What are the best short anime to watch? Hello everyone, and welcome back to Bakabuzz! Recently, I’ve been struggling to find time to watch long anime series. Instead, I spend hours searching for a good short anime to binge-watch. Does this sound familiar to you? Well, in this article, we’ll be exploring some of the best short and binge-worthy anime series that can be finished in a single day, perfect for those with limited time.
Our top list includes carefully chosen anime from various genres to cater to the preferences of our readers. So, without further ado, let’s countdown the 32 best short anime series with few episodes to binge-watch!
Kicking off the list of the best short anime series with Gunbuster, a classic mecha anime that was released in 1988, consisting of just 6 episodes. The story takes place in the not-so-distant future, where humanity has finally ventured into the vast expanses of space. But as they explore further, they encounter a race of insectoid aliens known as the “Space Monsters,” who pose a grave threat to humanity’s survival by steadily approaching Earth.
To counter this menace, humanity develops massive robots that are piloted by skilled young individuals from around the globe. One such individual is Noriko Takaya, who enrolls in a training school despite doubts about her piloting abilities. At the school, she encounters her complete opposite in the form of the talented and beautiful Kazumi Amano. Together, they must overcome the trauma of war and confront their own emotions as they fight to save humanity from the brink of destruction.
31. Kuuchuu Buranko
Kuuchuu Buranko is an 11-episode drama psychological anime that explores the themes of psychology and medicine. At the Irabu General Hospital, Dr. Ichirou Irabu is a renowned psychiatrist who is well-versed in the world of mental illnesses. Together with his alluring nurse Mayumi, the duo treats a diverse group of patients, each suffering from debilitating mental conditions that hamper their daily lives.
But patients must beware of the enchanting Mayumi, who with her captivating looks and a short, pink nurse uniform, has an unexpected side. Meanwhile, Dr. Irabu exhibits a perplexing trait of possessing three different personalities – a child sporting an oversized lab coat, a youthful and intelligent man with feminine characteristics, and a self-centred, outgoing green bear. Despite curing his patients in unconventional ways, the doctor often seeks personal gains from them, forgetting his professional responsibilities in the process. As each patient grapples with their internal turmoil, a mysterious yet unmistakable connection links their journeys together, uncovering secrets hidden beneath the surface.
30. Petshop of Horrors
Petshop of Horrors is a short horror anime with four episodes produced by Madhouse in 1999. The story revolves around Count D, the eccentric owner of a pet shop located in the heart of Chinatown. Count D specializes in selling rare and exotic pets to those seeking something out of the ordinary. However, each sale comes with a strict contract that must be followed to the letter. Failure to adhere to the terms of the contract can lead to catastrophic consequences, for which the pet shop cannot be held responsible.
As strange and unexplainable deaths occur in the city, homicide detective Leon Orcot begins to piece together a disturbing pattern. All of the victims were customers of Count D’s pet shop, and Leon is determined to uncover the truth behind the bizarre occurrences. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he soon realizes that there are darker forces at play and that the truth may be more terrifying than he ever imagined.
29. Paranoia Agent
Paranoia Agent is a 13-episode short anime series that first aired in 2004. The series is a psychological drama that revolves around the infamous Shounen Bat (Lil’ Slugger), a rollerblading assailant who terrorizes the residents of Musashino City by attacking them with a golden baseball bat. His first victim, Tsukiko Sagi, a well-known yet timid character designer, becomes the prime suspect in orchestrating the attacks. However, as more and more people fall victim to Shounen Bat’s attacks, detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa begin to investigate the identity of the assailant.
As the detectives delve deeper into the case, paranoia and fear begin to grip the town, with chilling rumors spreading among adults and children alike. Will they be able to unravel the truth behind Shounen Bat’s identity before it’s too late, or will the paranoia consume them first? The series explores the dark and complex themes of human psychology and the impact of trauma on individuals and society.
ReLIFE is an anime that follows the journey of Arata Kaizaki, a man who feels unfulfilled with his current life and takes a pill that transforms him into a 17-year-old high school student. However, as he experiences school life once again, he realizes how much things have changed since he last attended. Assigned to watch over him is Ryou, the woman who gave him the pill, who must keep her true identity hidden while posing as a transfer student. Through Arata’s eyes, we are shown the struggles of readjusting to high school life and the challenges that come with it.
27. Yuru Camp
Among the top short anime series on our list is Yuru Camp, a 12-episode TV show that premiered in January 2018. The series teaches us that even if our plans don’t go as expected, it doesn’t always lead to negative outcomes.
The story follows Rin Shima, the main character, who initially planned to spend her time camping alone. However, her plans take a different turn when she meets someone unexpectedly and decides to camp together with them instead of on her own. The show highlights the beauty of nature and the joys of camping while also highlighting the importance of human interactions and the unexpected adventures that can arise from them.
26. Banana Fish
Banana Fish is an anime that may surprise you with its action scenes and emotional storyline despite having a cute title. It first aired in July 2018 and is set in New York City’s dangerous gang world. The anime follows the life of Ash, the main character, and his involvement with the mafia in the city. The story revolves around the mysterious words “Banana Fish” and their connection to Ash’s past.
Aired in 2014, Barakamon is a sweet slice-of-life anime that mingles humor with a meaningful story. The series follows the journey of Seishuu Handa, a talented artist who initially comes across as arrogant and self-centered. However, after a series of events, Seishuu is sent away to a remote island where he learns to reflect on his actions and grow as a person. Through his interactions with the locals, Seishuu realizes the importance of human connection and the value of self-reflection. The anime features so many life lessons that showcase that people can change for the better, and sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery and some introspection to achieve personal growth.
24. 91 Days
91 Days” is an intense drama-filled anime that first aired in July 2016. It follows the story of Avilio Bruno, who leaves his hometown after the brutal murder of his parents and younger brother. Many years later, Avilio returns to the town, seeking revenge against those responsible for his family’s death.
Although the anime is short, it manages to take us on an epic journey of betrayal, violence, and complex relationships as Avilio goes after each person involved in the tragic event. Along the way, he faces moral dilemmas and questions the price of revenge, as well as the consequences of his actions.
23. Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland is a horror gore anime with a unique twist, this mini-series has 12 episodes. Ganta Igarashi, the main character, and his classmates are excited about their upcoming field trip to the infamous prison amusement park, Deadman Wonderland. However, their excitement turns to terror when a mysterious man dressed in red massacres the entire class. Framed for the crime, Ganta is sent to the same prison where he is forced to participate in deadly games to survive.
With his life on the line and a lethal collar around his neck, Ganta must navigate a world of sadistic inmates and bizarre powers. Friendships are tested, and alliances are formed and broken as Ganta tries to clear his name and find the true identity of the “Red Man.” But as the stakes get higher, and the games get deadlier, can Ganta survive long enough to uncover the truth?
22. Time of Eve
Time of Eve” is a six-episode sci-fi and slice of life anime produced by Studio Rikka. It takes place in a world where androids are a common part of daily life in Japan, and the government has implemented laws that regulate how these robots should behave. Our protagonist Rikuo Sakisaka has grown up accepting these societal norms and views androids as mere machines. However, things start to change when he discovers a mysterious message buried within the behavioral logs of his android, Sammy. This discovery leads Rikuo to a peculiar coffee shop where the rule is that there is no distinction between humans and androids.
21. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a unique and emotional drama anime that will tangle your heartstrings. Produced by Bones and Kinema Citrus, it consists of 11 episodes. The story revolves around a middle school student named Mirai Onozawa, who feels frustrated and dissatisfied with her family situation. She wishes for a drastic change in her life, but little did she know that her wish would come true in the form of a devastating magnitude 8.0 earthquake.
The earthquake wreaks havoc on the Kanto region, and Mirai and her brother Yuuki witness firsthand the destructive power of nature as it tears apart the city they call home. Amid the chaos, they meet Mari Kusakabe, a kind-hearted single mother and motorcyclist, who takes it upon herself to help the children find their families in the aftermath of the disaster.
Canaan is a true hidden gem, a short action anime with a big experience that should not be missed. It tells the story of Oosawa Maria, a talented Japanese photographer living in Shanghai with her partner Mino, who always looks for newsworthy stories to cover. However, their plans take an unexpected turn when they stumble upon a bizarre festival and become embroiled in a violent altercation with masked men and a mysterious white-haired woman.
Just when things seem to be at their worst, an old friend, the skilled fighter Canaan, comes to their rescue. As they delve deeper into the situation, they discover a sinister plot involving a deadly virus that threatens to take countless lives. Canaan realizes that to save her friends and stop the perpetrator, she must confront her troubled past and face her demons head-on.
Another is a short horror anime series, produced by P.A. Works, and consists of 12 episodes full of suspense and mysteries. The story revolves around Kouichi Sakakibara, who transfers to class 3-3 at Yomiyama North and discovers that the students are all in a gloomy mood. Despite the other students and teachers ignoring her, Kouichi begins to get closer to the mysterious Mei Misaki, who wears an eye patch. Despite warnings and rumors from others, Kouichi tries to uncover the truth behind the strange events happening in his class. The anime follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the terrifying enigma surrounding a series of inevitable, tragic events. However, unraveling the horror of Yomiyama may come at the cost of the ultimate price.
18. Eden of the East
Eden of the East follows Saki Morimi, a young woman who finds herself in trouble during her graduation trip to the United States. After being saved by a mysterious man named Akira Takizawa, who suffers from memory loss and carries a gun and a phone with 8,200,000,000 yen in digital cash, Saki gets drawn into a dangerous game where twelve individuals are given the power to shape the future of Japan.
As Saki and Akira uncover the mysteries surrounding the game and the origins of Akira’s past, they must race against time to prevent a catastrophic event and save the country they love. Action, drama, romance, and thrilling plot twists await in this must-watch short anime from Production I.G. with 11 episodes.
17. House of Five Leaves
House of Five Leaves is a 12-episode anime series produced by Manglobe studio, based on the manga of the same name. It is a historical drama with a samurai theme, and features an adult cast. The story follows Masanosuke “Masa” Akitsu, a wandering ronin with a meek personality who is often dismissed by his employers despite his swordsmanship skills. He is approached by Yaichi, a carefree man who hires him as his bodyguard, leading Masa to become involved with the Five Leaves gang and their illicit activities. As Masa becomes more entwined with the group, he begins to question his own principles and struggles to uncover the motivations of these mysterious outlaws.
FLCL is a 2000 short anime with 6 episodes that span genres of action and comedy in a coming-of-age story. Produced by Gainax and directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, FLCL follows the ordinary life of Naota Nandaba, a sixth grader who lives in a dull town where nothing exciting happens. However, his life takes a turn for the unexpected when Haruko Haruhara, a pink-haired, Vespa-riding and guitar-wielding woman crashes into his life literally. After this strange encounter, Naota finds himself caught up in a battle for the fate of the universe, all while juggling his complicated relationships with his ex-girlfriend Mamimi and his older brother’s ex-girlfriend.
Mononoke is a must-watch fantasy horror anime series that first aired in 2007 and consists of 12 episodes. It combines elements of fantasy, horror, mystery, and supernatural genres. The main character, the “Medicine Seller,” is a skilled occult master who travels across feudal Japan on a mission to eradicate malevolent spirits known as “Mononoke.” However, he cannot simply slay them; he must first understand their Form, Truth, and Reason, which requires careful investigative work and psychological analysis.
One of the Medicine Seller’s investigations leads him to an old inn where a pregnant woman named Shino has taken refuge. Unbeknownst to her, the inn is infested with a deadly group of mononoke known as the Zashiki Warashi. With his sharp intuition, the Medicine Seller sets out to uncover the truth behind the mononoke’s existence and defeat them before they harm anyone else.
Kuragehime is a great 2010 short anime series with 11 episodes produced by Brain’s Base. This comedy series follows Tsukimi Kurashita, a 19-year-old girl who is obsessed with jellyfish and dreams of becoming an illustrator. Living with five other otaku women, Tsukimi’s life takes an unexpected turn when she meets a fashionable woman who helps her save a jellyfish in a pet store. This stranger turns out to be a wealthy male college student named Kuranosuke Koibuchi, who harbors some secrets of his own, including cross-dressing. As the series progresses, Tsukimi and her friends are drawn into Kuranosuke’s world of fashion and visual arts, leading to some hilarious and heartwarming moments.
13. Sakamoto desu ga?
Sakamoto desu ga? is a 12-episode short anime produced by Studio Deen, falling under the comedy genre and focusing on gag humor and school themes. The story revolves around the character Sakamoto, who is a new student in high school. Despite it being his first day, he quickly captures the attention of his classmates with his sophisticated and suave personality. His good looks and intelligence make him the envy of his male classmates and the desire of his female classmates. No matter what challenges come his way, Sakamoto handles them with ease, making it difficult for anyone to derail him. His peers and even his teachers try to reach his level of excellence, but it seems like an impossible feat. However, in the process, they may learn a thing or two from Sakamoto.
12. Devilman Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby is a 10-episode short anime produced by Science SARU. This horror series revolves around the concept that devils cannot take physical form without possessing a living host. However, if the will of the individual is strong enough, they can overcome the demon’s influence and make its power their own, becoming a Devilman. The story follows Akira Fudou, a weak and compassionate person, who is approached by his childhood friend, Ryou Asuka, to help uncover the existence of devils. Akira accepts the request without hesitation and joins Ryou on a mission to investigate a party called Sabbath, where debauchery and degeneracy are rampant. However, things take a horrifying turn when the demons possess the partiers, turning them into grotesque monsters and unleashing chaos and destruction.
In a reckless attempt to save his best friend, Akira merges with the devil Amon and becomes a Devilman, gaining the power to defeat the remaining demons. But this new partnership awakens a primal and insatiable side of Akira, leading him down a dangerous path. In spite of having the body of a devil, Akira still holds onto his compassionate heart and works with Ryou to destroy the demons that threaten humanity and his loved ones.
11. Haibane Renmei
The next one is Haibane Renmei, a 2002 short anime produced by Radix with 13 episodes. The story centers on a young Haibane, named Rakka, who emerges from a cocoon in the village of Old Home with no memories of her past. Haibane are beings with halos and small gray wings who must follow strict rules, such as not leaving the village or going near its surrounding walls. However, mysterious disappearances on their “Day of Flight” cause unease among the Haibane.
As Rakka and her fellow Haibane try to make sense of their world and their own identities, they must confront their past pains and search for salvation. Haibane Renmei not only follows Rakka’s journey but also those around her, creating a psychological and mysterious tale of self-discovery.
10. Death Parade
Death Parade is a short anime series with 12 episodes produced by Madhouse in 2015. It belongs to the genres of drama, supernatural, and suspense. The story follows a unique afterlife where those who die at the same time arrive at Quindecim, a mysterious bar. The arbiter of this bar, Decim, challenges the patrons to life-threatening games that ultimately determine their fate. Depending on the outcome, their soul will either be reincarnated or sent to the void. Through these games, the true nature of each patron is revealed, and Decim’s judgments are tested. However, his usual methods are challenged when a black-haired amnesiac suddenly appears, causing him to reevaluate his approach.
Katanagatari is a mini anime series consisting of 12 episodes, produced by White Fox and based on a light novel. It falls under the genres of action, adventure, and romance with themes of historical and martial arts. Set in Edo-era Japan, the protagonist Shichika Yasuri practices a unique sword-fighting style called Kyotouryuu, in which his body is used as a weapon. Shichika and his sister Nanami live in exile until Togame, an ambitious strategist, seeks his help in collecting twelve rare swords known as the “Deviant Blades” for the shogunate. Shichika agrees, intrigued by Togame herself, and they embark on a perilous journey. Along the way, they face fierce opponents who also desire the blades and must work together to achieve their goals.
Anohana is a heartwarming and emotional story that portrays the power of friendship and the process of grief. The series follows Jinta Yadomi, a high school student who lives as a recluse and is haunted by the memory of his childhood friend Menma, who died in an accident when they were kids. One summer day, Jinta begins seeing Menma’s ghost, and she reveals that she has a wish that needs to be fulfilled before she can rest in peace. With the help of their other childhood friends, Jinta and Menma’s group come together to fulfill her wish, rekindling their friendship and confronting their unresolved feelings about Menma’s death.
7. Mondaiji Tachi
In the story of Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren’t They?, we have three teenagers Izayoi Sakamaki, Asuka Kudou, and You Kasukabe who receive mysterious letters that transport them to a fantasy world known as “Little Garden”. Upon arrival, they meet a girl named Kurousagi who tells them that they must use their psychic powers to participate in high-stakes games against other gifted inhabitants. To do so, they must join a community and protect the residents of Little Garden while discovering the secrets of this new world. Spanning genres of action, comedy, fantasy, and supernatural powers, this mini-anime is a thrilling adventure from start to finish.
6. Zankyou no Terror
Zankyou no Terror, also known as Terror in Resonance, is an 11-episode drama anime that tells the story of two boys who terrorize Japan. Nine and Twelve, the two boys, launch an attack on a nuclear facility, causing chaos and confusion within the police force and ultimately leading to the downfall of the government. Released in July 2014, this anime falls under genres such as mystery, psychological, and thriller. Despite its short length, Zankyou no Terror delivers a unique and well-developed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you finish the series.
Ensuing, we have Erased a supernatural mystery anime that follows the story of Satoru, a man with the ability to travel back in time to prevent tragic events from happening. However, when he’s sent back 18 years into the past, he realizes that the murder of someone close to him is linked to a series of events that began long ago. With the help of his newfound friends, Satoru embarks on a journey to unravel the mystery and prevent the tragedy from happening again. Erased is a short series, running for only one season, but will stay with you like forever.
4. No Game No Life
Next up, we have No Game No Life, an anime that remains a hot topic of conversation for fans eagerly anticipating a second season. Despite its shortness, the anime is still considered a masterpiece. The plot revolves around the main characters Shiro and Sora who find themselves transported to a world of games. Here, they can finally be their true selves and aim to become rulers of this new world. The catching setting and unique characters make this anime a must-watch for fans of the isekai and gaming genres.
3. Angel Beats
Angel Beats is an emotional afterlife anime with 13 episodes. It follows the story of Yuzuru Otonashi, who wakes up in the afterlife with no memories of his past life. He soon discovers that he is in a high school-like dimension where students who died with regrets reside. These students form the Afterlife Battlefront, a group that rebels against the god-like student council president, Kanade “Angel” Tachibana. As Otonashi learns more about this afterlife world and the reasons behind their rebellion, he becomes conflicted about their actions and takes it upon himself to understand the opposing side.
2. Serial Experiments Lain
Serial Experiments Lain is a cyberpunk anime that explores the relationship between technology and the human mind. The series delves into themes such as identity, consciousness, and the blurred lines between reality and the digital world. The protagonist, Lain, is a relatable character who struggles with social interaction and technology, making her journey into the Wired all the more intriguing. The Men in Black add an air of mystery to the series, and their true intentions are shrouded in secrecy until the end. The series is renowned for its avant-garde style, with surreal imagery and a haunting soundtrack that complements the story’s themes. Overall, Serial Experiments Lain is a thought-provoking anime that challenges the viewer’s perception of the world and leaves a lasting impression.
1. The Tatami Galaxy
The Tatami Galaxy is an 11-episode anime produced by Madhouse, based on a novel of the same name. The story follows a college student who spends two bitter years trying to break up couples on campus with his friend Ozu, who seems set on making his life as miserable as possible. One day, the student meets a man who calls himself the god of matrimony, and this encounter causes him to reflect on his past actions. He decides to make the most out of the rest of his college life, but when he regrets not living his life differently, he is thrown back in time to the beginning of his college years. The series follows the young man’s misadventures as he tries to make friends, find love, and experience the rose-colored campus life he always dreamed of.
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