Anime these days are far too long, so we've compiled a list of series completed in a singular season

click to enlarge Anime these days are far too long, so we've compiled a list of series completed in a singular season
Banana Fish

Last month, my partner and I began watching One Piece, a wildly popular, quirky anime about an even quirkier group of pirates. And so far, the series has been wonderful. But I've got a bone to pick. How, after a month of diligent viewing, am I only about 10% through the series? What kind of show needs more than 1,000 episodes to tell its story? And honestly, my main question is: Why am I now trapped in at least a yearlong commitment to catch up to its most recent episodes?!

In a bitter move, I've set out to write about some of my favorite anime series that are just one season long. You'll find my list quite varied, but all united by their ability to be binged in a single day.

AKAME GA KILL! (24 episodes, 2016)

Akame ga Kill! follows a group of assassins who are working to fix their broken society by killing the corrupt leaders responsible for that damage. Such a dangerous burden comes at a heavy toll, manifesting in a tragedy every few episodes. This anime is truly the blueprint when it comes to one-season series. You've got quick, hard-hitting scenes of action that aren't drawn out for dozens of episodes, commentary on a broken system of governance and a realistic solution (assassination), and a group of characters that are just so easy to love. Watch: The Roku Channel, Hulu, Prime Video

ERASED (12 episodes, 2016)

After a life of regret for a kidnapping incident that happened during his elementary school years, main character Satoru Fujinuma wakes up one morning inside his younger self's body with knowledge of the future and the opportunity to change it. However, as Fujinuma works to prevent the same tragedies from occurring, he unintentionally places himself and his family squarely in danger's way. What unfolds afterwards is a true-crime-like mystery of the ages, with more twists and turns than seem possible in a 12-episode series. Watch: Hulu, Crunchyroll

PARASYTE: THE MAXIM (24 episodes, 2014)

Alien parasites are hell-bent on taking over the world. To do so, they must infect humans' bodies and take over their brains. But when it comes to teenager Shinichi Izumi, a parasite later named Migi is only able to burrow into Shinichi's arm, eventually taking control of just his hand. The pair eventually form some semblance of a bond and begin fighting back against the parasites that have taken over large parts of the population. Unlike other alien invasions that fall in the realm of science fiction, Parasyte: The Maxim is filled with gory action that's more aligned with the horror genre. Watch: Hulu, Prime Video, The Roku Channel, Crunchyroll

BANANA FISH (24 episodes, 2018)

After witnessing a man being fatally shot, 17-year-old Ash Lynx listens to the victim's confusing final words: "Seek banana fish." Lynx, who leads a New York street gang in the 1980s, then sets out to figure out what those cryptic words could even mean. He soon uncovers the criminal conspiracy around a drug called "Banana fish" that can brainwash its users. While this anime is mainly a thriller, it's got a romantic subplot that'll leave viewers in tears. Watch: Prime Video

KILL LA KILL (24 episodes, 2013)

I unironically believe Kill la Kill is one of the funniest anime series in existence... and it's not even a comedy. The show starts off with protagonist Ryuko Matoi, who's searching for the person who murdered her father. She immediately finds out any answers will need to be fought for. To do that, she teams up with a living uniform that, when worn, gives Matoi unbelievable power. While that's pretty funny in itself, the true humor comes in about two-thirds of the way through the series, as we learn a species of sentient clothing is trying to take over the world. Don't worry though, a militant group of nudists get involved to help save the day. Watch: Hulu, Prime Video, Crunchyroll

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Colton Rasanen

Colton Rasanen is a staff writer for the Inlander covering education, LGBTQ+ affairs, and most recently, arts and culture. He joined the staff in 2023 after working as the managing editor of the Wahpeton Daily News and News Monitor in rural North Dakota.