10 short anime series perfect for beginners

Tulisha srivastava
short anime series

The long-running, globally popular anime can be quite overwhelming for beginners – so here’s a list of 10 short anime series perfect for those who are new to the anime world.

Watching long-running anime series that run for years or even decades is a big commitment that not everyone is willing to make. This is especially the case for those just entering the anime world and wondering where to start.

 Not to mention the sheer number of high-rated series, as well as the varying genres, are easy to overwhelm someone. Most tend to follow the norm and stick with the Shonen genre, which leaves several masterpieces undetected.

Perhaps the best thing about it is that its quality isn’t determined by the number of episodes or its genre. Depending on an individual’s preference, a 12-episode slice-of-life drama can be just as enjoyable as a 1000-episode-long Shonen series. From top-rated masterpieces to hidden gems, we bring a list of 10 shorter anime series that are perfect for beginners.

1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

fullmetal alchemist brotherhood

It won’t be much of a short anime series recommendation list if we don’t start out with the timeless classic Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Released in 2009, this anime has maintained its top seat in the MyAnimeList to this day. 

Running for 64 episodes, this series perfectly balances comedy, tragic moments, character development, and backstories while featuring a heart-warming ending. Although there had been another adaptation before, this one closely follows the manga and has a wide fanbase. 

The series follows two brothers who struggle to get their bodies back. They can only do that by acquiring a Philosopher’s Stone. However, the quest for the legendary item is more treacherous than they imagined.

2. Parasyte: The Maxim

Short anime series Parasyte the maxim

Parasyte: The Maxim is a Seinen series with plenty of gore. Adapted from the manga of the same name in 2014, this highly acclaimed series has splendid animation with beautiful hand-drawn scenes. 

The series centers around the question, “What it means to be a human?” from a unique perspective. The premise of the story is alien parasites invading Earth and taking over human bodies to survive. The aliens struggle to blend into human society without knowing the first thing about what sets humans apart from them.

Unlike those aliens, the one possessing Shinichi Izumi ended up taking over his right arm instead of his body. As such, the two must coexist to defeat the hostile parasites in order to survive. Amid all that, they begin to understand the meaning of each other’s existence.

3. Summer Time Rendering

Short anime series summer time rendering

Summer Time Rendering runs for 25 episodes and concludes the story without any cliffhangers or unnecessary side plots. The best element of the story is the unexpected plot twists that always turn the story even more intense. 

The premise of the story is a time loop to avoid certain tragedies. The protagonist, Shinpei Ajiro, travels back home to attend the funeral of his childhood crush, Ushio Kofune. However, he suddenly finds himself capable of traveling back in time.

Not only that, his deceased friend Ushio suddenly appears unscathed. After learning about the existence of “shadows” and the impending tragedy that might befall the island, Shunpei must join hands with her to defeat that threat.

4. Kids on Slope

A still from Kids on Slope

If you’re looking for a short, comfort anime series with a steady pace, then Kids on Slope might be the right pick for you. With perfect storytelling, relatable characters, and mesmerizing melodious acts, viewers have every reason to enjoy this underrated gem.

This musical romance story follows Kaoru Nishimi, who arrives in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Due to constantly transferring schools because of his father’s job, Kaoru finds it difficult to blend in with his peers, especially after knowing he will have to leave in a short time.

However, things change when he meets the notorious Sentarou Kawabuchi and Ritsuko Mukae. Kaoru finally manages to break out of his shell and embraces his love for music. As someone adept with classical piano music, Kaoru was influenced by Sentarou’s passion for jazz. 

5. Ghost Hunt

Short horror anime series Ghost Hunt

It’s not often when you come across a perfect horror series with just the right amount of comedy. This short anime series runs for 25 episodes and features eight individual cases of ghost-hunting. The series draws references from real-life stories and ghost theories, making it all the more relatable.

The series begins with a very generic “ghost in the old school building trope” but quickly catches on as it introduces all the main characters. All characters are somewhat related to the field of ghost-hunting or exorcism. The crew consists of a researcher, monk, Catholic priest, Shinto priestess, spirit medium, and a high school girl – who couldn’t be more different if they tried.

However, they still manage to find a middle ground and take on several cases. The protagonist Mai Taniyama begins to work for Kazuya Shibuya after accidentally destroying his ghost-hunting equipment. As she moves on from one case to another, Mai’s dormant psychic abilities begin to awaken. 

6. Your Lie in April

A still from Your Lie in April

Another music anime we have on our list is Your Lie in April. The anime is worth every second, especially with such a lovable protagonist, Kaori Miyazono, who helps Kousei Arima break free from his trauma. A “human metronome (Kousei)” and a “free spirit (Kaori),” these polar opposites perform together and find their own meaning in music.

The soundtrack is icing on the cake, especially the blend of violin and piano that strengthens their bonds. The plot is beautifully depicted, and the series does an excellent job of having the viewers feel the right emotions at the right moments. 

It’s just the romance but the jealousy, depression, and determination; everything fits so perfectly in this short anime series. No spoilers, but this anime is a tearjerker, so be prepared for the waterworks if you’re planning to give this series a try.

7. 91 days

Short anime series 91 days

91 Days is a dark, sorrowful story with revenge as its central theme. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but it’s straightforward. Almost all of its story choices feel aimed at fulfilling its narrative purpose. It implies that vengeance could be a tasty meal. However, rather than providing it at any temperature, it may be best to eliminate it from the menu entirely.

The plot takes place in early twentieth-century prohibition America when the Vinetti (mafia) family pays a visit to the Lagusa household. The mafia’s goal is to eliminate everyone there and burn down the house to leave no evidence. 

Angelo Lagusa (the protagonist) hides himself and witnesses his family’s murder. After escaping, he disappears for eight years until he receives an anonymous letter revealing the person guilty of his family’s murder, and thus the tale of revenge begins.

8. Erased

Short anime series Erased

Another time-travel short anime series we have on our list is Erased, with a captivating storyline in just 12 episodes. The protagonist Satoru Fujinima has the ability to travel back in time whenever something unfortunate is about to happen. 

The difference in time is not much, but it’s enough to help him avoid dangerous situations. He can only travel back to the exact moment when he can stop the incident from happening. However, when he suddenly finds himself getting convicted for his mother’s murder he never did, Satoru finds himself 18 years in the past. 

He realizes the murderer has some connection with the case of missing children and thus swears to save Kayo Hinazuki, one of the victims. The story is short, but it’s enough to portray the characters and thoroughly explore the plot with enough time for character development, regret, redemption, and determination to create a better future.

9. Barakamon

A still from the Barakamon comfort anime

Barakamon is an epic tale of self-discovery, exploring several life lessons within its slice-of-life genre. The series is hilarious but has enough depth to make it worth the watch. This short anime series centers around Sei Handa, a calligraphist who hits a veteran in the field after having his work called “unoriginal.” 

His untamed narcissism often overshadows Sei’s talent. The incident with the veteran compels Sei’s father to send him to Goto Islands for self-reflection. As the rookie calligraphy struggles to adjust to country life, he meets eccentric people and the mischievous kid Naru Kotoishi.

As he gets to know more people, Sei mellows down his arrogance and realizes his mistake of hitting an old. Furthermore, he finds his “unique” art style and meaning in his art. The series explores the theme of growing up and making a place for yourself in the world of adults.

10. Dororo (2019)

A still from the 2019 reboot of Dororo

Anyone new to anime should be introduced to this classic work of the “God of manga,” Osamu Tezuka. Dororo’s original anime adaptation was released back in 1969, and decades after, this incredible story was made into a reboot by MAPPA. 

This classic Shonen has dark and gory themes while exploring the struggles of the protagonist, who cheats on death his entire life. The story is set in feudal Japan, where Samurai Lords rule over their lands. Daigo Kagemitsu sacrifices his firstborn to the demons in hopes of saving his dying land.

The twelve demons each take one body part, leaving only one in his head that the final demon fails to consume because of the Goddess of Mercy. As someone destined to get sacrificed by his father, Hyakkimaru swears to find everything he has lost. He crosses paths with a young child Dororo who refuses to leave his side.

Many of these anime can currently be streamed on Crunchyroll and Netflix. In the meantime, check out our other anime coverage below:

One Piece chapter 1087 | Jujutsu Kaisen Suguru Geto | Jujutsu Kaisen young Gojo blindfold | Jujutsu Kaisen art style comparison | Bleach anime-only scene | JJK Star Plasma Vessel | One Piece voice actors | Shonen Big Three | JJK chapter 229 spoilers | Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 major deaths

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