In the total time I’ve been watching anime, I have realized that a ton of the shows I’ve seen and enjoyed have come from one studio: Doga Kobo. As you may know, my favorite kind of anime is just chill, comedic, moe-style slice of life shows… and according to some statistics I saw on AniList, I apparently have seen over 100 shows with the tag “comedy” and 88 under the tag “slice-of-life”.
You can tell my taste in anime needs a little… diversity.
That being said, the Doga Kobo studio seems like a match made in heaven for me since they specialize in making anime under those two tags I mentioned earlier! Formed by former Toei Animation staff members, I would honestly consider Doga Kobo as the “kings of comedy anime”, as they excellently combine good-looking and unique animation/visuals with their smart execution of comedic jokes in many of their more recent shows (not to mention their ability to cast some great voice actors and actresses is also noteworthy!). Whether they adapt a popular moe slice-of-life comedy manga or create an original narrative of their own, Doga Kobo has definitely become one of the most popular and loved anime studios, at least in the last 5-10 years.
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the slice-of-life and/or comedy anime I’ve seen has come from this studio. So today, I just wanted to list the top 5 Doga Kobo anime I have watched and enjoyed. Let’s jump right in!
5. Love Lab (2013)
At Fujisaki Girls Academy, there are two people whom the rest of the school admire and look up to: the student council president and “Princess” of the school, Maki Natsuo; as well as Kurahashi Riko, the cool, tomboy-like girl they nickname “The Wild One”. Fate bring these two polar opposites together, as one day Riko heads to the student council room to run an errand for a teacher, only to find Natsuo practicing how to kiss on a body pillow. Embarrassing thoughts aside, Riko finds out that Natsuo is very much interested in romance and dating, and would like to experience a romantic relationship herself. One misunderstanding later, these two alongside other student council members secretly start working on a project where they essentially research love and the different aspects of romance, appropriately called “Love Lab”.
If I’m not mistaken, this was probably one of the first Doga Kobo anime I’ve seen and it’s a real enjoyable one! It was definitely enjoyable, watching these characters hilariously try to figure out how love works by doing “experiments” such as pretending to bump into each other or kissing a body pillow like it’s a human. One notable thing to add is that this show, unlike other Doga Kobo shows, has some dramatic moments and is still executed pretty smoothly and in a nice way. Overall, it was a good show and fun fact: I think this was one of Minase Inori’s very first anime appearances (she later went on to become Rem from Re:Zero and Chino from GochiUsa).
4. Gabriel Dropout (2017)
All young angels are required to live and study abroad in the real world with regular humans in order to reach their full potential as angels. One particular angel, Gabriel White Tenma, has everything going well for her as she’s at the top of her class and is confident that she can bring wellness to the world in the future. However when Gabriel arrives at Earth and discovers video games, her perfect angel image drastically changes into a gaming addict who doesn’t even want to put on pants. Her friend, a devil named Vignette, even tries her best to help Gabriel improve as a person but has trouble putting some sense in Gab’s head. These two are also accompanied a pair of interesting souls like the sadistic angel Raphiel and the clumsy demon Satania. Together, these four live life on Earth and completely misunderstand the correct ways to be angels/devils.
Other than the dumb shit these four entertaining characters did, I just enjoyed the theme of irony seen throughout this show. You really wouldn’t expect an angel to be sadistic like Raphi or a devil act like a perfect wife with Vigne, and I think that’s one of the main reasons why this show was so fun to watch. There wasn’t an episode where I wasn’t smiling or laughing, and the different personalities within the main characters really made this show a great comedy to experience.
3. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (2014)
We follow a cheerful girl named Sakura Chiyo, who is shown to have a pretty big crush on one Nozaki Umetarou. One day, Chiyo gathers up all her courage to confess her love to Nozaki… but his response isn’t one she expected. Nozaki in return gives her his autograph, and we later find out that he is actually a popular and well-respected shoujo mangaka by the pen name Yumeno Sakiko. Chiyo later finds herself becoming one of Nozaki’s manga assistants, meets many unique classmates, and ultimately hopes that her real feelings will eventually reach Nozaki-kun.
You might think this is another cliche romance story but in reality, it’s not and that’s the whole point. Because this anime is about shoujo manga and creating manga in general, they express the cliches you’d see in that genre of manga in a comedic and parody-like way which is exactly what the original creator intended. Watching characters like Nozaki-kun have entertaining behaviors and seeing romance story elements being used ironically, this anime is definitely a nice refresher from other romcoms and I believe anime fans who don’t even like romance/shoujo would enjoy Nozaki-kun.
Plus, it has one of my favorite anime openings ever with Ooishi Masayoshi composing and performing “Kimi ja Nakya Dame Mitai”.
2. YuruYuri (2011)
Akaza Akari reunites with her childhood friends Toshino Kyouko and Funami Yui after she enters her first year in middle school. She finds out that the two upperclassmen created a club a year before called the Amusement Club, where they literally drink tea and hang out. Akarin, as well as another first-year named Yoshikawa Chinatsu, join the club just because, and that’s pretty much the premise of YuruYuri.
I know that premise is pretty vague and sounds boring but if you genuinely love the slice-of-life and comedy genres, you will not be disappointed with YuruYuri. Other than watching this group of girls live life as young ladies, the anime and its comedy basically runs off the different character interactions, which also incorporate yuri elements because… why not? Literally everyone is involved with some sort of romantic relationship in the group whether that be Chinatsu wanting to just throw her body to her beloved Yui-senpai or student council vice-president Ikeda Chitose frequently fantasizing romantic scenes (and getting nosebleeds) involving the pairing of Toshino Kyouko and student council president Suigura Ayano. Hell, one recurring joke involved everyone else forgetting that Akarin even exists.
Basically, YuruYuri never fails to entertain the audience with its unique cast of characters, amusing interactions between the friends of the Amusement Club and the Student Council, as well as the “yuri” charm seen throughout this franchise.
Here’s a few other Doga Kobo shows that didn’t quite make the list, but I still enjoyed them one way or another:
- Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai – I didn’t finish it but it was pretty good when I was watching it during the Spring 2018 season.
- Mangirl – short but sweet anime about a group of girls who don’t know anything about manga editing, edit manga and strive to create the industry’s biggest manga magazine.
- Anima Yell! – A nice anime about a girl becoming very interested in cheerleading and eventually starts her own cheerleading club with a veteran cheerleader and her childhood friend.
1. New Game! (2016)
After graduating high school, young Suzukaze Aoba applies for a job at a video game studio called Eagle Jump, who was responsible for creating her favorite video game and ultimately what made her want to pursue a career in game design/development. On her first day, she finds out that she’ll be working on the next installment of her all-time favorite game franchise, Fairies Story, under lead character designer Yagami Kou. As she’s surrounded by her inspiration/senpai, as well as fellow gaming-loving co-workers, Aoba starts her new life as a character designer and experiences first hand the ups-and-downs a company has when developing a video game.
What makes this show different from other Doga Kobo shows I’ve talked about is that, while the art/character design doesn’t seem like it, this anime doesn’t involve middle or high school-age characters. We’re instead dropped into the setting of a work environment where adults do their jobs, and I think that’s pretty noteworthy considering the kind of anime Doga Kobo generally does. I’ve always loved anime that are set in a working environment (e.g. Working!! or Sore ga Seiyuu) and New Game! is a great example of anime with that sort of style. While the video game development part of this show isn’t exactly detailed and is more simplified, it was still interesting to know the general gist of what goes on in a game development studio. Plus, all the characters, especially Aoba, made this show lively and entertaining for slice-of-life/comedy fans to enjoy.
Oh, and I guess I gotta mention the surprising amount of fanservice in this show (NSFW warning with that link btw).
And that’s basically it! You might’ve noticed that I never mentioned Doga Kobo’s most popular show, Himouto! Umaru-chan, anywhere on this list (except for the cover image). That’s because I just didn’t enjoy that show that much; sorry if I disappointed you 😛
But yeah, Doga Kobo is one of my favorite studios and have definitely influenced my narrow taste in anime. Really, if it weren’t for them, I might not be as much of a fan of anime as I am now and/or this blog wouldn’t be called “Slice of Alfredo”. So, I gotta give them some credit.
Also if you didn’t know, Doga Kobo (unsurprisingly) has an anime airing this Winter 2019 season called Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! If you enjoy Doga Kobo’s work and/or the CGDCT genre of anime, I would suggest giving it a shot. I’m currently watching it mainly because a few Love Live seiyuu are in it, but it’s not bad… so far.
Out of curiosity, what’s your favorite Doga Kobo anime (if you watched any)? Leave it in the comments, I’d love to hear them.
Thanks for reading!! 😀