mocked by the series itself when they fail as a protective tactic. Ironically, they can be praised for presenting such topics without being Anvilicious. However, doing this at the end of a series can cause accusations of being pretentious.

Anime gag series often use a Puni Plush design. Many are also a Quirky Work. Shows that depend a lot on puns and parody are typically considered too difficult for commercial releases, and are fansubbed only erratically. A few even get a Gag Dub.

Anime and Manga are particularly notorious in this genre. Series will regularly go over the top in their nonsense and hilarity even within the context of the show itself. Characters will time-travel, change species or gender, die, destroy buildings, cities, or planets, anything that will push the ridiculousness even higher; also note that these effects are rarely, if ever, permanent. There are times when "normality" is broken and restored in the space of a few minutes.

Occasionally the Gag Series is an adaptation of some "canonical" source, except now the writers pretty much do whatever they like.

See also Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, for cases where an otherwise coherent story has occasional Gag Series interludes. Live-action television examples tend to be the Sketch Comedy, which can overlap with the Gag Series.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beelzebub: Can't seem to take itself seriously even when trying to be shounen.
  • Bikini Warriors: Four-minute long episodes about fantasy class females wearing only bikinis. This anime is loaded up with plenty of Fanservice, parodies the fantasy genre, has nonsensical plots (if you can call them plots) and provides plenty of laughs.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Plots constructed entirely out of bad puns, sight gags, and pop-culture flotsam.
  • Carnival Phantasm being an Affectionate Parody of the Nasuverse, has gotten quite hilarious EVERYTIME AND EVERYWHERE!
  • Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun is full of characters with weird antics and is prone to switching to a Super-Deformed art style for most of its comedy which revolves around Aoyama's touch aversion and Neat Freak tendencies and other characters.
  • Colorful. A couple of braindead losers and surprisingly innocent ecchi. The show makes fun of itself and perverts.
  • DD Fist of the North Star is a Super-Deformed parody series of the much more serious Fist of the North Star. There are two series sharing this name, both presuming that the end in the original's After the End setting never happened. Both shows are heavily referential towards iconic moments and memes of the original.
    • The first is a web based Flash show, and is mostly slice-of-life with its humor.
    • The second is considerably more comedy based, with Raoh, Toki, and Kenshiro described repeatedly as 'the three idiot brothers' attempting to find work with a convenience store, where everyone has been given an Idiot Ball of their own and Bat of all people is now a Deadpan Snarker Straight Man and possibly the Only Sane Man of the show.
  • Delicious in Dungeon is this at the start before the plot really gets going. The first few chapters have an episodic feel where Team Touden is mainly just going around the dungeon's first floors killing and eating whatever monster they come across.
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., which centers around a psychic with powers so strong he could destroy the world in a few days who, more than anything, wants to be left alone to watch TV and eat coffee jelly. Unfortunately, the wacky cast that flocks toward him make this impossible, forcing him to use his powers to either save them or get himself out of inconvenient situations.
  • Doctor Slump is this, focusing on Robot Girl Arale, her creator and wacky inventor Senbei Norimaki and a whole cast of eccentric characters such as a police officer in a Stormtrooper helmet, a Superman parody named Suppaman and even talking poop.
  • Dragon Ball started off as this for its first several arcs, and is repeatedly called a gag series in the manga during these arcs. Once King Piccolo showed up, however, the story began taking itself much more seriously. Since the darker tone is present for a greater portion of the manga's storyline, the fact that it began as a vulgar comedy is often overlooked.
    • That said, its roots as a gag series still shine through from time to time, with villains that do elaborate poses in the style of Super Sentai characters, or moments like Goku having to catch his teacher's pet monkey as part of his training. The Majin Buu arc especially reads like a marriage between the silly and serious sides of the manga; Majin Buu is a fat, pink demon that goes around turning people into candy, but he's also a serious threat and slaughters entire cities. Goku and Vegeta do a silly-looking fusion dance that makes them even more powerful, and at one point they kick Buu's ass after being turned into a coffee-flavored jawbreaker.
  • Dungeon Toilet offers the occasional bit of educational content concerning toileting, but its main concern is comedy — largely of the Toilet Humor variety, naturally.
  • Excel♡Saga: A mockery of everyday Japanese life seen through the lives of two supervillain henchgirl temp workers and four municipal Sentai employees. Then Shinichi Watanabe turned it into an anime and made fun of every anime genre in existence.
  • FLCL: Although there is a plot, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that could identify which parts are gags and which are not in the first viewing. Additionally, this show has been described as Excel♡Saga on Excel Saga. The creators themselves admitted that about half of what they put into this show were completely a result of nonsense, and what they found funny at the time.
  • Galaxy Angel: The animated equivalent of Dada Comicsnothing is sacred, and the writers are by-and-large allowed to run with whatever they like. Including scissors.
  • Gintama: The series is one big walking fourth-wall-breaking, parodying and absolutely nonsensical anime/manga. Though with a healthy pinch of action and good ol' Shōnen standbys, like the power of friendship.
  • Goldfish Warning!. The show has a paper-thin plot, little to no continuity, 7 is just the random insane adventures of a particular class in a farm school.
  • The Gothic World Of Nyanpire: The anime and manga, at first might sound strange to you. But just watching an episode of the anime can be very amusing depending on the episode. Since Nyanpire is completely different compared to classic vampires and Dracula.
  • Gugure! Kokkuri-san: A girl gets into wacky hijinks with the three supernatural spirits who had invited themselves into her house. Whatever happens in one chapter would almost certainly be reverted to before the next one starts, and the story moves on as if nothing had happened. At one point, the manga decides to make a storyline continue for more than 1 chapter, and the main character expresses surprise that the previous event hasn't been reset.
  • Hakushon Daimaō: A little boy named Kan-chan finds two genies in a bottle, an inept father and mischievious daughter. Hilarity ensues when Kan-chan's wishes are granted. This is essentially a gag anime in spite of the Sudden Downer Ending where the two genies have to leave Earth for 100 years.
  • Haré+Guu: With a mix of serious and nonserious subplots. Do not get invested in the serious ones — without fail, they will swerve nonserious at the last minute.
  • Haruhi-chan, a spin-off of Haruhi Suzumiya in which everyone is Super-Deformed, Ryoko Asakura, a former villain, has been rendered an ineffectual Butt-Monkey by regenerating herself at about half the size, and Yuki has picked up a dating sim habit. Everyone's quirks get turned up to eleven for maximum wacky hijinks.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: The first season of the anime, anyway - the second season and manga have continuity, and the latter has a few bouts of seriousness.
  • Heaven's Design Team revolves about the hilarious antics the animal designers get into with as they try (and often fail) to come up with something that fulfill God's incredibly vague orders... or just create whatever random creatures that pops in their mind because they can. There's almost no continuity between the chapters/episodes.
  • He Is My Master: More so in the manga, where the author inserts romantic comedy cliches, then chides the reader for expecting serious resolutions.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers is a parody of World History. While some strips does depict real world events, some is actually just the countries bickering with each other silly.
  • While Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls has a serialized plot, it's more interested in being this.
  • Jewelpet:
    • Jewelpet Sunshine, set in a school attended by humans, Jewelpets, talking animals, normal animals and the odd robot. And the teacher is a Hot-Blooded pink dolphin. Hilarity ensues, though there is an underlying serious sub-plot.
    • Jewelpet Kira☆Deco! is a parody of Sentai shows, with its members being exaggerations of Five-Man Band members, and there's NEETs for villains.
    • Jewelpet Happiness is much like Sunshine, but with a less colorful cast.
  • Kaginado is a crossover of various works by Key/Visual Arts where nothing is taken seriously, and even the saddest moments from the characters' respective stories tend to be Played for Laughs.
  • Kill Me Baby, 99.9% of which is played for a purely comedic scenario where all seriousness and compassion are thrown out the window. And the manga becomes a Sadist Show as it goes on.
  • Lucky Star: The series follows the norm and is quite realistic for the most part but has its slight share of wackiness, especially in the anime.
  • The Negima!? reboot is this, with most of the humorous banter between characters more characteristic of the Pani Poni Dash! writers than Akamatsu's usual fare. The original manga was like this for about 2 volumes before going in a different direction.
  • Me & Roboco is a banquet of gags concerning the misadventures of Bondo and his out of control OrderMaid, Roboco. As a celebration of all things Shounen Jump, it also features lots and lots of parodies of famous Weekly Jump manga.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun: Since the series is an Affectionate Parody of shoujo manga and its making, most romantic or heartwarming moments will end up being ruined by one of the characters for the sake of a joke.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: Nagasumi and Sun's blossoming relationship is played semi-seriously. Pretty much everything else is comedy fodder.
  • Nangoku Shonen Papuwa Kun: Primarily takes place on an island of extremely bizarre creatures. Among them a hermaphroditic snail and a fish with human legs wearing fishnet stockings.
  • My Monster Secret starts as a romance between a rather ordinary guy and a vampire girl… then all sorts of supernatural beings start to appear, whose degree of sanity ranges from silly to batshit insane. Most chapters feature an initially mundane situation that goes to hell thanks to that. The artist is notably prone to repeat panel layout between pages or using dramatic graphical effects in comical situations. The series becomes a little more plot-heavy in the post-92 chapters, but without letting go of the over-the-top absurdity.
  • Nichijou has very little in the way of continuity and much more in the way of over-the-top wackiness, including an eight-year-old girl who's built a robot teenager with cannons and sweets stashed away in every possible spot, Mio (the ostensible Only Sane Man most of the time) taking out a whole crowd of people to prevent anyone from seeing her yaoi manga manuscripts, and the vice principal suplexing a deer with only one witness.
  • Ranma ½ is a wacky series about the shenanigans caused by the increasingly ridiculous forms of Martial Arts and Crafts, Forced Transformation curses, and a hugely tangled Love Dodecahedron.
  • Samurai High School: Almost everything that happens in the story is Played for Laughs, and any time a serious conflict arises, it rarely affects anyone too badly and gets resolved rather quickly. Despite this, there is the semi-serious main storyline about a brother and sister who (fittingly) crossdress as each other to attend the titular school. That being said, this premise is the cause of a lot of hilarity, as the universe itself is quite silly.
  • Sgt. Frog: A wacky gag manga about a gang of frog-like aliens who constantly try to Take Over the World, only for hilarity to ensue instead.
  • Sket Dance: From the former apprentice of the guy who unleashed Gintama onto the world, we have three high school students who will assist anyone with anything, usually with disastrously hilarious results.
  • Splatoon has two manga adaptations that fall into this.
    • The main Splatoon manga series follows Idiot Hero Goggles and his three friends who compete in the game series’ signature Turf War battles as Team Blue, usually winning their matches through the use of bizarre antics brought about by Goggles’ Invincible Incompetent nature.
    • Splatoon: Squid Kids Comedy Show, as the title implies, is even more of this than the main manga, taking on a Yonkoma format, following its own Idiot Hero, Hit, who usually ends up attempting to perform a task in an absurd manner, much to the chagrin of his friend Maika.
  • Strange+: the sordid tale of a 20-something year old who looks 12, likes to crossdress and get naked in public, and is in general a tremendous jerkass, his younger, saner brother, and their two co-workers - a violent woman and a possibly gay, dreadlocked, muscled guy.
  • Student Council's Discretion: A parody Anime with bits of Romance added in.
  • Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, where anything, even reality, is subject to change at a moment's notice.
  • Teekyuu demolishes everything within its two-minute limit-sanity, its own bizarre rules and order, any semblance of a fourth wall, the limits of personal taste, how fast a normal human can logically speak (and how fast a viewer can read subtitles) to tell a joke.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 



    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus frequently berated itself for being too silly. Many of the sketches head deep into Cloudcuckoolander territory (one had a caption saying "SOMETHING SILLY'S GOING TO HAPPEN"), and the animations in between them are even weirder. The Sergeant with no sense of humor would generally serve as a means to tell them to stop being so silly.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000. Every episode is about a guy and some robots riffing a movie interluded with the same characters acting out wacky skits. Continuity is very loose.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • Hello Cheeky was a series based almost entirely on quick jokes, with quite a bit of subtle strangeness and cartoon logic holding it together.
  • The Goon Show was one of the premiere British surreal comedy shows, influencing everyone from Monty Python to The Beatles.

    Video Games 
  • God Hand: There actually is a plot, but even the characters make fun of it. Also, there are midget Sentai and a gorilla in a luchador mask.
  • Katamari Damacy: Any attempt at a sane description of the plot is an exercise in futility.
  • Parodius: Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a parody of Gradius and other Konami games.
  • Saints Row has slowly drifted into this. The first game was a dead-serious Grand Theft Auto clone; the second game decided to swing for the fences, and it's gotten increasingly bizarre ever since.
  • WarioWare: The gameplay consists of a series of bizarre and humorous microgames that last less that 5 seconds most of the time and are completely unrelated to each other.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dra+Koi shifts between being a gag series and some weird sort of romantic meta fiction without a moment's notice. It's hard to know what to take seriously.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner, with its surrealist humour, wacky cast of characters, and countless inside jokes meaning all you need to make the most out of the series is a good sense of humour.
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie features barely any plot, no continuity between scenes, and features more than half of the 30-minute running time consisting of explosions. Suffice to say, the title is accurate.
  • Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected. Not a series, but it fits. Seriously, try to create a plot from it. Your brain WILL explode.
  • RWBY Chibi is a Gag Series spinoff of the original RWBY, meant to provide fans with some comic relief following the dark and dramatic turn of the third season of the original show and to get the animators acquainted with the new tools they'll need for Season 4.


    Western Animation 
  • Sheep in the Big City features Sheep, who is hiding from a secret military organization. Why? General Specific has a sheep-powered ray gun. Gags happen as the military tries and fails to grab one Sheep. Apart from the plot, there are also Parody Commercials, and a segment with the Ranting Swede.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes's episode plots are often about cramming as many jokes as possible into ten minutes with a story built to link them up.