Top 25 Best Short Anime Series Of All Time (To Binge In A Day)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
After your average binge of Naruto, One Piece, Gintama, or the 34th rendition of SAO, you probably want to cool off a bit.
You want a nice short series, no strings attached, and minimum feelings hurt.
Although I can’t vouch for that last part, we’re going to look at the best anime series that you can binge in a day.
This means 13 episodes or less, only one season as of now, and no movies.
25. Prison School
Standing at 12 episodes and one OVA tall we have Prison School.
This show might come off as just fan service, but it is so much more.
Actually it’s so bizarre regardless of how you look at it, that you almost can’t take it seriously. And you shouldn’t. The show doesn’t even take itself seriously.
It’s a really good absurd comedy riddled with juvenile humor, half naked women, and a main cast that shows us what it would be like if hormones were people.
Word of caution: never watch this if someone else is in the room that doesn’t know about Prison School. It might be funny, but it’s definitely not safe-for-work funny.
You can divide Charlotte into two distinct sections, as being pre and post the tone shift.
Pre-tone shift, this is just a really cute show about a group of high schoolers who have very specific abilities and use them to help other ability users.
But oh boy does that change.
Suddenly you have an action packed show where plot armor doesn’t really exist, and the stakes are pretty high. I personally really enjoyed the finale but it can be a miss to some. As it’s a very, very condensed episode.
Charlotte has 13 episodes in total plus a 1-episode special. So in a matter of hours you can see what I’m talking about.
23. Darwin’s Game
It’s time for a battle royal!
There have been plenty of Mirai Nikki clones to come out, but I think Darwin’s Game can stand on its own no problem.
As vaguely mentioned, it’s all about forming alliances and murdering other players so that you can progress, and well… not be killed yourself.
This series can definitely be described as “edgy” because death is all around. And it is far from censored or humane in any way.
Currently it only has a single 11-episode season. But I honestly hope we’re going to get more in the future (diaries).
22. Death Parade
Death Parade just nails so many aspects to what makes a good show.
The art style is slick and the characters recognizable. The soundtrack is an absolute banger, and the concept of the series is brilliant.
Basically it’s about a world where the recently deceased are teleported to a bar where they play games that will determine their final outcome. Will they be reincarnated? Will they fade out into the void?
But most importantly, what will this show about their personality?
It just has such a killer story that it’s a shame it only has 12 episodes.
21. Elfen Lied
Holy mother of a first episode. Elfen Lied is one of those shows where you do not want to be eating while watching it, because is there gore and death.
Well in the first episode at least. It then tones down so you can get over the trauma, only to pick it up later in the 13 episode run.
I think Elfen Lied is a staple anime for anyone. It came out in 2004 but holds up to this day, in my opinion.
Plus it reminds you of what shows were like prior to everything being censored, but also before everything became hentai.
20. Plastic Neesan
While reading this list did you think “man 13 episodes is still too long for me!”
Well then you’re in luck, as this only has 12 episodes! Also each episode lasts 2 minutes.
What this equates to is a “what is happening and why can’t I breath” experience.
Plastic Neesan is like a “best of” compilation where every skit has a punchline that’s so odd, you never see it coming.
The main cast is cute, the pacing is extremely quick, and why was that one guy wearing a bra? I honestly have so many questions.
19. WataMote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular!
Did this show cure my depression? Did this show give me depression?
I don’t have the slightest clue. If you’ve seen the movie Eighth Grade you have a feel for what’s coming. It shows the pure awkwardness of being a teen and trying to fit in, to a horrifying degree sometimes.
And it has a very edgy sense of humor. And by golly does the protagonist have a potty mouth.
I view it as a 12 episode, plus one OVA, cringe compilation. But the best of its kind.
18. Ishuzoku Reviewers
You know, sometimes you want a deeply thought out storyline, a good moral, some high stakes action… and other times you want Ishuzoku Reviewers.
To put it simply: this is like if the anime community held hands with the adult anime community.
It definitely pushes the bounds of what usually shows up in ecchi shows, by a mile or two, and is overall very raunchy.
But you know what? If you’re an adult and just want to take your mind off life then give it a play.
It’s only 12 episodes long anyways. Plus you’ll have some good laughs and in the end isn’t that all that matters?
17. House of Five Leaves
I like to recommend this show because it’s refreshing, especially in terms of its art style and general feel vs. other animes.
We follow a ronin who’s a capable fighter, but also a lowkey dandere at heart. Yet somehow finds himself getting involved with a criminal group. Criminal is a strong word, however, as morals are kind of all over the place in this show.
But more than anything it has a very serene atmosphere to it. Take that atmosphere coupled with the unique art style and amazing soundtrack, and you get a very different experience from your usual samurai show.
16. The Comic Artist and His Assistants
I mean, the name kind of gives it away doesn’t it.
This show is all about a mangaka and the plethora of women around him.
It’s your usual harem comedy with a lovable and pervy protagonist, comprised of short skits.
The end goal? I don’t know, something about women’s panties I’m guessing.
But the story doesn’t really matter, as it only has twelve 13-minute episodes. And because it’s all about just getting a good old laugh.
I can’t say it’s my favorite comedy of the bunch. But it is entertaining to say the least!
15. Grand Blue
This is one of my favorite comedies to date.
It only has 12 episodes but believe me when I say the laughs never die down.
It’s a show about a group of dudes who just like getting drunk, getting naked, going diving, and having a grand (blue) old time.
The humor is very in your face, and the physical gags are top notch in my opinion. If you’re of legal age you can even drink along with the characters to really feel fully immersed.
Besides the comedy there are some very touching moments too. And the landscapes, or should I say waterscapes, are just beautiful.
Another is one of my favorite horror anime out there.
Because it’s the best type of horror with no real jump scares, but rather just an eerie atmosphere that never really goes away. There’s plenty of gore though, so maybe don’t watch this one with the kids.
The story is pretty good as the main question of the show isn’t obvious, but also doesn’t come out of left field. I’m looking at you Darling in the Franxx.
And if all of that hasn’t gotten your attention I’m sure Misaki Mei will be enough of a reason to watch the show.
The best way I can describe Baccano is speed running all of Game of Thrones in one season.
This is because the narrative bounces between three equally important plot lines and has dozens of important characters. It’s also set in America in the 1930s, so prepare to constantly forget which character belongs to which mafia family.
Beyond just the mafia there are also supernatural elements, like alchemy and a murderous beasty-boy. Plus some gore and even some romance.
All of that is packed into just 13 episodes with a few specials on the side.
And honestly, every second of watching this show is worth it.
12. Ping Pong the Animation
You know how I said Five Leaves’ art style was refreshing?
Well get prepared to crank that up by several notches. Just like in every sports anime, the sport itself is more like a tool to tell the story, rather than the main focus.
You don’t have to have played ping pong in order to fall in love with the show, its message, or the characters. It’s a very well-written show about passion, what it means to strive for the number one spot, as well as a coming of age story.
I strongly advise you not to turn the show away because of the unorthodox art style and animation. You get used to it rather quickly.
After all, the ratings don’t lie, this show is an absolute gem.
11. The Devil as a Part-Timer
Paradise Lost: The Anime is such a mixed bag of awesomeness.
Firstly, it’s extremely funny. The mere fact that The Devil is flipping burgers is of course chuckle-worthy.
But then it also has extremely well animated action scenes and a very solid slice of life vibe. It just wins on so many levels.
The core cast is very colorful and whacky, Shirou being my personal favorite. So any scene with more than two of the protagonists equals a fun time.
10. Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time
This show has such a strong Phineas and Ferb feeling to it, and I’m not sure how.
It’s all about a boy who just finds classes boring as all hell. So he finds other ways to spend his time.
But instead of playing hooky, he brings his fun to class with every episode showcasing a new game or activity.
Sometimes he brings a pet. Other times he mixes chess and shogi, everything is fair game. It also has comedic scenes as the girl that sits next to him always ends up being blamed for his shenanigans.
The show technically has 21 episodes, but every episode is only 7 minutes long. So binging it in one sitting is still very possible.
9. I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying
Now don’t hate me here, I know this technically has 2 seasons. But you can watch it in about an hour and a half because the episodes are 3 minutes long. I say that counts as a short anime!
The plot is simple; what happens when an otaku marries a non-otaku? From the sound of it you would expect some corny tsundere-type show. But it’s quite the opposite.
The main couple are adorable together, and actually act like a damn couple.
They still bicker here and there so it’s realistic too. And they generally get into some hilarious situations, so if you feel like laughing for an hour give it a watch!
No trope is safe from Senyuu.
It’s a very quick paced, satirical as hell, “looks like isekai but isn’t” isekai comedy that will take about 2 hours to binge through.
It basically takes the usual “hero chosen by the king to defeat the demon” trope and flips it on its head, kicks it in the teeth, and then says I love you.
All of the characters are as odd as they come. We have the pedophile knight, the incompetent protagonist, the sadistic sidekick that’s honestly the strongest here, and so much more.
Even the show’s intro changes constantly and makes jokes as it goes along. I swear this show is something else.
7. Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland has a pretty kick-ass premise, you have to admit. Being in a type of prison where you have to win challenges to gain candy that will prolong your life there, yeah that’s lit.
On top of that, the people fight using their blood. Which is an… interesting choice for battle.
The show is very action-focused and there are some really killer scenes, but what I like most is the music. Shiro’s song in particular is just so beautiful.
It only has 12 episodes so if you have an action show itch it might be your savior.
6. Sakamoto desu ga? (Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto)
I’m starting to realize that short comedies might just be a goldmine.
Sakamoto is the protagonist and is just perfect in every way, shape, and form.
Do you want to bully Sakamoto?
Well now you’re in love with him.
Are you friends with Sakomoto? Now your mom is in love with him.
He just does everything in such a fabulous fashion, even though the things he does usually make no sense whatsoever… but he makes it work.
It’s a pretty absurd and silly comedy where you just constantly wonder how they’ll top Sakamoto’s perfection this time.
If you ever wanted to revisit your childhood, but also solve a murder mystery and potentially cry, then Erased is for you.
It only has 12 episodes but the story wraps up nicely. Although the ending is quite hit or miss.
The show really tugs at your heart strings, but also never lets go of your attention. This is the show to binge watch in one day.
There’s just something so interesting about bringing adult matters, and an adult mind, into the shoes of a child.
It’s quite heavy but is worth a watch nevertheless.
4. Devilman Crybaby
It’s hard to believe Devilman Crybaby only has 10 episodes. Because boy, does the action move quickly.
One second it looks like a slice of life show with some banger rap thrown in, and in the next second death is all around, and you’re crying and God might be dead.
The art style is so specific, the music is amazing, the running hilarious, and the experience reminds you of an acid trip.
The show is so different, which is funny considering it’s an adaptation. Plus it’s short enough that it serves as the perfect pallet cleanser.
3. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)
Man, it’s been a while since I’ve rooted for criminals.
This show is your classic cat and mouse chase where both the cat and the mouse have the IQ of Einstein, plus they’re really into Greek mythology.
The amount of action that’s packed into these 11 episodes is definitely worth some praise. There never seems to be a low point.
Two kid geniuses keep planting bombs, and then giving the police clues as to how to deactivate them while your typical “out of the job detective that just can’t help but be involved” character tries to crack their codes and their motivation.
And that ending, uf.
If you’ve been avoiding this anime just because you think it’ll turn you into a furry, then know that you’ve been severely missing out.
It’s probably one of my favorite shows to come out of 2019.
And with only 12 episodes it’s an easy binge.
The story tackles really interesting topics about controlling your nature, being comfortable in your skin, what it means to be dangerous, and so on.
You’ll fall in love with every character fast. And you’ll see that, ironically, the cast consists of some of the most realistically written characters to come out in recent years.
1. The Promised Neverland
I don’t want to mention any part of the story as my God does it pull you in. You’ll see if you watch it.
The Promised Neverland is very suspenseful. It leaves you at the edge of your seat watching little children play tag. It might sound weird (this is anime, right?) but it’ll make sense when you watch it.
The characters are extremely well-written and no plot point is either obvious or nonsensical, making it the best 12-episode experience you could probably have.
It’s set to have a second season in 2021, but I advise you to get on the hype train as soon as possible.