Best Standalone Anime Without a Continuous Plot

Most anime features some kind of continuous plot line or several plots compressed into arcs. Midoriya wants to become a hero so you follow his training to become strong, which includes school festivals, training camps, and shadowing professional heroes. Ed wants to get his brother’s body back which requires him to become a state alchemist to investigate the tool to do so as well as do his actual job sometimes. You get the point? While a series can drift off into side stories, they always follow a plot line. Or rather, not always. There are some anime series that might have some sort of overall goal, but most of the episodes are self-contained stories that contribute to the growth of the world or the characters, but not always to the plot.




Comedy Anime Series That Feature Standalone Episodes

A large portion of comedy anime series are of an episodic nature without a continuous plot, much like its western cartoon cousins. These series have one goal – to make you laugh. As such, they don’t necessarily need detailed characters or stories to tell. Instead, they can do the most random things for comedy during their singular episode time slot.

We could most definitely stretch this list to the bursting point by adding all these comedy series as single entries, but it would really just being saying the same thing a dozen different ways. Instead of doing that, here’s a list of many good standalone pure comedy anime series without any serious plot.

NichijouSchool RumbleMr. OsomatsuAzumanga DaiohDaily Lives of High School BoysLucky StarGhost Stories (Though it is only a comedy if you watch the dub)Sket DanceGintamaPop Team Epic

Just wanted to get that out of the way. Now for the rest.

Cowboy Bebop

This is easily the most famous one and one of the reasons that Cowboy Bebop is so easy for non-anime fans to jump into. It has the standalone episode nature of western cartoons, but of a serious tone most of the time. Regardless, the plot of Cowboy Bebop is there, but rather it is character stories. Each character has their own plotline that is followed, but there is no overall plot for the bebop crew as a whole. Furthermore, some episodes are just there to tell stories that are interesting or comical.

Samurai Champloo

In a similar vein, as it was made by the same director, Samurai Champloo does actually have more of an overall goal – get Fuu to the samurai that smells of sunflowers. Yet, getting there isn’t a series of hurdles to overcome, but rather it is a series of adventures to have. Sometimes it is an eating contest. Sometimes it is getting high from burning weed fields. On occasion, the plot of the episode focuses on the past of the characters coming back to bite them. Only in the very beginning and the very end does it focus on that overall plot, if one can even consider it that. You could say it is just Fuu’s character plot rather than the plot of the series.

Mushishi

This series is one that is very much about the world and the people that inhabit it. You can likely tell that much by simply looking at the main character. Ginko is as chill as he is bland looking, but he is often used as a semi-expositional mouthpiece for what is going on. Set up as a man studying mushi, spirits that can have both good and and effects on their surroundings, he goes from place to place examining mushi and looking into problems. This allows everything and everyone around him to showcase fantastic tales.

Hell Girl

Similar to Mushishi, Hell Girl presents Ai, a traditional looking Japanese girl with all the intensity of personality of wet paper. However, she is a mouthpiece for the stories of supernatural vengeance in the show. Hell Girl follows Ai as she does her job dragging souls to hell. These names are submitted by others that they have wronged to a website. It is a simple device that allows the telling of twisted and occasionally sad stories.

Kino’s Journey

Unlike Hell Girl and Mushishi, Kino, as the main character of Kino’s Journey, is just slightly more involved with the story and as a character. However, the format is the same. She travels around on her talking motorcycle, as one does, and visits different towns for a few days. The stories that happen within all have some sort of philosophical, psychological, or environmental lesson to them.

Cells at Work

This series is the story of you! Or rather, someone very much like you with similar working insides. Cells At Work has a main character, Miss red blood cell, but she is one of many. Through her daily work delivering oxygen around your body, you explore some many things that happen throughout different events. It’s a series of biology lessons transformed into episodic stories, essentially.

Kaguya-Sama Love is War

Does it count as standalone episodes if the thing that the characters are trying to make happen never happens for the sake of comedy and longevity? We are going to say yes. In Love is War, two two students, one the daughter of an elite businessman and the other a common guy that works hard for the best grades, fall in love. The are president of the student council and vice president. It is a natural match, right? Unfortunately, they view a confession of love as an admittance of weakness, and thus angle to try to get the other to confess first instead. Every episode therein is usually focused around the shenanigan of the day to see who wins or loses.

Hozuki’s Coolheadedness

This is an anime series about hell, but less about scary Christian hell and more like DBZ HFIL. Yeah, there are some terrible people in this version of hell, but the story more so focuses on the extreme bureaucracy that goes into running it. The episodes focus not so much on how terrible hell is, but solving various problems that can range from riots to how to build a beautiful garden.

Mononoke

I like to think of this similar to Mushishi, to be honest. The main character is so mouthpiece-y that he doesn’t even have a name this time, the Medicine Seller. This time, instead of studying anything, he tracks down distinctly evil spirits and vanquishes them. However, to do so, he must find and understand the Form, Truth, and Reason of the spirit. It is a fine set up for a self-contained episode.

Do you have any more standalone anime series that lack continuous plot? Let fans know in the comments section below.


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