Short anime series to watch


Anime series are usually 12 episodes long, with each episode being about 23 minutes. While shorter than most Korean dramas and Netflix series, these anime may still be too time-consuming for busy working adults and students. As such, here are 12 short anime series that you can finish in a night so that you can indulge in anime while still meeting your deadlines.


1. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san (2018)


short anime - Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
Image credit: IMDb

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san details the life of a bookstore employee named Honda-san. Honda-san bears a scary-looking skeletal appearance, but has a timid personality in contrast to his bold appearance.

short anime - skull face bookseller employees
Image credit: IMDb

He works at the bookstore with other similarly odd employees. This includes the Boys’ Love advocate Armor, who wears a knight helmet, the pumpkin-faced Lantern, who’s known to be a strict employee, and Kamibukuro, a frantic character whose head is covered with a paper bag.

short anime - 1st episode special yaoi book skull-face bookseller
Image adapted from: Dreamlink Entertainment

Each episode spans 11 minutes, and the anime follows a series of interesting events that occur in the bookstore. For instance, in the 1st episode, Honda-san meets a male foreigner who’s trying to find a NSFW Gintama doujinshi (同人誌; fan-made work). 

As he has a poor grasp of English, Honda-san has to use his limited vocabulary to explain bluntly that it is a “special yaoi book” that’s unavailable in a typical bookstore.

short anime - skull-face bookseller
Image adapted from: Dreamlink Entertainment

Many real-world bookstore employees found the show highly relatable. This is because the show accurately portrays what it’s like to work in a bookstore – an unsurprising achievement since the author of the series personally worked at a bookstore too.

2018年秋テレビアニメ放送開始!「ガイコツ書店員 本田さん」第1弾PV
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2018年秋テレビアニメ放送開始!「ガイコツ書店員 本田さん」第1弾PV

Video credit: Asmik Ace Anime Channel

Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes, 1 OVA
Available on: Netflix, Crunchyroll


2. Bananya (2016 – 2019)


short anime - bananya
Image credit: IMDb

Combine bananas and the Japanese equivalent of “meow”, which is “nya”, and you’ll get Bananya. It’s a simple story about cats wrapped in banana peels. Each episode is around 3 minutes long.

There are many different Bananya, each with their unique personalities. This includes the carefree protagonist Bananya, the flamboyant Bananyako, and the amicable Grandpa Bananya.

short anime - 4 bananya
Image adapted from: Studio Gathering

As a slice-of-life anime, Bananya’s plot revolves around everyday scenarios such as a Bananya watching the TV or finding comfort in a refrigerator. The story is told by an unnamed male narrator who speaks as if he’s voicing a BBC wildlife documentary.

short anime - bananyako
Bananyako from Bananya
Image adapted from: Studio Gathering

Yet, this simple story also boasts a cast of famous voice actors. The voice behind the protagonist Bananya, as well as a few other characters, is Yuki Kaji, who’s famous for voicing Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan. Meanwhile, Bananyako is voiced by Ayumu Murase, who’s best known for voicing Hinata Shoyo from Haikyuu!!.

Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-life
Length: 2 seasons, 13 episodes each
Available on: Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video


3. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (2016 – 2018)


short anime - The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Image credit: IMDb

Our nonchalant main character, Saiki Kusuo, has psychic powers. He has so much strength that he can lift a descending airplane, turn people into stone by looking at them, and retrieve all information and connect to the senses of any living being he touches. This list of powers goes on and on as the show unfolds.

short anime - saiki k
Image credit: IMDb

To control his power, he wears special devices. These include a pair of green glasses to prevent people from turning into stone, 2 antennas to suppress his powers, and a pair of gloves to deactivate his psychometric powers.

short anime - saiki k coffee jelly
Image credit: IMDb

Despite being capable of many things, all Saiki wants is to live a normal life and enjoy his favourite coffee jelly. Admittedly, that’s a little hard when he’s surrounded by other eccentric characters, ranging from the easily smittened Chiyo to the dull-witted Nendou, who has an accentuated butt chin.

saiki k classmates
Image credit: IMDb

Join Saiki in the ridiculous situations he lands himself in, and enjoy laughing at the hilarious monologues delivered with uttermost seriousness by Kamiya Hiroshi, a famous voice actor who’s known for his roles as Levi from Attack on Titan and Akashi from Kuroko no Basket.

Each episode is around 5 minutes long.

The Disastrous Life of Saiki k. Complete Season 1 - Official Trailer
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The Disastrous Life of Saiki k. Complete Season 1 - Official Trailer

Video credit: Madman Anime

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
Length: 2 seasons, 24 episodes each, 2 special episodes
Available on: Crunchyroll, Netflix, Funimation


4. I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying (2014 – 2015)


i can't understand what my husband is saying
Image credit: aurorawitch

Based on a series of 4-panel comics, I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying portrays the married life of an otaku and his non-otaku wife.

short anime - kaoru colleagues and hajime
Image adapted from: Studio Seven

Hajime is a hardcore otaku (お宅; a person obsessed with anime and/or manga) whose vocabulary is filled with otaku lingo. His wife, Kaoru, is an office lady. While Kaoru invites colleagues over for tea, Hajime is busy looking at his anime “waifu”.

short anime - kaoru and hajime
Image adapted from: Studio Seven

Nevertheless, Hajime and Kaoru care about each other despite their dissimilar backgrounds. Their chaotic but heartwarming dynamics show us that a relationship can work between individuals with vastly different personalities as long as both parties are willing to understand each other.

Each episode is around 3 minutes long, and each episode comprises multiple short stories of about a minute each.

Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-life
Length: 2 seasons, 13 episodes each
Available on: Crunchyroll


5. My Neighbour Seki (2014)


short anime - tonari no seki-kun
Image credit: IMDb

You may be familiar with the trope of main characters sitting at the back of a classroom, by the window. Well, our main lead Seki fits the stereotype, but he doesn’t have a deep backstory or an important mission to save the world. 

short anime - domino seki
Image credit: Sentai Filmworks

Instead, Seki is like the long-lost sibling of Phineas and Ferb. From making an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine with his stationery to conducting a dramatic shogi gameplay, Seki shows us the various ways you can kill time during lessons.

short anime - seki
Image credit: Tenor

All of his weird antics are seen through the eyes of Rumi Yokio, our female protagonist. She represents us, the average viewer, who can’t help but be intrigued and bewildered by the boy.

Each episode is about 7 minutes long.

Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-life
Length: 1 season, 21 episodes, 3 OVAs
Available on: Crunchyroll


6. Aoi Bungaku (2009)


short anime - aoi bungaku
Image credit: IMDb

Aoi Bungaku is a compilation of 6 animated classic Japanese literary works. The list of works includes Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro and Dazai Osamu’s No Longer Human, which are 2 of the all-time bestsellers in Japan. Each adaptation spans between 1-4 episodes, with a 23-minute runtime per episode.

short anime - no longer human
A scene from the No Longer Human adaptation
Image adapted from: Studio Madhouse

These classics are often heavy and laden with significant cultural and psychological explorations of the characters and their surroundings. The anime retains the tone of these decades-old stories while bringing a new flair by adapting them into animation.

no longer human main character
A scene from the No Longer Human adaptation
Image adapted from: Studio Madhouse

Check out the preview trailer for the No Longer Human adaptation.

青い文学シリーズ「人間失格」をご存知ですか?
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青い文学シリーズ「人間失格」をご存知ですか?

Video credit: hapanime

Genre: Psychological, Historical, Thriller
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes
Available on: Blu-ray & DVD


7. Pop Team Epic (2018)


short anime - pop team epic
Image credit: IMDb

Pop Team Epic is essentially a parody of all kinds of pop culture references. This entails remaking famous scenes from popular works, such as My Neighbour Totoro and Your Name, with ridiculous dialogue and graphics. 

The show stars 2 main leads, Popuko and Pipimi. Their appearances change according to the pop reference they are parodying.

short anime - kimi no nawa parody
(L-R) Official Your Name movie poster and parody scene from Pop Team Epic.
Image adapted from: Okaminarutofan999 and Studio Kamikaze Douga

As such, you’ll get to witness your favourite movie or anime scene being remade into a bizarre short clip, complete with crude humour and unexpected endings. Forget about the ethereal atmosphere of Your Name and its beautiful poster – Pop Team Epic turns it into a catastrophic scene of explosion, coupled with brutish Japanese dialogue.

short anime - kimi no nawa explosion parody
Image adapted from: Studio Kamikaze Douga

At its core, it is a ridiculous anime meant to amuse its watchers through pure absurdity. Each episode runs for ~12 minutes.

Pop Team Epic – Opening Theme – POP TEAM EPIC
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Pop Team Epic – Opening Theme – POP TEAM EPIC

Video credit: Funimation

Genre: Surreal comedy
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes
Available on: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video


8. Hybrid Child (2014 – 2015)


short anime - hybrid child
Image credit: IMDb

Hybrid Child is a short Boys’ Love (BL) series about the intimate relationships between humanoids and their human partners. 

short anime - kotaro and hazuki
Image adapted from: Studio Deen

These humanoids, known as “Hybrid Child”, are artificial beings that eventually gain human-like consciousness and emotions. The 3 stories showcase both the love between the Hybrid Child and their human partner, as well as the reason behind why Hybrid Child humanoids were created in the first place.

short anime - tsukishima crying kuroda
Image adapted from: Studio Deen

All the stories are set in the past, with the final story taking place during a fictional war.

【PV】OVA「Hybrid Child」PV 2014年冬Ver.
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【PV】OVA「Hybrid Child」PV 2014年冬Ver.

Video credit: mediafactory

Genre: Historical, Shounen Ai
Length: 1 season, 4 episodes
Available on: DVD


9. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls (2013)


short anime - corpse party
Image credit: IMDb

Corpse Party: Tortured Souls is the anime adaption of the renowned Corpse Party horror video game. Be warned: the show contains explicit gore. Buckets of crawling maggots, exploding bodies, and decapitated limbs are some sights you have to stomach.

short anime - sachiko ritual
Image adapted from: Studio Asread

After doing a ritual that’s meant to safeguard friendships, a group of senior high schoolers descend into never-ending horror at the haunted Heavenly Host Elementary School.

short anime - sachiko
Image credit: IMDb

At the elementary school, malicious spirits of dead children roam free, tormenting our characters physically and emotionally.

short anime - naomi
Image adapted from: Studio Asread

However, there lies a heart-wrenching story behind the children’s predicament, and it may make you sympathise with them.

short anime - corpse party ova
Image credit: WntrFell

To add an extra pang of sadness, watch the short 11-minute Corpse Party: Missing Footage OVA. It captures the once-peaceful lives of the characters in Corpse Party before they got caught up in the occult.

Genre: Horror
Length: 1 season, 4 episodes, 1 OVA
Available on: Blu-ray & DVD


10. Love is Like a Cocktail (2017)


short anime - love is like a cocktail
Image credit: IMDb

Imagine having a well-mannered husband who pampers you in every way possible – that’s the premise of Love is Like a Cocktail.

chisato drunk
Image credit: skypophobia

Each episode spans 5 minutes, and the series revolves around a married couple, Sora and Chi-chan. Chi-chan loves alcohol despite being a lightweight, and her domestic husband Sora is always there to come up with different cocktails. 

plum splat drink recipe
Image credit: u/Antixmage

The recipes for these cocktails and other drinks are shown in the show. You can try to recreate them in real life. 

Genre: Slice-of-life, Comedy, Romance
Length: 1 season, 13 episodes
Available on: Crunchyroll


11. Pui Pui Molcar (2021)


Pui Pui Molcar
Image credit: IMDb

The 2021 winter anime season has been hailed as one of the most legendary seasons ever to exist by the anime community, with famous sequels such as Re:Zero and Attack on Titan airing concurrently. Yet, in Japan, Pui Pui Molcar has emerged as one of the most popular anime amidst these famous titles.

guinea pig car pui pui molcar
Image adapted from: Shin-Ei Animation

The show is a simple stop-motion animation of cars shaped like guinea pigs. It makes light of often serious and frustrating situations, such as a traffic jam or a bank robbery. Each episode clocks in at around 2 minutes.

traffic jam Pui Pui Molcar
Ambulance stuck in a traffic jam due to an inconsiderate road user
Image adapted from: Shin-Ei Animation

As a kids’ show that aired on Tuesday mornings in Japan, it was meant to teach children important values such as being considerate to other users who share a public space.

Nevertheless, the show also drove its way into the hearts of adult viewers through its simple designs and uplifting optimism, helping everyone unwind in an increasingly stressed-out world.

Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes
Available on: Netflix, YouTube


12. Eve no Jikan (2008 – 2009)


time of eve
Image credit: IMDb

Set in Tokyo sometime in the unspecified future, Eve no Jikan explores themes of xenophobia and the implications of having Artificial Intelligence (AI) in society. This short anime won the OVA category at the 2010 Tokyo Anime Award.

rikuo and sammy
Image credit: IMDb

In this world, domestic robots are essential helpers to mankind. However, they are governed by laws that deem them subservient to mankind. Those who consider these robots as equal to humans are frowned upon. 

eve no jikan cafe regulars
Image credit: IMDb

However, in a run-down corner of Tokyo, there is a secret cafe where the hierarchy separating robots and humans cease to exist.

rikuo andriod masaki
Image credit: IMDb

The story follows our male lead, Rikuo Sakisaka, who stumbles upon the cafe after stalking his robot helper’s activity log. What follows is a heartwarming story about bridging differences and achieving acceptance.

Time of Eve / Eve no jikan act01 trailer
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Time of Eve / Eve no jikan act01 trailer

Video credit: DIRECTIONSINC

Genre: Sci-fi, Slice-of-life
Length: 1 season, 6 episodes
Available on: Crunchyroll


Short anime series to binge in a night


Achieving work-life and school-life balance is easy with these short anime series. You can spend your pockets of time in between tasks watching these short episodes, or take a few hours to finish a whole story and still sleep on time.

For more anime to watch, check out:


Cover image adapted from (left to right): IMDb, IMDb and IMDb

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