After indulging in your usual marathon of Naruto, One Piece, Gintama, or the 34th installment of SAO, it’s time to unwind and relax. You’re seeking a brief series, devoid of any commitments, and with minimal emotional impact.
While I can’t guarantee the latter, let’s explore the top anime shows that can be binged in a single day—comprising 13 episodes or fewer, limited to a single season, and excluding movies.
27. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is an anime series that tells the story of a girl named Violet, a former child soldier, trying to understand the meaning of the words “I love you” after the war ends. She works as an “Auto Memory Doll” who writes letters for others. The series follows her journey as she comes to terms with her past and learns about love and human emotions.
Hand down, the best good-looking anime I’ve seen in years. The atmosphere, character design, costumes, lighting, colour palette, everything is genuinely astonishing. The animation and art style are stunning, and it’s hard not to be drawn in by the beauty of the series.
26. Your Lie in April
Your lie in April will reach your heart; you will fall in love with classical music again. Your Lie in April is an anime series that tells the story of a piano prodigy named Kosei Arima, who, after his mother’s death, loses his ability to hear the music he plays. He encounters a violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who helps him rediscover his love for music and rekindle his passion for the piano.
This series reaches your heart, and you will fall in love with classical music again. The series showcases beautiful classical pieces like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1, and many more, performed by the characters in the series. Not only the music but the characters are charming, and the bittersweet story is impressive.
Charlotte can be divided into two distinct sections, characterized by a notable tone shift. In its initial phase, the show presents itself as an endearing tale centered around a group of high schoolers endowed with unique abilities, using them altruistically to assist fellow ability users. However, brace yourself for a seismic transformation as the story takes an electrifying turn.
Suddenly, viewers are thrust into a whirlwind of action-packed episodes where the concept of plot armor becomes virtually nonexistent, and the stakes are raised to dizzying heights. Personally, I found the finale to be a thrilling experience, although I acknowledge that it may not resonate with everyone due to its highly condensed nature.Charlotte comprises a total of 13 episodes, accompanied by a special 1-episode installment. Within a matter of hours, this series offers an immersive journey that vividly demonstrates the aforementioned transformation.
24. Prison School
With 12 episodes and an additional OVA, Prison School stands tall amidst its peculiar nature. While initially appearing as mere fan service, the show transcends expectations by embracing its absurdity, making it hard to take seriously – and rightfully so. In fact, the series doesn’t even take itself seriously.
Prison School thrives as a remarkable comedy, interwoven with juvenile humor, scantily clad women, and a main cast embodying humanized hormones. However, a word of caution is necessary: viewing this show in the presence of an uninformed individual may bring laughter, but it is undoubtedly not safe for work.
23. Darwin’s Game
Prepare for an epic battle royale like no other! While a plethora of Mirai Nikki-inspired contenders have emerged, Darwin’s Game confidently stands on its own, unrivaled and ready to captivate audiences. As alluded to, this thrilling series revolves around forging strategic alliances and ruthlessly eliminating fellow players to secure advancement and safeguard your own survival.
Unapologetically edgy, death permeates every corner of this gripping narrative, sparing no detail and shying away from neither censorship nor a semblance of humanity. At present, Darwin’s Game boasts a singular season comprising 11 heart-pounding episodes. However, the fervent desire for future installments, akin to the acquisition of diaries, permeates the hearts of fans, eagerly anticipating the expansion of this enthralling saga.
22. Death Parade
Death Parade is a masterclass in crafting an exceptional show, seamlessly combining various elements to create an unforgettable experience. The art style exudes sophistication, with characters that leave a lasting impression on viewers. Moreover, the soundtrack is an absolute masterpiece, captivating audiences with its mesmerizing tunes.
However, the true brilliance of the series lies in its concept, offering a captivating world where the recently deceased are transported to a bar to engage in games that determine their ultimate fate—whether it be reincarnation or vanishing into oblivion. These games act as a window into their personalities, making the show a captivating exploration of human nature. Despite its regrettable brevity of only 12 episodes, Death Parade’s gripping narrative leaves an indelible mark on its audience.
21. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied’s gripping first episode leaves a lasting impact, cautioning viewers against eating while watching due to its graphic violence and death. Yet, the series finds a delicate balance as it progresses, allowing for a recovery from the initial trauma, only to resurface the intensity in later episodes within its concise 13-episode run.
I believe Elfen Lied remains an essential anime for all enthusiasts, despite its 2004 release, as it continues to captivate audiences with its enduring quality. Moreover, it serves as a nostalgic reminder of a time when shows maintained their rawness before succumbing to excessive censorship, while also avoiding the descent into explicit hentai territory.
20. Plastic Neesan
Prepare for a whirlwind of entertainment with this compact series of 12 episodes! Clocking in at a mere 2 minutes per episode, be prepared for a breathless rollercoaster ride of confusion and laughter.
Plastic Neesan is a delightful assortment of unexpected punchlines, leaving you constantly in awe of its sheer oddity. With its adorable main cast and lightning-fast pace, this show will leave you pondering the mysteries of life, such as why that one guy was wearing a bra. Brace yourself for an experience that will leave you with countless questions and a relentless desire for more.
19. WataMote: No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular!
If you’ve watched the film Eighth Grade, you can anticipate what lies ahead. It brilliantly portrays the uncomfortable journey of adolescence and the relentless quest to belong, often to a shocking extent. Moreover, it embraces a daring sense of humor, and the main character fearlessly expresses themselves with colorful language.
In my opinion, it’s akin to a twelve-episode series, accompanied by a remarkable bonus episode, showcasing the pinnacle of cringe-worthy moments. Yet, it stands out as the epitome of its genre.
18. Ishuzoku Reviewers
Sometimes, we yearn for intricate narratives, profound morals, and exhilarating action, while other times, we crave the audacious charm of Ishuzoku Reviewers. It’s as if the worlds of anime enthusiasts and adult anime enthusiasts have found common ground, resulting in a truly unique experience.
This series boldly defies the conventions of typical ecchi shows, venturing into uncharted territories with unabashed raunchiness. However, if you’re an adult seeking an escape from the complexities of life, don’t hesitate to dive in. With a concise 12-episode run, it offers not only a respite but also plenty of uproarious moments. Ultimately, isn’t that what truly matters—a genuine laughter that lightens our souls?
17. House of Five Leaves
I highly recommend this show for its refreshing qualities, particularly its distinctive art style and overall ambiance compared to other animes. The protagonist is a skilled fighter, a ronin, who harbors a hidden dandere nature, showcasing a paradoxical character. Interestingly, he becomes entangled with a group of individuals who could be labeled as “criminals,” although the show blurs the lines of morality, making it a fascinating aspect.
What truly sets this show apart is its serene atmosphere. The combination of this tranquil ambiance, along with its unique art style and an exceptional soundtrack, creates an unparalleled experience unlike any other samurai series.
16. The Comic Artist and His Assistants
This show revolves around a talented manga artist and his abundance of female companions. It follows the classic formula of a harem comedy, featuring an endearing yet mischievous protagonist, and presents the story through a series of delightful short sketches.
While the ultimate objective may revolve around women’s undergarments, the plot takes a backseat in this lighthearted series, with only twelve 13-minute episodes. Nevertheless, the primary focus lies in providing viewers with genuine laughter, making it an enjoyable and amusing watch. Although it may not top my list of favorite comedies, it certainly delivers an entertaining experience!
Another stands out as one of the most captivating horror anime I’ve come across. It excels in delivering a unique brand of horror, devoid of traditional jump scares, but instead envelops viewers in an unrelenting, unsettling atmosphere. However, be mindful of the abundance of graphic gore, making it unsuitable for younger audiences. What truly sets Another apart is its well-crafted storyline.
It skillfully presents a central mystery that remains elusive, yet never feels forced or out of place. Unlike certain other shows—yes, Darling in the Franxx, I’m looking at you—Another strikes a perfect balance in keeping audiences engaged and intrigued. Moreover, if all the aforementioned reasons haven’t already piqued your interest, the enigmatic presence of Misaki Mei alone is reason enough to give this show a watch.
14. Grand Blue
This comedy series has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. Despite only having 12 episodes, I can assure you that the laughter never subsides. The show revolves around a tight-knit group of guys who find pure joy in their shared pursuits of indulging in drinks, baring it all, embarking on thrilling dives, and simply having an absolute blast. The humor is unabashedly bold, while the impeccable execution of physical comedy never fails to impress.
If you’re of legal drinking age, you can even join in with the characters, immersing yourself fully in the experience. In addition to the non-stop comedy, the series also surprises viewers with poignant and heartfelt moments. Moreover, the stunning aquatic backdrops are nothing short of breathtaking, elevating the show’s aesthetic appeal to new heights.
Baccano can be likened to an exhilarating sprint through the entire Game of Thrones saga in a single breathless season. The narrative seamlessly oscillates between three intricately interwoven plot lines, each carrying equal weight and brimming with a myriad of vital characters. Set in 1930s America, prepare to continually navigate the labyrinthine web of mafia families, occasionally struggling to remember which character belongs to which syndicate.
Within this immersive tapestry, supernatural forces converge alongside the ruthless underworld, enthralling viewers with alchemy, a bloodthirsty creature, and even a touch of romance. The show fearlessly embraces moments of gore, delivering a captivating blend of visceral intensity. Astonishingly, all of these captivating elements are masterfully packed into a succinct 13-episode journey, complemented by a few delightful specials. Truly, every fleeting second spent immersed in this captivating series is an investment rewarded tenfold.
12. Ping Pong the Animation
Prepare yourself to have your expectations exceeded even further. Just as I previously mentioned, the art style of Five Leaves was refreshing, but now be prepared to elevate that experience by several levels. Similar to most sports anime, the sport itself serves as a narrative tool rather than the primary focus. You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience with ping pong to become enamored with the show, its profound message, and its captivating characters.
This exceptionally well-crafted series delves into themes of passion, the pursuit of excellence, and the trials of youth, making it a truly compelling coming-of-age story. I strongly urge you not to dismiss this show based on its unorthodox art style and animation. You’ll find yourself quickly adapting to and appreciating its unique visual approach. In fact, the show’s exceptional ratings are a testament to its undeniable brilliance and status as a hidden gem.
11. The Devil as a Part-Timer
Paradise Lost: The Anime is a delightful blend of brilliance and charm. To begin, it exudes an abundance of humor. The sheer hilarity of The Devil flipping burgers never fails to elicit a chuckle from the audience. Furthermore, it boasts impeccably animated action sequences and a remarkably engaging slice of life atmosphere.
The series effortlessly triumphs across multiple fronts. The ensemble cast is brimming with vivid and eccentric characters, with Shirou stealing the spotlight as my personal favorite. Whenever more than two protagonists share a scene, it guarantees a delightful and entertaining experience.
10. Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland boasts an absolutely captivating premise that is undeniably mind-blowing. Picture yourself trapped within a prison where survival hinges on triumphing over intense challenges to secure precious candy, the key to prolonging your existence within those walls. It’s a concept that ignites a fiery excitement within, inciting a burning desire to witness the extraordinary unfold. Moreover, the combat in this series takes a truly unconventional turn, utilizing the power of one’s own blood as a formidable weapon.
While Deadman Wonderland thrives on its heart-pounding action sequences, what truly sets it apart is its masterfully crafted musical accompaniment. One cannot help but be enraptured by the hauntingly beautiful melody of Shiro’s song, which echoes in your soul, resonating with a rare and profound beauty. With a mere 12 episodes, this gem of a series becomes a beacon of hope for those yearning for an action-packed journey that will satiate their every craving.
9. Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time
This show emanates a delightful Phineas and Ferb vibe that’s hard to ignore, and I find myself drawn to it without quite knowing why. The central character, a boy who finds classes incredibly dull, ingeniously discovers alternative ways to spend his time and keep things interesting. Rather than skipping school altogether, he cleverly injects fun into his classroom experience, treating each episode as a canvas for a new game or activity.
Alongside him, a girl seated next to him often becomes the scapegoat for his mischievous antics, leading to hilarious comedic moments. Technically consisting of 21 episodes, the show’s unique format delivers bite-sized entertainment with each episode clocking in at a mere 7 minutes. This concise length allows for an enjoyable binge-watch experience, making it entirely possible to devour the entire series in one sitting.
8. I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying
While technically consisting of only two seasons, this anime can be enjoyed within a mere hour and a half due to its three-minute episodes. Thus, it certainly qualifies as a delightful short anime! The premise is refreshingly simple: what unfolds when an otaku ties the knot with a non-otaku? Despite initial expectations of a clichéd tsundere-style narrative, the show takes a pleasantly different direction.
The central couple exudes an adorable chemistry and authentically portrays the dynamics of a genuine relationship. While they occasionally engage in lighthearted banter, their interactions remain grounded and relatable. This leads to uproarious scenarios that will undoubtedly keep you entertained throughout the hour-long laughter fest!
Senyuu is an explosively paced, outrageously satirical, and deceptively isekai-esque comedy that can be devoured in a mere two hours. It gleefully dismantles the familiar “chosen hero versus demon king” trope, gleefully twisting it, punching it in the gut, and then declaring its undying love for it. Every character is a whimsical oddity in their own right.
From the dubious knight with questionable intentions, to the bumbling protagonist who can’t seem to get anything right, to the sadistic sidekick who happens to be the true powerhouse of the group – the cast is an eccentric feast for the senses. Not even the show’s intro is spared from the madness; it undergoes constant metamorphosis, playfully winking at the audience with its ever-changing jokes. Believe me when I say, this series is a mind-bending, genre-defying experience that defies all expectations.
6. Sakamoto desu ga? (Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto)
Short comedies have truly become a treasure trove of hilarity. Sakamoto, our flawless protagonist, embodies perfection in every aspect imaginable. Ready to taunt Sakamoto? Brace yourself, for now you’re hopelessly smitten with him. Consider yourself friends with Sakamoto? Brace for a twist, as your own mother falls head over heels for him.
His every action is executed with such flamboyance that defies logic, yet somehow, he manages to pull it off. Prepare for an uproarious, nonsensical comedy that will leave you constantly pondering how Sakamoto will outdo his own perfection each time.
If you yearn for a nostalgic trip to your childhood, intertwined with the unraveling of a gripping murder mystery that may bring tears to your eyes, then “Erased” is the perfect choice. With a concise 12-episode format, this series beautifully ties up its narrative threads, although the ending may leave some divided.
“Erased” skillfully tugs at your heartstrings while captivating your undivided attention, making it an ideal show for an immersive one-day binge-watching session. What makes this series truly fascinating is its ability to explore weighty adult themes through the lens of a child, creating a unique and thought-provoking viewing experience.While the emotional weight it carries may be substantial, “Erased” is an undeniable gem that deserves your time and attention.
4. Devilman Crybaby
It’s truly astonishing that Devilman Crybaby manages to captivate its audience in just 10 episodes. The pace at which the action unfolds is nothing short of remarkable. In one moment, it appears to be a slice of life series intertwined with captivating rap music, and in the next, a tsunami of death surrounds you, evoking tears and questioning the existence of God.
The art style is uniquely distinct, the music is an absolute masterpiece, the running scenes provide a hilarious touch, and the overall experience feels like an enthralling acid trip. This show’s extraordinary divergence from the norm is especially amusing when considering it is an adaptation. Moreover, its brevity makes it an ideal choice for a refreshing and palate-cleansing viewing experience.
If you’ve been hesitant to watch this anime simply due to concerns about becoming a furry, you’ve been depriving yourself of a remarkable experience. It easily ranks among my top shows from 2019, and with just 12 episodes, it’s a delightful binge. The narrative delves into thought-provoking themes surrounding self-control, self-acceptance, the complexities of danger, and more.
It offers a captivating exploration of what it truly means to embrace one’s true nature. Prepare to swiftly develop an adoration for every character, and you’ll soon realize that, surprisingly, the ensemble features some of the most authentically portrayed individuals in recent memory.
2. The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland is an incredibly gripping and immersive story that will captivate you from start to finish. Without spoiling any details, this anime will have you on the edge of your seat as you watch innocent children play a seemingly innocent game of tag. It may sound unconventional for an anime, but once you delve into the series, everything will fall into place.
The characters in The Promised Neverland are masterfully crafted, and the plot is both unpredictable and coherent. Every twist and turn will keep you guessing, and you won’t find any plot points that feel forced or illogical. With only 12 episodes, it’s a compact yet incredibly satisfying experience that you won’t want to miss. While a second season is set to air in 2021, I highly recommend jumping on the hype train as soon as possible to fully appreciate this remarkable series.
1. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)
This show masterfully weaves a thrilling cat and mouse chase, where both the cunning hunter and elusive prey possess the extraordinary intellect of Einstein, while also being deeply immersed in the world of Greek mythology. In these 11 gripping episodes, the action is ceaseless, leaving no room for dull moments.
Two prodigious young minds meticulously plant bombs, only to challenge the authorities with ingenious clues on their deactivation. Meanwhile, a quintessential detective, compelled by his insatiable desire for justice, delves deep into the enigmatic codes and hidden motives of these enigmatic kids. And oh, the finale! It’s a culmination that leaves you breathless, teetering on the edge of your seat, in utter awe.