Top 10 Funny Anime Characters With Tragic Backstories



Top 10 Funny Anime Characters With Tragic Backstories

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman
There's a lot of pain behind those smiles. Join Ashley as we count down our picks for the hilarious anime characters who have a lot of darkness in their past, as seen in series such as "Demon Slayer", "One Piece", "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure", and more.
Script written by Alex Crilly-Mckean

Top 10 Funny Anime Characters with Tragic Backstories

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Funny Anime Characters with Tragic Backstories.

For this list, we’re looking at characters in anime known for their comedic chops, who just so happen to have really, really, really sad histories. Think we missed any laughing tragedies? Let us know in the comments, and be on the lookout for spoilers!

#10: Tohru

“Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid” (2017-21)

Before she traded in her fire breath for a maid attire, Tohru more than lived up to her title as a bringer of destruction. As a member of the Chaos Faction of Dragons, she was raised with hatred in her heart, destined to bring ruin to humans. When doubt about her cause began to nestle its way in, she wandered alone for centuries, belonging to no one, with only a shaky rivalry with Harmony Dragon Elma to keep her afloat. At least until she found love and purpose with a certain stoic office worker.

#9: Odokawa

“Odd Taxi” (2021)

He’s just a walrus trying to get by…until we find out he isn’t. While his dry sense of humour and quick-wittedness allowed him to navigate a gauntlet of gangsters and murder plots, never once did we stop to think that maybe Odokawa’s worldview was perhaps…impaired? This turns out to be the case when the anthropomorphic characters inhabiting his world are revealed to be a result of long-standing mental issues tracing back to the time his mother almost doomed them both to a watery grave. The only thing more shocking was that he was able to make a full recovery and metaphorically shed his walrus exterior come series’ end!

#8: Gugu

“To Your Eternity” (2021)

The spiritual brother that Fushi didn’t know he needed, Gugu quickly established himself as everybody’s favorite character thanks to his outspokenness and earnest heart. The fact he still retained such qualities after going through so much trauma stands as a testament to how much of a lad he truly is. Not only did his brother abandon him when he was a child, but he got his face crushed trying to save the girl he would come to love, and as a result had to hide his face behind a mask for the rest of his brief life. Be it monster or man, Gugu was a boss through and through.

#7: Vash

“Trigun” (1998)

You wouldn’t expect a man with a six billion double dollar bounty to have much of a heart, let alone be a pacifist with a childish personality, but then again Vash is so much more than meets the eye. In actuality, he’s a humanoid plant who saw his fair share of suffering all throughout his photosynthesis adolescence. Between the bloodlust of his brother Knives as well as the prejudice of the human citizens of Gunsmoke, Vash unfortunately became the catalyst for the July Incident – an event that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and as such earned him the infamous moniker of the Humanoid Typhoon. That’s a whole lot of bad luck for just one seedling!

#6: Seiya

“Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious” (2019)

Without a doubt the funniest isekai protagonist out there, Seiya’s mentality when it comes to saving worlds is…problematic, to say the least. It’s entertaining as all hell, but as time went on, cracks begin to show in his unflinching dedication to being overly prepared for every quest, hinting at some skeletons in his closet. Which turned out to be dead on, since once upon a time, he was just like every other Japanese dude transported into a fantasy land – uplifting, kind, and generic. At least until a demon ate his love interest and unborn child. That kinda sucked.

#5: Dazai

“Bungo Stray Dogs” (2016-)

You wouldn’t think a man who makes a habit of trying to take his own life to be much of a jokester, and yet out of every member of the Armed Detective Agency, you can always count on Dazai to bring the funny. Pretty astounding, on account he’s also one of the most powerful ability users out there, and has a past saturated in blood. During his time with Porta Mafia, Dazai was as ruthless as they came, not hesitating to dish out death in any given scenario…at least until his best friend used his dying breath to beg him to be a good man and protect what little innocence was left in the world.

#4: Polnareff “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders” (2014-15)

He’s the flashy Frenchman who can slice any Stand User into salami, but beneath his incredible hair and terrible luck with women, there exists a past strewn with revenge and regret. This all stems back to his childhood, where his beloved sister was brutally murdered by the likes of J Geil. The heartbreak sent him traversing the world in search of hunting down the sicko so he could personally introduce him to Silver Charito’s sword. Good thing Jotaro came along, otherwise he would be left in his slump as Dio’s slave and never complete his vengeance.

#3: Senor Pink

“One Piece” (1999-)

At first glance, you might see just another crazed, outrageous pirate just waiting to be taken down a peg leg by the Straw Hats. But, like all things in Oda’s world, there’s a sorrowful nuance to the character that none of us were expecting. So, why does a gangster dress up like an oversized infant? Turns out that following the death of their child, the only way for Senor Pink to get any reaction out of his comatose wife, was to dress as their son. It’s unbelievably sad, and completely pulls a 180 on the character’s seemingly silly aesthetics.

#2: Inosuke

“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” (2019-)

While the specificities of this swordsman’s past remain somewhat of a mystery, from what we’ve seen so far, Inosuke did not have it easy. These days, the boar masked member of the Demon Slayer Corp has always garnered the most laughs, from his crazed fighting mentality, all the way to his inability to get a person’s name right. We can’t get enough of it. So, where did he come from? Given that in a pain-induced flashback we saw an infant Inosuke being dropped into the wilderness by his seriously wounded mother, it’s clear that he’s had to fight to survive basically his entire life. That’s…deeply troubling.

#1: Gintoki

“Gintama” (2006-18)

In both laughs and tears, the White Demon always slays. When it comes to the comedy, Gintoki truly has no equal, the man has been breaking fourth walls and parodying everything under the sun for decades now. It just makes it all the more phenomenal that between all of the ball-breaking gags, there’s a character underneath it all who’s still suffering under the guilt of having to kill his beloved sensei for the sake of his friends, an act that led him into exile and near starvation. Gintoki clearly doesn’t do anything by half measures.