Anime takes time to watch. The medium requires a personal investment of time from the purveyor which can be substantial given the potential scope of a series.
In a prior article I wrote here, I covered an anime with seven minute episodes, and realized that some anime only takes a little time to watch but still tells a great story; a viewer can cover a lot of ground in an hour or less with short form anime.
So, in what will be the first of more to come, this inaugural ‘Tight Five’ covers five short form anime with episodes that can be watched in less than 20 minutes!
1. Please Tell Me! Galko-chan (2016)
Please Tell Me! Galko-chan sports a vast, hysterical high-school cast of characters with nicknames based on their characteristics going about their school days, and various pursuits thereafter.
The three main characters are Galko-chan, a ‘Gal’ or ‘Gyaru’ that everyone presumes is “wild, and loose”, in actuality she’s rather innocent, squeamish about even reading a kissing scene aloud out of a book. Otako, Galko’s otaku best friend, supplies many of the setups and punchlines by simply asking raunchy questions or quoting perverted facts just to get a rise out of Galko. And finally there’s Ojou, a pure hearted, air headed rich girl who has taken interest in Galko, and Otako’s “engaging” conversations.
What Please Tell Me! Galko-chan excels at is packing a great deal of humor (even some drama) into seven minute blocks while making you grow affectionate for the eclectic gaggle of personalities on display at the same time.
Anime by Studio Feel. Original manga (5 volumes) by Kenya Suzuki, published by Kadokawa (2014 – present), published state side by Seven Seas Entertainment.
2. Bikini Warriors (2015)
This title has its origin as a series of collectible figurines by Hobby Japan that then warranted a fanservice driven anime also by Studio Feel. Detach brain, replace with popcorn for four minutes an episode!
Bikini Warriors tells the misadventures of a group of female warriors, Fighter, a fiery redhead who leads the group and is the daughter of a great warrior hero. The gorgeous blonde, Paladin, who has some closeted proclivities. Mage, a proverbial shrinking violet who supplies the magic, and Dark Elf who supplies magic as well as combat.
All are busty, and all wear skimpy bikinis.
Short on plot, tall on fanservice, this comedic short form anime runs 12 episodes with one special. There’s a five episode OVA but I haven’t seen it yet, but it is likely more of the same. Some great jokes regarding RPG tropes abound on top of the obligatory titillation (no pun intended there, honest!).
Licensed by Funimation.
3. I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying (2014 – 2015)
3 minutes is bite sized, and gone in a blink, but ‘I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying’ makes great use of the brief time, telling the story of a “normal” woman (Kaoru) who marries an otaku (Hajime).
A great title for those who’ve gotten into anime, and looking to wade out into the deep end as there’s a considerable amount of genre and sub-cultural humor at work here.
If you don’t know what terms like ‘Flag’, BL, or ‘Seme/Uke’ mean, or what Yaoi is, you will after this 26 episode series, but, it should be noted that this slice of life anime takes its brief time to tell a decent story of two very different people that would seem incompatible making a marriage work on the foundations of the love that brought them together.
The whole series amounts to roughly 80 minutes in total.
Anime by Studio Seven. Original manga by Coolkyousinnjya, published by Ichijinsha.
4. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san (2018)
11 minutes an episode, 12 episodes in all, and bizarre as all Hell.
This show is about a bookseller, a skeleton bookseller, working at a bookstore with a cast of other crazy characters wearing masks on their faces or helmets on their heads. The premise is simple, Honda and the rest of the cast work at a bookstore, trying their best to get the desired titles asked for by their customers into their hand, and the strange situations that abound from it.
Anyone who has worked in a retail bookstore chain can probably relate. It feels and knows your pain, and it will make you laugh at it!
Style wise, the animation quality evokes Adult Swim fair, but with Japanese subculture instead of the tired modern trangressive humor of the US. Strong on anime, and manga genre references, this title isn’t the best choice for those new to the medium, but it’s just strange and surreal enough to make one sit through the 11 minute run of an episode.
Anime by Studio DLE. Original manga by Honda (2015-2019, 4 volumes total), published by Media Factory, English version by Yen Press.
5. Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World (2018)
The premise on this one is pretty cool! A Japanese bar (Izakaya, similar to a pub) has a front door that opens into a fantasy world, and not just anywhere, but Aitheria, a massive capital city, serving its various residence. The main cast is the owner of Izakaya Nobu, Nobuyuki Yazawa, and the waitress Shinobu Senke.
Like Food Wars, Kakuriyo, and Gal Gohan, this title seems to be going out of its way to make people hungry. The animation on mugs of draft beer being drank is pretty impressive! The 14 minute long episodes tend to cover customers coming into the Izakaya and getting wowed by both the service and the pub fair for 10 minutes while the last 4 minutes are devoted to a live action segment called Nobu Plus, showcasing food, and food preparation.
24 episodes in all, the ONA (Original Net Animation) was produced by Sunrise. Original story by Natsuya Semikawa (Light Novels, 2014 – present). Manga (2015 – present) illustrated by Virginia Nitohei, published by Kadokawa Shoten, distributed in the US of A by Udon Entertainment.
You’ll eat it up!
Anime takes time to watch, but whether you’re looking at the short form, or the long haul, it’s time well spent!