10 short anime that deserve more recognition

Tulisha srivastava
Short underrated animeCrunchyroll

With countless anime series flooding every year, there are a lot of great series that get mixed up in the crowd – so here’s a list of the 10 short anime series that deserve more recognition.

With the overwhelming influx of anime series, some of them become massive hits while others are swiftly forgotten. A few incredible series tend to blend in with the crowd as the anime collection refreshes each new season.

The depth and variety of the anime world are too vast to comprehend properly with just a few titles. Once hooked, you’ll find yourself sliding through an unlimited collection of shows; it’s difficult to wrap your head around this bottomless pit.

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The fact that its excellence isn’t defined by the number of episodes or the genre is perhaps its strongest feature. Depending on one’s preferences, a 12-episode slice-of-life drama can be just as entertaining as a 1,000-episode Shonen series. From tear-jerking romance to intriguing thrillers, we bring you a list of the 10 short anime series that deserve more recognition.

1. Forest of Piano

Short anime Forest of PianoNetflix

Forest of Piano is a short anime series based on the award-winning manga by Makoto Isshiki. The story follows the tale of two boys with different upbringings but the same passion for piano. Kai Ichinose grew up in the red-light district with his mother, who works there as a prostitute.

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Somehow, Kai is able to play an abandoned piano in the forest. On the other hand, Shuuhei Amamiya, who comes from a well-established family, dreams of becoming a renowned pianist like his father.

Where to watch: Netflix

2. Guardian of the Sacred Spirit

Guardian of the Sacred SpiritHIDIVE

This historical short anime series is set in a world where a cataclysmic drought has spread an endless famine. The story follows a young woman, Balsa, who is tasked with the protection of a young prince, Chagum.

The young boy is destined to die under his father, the Emperor’s order, and become a sacrifice for the Water Spirit. The story continues as the two embark on a journey as they form an unbreakable bond while figuring out a way to save the world without making the sacrifice.

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Where to watch: HIDIVE

3. Eden of the East

Eden of the East short animeCrunchyroll

Eden of the East is a sci-fi mystery series with a romantic subplot. The story begins with the narration of an incident called “Careless Monday” when a terrorist act failed to harm anyone. The incident was quickly forgotten, and people went on with their regular lives.

Saki Morimi’s life is turned upside down when she encounters Akira Takizawa, who has amnesia and believes himself to be a terrorist. Despite his suspicious traits, Saki and Akira quickly become friends before a thrilling death game begins. As more secrets begin to unravel, Akira’s ties with Careless Monday come to light.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

4. Kids on Slope

A still from Kids on SlopeCrunchyroll

Kids on Slope is an intriguing tale of three students with different personalities and circumstances. With perfect storytelling, relatable characters, and mesmerizing melodious acts, viewers have every reason to enjoy this underrated gem.

The story follows Kaoru Nishimi, who arrives in Kyushu for his first year of high school. Kaoru, who always had difficulty making friends due to his father’s regular transfers, finds his life turned upside down when he meets Sentarou Kawabuchi and Ritsuko Mukae. Kaoru breaks out of his shell as he relives his passion for music.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

5. Ghost Hunt

Short horror anime series Ghost HuntCrunchyroll

Ghost Hunt is a hidden gem among horror anime. It features eight individual cases of ghost-hunting, drawing references from real-life ghost theories, making it all the more relatable. The protagonist, Mai Taniyama, begins to work for Kazuya Shibuya after accidentally destroying his ghost-hunting equipment.

However, as she moves on from one case to another, Mai’s dormant psychic abilities begin to awaken. The crew consists of a researcher, monk, Catholic priest, Shinto priestess, spirit medium, and a high school girl.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

6. Given

Given short anime seriesCrunchyroll

Given is a tear-jerking boy’s love and music series centering around Mafuyu Sato and his band members. It’s a story about heartbreak and moving on from your past shackles. The taciturn protagonist carries a Gibson guitar despite being unable to play it.

As Mafuyu is unable to deal with his past trauma, he meets Ritsuka Uenoyama and joins his band while discovering his love for music. The story also focuses on the complex relationships of the other band members and Mafuyu’s childhood friends.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

7. Carole & Tuesday

Carole & Tuesday short anime seriesNetflix

Carole & Tuesday is a sci-fi music anime series focusing on two girls who meet each other by a stroke of luck. Realizing their passion for music, they begin to live together and team up to make a name for themselves.

However, their dream is nearly impossible to accomplish when they live in a world where AI makes 99% of music. The story is set on Mars fifty years after humanity had transferred there. However, not all hope seems lost when they catch the eye of an unknown manager.

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Where to watch: Netflix

8. Summer Time Rendering

Short anime series summer time renderingCrunchyroll

Summer Time Rendering takes you on a thrilling ride of mystery, supernatural beings, and tragedy. 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 traveling back in time.

Not only that, but his supposedly deceased friend, Ushio, suddenly appears before him. 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.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

9. Death Parade

Death Parade short anime seriesCrunchyroll

Who would expect that after death, the first thing you’re greeted with is a bar? Death Parade is an original anime series that questions the true essence of humanity. After death, a select few enter a bar called Quindecim in pairs.

They must pass a test for the bartenders to determine if their souls should reincarnate or be sent to the void. These tests involve life-threatening games as they slowly begin to reveal the true nature of each patron while they wager their souls. 

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

10. Terror in Resonance

Terror in ResonanceCrunchyroll

Terror in Resonance is a psychological mystery drama centering around a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility in Japan. The only thing left behind after the attack is the wor” “VON” painted with red. As the police are unable to catch the culprit, a pair of teenage boys come to public view under the alias “Sphinx.”

They challenge the police and threaten them to wreak havoc across Tokyo. As the public and the entire police department are led by the nose by two unknown boys, Detective Kenjirou Shibazaki finds himself caught in the middle of the chaos.

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Where to watch: Crunchyroll

How to watch Crunchyroll from outside your location in 2023

Crunchyroll is the world’s best hub for streaming anime, whether it’s One PieceAttack on Titan, or Jujutsu Kaisen – and thanks to ExpressVPN, you can access the platform’s full library even if you’re outside the US.

If you’re abroad, here’s what you need to do to access Crunchyroll’s full selection – and it really is this simple:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN, which has ultra-fast servers and offers a secure, private connection wherever you are in the world.
  2.  Connect to a location anywhere in the US; Express VPN allows you to choose from 24 different spots, from New Jersey to Santa Monica.
  3.  Visit Crunchyroll online and start streaming all of your favorite animes – and perhaps some you’ve never watched.

Accessing Crunchyroll’s US roster makes a difference; for example, Hong Kong users only have access to less than 100 titles, while the US has nearly 1,000 movies and TV shows.

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You can also stream anime on Crunchyroll for free with an ad-supported plan, or you can pay for a subscription – there’s even a 14-day free trial if you can’t quite make up your mind.

You can check out a few of our other lists below and our other anime coverage here:

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About The Author

Tulisha is an anime writer at Dexerto. In the past, she has worked for Comic Book Resources. She is most knowledgeable about Shonen series, particularly One Piece and Jujutsu Kaisen. You can contact her at tulisha.srivastava@dexerto.com