Anime Series Like Sarazanmai

One day, after a weird run in with his classmate, Kazuki and two of his classmates knock over a Kappa statue in Asakusa and meet a creature named Keppi. Before they know it, they are turned into kappa-like creatures and tasked by Keppi to destroy kappa-zombies if they want to become human again.

Writing the synopsis was difficult, not because the plot was unclear, but rather it is one of those shows you just have to watch to try and understand. If you like surreal insanity, we’ve got more anime recommendations like Sarazanmai for you.

For Fans of Surrealism

Mawaru Penguindrum

The Takakura family has always been dealt equal hands of joy and sorrow by fate. For the twin brothers Kanba and Shouma, they have had more than their share of sorrow with their parents dead and their sister critically ill. When their sister Himari is given temporary leave from the hospital, they take her to the aquarium where she collapses. However, Himari is inexplicably revived when a penguin hat from the souvenir shop is put on her head. Her revival comes at a cost, though. There is a new entity in her body that tasks the boys with finding the mysterious penguin drum.

While the plots differ, they have the same essence. In Sarazanmai, the boys are trying to keep their connection to others. In Mawaru, the boys are trying to keep their sister alive. Regardless, both shows are packed to the brim with metaphor and magical girl/boy transformations.

Flip Flappers

Paprika and Cocona hold the keys to open the door where they can meet from their different times in a dimension called Pure Illusion. In this dimension, they search for the Shard of Mimi which is said to grant any wish. However, finding it will not be easy.

Did you love Sarazanmai not so much for the plot, but that bright, flashy, fluid animation? Flip Flappers is much the same way. The more it goes on, the deeper the plot becomes, but it is flashy surrealism in its finest.


Yuki Sanada is a socially awkward young man that, due to his grandmother’s job, has to move around a lot. He has all but given up on making normal friends until he moved to the town of Endoshima. There he meets a man named Haru who claims to be an alien. It turns out Yuki was right on one account, he would never make “normal” friends.

Both stories are set in unique real-life setting (although much odder in Sarazanmai) where boys go from being normal to being surrounded by wackiness. Of course, you watch friendships grow amidst this and a whole slew of brightly animated weird situations.

For Fans of Insanity


After his brother moved to America, Naota was left to his own mundane existence with his grandfather and father in his small town. However, one day while walking home with Mamimi, his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Naota is hit by a Vespa. Its rider, a crazy pink haired woman, gets off, kisses him, smacks him on the head with her guitar, and then speeds away. This marks the end of Naota’s boring life and the beginning of a never-ending string of weird events.

Much of both of these shows is sitting there trying to realize the plot and often missing it. So packed with metaphors that you will likely have to watch the series again to fully understand much of it. Despite that, the fast pace and fluid animation become addicting in their own right.

Yuri Bear Storm

After a mysterious meteor shower, bears around the world can longer peacefully coexist with humans. Now they hunger for human flesh and humanity, in turn, ravaged their numbers. However, the wall of severance was built to keep these two civilizations separate. That is, until two bears sneak in disguised as two schoolgirls looking to sate their hunger for human flesh.

At a glance, you’d think both shows are abstract randomness, but the more you watch, the more you discover the themes and symbolism within. That is really part of the joy in watching them, but Yuri Bear Storm tends have more upfront comedy rather than the odd what the fuck situations in Sarazanmai.


Within Kyoto is the mirror capital, a place where humans and youkai live together and no one ever dies. This place is protected by three people – Kurama, Yase, and Myoue – who await the return of their parents. However, things don’t often stay very peaceful and simple.

Both series are about the intersection of humanity and spirits. While Kyousougiga has more of an in-depth plot, its action scenes are just as flashy as Sarazanmai, but just slightly less silly.

For Fans of Kappa

Natsume’s Book of Friends

For as long as he can remember, Takashi Natsume has been chased by spirits, but recently he discovered that the reason was because his deceased grandmother had passed on to him her “Book of Friends,” a book containing all the spirits she had brought under her control. Now Natsume realizes that these spirits haunt him in hopes of gaining freedom. With few friends, no loving home, and constantly hunted by malicious spirits, Natsume looks for a place where he belongs.

Unlike Sarazanmai that deals almost exclusively in kappa and kappa-related things, Natsume’s Book of Friends explores a lot of different yokai, spirits, and Japanese mythology throughout its many episodes. However, rest assured, anytime that show gets near water, a kappa is bound to show up.

Arakawa Under the Bridge

Kou Ichinomiya, as the son of a wealthy businessman, has vowed never to become indebted to anyone. However,when he falls in the river under Arakawa Bridge, someone dives in to save him, thus he owes his life to this person. She is a homeless girl named Nino who wants only one thing – to fall in love. In order to pay her back, he accepts her offer to be her boyfriend, thus moving out of his home and starting a new life under the bridge.

While easy to confuse as a man in a really tight rubber suit, the mayor under the bridge is technically a Kappa, which makes sense since they all live down by the water. While the kappa themes aren’t as obvious as Sarazanmai, he does display some notable kappa traits if you know what to look for.


Takurou is a lonely teenager that spends much of his time out fishing. One day, to his surprise, he fishes up a mermaid named Muromi. She is crazy, dense, and has a drinking problem, but now Takurou isn’t lonely as she appears every time he goes fishing.

While very obviously the main creature here is mermaids, you will see a lot of other mythical ocean creatures make an appearance in Muromi-san, including one very buff kappa. It keeps things really light similar to Sarazanmai (in most cases) but it also shows off a lot of ocean mythology in its own way.

If you have more anime recommendations like Sarazanmai, let fans know in the comments section below.

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