Best surreal anime you must see

Anime is a medium of entertainment with great titles in many genres. Most of these shows follow a set format with common themes that are explored in different ways. However, there are some titles with different profiles that stand out from the mold, with many unorthodox features.

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These anime are so unnatural they are almost bizarre. They use unconventional presentation methods related to plot, characters, animation, and sometimes overall production. But despite their tendency to deviate from the nature of their mainstream counterparts, they remain extremely interesting, at times bringing a refreshingly new feel to audiences of an otherwise saturated genre. Here are some great examples of anime that fit this category perfectly.


10 Asobi Asobase: workshop full of fun

Asobi Asobase is a comedy about school life in which three girls with relatively eccentric personalities take center stage. Shortly after they got to know each other, they joined forces to form the Pastimers Club which, as the name suggests, is a club dedicated to pastime.

However, these girls do not engage in regular pastimes. They participate in silly, over-the-top, and sensitive games that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the genre. Plus, their clubbing activities aren’t the only focus of the show, as they constantly get caught up in many other hilarious shenanigans. There’s wacky animation, exaggerated expressions, weird characters and an endless amount of references, all of which culminate in a unique but extremely fun experience


This anime was co-produced by both Studio Gainax and Production IG, the former of which is not afraid to adapt series with avant-garde characteristics. The show follows the young protagonist Naota Mandaba in this coming-of-age story mixed with many different elements.

It sets the tone early on in the series, as seen when eccentric Vespa rider Haruhara Haruko rides her bike over Naota, gives him CPR, then lets him fly again with her guitar. This sequence perfectly reflects the nature of the many interactions within the show. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the characters’ actions, but they are still entertainingly orchestrated. Not only is it fast, but it also comes with engaging animation and sound design that are ahead of its time.

8 penguin drum

penguin drum tells the story of three orphaned siblings and their endless struggle against fate. The anime starts off well when twin brothers Kanba and Shouma take their ailing sister Himari to an aquarium, only for her to collapse and, as a result, be possessed by a creature that claims to be keeping her alive. However, this creature demands one thing in return; for the twin brothers to find and bring a mysterious artifact called the Penguin Drum.

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The presentation and graphics of this anime make it so eye-catching. There are background characters usually represented by white stick figures, mystical penguins that only the siblings can see, and an extraordinarily flamboyant summoning ritual performed by the unknown creature that inhabits Himari’s body.

7 Sarazanmaic

Sarazanmaic is the second Kunihiko Ikuhara directorial project on this list, and like the first, it features a bizarre presentation with an even more bizarre plot. A fallen Kappa prince chooses three young boys to deal with the sudden emergence of Kapa zombies, supernatural creatures with the potential to cause extreme mayhem.

To fight against these powerful foes, the boys are turned into Kappa by the Kappa Prince himself when it comes time to fight.

Stranger still, they have to extract a ball-like object called a shirikodama from the back of the Kapa zombies to defeat them. The show consists of many more whimsical features; mysterious dancing police officers, petty antagonists with socially questionable motives and a transformation process with rather sensitive images.

6 strange taxi

Despite the anthropomorphic nature of the anime, strange taxi characters are extremely grounded in reality, to the point that viewers can’t help but be invested in what the show has to offer. It tells the story of an unimpressive taxi driver named Odokawa, who eventually becomes embroiled in an incident and becomes involved with both the police and the yakuza.

The surrealism of this anime comes from the way it mixes real word personalities with animalistic individuals. Characters have emotional and intellectual characteristics that are undeniably human, but are portrayed in the form of different animal species. Ultimately, it’s a very enjoyable package that is recognized by most of its audience as one of the best anime of 2021.

5 Pantyhose & Stocking with Suspender Belt

The story follows the adventures of two former angels named Panty and Stocking. Panty is a daring blonde with an uncontrollable libido, and stocking is a candy-loving goth lolita with questionable taste in men. After being thrown from heaven for inappropriate behavior, the two were given the task of hunting ghosts and collecting celestial coins.

This is the second Studio Gainax anime on his list, and as incredible as it may sound, it’s even crazier than the last. Known for having one of the most famous anime dubs of all time, Pantyhose & Stocking with Suspender Belt is an anime heavily inspired by western adult cartoons. As a result, it involves extremely vulgar humor, multiple art styles, and stories told in an episodic format.

4 beastars

After the success of Land of the Lustrous in 2017, Studio Orange returned in 2019 with another fully CGI animated series in beastars. This anime is set in an anthropomorphic world where herbivores and carnivores live as one, with the details of their coexistence worked out in great detail.

It features the coming-of-age story of a young and timid wolf named Legoshi and his journey to discover what it really means to be a carnivore in his society. He undergoes a myriad of trials that challenge his reserved personality, deepening his character with each major event.

3 kakegurui

kakeguiri, Simply put, it is a school anime about gambling. In more explicit detail, though, it’s a school anime about gambling with unnaturally high stakes. The students of Hyakkaou Private Academy are the focus of this series. They constantly engage in risky bets, which could leave them in crippling debt or completely surrender their freedom to another individual.

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Another twisted aspect of this anime is the characters and their personalities. Take for example the main character Yumeko Jabami; she is so addicted to high stakes betting that just taking part in a bet really turns her on. Of course there are other characters too, but either way, it’s still a captivating anime that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

2 monogamy

monogamy, besides being the anime title, is a Japanese word meaning “story.” So the name serves its purpose well, as the monogamy series is a collection of stories spanning multiple seasons, each named after the events in it. Studio Shaft handled all seasons and they did a great job of portraying the unique brilliance of the series.

As for animation and dialogue, monogamy series is absurdly fast and distinctive. There are scenes with constantly changing frames that usually contain short blocks of text, environments with no background characters and interactions with numerous references and funny running gags. However, the core of the show is an in-depth story that is sure to captivate most people who come across it.

1 Gintama

Among all the popular shōnen anime, Gintama is perhaps the most unconventional. The story revolves around the samurai Sakata Gintoki and his companions who are part of the Yorozuya, a group of individuals who take random jobs in exchange for money. On a larger scale, however, the world is ruled by aliens, and the show’s biggest draw for most viewers is most likely its alien storylines.

Despite this, the anime has so much more to offer. It portrays comedy in ways unheard of with ordinary shōnen. It features endless references, repeated instances of breaking the fourth wall, plenty of running gags, and equally eccentric characters to match the pace of the series.

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