7 Weirdest Short Programs
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Japan's offering of short anime programs, ranging from five minutes to 15 minutes, has gotten more diverse in recent years. The format was previously relegated to flash-animated comedy like FROGMAN'S long-running Eagle Talon series or shoddy attempts at drama like Legend of Duo. Since then, creators have branched out into horror tales like Yamishibai and Pupa and shōjo dramas like BONJOUR Sweet Love Patisserie and Diabolik Lovers. Comedy is by far the most popular still, but with a increase in competition, shows have only gotten stranger and stranger in their premise, whether it's for laughs or to test out something experimental.
7. Animator Expo Khara and Dwango's impressive series of shorts ranging from sexually-charged, psychedelic music videos to Evangelion tie-ins and stop-motion seasonal-themed jaunts. Animator Expo really has a little bit of everything in its three seasons, with a handful that are just downright strange. "ME!ME!ME!" is probably the first to come to mind for viewers who already watched the shorts as they streamed. This one floods the senses with mind-boggling imagery as it warns of otaku overindulgence.
6. gdgd Fairies The CG animation used in gdgd Fairies is poor, even by anime standards. Fortunately, the show's ugly aesthetic works in its favor to carry some of the weirdest joke set-ups. The premise, three fairies sitting around talking, doesn't really delve into how weird the show can get. Segments including a woman dancing in lingerie amidst the destruction of a city or a bald man flying by the power of his own flatulence are all par for the course. It becomes apparent that some of the show isn't even scripted and voice actresses Kaoru Mizuhara, Satomi Akesaka, and Suzuko Mimori are making it up as they go along.
5. Panda-Z: The Robonimation Most anime fans have at least a cursory familiarity with Mazinger Z, the mecha manga and anime by Go Nagai. Panda-Z: The Robonimation is a spin on that. Only all the characters are animals. That don't talk. There's still a giant robot, and it still has Mazinger Z's iconic red wings on the back. It just looks like a panda and is operated by a panda. His enemies are other animal robots, like an egg-bomb throwing chicken.
4. Makura no Danshi The market for anthropomorphized things has always been healthy, but the biggest recent success seems to be DMM's Kantai Collection, which featured warships as girls. Anime and games for the fujoshi market are no exception, with its own big hit: Tōken Ranbu. Makura no Danshi is in the same vein as that, devoting four minutes to a different pillow boy having a one-sided bedtime conversation with the viewer. Each character fulfills a certain "type," like you'd expect to find in an otome game. It's an embarrassing, first-person experience meant to quickly stimulate that "doki doki" feeling.
3. Donyatsu What if the world ended and all that was left was some surreal nuclear crossover between cats and snack food? Donyatsu (a portmanteau of "donut" and "nya") is just that. None of humanity remains and only pastry cats roam the earth. Not nearly as fearsome as Godzilla, the cats are still a weird sight to behold. Or maybe they're cute. It's really more surprising that the concept was birthed from a merchandising scheme.
2. Inferno Cop Trigger's Inferno Cop is a pure testosterone-infused comedy about a skeleton police officer protecting the streets of Jack Knife Edge Town with an itchy trigger finger an arsenal of explosives. His foes are progressively more ridiculous, including an infant and a mummy. Inferno Cop himself goes spends a few episodes transformed into a car. The show is over-the-top in its random weirdness. The fact that it's barely animated just plays into its camp appeal.
1. Sekkō Boys Sekkō Boys takes anime's recent obsession with idols and completely lampoons it by casting fan-favorite seiyū as the "Rockies," an idol group consisting of famous busts. Mars, Hermes, Medici, and Saint Giorgio star, but they aren't drawn anime style. In fact, their mouths don't even move although this doesn't hinder their ability to talk. The show's staff fully committed to the characters being statues that can't alter their facial expressions or move without assistance. This doesn't prevent them from taking part in the trials and tribulations of being idols with members getting into romantic scandals, pyramid schemes, and edged out of variety show programs.
The old poll: Which of these characters' love confessions did you find the most heart-pounding?
- Edward Elric to Winry Rockbell (Fullmetal Alchemist)
- Tomoya Okazaki to Nagisa Furukawa (CLANNAD)
- Zen to Shirayuki (Snow White with the Red Hair)
- Hideki Hinata to Yui (Angel Beats!)
- Syaoran to Sakura Kinomoto (Card Captor Sakura)
- Yuzuru Otonashi to Kanade Tachibana (Angel Beats!)
- Sawako Kuronuma to Shōta Kazehaya (Kimi ni Todoke)
- The Major to War (Hellsing Ultimate)
- Hitagi Senjōgahara to Koyomi Araragi (Monogatari Series)
- Naruto Uzumaki to Hinata Hyuga (Naruto)
- Jun Satō to Yachiyo Todoroki (Wagnaria!!)
- Yūta Togashi to Rikka Takanashi (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!)
- Kirito to Asuna (Sword Art Online)
- Domon Kasshu to Rain Mikamura (Mobile Fighter G Gundam)
- Renton Thurston to Eureka (Eureka 7)
- Kyon to Suzumiya Haruhi (Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi)
- André Grandier to Oscar François de Jarjayes (Rose of Versailles)
- Hinata Hyuga to Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto Shippūden)
- Dominic Sorel to Anemone (Eureka 7)
- Takeo Gouda to Rinko Yamamoto (My Love Story!!)
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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