Anime Watchlist is ComicsVerse’s anime recommendation series, where we spotlight some of the best lesser-known shows out there.
If you’re like me and you love anime but have zero time, it can be really difficult to watch full-length shows. Thankfully, there are a ton of short anime out there. Short anime, in this sense, refers to shows that are less than 13-minutes long. While shorter in length, these shows do not lack great storytelling or developed characters. They’re great if you’re looking for a quick fix in-between a busy day or if you’re not ready to commit to a full-length series. In some rare cases, they might even be better than shows with 24-minute episodes.
The shows I picked for this article are in no particular order, though I do have my favorites. These short anime have really helped me stay connected to the anime world and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
AHO-GIRL (12 Minutes)
AHO-GIRL (Diomedea) is one of those shows that I hate to love. It follows the story of Yoshiko Hanabatake who is utterly hopeless. She couldn’t pass a test if her life depended on it, her obsession with eating bananas seems really unhealthy, and she has an attention span that concerns everyone around her—even the local 3rd graders! Yoshiko is so infuriatingly stupid that her own mother has no hope for her future. Based on the manga of the same name, this 12-episode series follows Yoshiko and her antics as those around her try to cure her stupidity. Though, they often end up falling for it in the end.
Yoshiko’s antics do get fairly crazy in this show, ranging from locking herself inside her high school with the most popular girls in her class to sneaking into her best friend’s bedroom with the Disciplinary Committee president. But it’s these silly, mindless acts that make the show enjoyable to watch. My jaw usually drops once an episode with how utterly stupid Yoshiko can be. Trust me when I say nothing could possibly prepare you for it. If you’re looking for a something quick-witted and fast, AHO-GIRL is perfect for you. Every episode is split up into two to four segments, which makes it really easy to watch.
YAMISHIBAI: JAPANESE GHOST STORIES (4 Minutes)
YAMISHIBAI: JAPANESE GHOST STORIES (TV Tokyo) is an anthology series told in “paper-doll” style animation (also known as kamishibai). Each episode features a different urban legend or myth that’s as equally creepy and disturbing as the last. One episode features a man who receives a zanbai cheer, a wish for tragedy to happen to a person, from shadowy-looking figures as he leaves a hospital. However, he mistakes the cheer as a banzai cheer, which wishes long life. The episode ends when a truck hits the cab he’s in, killing both the man and the driver. Another episode features a woman named Kaoru who turns her grandmother’s netsuke, or small Japanese ornaments, into earrings. But then, she starts to hear a voice that tells her to return them. The netsuke turns out to be haunted by a spirit who believes that Kaoru stole her face, and she’ll do anything to get it back.
Despite being only 4-minutes long, YAMISHIBAI episodes pack quite the punch. This short anime features powerful storytelling and chilling animation that’ll give you nightmares. This is a show for when you’re looking for a quick spook (it happens sometimes). Don’t take these short episodes lightly, though. There are currently five seasons and sixty-five episodes. Still, it’s definitely worth watching every single one.
TSUREDURE CHILDREN (12 Minutes)
TSUREDURE CHILDREN (Studio Gokumi) is an intertwining love story. The show follows the lives of a handful of high school students who are in various stages of love. There’s the clueless girl who’s gone through life pretty emotionless, and the boy who is desperately in love with her; there’s also the couple who didn’t realize they were dating because of miscommunication, and the class president who catches the class delinquent smoking outside. All in all, this show features some classic romance tropes but presents them in fresh and addicting ways.
This short anime is my favorite out of all the ones I’m listing. It’s impossible not to root for all of these characters and hope that they get the happy endings they deserve. The show does a good job of keeping the viewers watching. Each episode consists of three segments featuring a different couple. Relationships aren’t created in the three minutes, however. Each character gets an arc that spans multiple episodes. Sometimes, it’ll be a couple of episodes before we see some of the couples return. TSUREDURE CHILDREN is a must-watch show if you’re looking for some wholesome, good old-fashioned romance.
THE COMIC ARTIST AND HIS ASSISTANTS (13 Minutes)
THE COMIC ARTIST AND HIS ASSISTANTS (Zexcs) follows the life of Yuuki Aito, a perverted manga artist. Before I get into details, this is definitely a show for adults, even though it’s only filled with adult humor and never shows anything too inappropriate. And, just a warning, there’s probably a panty-shot in every episode. But that’s just the nature of Yuuki’s work, he writes perverted manga. His shenanigans are totally harmless and are never meant to truly offend anyone. THE COMIC ARTIST AND HIS ASSISTANTS has a lot of fan service, but don’t let that distract you from the genius hidden beneath it.
Like AHO-GIRL, Yuuki’s antics are enjoyable to watch, yet infuriating all at once. Thankfully, he has a team of women that are willing to put him in his place whenever he even thinks of crossing a line. This short anime also gives viewers some insight into the manga industry. Yuuki argues with his editor over content, struggles to make a deadline, and accepts criticisms over his work. There’s a lot of great humor in this show and I definitely suggest it if you’re looking for a show with more adult humor.
KENKA BANCHO OTOME -GIRL BEATS BOYS- (8 MINUTES)
KENKA BANCHO OTOME -GIRL BEATS BOYS- (Project No.9, A-Real) is the most unique anime on this list. Based on the otome game KENKA BANCHO OTOME, this 12-episode show follows Hinako, who takes the place of her long-lost twin brother, Hikaru, at a school filled with delinquents. She’s tasked with fighting her way up the ranks and becoming the leader of the school, something Hikaru is too sickly and, frankly, too uninterested to do. Along the way, some of the people she fights become her closest friends. All the while, issues of Hinako’s gender surface, but never really become a problem.
Don’t let the “otome” part confuse you. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, otome is a type of game where the player (typically female) has to develop a romantic relationship with another character. While the game definitely follows this format, there’s nothing otome about this short anime. Every episode is action-packed with no mention of romance whatsoever. Hinako kicks some serious ass, and never forgets who she is fighting for. This show caters to all kinds of viewers; whether you’re someone looking for a fighting-heavy series, or someone looking beyond the fights for deep character development, you’ll definitely enjoy KENKA BANCHO OTOME.
Now Start Watching!
I love short anime. When I’m having a really long day and I need a quick break, I know these shows are there to brighten my day. I rewatched two of these shows in their totality during the process of writing this article! That’s how easy it is to watch these shows.
Do you have a favorite short anime that’s not on this list? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for new anime to watch, and you should be too!
Featured image screenshotted via Crunchyroll.