As we’ve already established, anime isn’t restricted to age, genre or generally at all, it appears. You can have children wandering around inside computerized words, a sociopath with a magic diary casually slaughtering all the criminals and people that turn into weapons. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the weirdest ongoing themes in several of the most popular anime series.

Yu-Gi-Oh! – Children’s Card Game

A couple of decades ago, back in the first series, the reason for the card game was tied up in the story. There was reincarnation, Egyptian god appearances, and the mystical Millenium Items. Duel Monsters (as the in-show game is called) was just the modern equivalent of summoning creatures to fight battles for you. It had a reason. Then we hit GX and, in the words of LittleKuriboh’s genius Abridged Series, “I challenge you to a children’s card game!” Somehow, what began as a tiny cult following is now on the same level as political powers and can cost people companies. It just went ridiculous.

Bleach – Everybody Has New Powers

Turns out there are evil ghosts (called Hollows) all around. But it’s alright, Shinigami are here to protect you and safely move the Hollows to the afterlife. The star title becomes a Shinigami and protects his hometown against large numbers of the creatures. Then it turns out that there’s a new (or old) group called the Quincy. They just destroy the Hollows and prevent their souls from entering the reincarnation cycle. In addition to these three, there’s a tiny cluster of powered humans known as Fullbringers. Now, each group has their own sets of powers and abilities. But it turns out that Ichigo (the main character) is not only a Shinigami but part Hollow as well. And a Fullbringer. Oh, and his mother was a Quincy so he has those powers as well. Basically, every time there’s a new power on the block, he gets it. It’s not just him. Everybody else just seems to randomly increase their powers whenever they feel like it.

Pokémon – Gotta Catch Them All 80

Ash Ketchum is 10. He’s been 10 for a while. Never changing, never aging. Say it, out loud. POKÉMON TRAINER!! Long ago, I remember the tag-line being “Gotta catch ’em all!” But despite eighteen unaging years of roaming his planet, the would-be champion has caught just a measly 80 according to bulbapedia. The original game of Blue and Red crams 150 tiny pixelated creatures into the experience. I managed to catch all of them plus another three (Mew, M and Missingno.). I even still have that Link Cable somewhere. Sorry Ash, you can’t hold a candle to anyone who just sat down with a pack of batteries and a rainy afternoon.

One Piece – Balloons Solve Everything

Our favourite pirate captain, the almost neurologically loyal Monkey D. Luffy has yet to encounter a problem he can’t overcome by stretching. Fighting a giant? Balloon! Super-fast assassins? Stretch powers! During the Alabasta Arc, Luffy faces down a Devil Fruit user who controls sand. Whilst they are in a desert. Luffy overcomes him by drinking a small barrel of water and finding a new-found power: water balloon! Fighting a lightning god who can restart his heart after death and read your mind? Throw punches everywhere and you can’t go wrong. Even when facing down a cannonball that destroyed an entire row of houses, Luffy justs bounces it right back by turning his stomach into a big bouncy balloon.

Basically all of them – Friendship = Power

In quite an alarmingly high amount of anime, team protagonist collapses at some point as all seems against them. As the lie there, hovering between life and death or simply stunned, they experience an old memory/vision of friends and family or hear voices.Then they come back with a new power or renewed vigor and win the day. Despite hating these moments, we can’t all help but love them.