As a genre, Anime is filled with far more bad series than there are good. A lot of that problem is derived from how some of the shows are formatted episode wise. Whether it’s to stall until the manga is finished or simply to stretch out the narrative, too many Anime feature hundreds, and even thousands, of episodes throughout their series.
But instead of important information, many are laced with filler (Bleach), flashbacks (Naruto), or unnecessarily long fights (Dragon Ball Z) (Even if these are some of my favorite shows). Below is a list of Anime that does the exact opposite when it comes to telling their story, not overstaying their welcome.
DEATH NOTE (2006) – Episodes: 37, Avg Length: 24 mins
The story of when a bored God of Death, a Shinigami named Ryuk, drops his Notebook into the human world in the hopes of witnessing some chaos. When an equally bored teenage genius, Light Yagami, finds the book and learns its rules, he is hell-bent on killing criminals to make the world a better place, while also becoming its god. While many argue that Death Note goes downhill after certain characters death, it’s addicting throughout and perfect for binge watching.
ONE PUNCH MAN (2015) – Episodes: 12 (6 OVAs), Avg Lenght: 24 mins
Satiring Anime isn’t necessarily the hardest thing to accomplish in the world, as it is home to a plethora of tropes and cliche. But One Punch Man does so while not only making the aspects of the Anime it’s satirizing look awesome and Saitama’s blank reaction to it all hilarious, it also does so without becoming redundant. Though this may be somewhat of a cheat, since the series is still going, One Punch Man episode list actually feels too short if anything! I can’t wait for season 2.
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (2003)/BROTHERHOOD (2009) – Episodes: 51 (5 OVAs)/64 (4 OVAs), Avg Length: 30 mins/24 mins
Even with two different series devoted to the Manga – as the first complete and tells its own story before the Manga finishes, while the second adapts the rest of the Manga – Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood still never overstay their welcome. Even when the series contains side stories surrounding Edward and Alphonse Elric, like the Tucker/Chimera side plot, they always wrap around to the stories main focus of Alchemy, and the brothers search for The Philosopher Stone.
COWBOY BEBOP (1998) – Episodes: 26, Avg Length: 24 mins
Anime fan or not, Cowboy Bebop is one of the most beloved series of the 90s. The series set the bar for story, visuals and especially the music. Even the bits of filler is more enjoyable than some shows main plot lines. Just like One Punch Man, there is far more clamor for more episodes rather than disdain for overstaying its welcome. In reality, Bebop is more like Firefly, in that fans want more of an explanation and some closure, feeling the series ended too soon. Fingers crossed the live-action adaptation can flesh out more.
BERSERK (1997) – Episodes: 25, Avg Length: 24 mins
While it’s seen two other formats since 1997 – a movie series in 2012/13 and a second adaptation in 2016/17 – the original Berserk manga is heralded as one of the most important series of all time for its influence on media, both in and outside Japan. It’s first adaptation certainly does it justice with a rock solid plot and considerable character depth. While the recent adaptations of the story of the rogue swordsman named Guts have been ok, they can’t measure up to the original, which is as close to a perfect Anime as you can get.
Do you agree with this list? What are some of your favorite shorter Anime? Be sure to start a discussion in the comments below!