Some anime are weird for the sake of being weird. Titles like "Jojo's Bizarre Adventures" and "Bobobo Bo-bobobo" (give or take a few bo's) are bizarre in an in-your-face kind of way. Others, like "Akiko" and "Qwaser of Stigmata," seem to use the weird angle as a gimmick and never really go beyond that.

But there are some anime that start out making you think "what the heck's going on here" but absorb you into their stories as you continue watching. These anime are a charming sort of weird, with intriguing and absorbing stories. These five anime perfect the formula.


If you like your anime a bit on the weird side, but still appreciate a good story with deeper meaning, give them a shot:


If you've ever heard of "FLCL," or "Fooly Cooly," it should come as no surprise that it tops this list. The anime combines aliens, mechs, vespa-riding, guitar-playing chicks, and a boy who can't seem to be able to control the horn growing from his head. Underneath its strange skin, "FLCL" is a story about a boy struggling with puberty and becoming an adult. At just six episodes it's a short anime, and you might want to watch it more than once. Now is the perfect time to watch, too - a sequel to the anime is in the works between Toonami's Adult Swim and Production I.G.

"Paranoia Agent"

A boy with a baseball bat  is terrorizing Musashino city at night. Who is he, and why is he attacking people? Why can none of his victims describe him? And what does all of it have to do with the cute puppy mascot Maromi? "Paranoia Agent" is an anime by the notoriously bizarre creator Satoshi Kon, and it's easy to get lost in the craziness. Pay attention, though, and you're rewarded with powerful commentary on consumer culture, mass hysteria, and our society as a whole.


If you try this anime, you need to watch two episodes.


"Trapeze" feels like a "weird because why not" kind of anime, but by the second episode it's clear that it's so much more than that. The anime is constantly changing animation styles, even throwing in some live action in certain parts, and giving it a very distinct look. At its base, it's about a psychiatrist who treats many different modern issues, his two alter-egos, and his incredibly good looking nurse. The more you watch, the more you appreciate how everything ties together so perfectly. Despite a somewhat disappointing finale, the anime is a fantastic look at mental illnesses against the backdrop of society's expectations.

"Puella Magi Madoka Magica"

Don't let the sugary sweet exterior put you off: "Madoka" is not your typical magical girl anime. As soon as the characters enter a dream, things get weird and creepy fast. Fast-paced and dark, the anime turns the magical girl genre on its head, pulling you under with it. What does bravery look like? What does it mean to make sacrifices? "Madoka" doesn't sugarcoat anything. Be prepared for some deep thinking with this one.

"Amagi Brilliant Park"

A run-down amusement park gets an ultimatum: reach 500,000 visitors within three months or get shut down.


The catch? Most of the workers and mascots in the park are magical beings from Maple Land, and if the park shuts down they will cease to exist. The premise is odd, but the execution is spot on. How do you revitalize a failing business? "Amagi Brilliant Park" delivers a roller-coaster ride (pun definitely intended).