Top 10 Best Short Anime Series

16 min


Anime has taken the world by storm in recent years, becoming a global phenomenon that resonates with millions of fans. While numerous anime series span hundreds of episodes, there’s a unique charm in short anime. These bite-sized pieces of animated art, often no longer than a typical sitcom episode, offer the perfect opportunity for newcomers and time-strapped enthusiasts alike to delve into this captivating universe. Today, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 best short anime series that you should consider for your next binge-watch.

Top 10 Best Short Anime Series
Top 10 Best Short Anime Series

10. FLCL (2000-2001)

FLCL,” or “Fooly Cooly,” is an avant-garde six-episode series that explores adolescence, love, and the struggles of growing up. This bizarre yet thought-provoking show, renowned for its intense music and free-form animation style, will keep you engrossed from start to finish.

FLCL (2000-2001)
FLCL (2000-2001)

Are you yearning for a distinctive anime experience that fuses psychedelic visuals, rock music, and a relatable coming-of-age tale? Look no further than “FLCL” (Fooly Cooly). This mind-bending six-episode anime series from the turn of the millennium remains a timeless classic that will leave an indelible imprint on any anime enthusiast.

Produced by the acclaimed Gainax studio, “FLCL” narrates the story of Naota Nandaba, a 12-year-old boy living an ordinary life in the quiet city of Mabase. However, his mundane existence is upturned when he crosses paths with the eccentric Haruko Haruhara, a pink-haired extraterrestrial investigator riding a Vespa. From here, Naota’s life takes a surreal turn, involving spontaneous robot battles, guitars as weapons, and unexplainable phenomena occurring out of his head.

What sets “FLCL” apart from other anime series is its unconventional narrative style. It often rejects linear storytelling in favor of a frenzied pace that mirrors the chaos of adolescence. The story is deeply layered, intertwining the characters’ personal growth with the overarching sci-fi plot, with each episode inviting viewers to dig deeper and interpret their own meanings.

The animation in “FLCL” is nothing short of stellar, with diverse styles that range from manga panel-like sequences to South Park-esque parodies, making every episode a unique visual treat. Additionally, the series stands out for its killer soundtrack by the Japanese rock band The Pillows, whose infectious tunes set the rhythm for the series’ dynamic action sequences and tender emotional moments.

FLCL” is a melting pot of emotions, wrapped up in a whirlwind of sci-fi extravagance. It explores profound themes of adolescence, love, and the anxiety of growing up, making it a roller-coaster ride of emotional resonance and zany adventures.

In a nutshell, “FLCL” is a short anime that challenges the norms, encouraging viewers to embrace its chaos and embark on a unique journey of self-discovery. It is a timeless classic that, despite its short run, delivers an intense, satisfying experience that you’ll find yourself returning to time and again. So, buckle up, and prepare for the ride of your life with “FLCL”. It’s a wild, unforgettable trip you won’t want to miss.

9. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011)

An emotional rollercoaster, “Anohana” packs a profound narrative about grief, loss, and moving on into just 11 episodes. It follows a group of childhood friends as they confront their past in a story that will undoubtedly leave you teary-eyed.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011)
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011)

Are you in the mood for an emotional exploration of friendship, loss, and unspoken feelings? If so, then look no further than “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day“. This heartfelt eleven-episode short anime series is a touching narrative that will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced the bittersweet sting of growing up and the pains of unresolved pasts.

Set in a quaint, idyllic town, “Anohana” follows the story of Jinta Yadomi and his estranged group of childhood friends. Once inseparable, the friends have drifted apart following the tragic death of their cheerful and loving friend, Menma. However, their lives take an unexpected turn when Menma appears to Jinta as a ghost and tasks him with a wish she needs fulfilled, though she can’t quite remember what it is.

Reuniting the old crew proves to be a challenge, as buried feelings, guilt, and regrets resurface. Each character has their own struggle, adding depth and complexity to the narrative. The series beautifully illustrates the journey of reconciliation, healing, and the power of friendship that can transcend even death.

The true strength of “Anohana” lies in its ability to portray raw emotions realistically. Its nuanced storytelling and character development will pull at your heartstrings and make you laugh and cry along with the characters. The animation, with its soft color palette and meticulous attention to detail, adds to the series’ overall melancholic yet warm atmosphere.

The enchanting soundtrack further enhances the emotional depth of the series. It perfectly complements the narrative, making those poignant moments even more impactful.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day” is more than just a tear-jerker; it’s a poignant tale of reconciliation, understanding, and saying goodbye. Its masterful blend of realism and sentimentality make it a stand-out series that leaves a lasting impression.

In summary, “Anohana” offers an emotional rollercoaster ride that will touch your heart and soul. It’s a reminder of the enduring bonds of friendship, the pain of loss, and the healing power of forgiveness. Dive into this short yet profound anime series, and allow yourself to be swept away by its heartfelt story and unforgettable characters. It’s a journey you won’t regret embarking on.

8. Tsurezure Children (2017)

In just 12 episodes of 12 minutes each, “Tsurezure Children” provides an overview of several high school relationships with adorable humor and earnest emotion. Its brevity enhances the sweetness of its storytelling, making it a delightful short anime.

Tsurezure Children (2017)
Tsurezure Children (2017)

Tsurezure Children (2017)” is a charming, endearing and absolutely delightful anime series that will surely captivate your heart. A brilliant blend of comedy and romance, this show is a vibrant tapestry of love stories, each as unique as the characters who live them.

Imagine this: a high school setting where young hearts flutter, nervous confessions are made, relationships bloom and adolescent love paints its many hues on the canvas of life. The series cleverly brings to life the emotions of a wide range of characters, from the clueless to the passionate, and the comedic to the earnest.

Each episode of this short-format series is composed of several vignettes, revolving around different couples, navigating the turbulent seas of love, relationships, and adolescence. Through its well-written dialogues and relatable situations, “Tsurezure Children” vividly encapsulates the beauty and awkwardness of young love, making you laugh, empathize and reminisce about your own experiences of first love.

With its beautiful art style and endearing characters, “Tsurezure Children” transcends the boundaries of the usual school rom-coms. Its charm lies not in grand gestures but in the small, heartfelt moments that make up the journey of love. Every emotion, every blush, every stutter, every silent moment is so palpably conveyed that it draws you in, making you part of their world.

For fans of slice-of-life and romantic comedy, “Tsurezure Children” is an anime series not to be missed. This show is about love in its purest form, infused with a gentle humour that will leave a smile on your face long after you’ve finished watching. Get ready to feel your heart flutter as you dive into this captivating world of love and laughter!

7. Time of Eve (2008-2009)

A six-episode series exploring the relationship between humans and androids, “Time of Eve” challenges your perceptions of consciousness and morality in an increasingly mechanized world.

Time of Eve (2008-2009)
Time of Eve (2008-2009)

Time of Eve (2008-2009)” is a thought-provoking, beautifully-crafted anime that will not only entertain you, but also challenge your perspective. This show is a poignant exploration of the relationship between humans and androids, set in a future society where the line between man and machine has become increasingly blurred.

The narrative unfolds in a unique café known as “Time of Eve,” where one intriguing rule dominates: there’s no discrimination between humans and robots. Here, patrons, whether of silicon or flesh, are treated as equals, and their identities are concealed, sparking fascinating interactions that form the heart of this series.

In the midst of the sweeping sci-fi landscape, “Time of Eve” weaves personal, human stories that are deeply emotional and relatable. This brilliantly crafted anime takes you on a journey of discovery as it investigates the complexities of human-android relationships, posing existential questions about consciousness, empathy, and identity.

The visual storytelling in “Time of Eve” is a feast for the eyes, boasting impressive animation that breathes life into its characters and the futuristic world they inhabit. The clever script is combined with poignant, heartfelt moments, lending the series an emotional depth that resonates strongly with its audience.

“Time of Eve” doesn’t just entertain; it prompts viewers to reflect on the concept of sentience and our relationship with technology in a rapidly evolving world. This show beautifully illustrates the possibilities that may emerge when we dare to transcend the boundaries between us and our creations.

In a nutshell, “Time of Eve” is an under-the-radar gem that deserves a spot on every anime lover’s watchlist. It’s an unforgettable emotional roller-coaster that will leave you questioning the essence of humanity. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in this richly woven narrative. You may enter the “Time of Eve” as a viewer, but you will leave as a participant in a profound dialogue on the future of humanity and artificial intelligence.

6. Terror in Resonance (2014)

Terror in Resonance” is a riveting 11-episode short anime about two boys who terrorize Tokyo to highlight societal corruption. Its concise narrative is both suspenseful and thought-provoking, proving that short anime can pack a significant punch.

Terror in Resonance (2014)
Terror in Resonance (2014)

Prepare for a thrilling journey through the minds of young anarchists in the spellbinding anime series “Terror in Resonance” (2014). From Shinichiro Watanabe, the mastermind behind “Cowboy Bebop” and “Samurai Champloo,” comes another series that challenges conventions and pushes boundaries.

Terror in Resonance” places you in an alternate version of modern-day Tokyo, bringing you an unconventional story of terrorism that isn’t what it seems at first glance. The series revolves around two enigmatic teenagers, known only as Nine and Twelve, who together form the anarchist group known as “Sphinx.” With no discernible motive, they instigate a series of bombings around Tokyo, engaging in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with the authorities.

However, this isn’t your typical action-packed spectacle. “Terror in Resonance” dives deep into the psyche of its protagonists, revealing their tragic pasts and their unrelenting resolve. The series is a powerful exploration of societal isolation, human connection, and the lengths one is willing to go to expose the truth. The narrative is interspersed with poignant moments of introspection, intellectual riddles, and high-tension action, ensuring that you remain hooked from the first episode to the last.

Blending a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack with stunning animation, “Terror in Resonance” is a visually and audibly mesmerizing feast. Its carefully orchestrated aesthetic, combined with its gripping narrative, gives the series an emotional depth rarely seen in other anime.

Terror in Resonance” is more than just a series; it’s a riveting exploration of existentialism, anarchy, and the human condition. It’s an experience that will shake you to your core, prompt you to question reality, and stay with you long after the credits roll. This series will undoubtedly resonate with viewers seeking a thought-provoking, emotionally stirring narrative that transcends the traditional limits of storytelling. Be prepared, for “Terror in Resonance” is a roller-coaster ride of emotions that promises to be anything but ordinary.

Get ready to question, to ponder, and to feel – “Terror in Resonance” awaits.

5. Erased (2016)

In just 12 episodes, “Erased” takes you on a time-traveling journey filled with suspense, emotion, and mystery. It’s a gripping thriller that masterfully interweaves elements of fantasy into a heartwarming tale of redemption.

Erased (2016)
Erased (2016)

Embark on a suspenseful journey through time with the compelling anime series, “Erased” (2016). From Kei Sanbe’s acclaimed manga series, director Tomohiko Itou brings to life a story that intricately weaves threads of mystery, drama, and suspense into an unforgettable narrative tapestry.

In “Erased,” we follow the story of Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old struggling manga artist who possesses a unique ability known as ‘Revival’ – an uncontrollable power that sends him back in time moments before a life-threatening incident, enabling him to prevent it from happening. However, his seemingly mundane life takes an abrupt turn when a sudden tragedy forces him to leap eighteen years into his past.

Thrown back into his 11-year-old self, Satoru is given a chance to prevent a harrowing series of kidnappings and murders in his hometown, involving his classmates, that have haunted him into adulthood. To alter the course of history, he must unravel the tangled mystery that ties his past, present, and future.

“Erased” stands as a brilliantly realized puzzle that’s engrossing from its initial moments. It cleverly plays with the concept of time travel in a grounded and intimate manner, which serves not only as a plot device but also as a metaphor for regret, redemption, and the human capacity for change.

With its deeply empathetic characters, intricate plotting, and breathtaking animation that vividly brings to life both the nostalgic past and the grim present, “Erased” offers an emotional and riveting journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat, episode after episode. The series is more than just a mystery; it’s a poignant exploration of childhood, memory, and the enduring power of friendship.

Erased” challenges the viewer to reflect on their own past decisions, making it more than just a narrative; it’s an immersive and thought-provoking experience that stirs the heart as much as it engages the mind.

Prepare yourself for a compelling voyage back in time. This isn’t merely about altering fate; it’s about confronting the ghosts of our past to reclaim the stolen future. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness one man’s extraordinary journey in “Erased” – because sometimes, the only way forward is to go back.

4. Death Parade (2015)

Death Parade,” a 12-episode series, offers a unique view on life, death, and the human condition. It combines emotional depth, philosophical questions, and a touch of the supernatural, creating an unforgettable viewing experience.

Death Parade (2015)
Death Parade (2015)

Step into the surreal and spellbinding universe of “Death Parade” (2015), an anime series that expertly marries the fantastical with the philosophical. In a landscape where countless anime tread familiar ground, “Death Parade” dares to explore the uncharted territory of the afterlife in a way that is both thrilling and thought-provoking.

Death Parade” introduces viewers to a unique purgatory: a stylish bar named Quindecim, where the recently deceased are greeted by the enigmatic white-haired bartender, Decim. But this is no ordinary bar. It’s a place where souls are judged through a series of high-stakes games, revealing their true natures in the face of extreme circumstances. The result of these games determines whether a soul is reincarnated or cast into the void.

Yet, “Death Parade” is more than just a macabre game show. At its heart, it’s a poignant exploration of humanity’s virtues and vices, and the moral grey areas in between. Each episode serves as a standalone story that delves deep into the human psyche, exploring themes of life, death, and the complexity of the human condition. It prompts viewers to reflect on their own beliefs and actions, and what it truly means to live.

The series boasts beautifully detailed animation and a hauntingly atmospheric soundtrack that enhances the emotional resonance of each episode. The characters are intricately developed, and their narratives unfold in a manner that will leave you in deep contemplation long after the screen fades to black.

Death Parade” is an anime series that masterfully weaves gripping narratives with profound philosophical questions. It offers a unique viewing experience that stimulates the mind and touches the heart in equal measure. It’s a mesmerizing journey through the human soul that is sure to captivate viewers looking for an anime series with depth, intrigue, and emotional intensity.

Prepare to enter Quindecim. Challenge your perceptions of right and wrong. And immerse yourself in the tantalizingly ambiguous world of “Death Parade” – a series that invites you to ponder the worth of a life and the true nature of judgment. Buckle up, it’s going to be a profound ride!

3. She and Her Cat: Everything Flows (2016)

This four-episode short anime is a poignant exploration of life from a cat’s perspective. Simple yet profoundly moving, it delves into themes of companionship, love, and the fleeting nature of time.

She and Her Cat: Everything Flows (2016)
She and Her Cat: Everything Flows (2016)

Get ready to embark on a beautiful and touching journey with the tenderly crafted anime short series, “She and Her Cat: Everything Flows” (2016). From the brilliant mind of Makoto Shinkai, the creator of renowned works such as “Your Name” and “Weathering with You,” this gem of a series explores the profound bond between a young woman and her pet cat.

Told through the eyes of the cat named Daru, this unique series offers a captivating look at the ebbs and flows of life. “She and Her Cat” is a tranquil and yet heartrending depiction of the affectionate relationship between Daru and his owner, a young woman trying to navigate through the complexities of adulthood. As the woman confronts loneliness, career challenges, and the pains of growing up, it is Daru’s unwavering loyalty and love that provides her with comfort and emotional support.

She and Her Cat” does an exceptional job of encapsulating the subtleties of everyday life. Each episode, while short, is filled with emotional depth, capturing the fleeting yet precious moments shared between the young woman and Daru. The series’ exquisite animation and soothing soundtrack enhance the overall emotional resonance and aesthetic appeal.

But it’s the narrative’s delicacy and quiet introspection that truly sets “She and Her Cat” apart. The series is a poignant meditation on the passage of time, companionship, love, and the often overlooked beauty of the mundane. It serves as a gentle reminder of how pets touch our lives in profound ways and of the silent strength they offer during times of solitude.

She and Her Cat: Everything Flows” is more than just an anime series; it’s a poignant love letter to pets and their unwavering loyalty. This series promises to touch the hearts of pet lovers and anime enthusiasts alike, taking them on a quiet, contemplative journey that stays long after the end credits have rolled.

Get ready to experience the simple yet profound love between a cat and its owner. With “She and Her Cat: Everything Flows,” sometimes the quietest tales speak the loudest.

2. Place to Place (2011-2012)

This lighthearted 12-episode series focuses on the daily life of high school friends, filled with comedy and adorable romantic moments. “Place to Place” is a feel-good short anime that will make you smile from ear to ear.

Place to Place (2011-2012)
Place to Place (2011-2012)

Place to Place” or “Acchi Kocchi” as it’s originally named, is a delightful slice-of-life short anime series that aired between 2011 and 2012. This light-hearted series, blending comedy with romance, is sure to captivate viewers looking for a wholesome and feel-good experience.

The narrative centers around a close-knit group of high school friends, with a primary focus on the sweetly awkward dynamic between two main characters – the gentle and somewhat dense Tsumiki Miniwa and the good-natured, friendly Io Otonashi. Tsumiki is quietly infatuated with Io, but her shy personality prevents her from confessing her feelings, leading to many endearing and humorous moments.

Unlike many other animes, “Place to Place” doesn’t rely on high-stakes drama or intense action sequences. Instead, it focuses on the everyday, the ordinary, the “slice of life”. The plot thrives on the charming banter between friends, the blossoming love between Tsumiki and Io, and the relatable scenarios they find themselves in.

The animation style of “Place to Place” is appealing, featuring expressive characters and vibrant color palettes that bring each frame to life. The anime does an excellent job of communicating the characters’ emotions, further enhancing the storytelling and humor. And speaking of humor, it’s the gentle, light-hearted comedy that truly makes this series shine.

Place to Place” is a perfect escape for those who appreciate the small, yet significant moments in life. If you’re looking for a series that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face, this short anime is worth checking out. With its lovable characters, sweet humor, and sincere depiction of young love and friendship, “Place to Place” promises a viewing experience that is both relaxing and rewarding.

1. The Tatami Galaxy (2010)

Concluding our list is the 11-episode series “The Tatami Galaxy.” It’s a mind-bending exploration of choices, consequences, and opportunities in life. Its eccentric art style and deep philosophical undertones make it a standout short anime.

The Tatami Galaxy (2010)
The Tatami Galaxy (2010)

The Tatami Galaxy,” known in Japan as “Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei,” is an intriguingly unique and thought-provoking short anime series that aired in 2010. It’s a mind-bending journey through time and space, a tantalizing treat for anyone who loves complex narratives, surreal artwork, and philosophical undertones.

The series revolves around an unnamed third-year university student who is stuck in a Groundhog Day-like loop. Every decision he makes in an attempt to lead an idyllic campus life backfires, causing him to return to the beginning of his two-year stint at the university, hoping the next round will be different. Alongside the protagonist, the eccentric Ozu, who’s always perceived as a demon, and the enigmatic Akashi, a love interest, add depth and intrigue to the narrative.

The Tatami Galaxy” stands apart from conventional anime in many ways. Its visual style, inspired by traditional Japanese art and modern pop culture, is uniquely eccentric, giving the series a surreal, dreamlike quality that perfectly complements the storyline. The series’ rapid-fire dialogue and narration, which becomes a trademark of its style, also add to its distinctive appeal.

However, where “The Tatami Galaxy” truly shines is in its exploration of philosophical themes. It offers profound insights into the human condition, examining concepts such as fate, the power of choices, and the often vast gap between dreams and reality. It’s a show that invites introspection, challenging viewers to reconsider their own lives and decisions.

While “The Tatami Galaxy” may not be for everyone due to its abstract narrative and unique style, those who appreciate experimental storytelling and thought-provoking themes will find it a compelling watch. It’s a short anime that promises an unforgettable viewing experience – a dazzling blend of visual artistry and deep narrative that will engage, challenge, and ultimately reward those willing to step into its unusual world.

Short anime movies

  • Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek (2004)
  • Beyond (2003)
  • Poulette No Isu (2014)
  • Aru Hi Inu No Kuni Kara Tegami Ga Kite (2015)
  • Someone’s Gaze (2013)
  • Cencoroll (2009)
  • Tabisuru Nuigurumi: Traveling Daru (2012)
  • Little Witch Academia (2013)

Short anime characters


Short anime, with their concise storytelling and unique narratives, offer viewers a refreshing alternative to lengthier series. Whether you’re new to anime or a seasoned viewer seeking something different, these top 10 short anime series promise to deliver captivating stories, memorable characters, and stunning animation. So, take a plunge into these condensed masterpieces, and prepare for an experience that will tug at your heartstrings, tickle your funny bone, or simply leave you awestruck.

Short anime Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is anime?

A: Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan and has become popular worldwide. It covers a wide variety of genres and themes, and is produced in both television series and film formats.

Q2: What are some popular short anime series?

A: Some popular short anime series include “One Punch Man”, “Death Parade”, “Erased”, “The Devil is a Part-Timer!”, “Violet Evergarden”, and “Angel Beats!”.

Q3: What’s considered ‘short’ in the context of anime?

A: Typically, ‘short’ anime series are those that have fewer episodes. A typical anime series usually has 12-24 episodes per season, so anything less than that could be considered ‘short’. Alternatively, it may also refer to the runtime of individual episodes.

Q4: Is all anime suitable for all ages?

A: No, not all anime is suitable for all ages. Like any other medium, the content can vary greatly. Some anime are designed for young children, while others are aimed at adults and may contain graphic violence, strong language, or sexual content.

Q5: How can I watch anime?

A: There are many ways to watch anime. Numerous streaming services like Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Netflix offer a wide variety of anime series. Some can also be purchased on DVD or Blu-ray.

Q6: Are anime and cartoons the same thing?

A: While both are forms of animated media, they are not the same. Anime is a specific style of animation that originated in Japan and is known for its diverse art styles, rich themes, and complex characters. On the other hand, the term “cartoon” is generally used in the West to refer to any kind of animated content.

Q7: What is the difference between subbed and dubbed anime?

A: Subbed anime is presented in its original language (usually Japanese) with subtitles in another language (like English). Dubbed anime has been re-recorded with voice actors from a different language.

Q8: What are some recommended short anime for beginners?

A: “One Punch Man” is a great introduction with its superhero satire. “Death Note” is a psychological thriller with a relatively short length. “Violet Evergarden” is a beautifully animated and emotional story, also of manageable length.

Q9: Are there different genres of anime?

A: Yes, anime covers a wide range of genres. There are action, romance, horror, fantasy, science fiction, drama, comedy, and many others.

Q10: Why are some anime series so short?

A: The length of an anime series can depend on a number of factors, including the source material, budget, and intended audience. A short series can allow for a concise, tightly woven narrative without the need for filler episodes.

Next: Top 10 most favorite anime princess by children 2023

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With over a decade of writing obituaries for the local paper, Jane has a uniquely wry voice that shines through in her newest collection of essays, which explore the importance we place on legacy.


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