Best 12 Episode Short Anime

If you want to find the perfect anime with 12 episodes, this is the list for you. Anime is becoming an increasingly popular medium around the globe, but not everyone has the time to watch every single episode of every season or is not in the mood of watching a big anime. 

The following list contains some of the best 12-episode anime series that will keep you entertained throughout. So if you’re looking for something short, sweet, and action-packed, these are your top 22 animes with only 12 episodes!

22. Somali and the Forest Spirit

  • Logline: A lost girl finds her savior in the woods but the road to home is still unknown. 
  • Year: 2020
  • Genre: Adventure, Drama
  • Studio: Satelight, HORNETS
Somali and the Forest Spirit

All too often, anime is criticized for being violent or erotic. But there are anime shows like Somali and the Forest Spirit that give meaningful life lessons in just 12 short episodes. 

This short yet profound anime show explores the dynamics between people and creatures, growing up with different cultures, coping with the loss of loved ones.

Synopsis

The show sets in a fictional world where the human race is dominated by monstrous beings. Remains of the scarce human population are haunted down and eaten by the new inhabitants. 

Amid this chaos, a young and innocent girl named Somali is separated from her parents. Fortunately, she is found in the wood by the Golem, who is known to protect nature for centuries. 

The anime then takes you on an adventure ride where the duo sets off to find Somali’s parents. 

21. My Roommate is a Cat

  • Logline: What happens when an introvert meets a cat. 
  • Year: 2019
  • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
  • Studio: Satelight, HORNETS
My Roommate is a Cat

This show is a fun, lighthearted teenage dramedy. If you are like me who grew up in a socially awkward environment, you are going to love this short anime.

You might watch this thinking that it is just a 12 episode anime but believe me, you’ll regret it being so short. 

Synopsis

The story centers on Subaru Mikazuki, a highly introverted person who happens to be a novel writer at the early age of 23. He has lived alone from a young age as his parents died in a car crash.

One day while following his routine of visiting his parent’s grave, he found a small cat in the graveyard. He decides to adopt her and names her Haru. Subaru took this decision discarding the fact that he has always lived alone and doesn’t know how to handle a pet. 

20. Hinamatsuri

  • Logline: Yoshifumu’s life cracks hard when he is literally hit by a girl falling from space.
  • Year: 2010
  • Genre: Slice of Life
  • Studio: Feel
Hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri is a short anime series with 12 episodes, making it the perfect way to fill up a few of your lunch breaks. It’s a great show for anyone looking for a story that will leave them feeling happy and fulfilled by the end. 

Synopsis

Our main protagonist, Yoshifumu Nitta is hit on the head by a girl falling from space. The girl, Hina is no ordinary girl. She possesses tremendous psychic abilities. 

Circumstances tie Yoshifumu with Hina together. Yoshifumu let the little girl stay with him and consequently they formed a father-daughter bond. 

19. Drifters

  • Logline: Shimazu’s struggle to end a long-run battle.
  • Year: 2016 
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
  • Studio: Feel
Drifters

Drifters is an anime based on manga with the same name. The manga was created by Kouta Hirano, with art direction by Naoyuki Onda. The anime aired in 2016 and was produced by Hood Drifters Studio. 

Synopsis

It follows a group of people who are stuck in a world where they are forced to fight each other to find out what awaits them after death, while also discovering that they are pawns in a larger game being played by some unknown force.

The story mainly follows the character Shimazu Toyohisa, who believes he will be reunited with his sister on the other side if he wins the war. This manga-inspired anime is sure to please fans of action, adventure, and drama-filled stories!

18. Dorohedoro

  • Logline: Three realms caught in a mutual batte
  • Year: 2016 
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
  • Studio: Feel
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Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro is a dark fantasy anime series with influences from horror, science fiction, and post-apocalyptic genres. Originally written by Q Hayashida, the series has received mixed reviews.

If you’re someone who can be easily offended then I recommend that you stay away from this anime because it has some graphic violence and nudity in it.

Synopsis

The story follows two teenage boys, Kaiman and Nikaido, who have been turned into mindless monsters called “Dorohedoro”. The series follows their efforts to discover how they became Dorohoedoro and to get revenge on the person responsible for their transformation. 

In Dorohedoro, time moves in a loop where people are reincarnated after being killed. The series primarily focuses on the social class of “those from the slums,” while also addressing topics such as social inequality, prejudice, greed, and power struggles.

17. Daily Lives of High School Boys

  • Logline: Three high schoolers living their life to the fullest. 
  • Year: 2012
  • Genre: Drama, Comedy
  • Studio: Sunrise
Daily Lives of High School Boys

Another short anime recommendation that I could not dare to miss is Daily Lives of High School Boys. It is a pure comical disaster that will crack you up in peals of laughter. 

Synopsis

Hidenori, Yoshitake, and Tadadkuni study in an all-boys high school called the Sanada North High School. 

The trio dreams about getting the best of everything in the world. Love, Cars, muscles, and everything fancy. But in reality, all they do is just kill time by getting involved in waggish activities. 

Each episode is an account of such an incident where one or all three friends gets caught up in a comical situation around the high school environment. 

16. Asobi Asobase

  • Logline: Three high school girls balancing life, fun, and school.
  • Year: 2018
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Studio: Lerche
Asobi Asobase

Asobi Asobase is another comedy anime that talks about high school adventures. This anime follows the daily lives of three girls who play out their various imaginations and rivalries. 

The show is about their unusual and bizarre adventures and the chaos they create with just a little bit of imagination. With just 2 seasons under its belt, Asobi Asobase is one of the best short anime series to watch in 2022!

Synopsis

Olivia joins an all-girls school as a transfer student. Her first interaction with the Kasumi and Hanako lands in disagreement.

A series of events brings three of them together. The show portrays daily yet entertaining events from the high school lives of these three girls. 

15. Stars Align

  • Logline: The boy’s tennis club at Minami Junior can’t deal with the embarrassment of losing from the girls club over and over again. 
  • Year: 2019
  • Genre:  Drama, Slice of Life
  • Studio: Original
Stars Align

It is easy to fit in a slice of life or a drama genre in a 12 episode series. However, there are only a few short sports animes that are worth watching.

Stars Align is one such anime series framed around a sports genre with a love story at its core. 

Synopsis

The tennis club at Shijo Minami Junior faces an uncommon situation. The girls club outperforms the boys by a mile. 

The show centers on Toma Shinjou, who is one of the best tennis players from the boys club. Toma is frustrated with his team’s performance and looks forward to recruiting new and talented players to the team.

Maki Katsuragi, a transfer student comes forward like a ray of sunshine for Toma Shinjou and the boy’s tennis club. With Maki on board, the boy’s tennis club is hopeful to conquer their long-lost dominance

14. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

  • Logline: It is a unique story of three girls making anime. 
  • Year: 2020
  • Genre:  Adventure, Comedy
  • Studio: Science SARU
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken

Keep your Hands off Eizouken is one of the unnoticed gems that deserves much attention in the short anime category. It is not a typical anime that you watch for a laugh or two.

It takes a realistic approach to depict a story of three animator girls struggling to make the “best anime ever”

Synopsis

Sharp-minded Midori Asakusa, crazy and lively Sayaka Kanamore, and childish Tsubame Mizusaki set on a mission to create an animation club.

Obsessed with anime and doodling, the trio deals with realistic problems like budgeting, recruitment, and planning. 

13. Katanagatari

  • Logline: A story of a swordmaster and a girl on an extremely challenging adventure.
  • Year: 2010
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance
  • Studio: White Fox
Katanagatari

This short anime series is great for those who love battles and strategy as you never know what will happen or how it will end.

The series has a total of 12 episodes but the one thing that differentiates it from others is that every episode is 50 minutes long.

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Synopsis

Katanagatari is an anime that follows the story of Yasuri, a skilled swordsman who agrees to join a girl in finding the 12 legendary swords. 

The journey takes them all over where they meet many warriors and have to fight them in order to win the swords.

12. Astra Lost in Space

  • Logline: A group of nine people gets stranded in the vast space trying to get back home.
  • Year: 2019
  • Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  • Studio: Lerche
Astra Lost in Space

Astra Lost in Space is a futuristic anime that centers around the lives of nine young people. It features plenty of action, drama, and suspenseful moments that will keep you on the edge of your seat! 

The series also has beautiful animation and great storytelling. Plus, this anime will make you want to explore space more yourself, which is always an added bonus!

Synopsis

Astra Lost in Space is an anime series about a group of 9 youngsters who mysteriously finds themselves lost in space. Nobody knows where they are and how they got there. 

The only option is to team up together and find ways to survive and begin their journey back home. Join them in their quest to find out what happens to them in this perilous journey.

11. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

  • Logline: A story of a princess who’ll do anything to get a peaceful sleep.
  • Year: 2020
  • Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
  • Studio: Doga Kobo
Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

As the name suggests, this is a story about a princess who can’t sleep. If you are looking for a calm, well-paced show that will help you drift off into dreamland, give Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle a try!

This 12 episode anime will keep you entertained throughout with endless laughs.

Synopsis

Ever since the demon lord kidnapped Princess Aurora from her Kingdom and brought her to his castle, she hasn’t been able to sleep at all.

She is dying for a peaceful sleep and will do anything to find something that’ll help her get a moment of sleep.

10. Land of the Lustrous

  • Logline: Adventures of Phosphophyllite in saving his tribe.
  • Year: 2017
  • Genre: Action, Drama
  • Studios: Orange
Land of the Lustrous 1

Land of the Lustrous may be just one of many 12 episode anime series out there, but it’s an interesting one for sure.

From its beautiful animation design to its soundtrack and storytelling, it’s a show worth checking out. The deep message in the story will surely touch your heart.

Synopsis

In a world that is inhabited by crystalline organisms called Gems, the story follows Phosphophyllite aka Phos, a young Gem who is considered fragile and thus discriminated against.

Phos meets Cinnabar – who is also avoided by other gems because of his corrosive poison producing body. Phos and Cinnabar decide to go on a journey together to find their role in the world.

9. Death Parade

  • Logline: People dying simultaneously are sent to a place of judgment known as the Quindecim Bar. 
  • Year: 2015
  • Genre: Drama, Suspense
  • Studio: Madhouse
Death Parade 1

A lot of anime can be hard to watch with its fast-paced, emotional scenes. With 12 episodes, Death Parade, the show will be over before you know it and you can take a break from the intensity. 

This series is full of twists and turns as you watch the lives of those who are judged for their sins in an afterlife limbo. 

Synopsis

Few people after death find themselves in Quindecim Bar where they are made to compete against each other to try and save their souls from eternal damnation in hell.

The Bar is run by Decim (the arbiter), an emotionless man who oversees the games.

8. Grand Blue

  • Logline: Iori enjoys his new college life to the fullest with his newfound friends.
  • Year: 2018
  • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
  • Studio: Zero-G
Grand Blue

You’ve just had a tough day of school and you need a break. Maybe you’re restless because your parents won’t let you do what you want, or maybe your friends are on another planet.

Whatever the case may be, this 12 episode anime show is for you!

Synopsis

Grand Blue follows the story of Iori Kitahara, a freshman at college. His uncle manages a beachside inn and Iori fondly remembers spending his childhood summers there.

He comes across the diving club and becomes friends with the members. They have lots of fun and get into ridiculous situations along the way. 

7. Kids on the Slope

  • Logline: A story of friendship between two guys based on their love for music.
  • Year: 2012
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Studio: Tezuka Productions, MAPPA
Kids on the Slope

If you are a sucker for a good musical anime, then this 12 episode short anime is just for you.

The show also tackles topics that are common in teenagers, but always manages to bring it back around to what matters most: friendship and music.

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Synopsis

Kids on the Slope is a 12-episode anime series that centers around the budding relationship between two teenagers. The show follows Kyushu, a prodigy in music, and his classmate Sentarou.

Koichi has always been seen as a genius but never had any friends until he met Sentarou. While their friendship starts off shaky, it eventually blossoms into something more genuine.

6. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun

  • Logline: A story of a relationship between a girl and a ghost boy.
  • Year: 2020
  • Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
  • Studio: Lerche
Toilet Bound Hanako kun

This short anime series packs a lot of variations within itself that make it quite enjoyable to watch. It combines the supernatural with a pinch of comedy. 

The story is captivating and provides extensive world-building in all its supernatural elements.

Synopsis

Nene is an introverted girl who decides to call upon the bathroom ghost in her school to ask for help. Her calling is heard and Hanako appears, a young ghost boy.

A new world of supernatural gets opened before Nene and she gets dragged into it.

5. School Babysitters

  • Logline: A school club for babysitting little kids.
  • Year: 2018
  • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
  • Studio: Brain’s Base
School Babysitters

School Babysitters is a beautiful series with an easygoing tone. If you are looking for something that is not too serious to watch and something casual and entertaining, then this anime is right up in your alley. It is comedic and will fill your heart with joy.

Synopsis

School Babysitters is a comedy anime series about a group of high school students who take care of toddlers.  These kids can be really troublesome sometimes–but they always seem to be having fun.

This slice-of-life comedy is perfect for anyone looking for some laughs and a lighthearted anime!

4. No Game No Life

  • Logline: Two NEET siblings with mad love for games.
  • Year: 2014
  • Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
  • Studio: Madhouse
No Game No Life 1

Hours fly by while watching this anime because you can’t help but enjoy each episode. The animation is also amazing, with fluid movement and expressive emotions on the characters’ faces.

This show has no shortage of humor, drama, suspense, creativity, action, and excitement! It’s a wonderful series for anyone who loves games or enjoys a good laugh.

Synopsis

Two siblings are transported to a fantasy world where they must compete in the game against the other inhabitants. The winner of this game will become the new ruler of this world.

The story is all about how these two siblings play games with various people in this new land, and they do it masterfully! 

3. Yuri!!! on Ice

  • Logline: Figure skater Yuri Katsuki and his journey to becoming the world champion 
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre: Slice of Lice, Drama
  • Studio: Mappa
Yuri on Ice 1

The story does an excellent job of exploring the intricacies of bl relationships and showing how they can be both rewarding and challenging.

One of the aspects that makes this anime so terrific is how it realistically portrays the difficulty of being in a relationship while being so focused on your work.

Synopsis

Yuri!!! on Ice follows the story of a Yuuri, a Japanese professional ice skating rink skater who is struggling to take off his career. 

Yuuri meets one of the biggest stars in the world of figure skating who offers to train him and thus begins a new chapter in Yuuri’s life.

2. SK8 the Infinity

  • Logline: Two friends competing in skateboarding races.
  • Year: 2021
  • Genre: Comedy, Sports
  • Studio: Bones
SK8 the Infinity

There are many sports anime created to date but SK8 is not only the best sports anime in 12 episode category but it is the coolest sports anime you’ll ever watch.

It has got everything from passion, aggression, action, and a smooth storyline. A must-watch for all sports lovers.

Synopsis

SK8 the Infinity is about a group of high schoolers who are great at skateboarding. They have to face off against an opposing team who are often scary, but their main obstacle is the law itself.

It’s a wild ride that will have you hooked from episode one!

1. Erased

  • Logline: The life of a guy changes when he gets the ability to go back in time.
  • Year: 2016
  • Genre: Mystery, Supernatural 
  • Studio: A-1 Pictures
ERASED

ERASED is the most popular 12-episode anime series from the manga series “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi” by Kei Sanbe.

Anime often features themes of redemption and forgiveness, and ERASED is no exception. This anime is perfect for those who want something action-packed with a happy ending.

Synopsis

The story follows Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old manga artist with a strange ability to go back in time as a result of his childhood tragedy.

When he realizes that a serial kidnapper has been killing children and framing someone else for it, he steps up to stop him.