The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is a comedy anime that kept me laughing all the way through. It may seem weird to start a review with a statement like that but I couldn’t think of any other way. Saiki K is one of the funniest anime I’ve watched in quite a while (and I just spent the year catching up on Gintama) but just having good jokes doesn’t make a good anime.
Kusuo Saiki is our lead and has pretty much every psychic power in the book. You would think he’d live an amazing life being able to go anywhere he wants, get anything he wants, read people’s minds, fly, anything he can think of, but Saiki makes it clear from the start this a huge burden and the series quickly develops into a parody of super power series. Yes he can read people’s minds but he’s constantly hearing peoples’ thoughts and can’t enjoy movies or TV because he’ll be spoiled. Everything has some sort of downside which is exemplified by Saiki just wanting to live a quiet life.
Like many comedy manga/anime Saiki K has a giant reoccurring cast with characters representing almost every trait they possibly could with more still being introduced in later episodes. The most reoccurring would be Shun Kaido who is a chuunibyou but ditches the act quite frequently, Riki Nendou who is an idiot and the one person Saiki can’t read the mind of and Kokomi Teruhashi who is an uber popular girl that develops a crush on Saiki despite his best efforts to turn her away. The cast is massive and I could probably double or triple the size of this review just talking about them. Luckily the writer uses characters in scenarios that fit their tropes perfectly so all have time to shine. Some (like the ones I mentioned among others) show up far more frequently than others but that’s just to be expected.
The episodes are organized in a really interesting way. The show aired with 5 shorts a week each lasting about 5 minutes, then at the end of the week a compilation episode released with all the shorts. This works really well as a lot of the stories are standalone and don’t take that long to get through. There are some that last 2 or 3 shorts or even a couple times where all 5 followed one specific story.
One issue I had is how it was obvious some chapters had been skipped or rearranged from the manga. Episode 7 had a Christmas and New Year’s episode which is ok but so did Episode 16. The first set was also much funnier which made it worse. I know there’s probably chapters that wouldn’t have worked in the format but an anime-only viewer shouldn’t have been able to tell.