People may not speak as frequently about short anime series, but they are definitely still worth watching. They provide exciting and complex characters following a complete storyline with beautiful artwork, all wrapped in one.
There’s not always time or energy to watch lengthier series. So when I find myself short for time, I often turn to series that are shorter in length.
Thankfully there are many fantastic anime’ with 13 or fewer episodes available. Excellent for those times you don’t want to commit to a long anime series.
So let’s take a look at ten of the best short anime series in our list below.
1. Elfen Lied
If you are a horror enthusiast, then this anime series is definitely for you.
Elfen Lied is an anime series of exceptional value, with excellent background music that is totally contradictory yet entirely appropriate.
This series is jam-packed with uncensored nudity, extreme graphic violence, blood, gore, and psychological violence. The first ten minutes of the first episode is said to be the most violent in mainstream media.
However, you might be questioning my opinions on the first episode. Never fear as the series balances its darker themes with romantic subplots and comedic humor.
The series plot is a well-thought-out one, although it can come off as highly disturbing. Although if you sit through it, you will probably be more shocked by the final episode than the first.
2. The Devil is A Part-Timer!
What more do you need than thirteen episodes of the Devil working at “Mgronalds”?
Defeated by the Hero Emilia after he sought to conquer “Ente Isla.” His last resort is to escape through a portal to the human world.
Sadao Mao can only turn into his original form when people around him are in despair. However, he uses his powers for good deeds, such as repairing the city. This behavior confuses the characters due to his title as the Devil King.
This anime hilariously looks at the “hellish” nature of low wage employment. The characters also face the challenges of living in the new world of modern-day Tokyo, Japan.
Aired in April 2013, the story often unfolds using humor to explore the characters’ personalities and moral values. Trust me; this short anime series is worth your time.
3. Tonari no Seki-Kun (The Master of Killing Time)
A creative boy is playing comically elaborate games in the middle of class. Somehow never getting caught, as his neighbor Rumi Yoki, somehow always takes the fall for it.
This anime breaks down the barriers of everyday school life.
Aired in winter 2014, Seki attracts so much attention towards his audience in each seven-minute episode. Each segment is episodic with recurring themes and without much of an overlying plot.
This show might come off as a silly anime, but it comes across as simplistic and humorous. While Seki’s activities may seem elaborate, it’s still easy to see what the show is trying to accomplish.
As a series of weird quirks, occasional characters come into the scenes to provide some normalcy.
The humor of this show is easy to digest; however, it might not appeal to everyone. If you’re looking to eliminate some time, then this short anime series is perfect for you.
4. No Game No Life
If you are an anime and gamer enthusiast who loves smart characters and game humor, then this one’s for you. For modern-day hermits, Sora and Shiro gaming is everything.
Known as BLANK, they are the most revered pro gamers in the world. They even consider the real world to be just another crappy game.
Siblings Sora and Shiro are challenged to a game of chess by a god from an alternative reality. After gaining victory, they are transported to Disboard. There they go from shut-in NEETS with no prospects to royalty in just a few days.
In a strange world where resolving conflict is reduced to using games’ premise as substitutes for battles. From petty squabbles to Immanity’s people’s fate, all forms of conflict are delt through creative and elaborate high-risk games.
If you aren’t looking for drastic anime and are open-minded, this show is definitely for you.
If you’re looking for a cute anime with just happy feelings all around then, this is it.
Wakaba girl observes the life of a cute rich girl trying to learn the everyday things people do. Unaware of how things work outside of her wealthy home, she longs to become a Gyaru.
Seemingly unaware of the term’s true meaning, she is only following what she thinks it means.
You won’t forget your daily dose of cuteness, with character development and little plot. It follows; her school friends in their daily lives trying to help her become the perfect Gyaru girl.
It was aired in July 2015 and with each episode only seven minutes. It’s just long enough for a few laughs. Even with frequent mishaps and confusion, the story still flows nicely.
Talk about cuteness overload with this one. If you’re big on Slice of Life, then check this one out.
6. Black Bullet
In this post-apocalyptic action and sci-fi series, a viral pandemic has attacked humankind. People have no other option but to hide behind the Monoliths walls.
Unfortunately, even with the walls’ protection, people still can’t escape from the parasitic virus.
The government forms a special task force called “Civil Securities.” These units specialize in fighting against the Gastrea. This task force includes an initiator,” a cursed child,” and a promoter, who serves as the leader.
Nicknamed the Cursed Children, these girls are born with the Gastrea virus’s genome, giving them supernatural abilities.
The story follows Satomi Rentaro and Enju Aihara as they strive to secure Tokyo and the rest of the world. The action scenes provide an outstanding balance of CG and traditional animation, leaving enough room for character and story developments.
This one is an absolute must-see.
7. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun
If you’re looking for an anime with unending amusement that thrives off love and romance, then this is it.
A glance at this one might have some roll their eyes at just another Shoujo anime. This Romcom embraces the irony even though it certainly is your typical Shoujo.
But fear not as the way it handles itself is quite the opposite. Chiyo Sakura is a high school girl who tries to confess her love to the oblivious Nozaki. Hilariously he mistakes her for a fan of his artwork and gives her a job as his manga assistant.
It combines factual information of the manga industry with a hilarious slice of life, fabulous characters, and heartfelt moments.
Aired in July 2014, this anime knows how to make fun of itself while it still holds to a semblance of sincerity.
This series’ laughable characters and light-hearted and humorous approach towards high school romance makes this a gem worth watching.
8. Yuri on Ice
If you’re looking for a short anime series that beautifully combines elements from both the sports and romance genres; then look no further.
This anime subverts tropes, defies expectations, and beautifully avoids being dismissive or exploitative of how non-traditional it is.
It’s a sports anime that seems like a delightfully detailed love letter. In my opinion, this is one of the most genuine LGBTQ romances I’ve seen in an anime.
This genuinely dazzling animation and incredibly fluid and enthralling skating routines take a break from the much-contrived drama.
Aired on October 5, 2016, the story follows Yuri after his crushing defeat at the Grand Prix finals and Viktor. Russian figure skating champion Viktor offers to train Yuri for the next Grand Prix. The series continues to revolve around the developing relationship between Yuri and Viktor.
This series develops with just enough friction for character growth and communication. Whether you’re watching for the love story or the beautifully rendered skating routines, this one has something for everyone.
9. Devilman Crybaby
Are you in the mood to be horrified but also highly fascinated all at the same time? Then feast your eyes on Devilman.
Graphically this one might look different from the original 1970’s setting of Nagai’s manga but do not fear. Demons have awoken to reclaim the world, and Akira Fudo is unlucky enough to become one. Most demons entertain mindless violence with their physical capabilities.
Not Akira, he uses his powers for the sake of humanity. Well, at least as much as his friend Ryo will let him. In doing so, he becomes the titular Devilman, gaining a demon’s powers with a human’s soul.
This Netflix adaptation retains Nagai’s basic premise, changing the setting to the 21st century.
The graphic content, animation, soundtrack, characterization, and openly LGBT characters remain faithful to the original manga.
This anime’ concept is a deep and dark one, and the overall experience is a cruel and nihilistic emotional rollercoaster. This short series might not be for everyone, but it’s still a masterpiece worth watching.
10. High School of the Dead
A high school is a place with students and teachers, all fighting for survival. Sounds like just another day, right? Unless your Takashi Komuro and Rei Miyamoto.
Throw in some zombies, and you’ve got one of the most acclaimed television anime series to this day.
The show follows Takashi and Rei after they narrowly escape from their undead high school. The series progresses as Takashi and Rei band together with other students to find their families. They are constantly battling zombies and the decay of their moral codes.
Aired on July 5, 2010, this one might go a bit overboard with the unnecessary fan-service.
But this anime brings all the mindless fun and gory entertainment to a zombie apocalypse.
You can find many different short anime series in a variety of genres available today. I hope this list has assisted you in your selection of the best anime short series.