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Choosing the best stoner anime to watch is more than just blazing up and watching whatever anime you can find while, *ahem* impaired. Boost your buzz with comedy, crafty visual styling, and thought-provoking themes but beware, tentacled monsters are a real buzz kill. Here’s our list for the top stoner anime to watch.
Boondocks is unique as the only American-made anime on this list. Don’t let that make you think that it is out of place here; It's mix of anarchism, activism, and biting satire of the American experience will lead to deep conversations. It’s a fantastic mix of racial tensions, morality, comedy, and even kung-fu that dazzles and delights the stimulated mind of the stoned. The adventures of Huey, Riley, and Grandad Freeman—a black family living in white suburbs—are a blistering indictment of modern America presented with enough wit, sarcasm, and intellectual thought to drive pot-fueled conversations all night long.
Roughly translated as “Those Obnoxious Aliens,” Urusei Yatsura follows the hilarious adventures of a perverted, pent-up guy named Ataru and a beautiful alien named Lum. Ataru is chosen at random to stop Lum’s race (the Oni) from invading by playing a game of tag—if he can grab Lum’s horns the invasion will end. Lum easily flies away from Ataru but her weakness is her animal print bikini. Ataru removes her top and as she is covering up he grabs her horns. Lum mistakenly thinks the lecherous Ataru offers to wed her so the rest of the series is Ataru chasing other women, and Lum using her Oni powers to shock him with lightning for misbehaving. A beautiful main character, a perverted woman chaser, and loads of comedy anchor this iconic series as a top stoner anime to watch.
Trigun is set on Planet Gunsmoke and has a western theme permeating the series. It tells the story of Vash the Stampede, a not-quite-human with a massive bounty on his head because wherever he goes destruction follows. Vash is a gunfighter but doesn’t kill; instead he dispatches enemies non-lethally. He dodges bullets and seems to have incredible luck while fighting but the down side is he usually leaves a path of damage similar to a natural disaster in his wake. For this reason, the government has revoked his human status and reclassified him as such, and he’s earned the nickname “The Humanoid Typhoon.” Trigun’s stoner appeal is the bleak yet engrossing western setting, high comedy, and the complex character of Vash who is a tortured soul hiding behind a smiling, joking façade. Vash is a brilliant mix of Clint Eastwood, Deadpool, and Batman that really delivers.
This anime is loved by some and hated by (most) others, but under the influence of marijuana it is an absurd, hilarious case study in 1980s oversexed excess. The main character is Ryohei, a twenty-three-year-old guy who can smooth talk the ladies but is never satisfied with the women or the sex. He’s a pervert with too much testosterone and too much free time to indulge in his fantasies. He lands an amazing job at an adult magazine named—wait for it—Potato Boy. He becomes their quality tester when it’s discovered that particularly sexy images give him a raging erection, to the point of one image causing him to lift a chair without using his hands, if you catch my drift. Ryohei’s adventure in a sea of sexy ladies makes the list, although despised by anime purists. Maybe they should blaze up and watch it again!
Remember the movie Total Recall? Dead Leaves is similar, although the setting is the moon instead of Mars. The lawless Retro (a dude with a television for a head) and Pandy (his mutant/psychic girlfriend and sidekick) star in this sci-fi animation. They land on Earth naked and amnesiac; after a crime spree they end up in Dead Leaves prison on what’s left of the moon. There they encounter strange, mutated prisoners, extremely tough, violent guards, and a psychotic warden who has a past connection to Pandy. The final act of this anime is a real mind job, with the story’s loose ends all tied up. The final scene is brilliant and provoking, making this an anime that stoners must watch.
Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a tour-de-force anime that appeals to stoners with an amazing visual style, a rich universe, fantastic storytelling, and loads of action. Titans are huge humanoid creatures that eat humans, so the humans built tall rings of walls surrounding their cities for protection. One day, a colossal titan appears and rips a huge hole in one of the walls allowing a mass of other titans to overrun a section of the city. AoT follows a group of young recruits whose city section is the one invaded, and their exploits of joining the Survey Corps tasked with spearheading the human offensive. They use swords and three dimensional grappling hooks to fly around the city and dispatch titans. Recurring themes in Attack on Titan are what it means to be human, the hopelessness of despair, and militaristic pride and organization. The style, action, and rich universe crafted for AoT make it a critically acclaimed must-see.
Where to start, where to start... Well, the main character is named Dandy, he’s an intergalactic alien hunter, he has hair like a 1950s rocker, he frequents a bar called BooBies which is like Hooters, he goes back to high school to help a prom queen by singing about her booty, and his sidekicks are a robot and an alien cat. Space Dandy is a hilarious romp through the galaxies with lush visuals and fantastic adventures. As a must-watch stoner anime it contains tons of humor and an amazing cast (even the English dub) that is sure to keep even the highest of the high engaged episode after episode. In a twist similar to the last scene in Dead Leaves, Dandy is shown to be more than he appears and the story ends up being cyclical in nature, a true mind blow to the altered state stoner.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle is a product of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the all-time greats in anime. It also has one of the very best English dub voice casts of any anime ever. Christian Bale, Jean Simmons, Emily Mortimer, Lauren Bacall, Billy Crystal, Josh Hutcherson, Blythe Danner, and Jena Malone all lend their pipes to this fantastic film. Grab your pipe and prepare for a film that examines life, old age, war and peace, and disconnect of life due to modern technology. Howl’s Moving Castle is colorful and thought provoking, well written, and appealing to a wide variety of audience including the pothead subset. Definitely a stoner anime to watch that won’t kill your buzz.
Akira may be the most influential and highly regarded anime of all time. That reason alone garners a viewing but for the ganja connoisseur, this sci-fi spectacle really pushes into new territory. Existential themes pique the interest and curiosity, asking the questions of the bounds of self, reality, and humanity. The setting is Neo-Tokyo, which rose from the ashes of Tokyo like a phoenix when the latter was destroyed in WWIII. Neo-Tokyo is a gritty, cyberpunk reality with motorcycle gangs, martial law, and a society on the edge of internal collapse due to protest and strife. It’s here that Tetsuo calls home, and the events of Akira unfold. Tetsuo is a motorcycle gang member who becomes entangled with beings held by the government called espers. These espers are studied for their psychic powers, and Tetsuo begins to develop powers and a connection to a long dead, dangerous esper named Akira. As Tetsuo’s reality spirals out of control, the viewer is treated to a fast paced series of unfolding events that touch deep inside the human condition. Loaded with action, a fantastic soundtrack, visual flare, and a high energy storyline, Akira is amazing.
Akira could easily top almost any list involving anime, but for a list of best stoner anime to watch, Samurai Champloo takes first place. It has everything a stoner could ask for: It is a serial narrative that is fun to watch to keep your impaired short term memory engaged; It features a samurai whose fighting style resembles break dancing and a hip-hop soundtrack that really bumps; Samurai Champloo has amazing action sequences with gleaming swords and blurring action; a sword fight in the middle of a marijuana field; and an anachronistic mix of past and present with a story set in feudal Japan. Added up, SC is a wonderful way to waste away the day. Rip a few pipes and join Mugen, Jin, and Fuu in search of the samurai who smells of sunflowers.
Some anime are not to be viewed when high (eww, tentacles) but others are perfect for the pot head. We hope you enjoyed our list of the top stoner anime to watch. Go out, grab your stuff, and watch these gorgeous, trippy, thought provoking anime.