I’ll start by saying this: I loved this series! It genuinely made me laugh out loud many times. But I beg of you, please do not binge this anime. I would have watched one or two episodes a day to take a break from everything else. It's slice-of-life in a real sense, you live the world with the cast of the anime and do everything from saving the world to having a mundane school day, and it’s fun.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K is a tanpen (short format) slice-of-life gag anime, and it is bloody good at being that.
Saiki Kusuo is a high school kid...who has psychic powers! Saiki just wants to live an ordinary life and wants to keep his powers a secret. To make it possible he doesn’t want to stand out and tries to be as average as possible in school. In the beginning of the show our MC has two friends, a bonehead and a chunibyo boy, with such a weird friend circle he’s bound to attract attention. The cast grows with time and Saiki finds a good group of friends , who, whether he accepts it or not, cherishes (a tsundere friend if you may).
Additionally, this is a Shonen Jump property. Now the publisher of the source manga may not seem important for an anime review at first glance, but this will be important later.
Now coming to the standard review things, the visuals of the anime are meh to be honest. The colour palette is nice and vivid, but overall the visuals are not that great. The characters look simple and easy to draw, but the backgrounds employed are not so bad. Now this doesn’t matter too much (at least to me); the world, the characters and the story is enough to compensate for this. But, the screen gets crowded sometimes and the subs are harder to follow, as the characters speak fast and multiple characters talk over each other frequently. I had to stop and rewind a few times to read the dialogue.
The voice acting is subarashii! The energy and emotions are well conveyed, especially Kaidou and Kuboyasu and the contrasting dry, emotionless Kusuo is also well portrayed. These characters really bring to life the gags and humour of the series.
The anime has an overall story, which is very well fleshed out across two seasons, but it’s not the center of attention. Since it’s a short format anime, you’ll be more focused on the day to day stories. It is, after all, a gag anime and thus comedy is the number one priority. The main kind of humor they go for is shock comedy, which I love. They use standard anime tropes sometimes but even those have a hilarious twist, which mostly is psychic in nature. Never did it get old for me. Though some gags were clichéd and easy to predict, they were not very common.
But the best part of the anime is not its gags or the characters, it’s how meta and self aware it is. The anime is self aware enough to point out and even explain the peculiarities of anime in ways which are incomplete but acceptable.
The fourth wall breaking meta commentaries get you sometimes by surprise and you lose it. From the weird explanation of the world to when Saiki looks you dead in the eyes, I love it. Even the commentary on how a manga should ideally be and contrasting to the Saiki K itself was hilarious.
And since it’s a Jump property, it can capitalize on the popularity of other Jump animes. The references to Gintama (but that would be a back reference) and Kochikame, among others, made me feel doki-doki.
The characters in this anime are beautiful, almost all of them contrast with the cynical and deadpan Saiki, even his parents! All characters play the role of the stupid comic relief (gee, I wonder why? Not like this is a gag anime or anything), but it’s not limited to just a gag: the characters grow from these experiences. While over the course of the anime not many characters get the amount of growth I would have liked, for the most part the characters get well fleshed out and the relations are dynamic and do not get stale. Even Saiki’s powers are implemented in such a way that they have “realistic” limits and feel somewhat believable.
Overall I love the anime. A must watch, just don't binge it in a few nights, enjoy it for as long as you can. No matter how much you watch you’ll never get enough of It.
The visuals were not really great.
Great voice acting by everyone; the characters really felt alive.
Had a good overarching story, with no holes, but the main focus of the anime is not the story.
Well fleshed out and diverse cast, with dynamic relationships.
1 point for great humor
1 point for being meta