4 must-see short anime (and 4 long ones worth watching)

Cowboy Bebop and One Piece are good examples for this list
Cowboy Bebop and One Piece are good examples for this list (Image via Sunrise, Toei Animation)

Both short and long animes provide a dose of entertainment. However, a person only has so much time at their disposal, which pushes them to figure out how to best use that time.

There is honestly plenty of great options for both scenarios. This list is designed explicitly with newer fans in mind, as they might not know where to start. That said, veteran viewers can still enjoy it if they feel an urge to rewatch something.

Four excellent short animes to watch

1) Steins;Gate (24 episodes)


Visual Novels don't always translate well into animes. However, Steins;Gate did so incredibly well. It's a fantastic sci-fi thriller that follows a strange mad scientist named Okabe Rintaro and involves some time travel shenanigans. Not to mention, the character relationships are pretty fleshed out. That's not surprising considering the series' origin as a Visual Novel.

It genuinely helps that the romance is more believable and isn't inserted into the plotline for the sake of it. Readers should know that this show does have a great sequel in Steins;Gate 0, which also has 24 episodes.

2) Cowboy Bebop (26 episodes)

A funny scene involving Faye's drawing skills (Image via Sunrise)
A funny scene involving Faye's drawing skills (Image via Sunrise)

Putting the Netflix adaptation aside, Cowboy Bebop is a beloved classic with fantastic animation. Its overall presentation is good enough to beat some modern shows, which is a rarity. The music is excellent, Spike is a fantastic protagonist, and the show's ending is tense but believable simultaneously.

It's a sci-fi TV show with universal themes that make it easy for anybody to digest. As a result, it doesn't feel too futuristic to the point that it alienates some fans like some other animes might do.

3) Neon Genesis Evangelion (26 episodes)

The highly popular Rei Ayanami (Image via Gainax)
The highly popular Rei Ayanami (Image via Gainax)

Many people love to say that Neon Genesis Evangelion saved anime by revitalizing interest in the industry. While there are some debates about this claim, there is no denying that this show is critically acclaimed and loved by the masses.

This show's characters are interesting, the psyche of the plot is enticing, and it involves mechas. The final two episodes are a bit strange, but fans of the series can also opt to watch the other six movies for a better finale experience.

4) Death Note (34 episodes)

Light and the Death Note (Image via Madhouse)
Light and the Death Note (Image via Madhouse)

It's longer than the previous suggestions, but it's still a prime example of a must-see anime. For starters, Death Note is much darker than the standard Shōnen anime. It involves a character named Light, who finds an object named Death Note. Anybody's name he writes into it will die.

The show explores some interesting moral dilemmas and mind games, unlike most other notable TV shows that readers would have likely heard of many times by now. It's a well-written story, making 34 episodes easy to sit through.

Four excellent long animes to watch

1) YuYu Hakusho (112 episodes)

A genuine classic (Image via Pierrot)
A genuine classic (Image via Pierrot)

A long anime without a filler is like finding a specific needle within a massive stack. It's widespread to see questions within online communities about filler episodes they can skip, and it can get to a point where viewers have to skip dozens of episodes.

In YuYu Hakusho's case, there are 0 filler episodes. Every episode advances the plot in a meaningful way. Add a colorful cast of memorable characters to that, and it's a recipe for success. The main downside to this anime is that the ending is a bit rushed, but it's still executed in a way that anime fans won't regret watching. The upcoming TV shows are much longer by comparison.

2) One Piece (1,026 episodes and counting)

Luffy at the beginning and Luffy after the time skip (Image via Toei Animation)
Luffy at the beginning and Luffy after the time skip (Image via Toei Animation)

Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular manga of all time is a very long anime. There are well over 1,000 episodes to watch. By the time this article was written, there were 1,026 episodes, and more were in production. Unfortunately, there are filler arcs that some viewers might wish to skip.

That shouldn't dissuade them from trying to watch parts of One Piece. One can find plenty of moments that can emotionally impact the viewer, ranging from melancholy (like Ace's death) to excitement (like whenever Luffy defeats the main antagonist of an arc).

There is also no shortage of movies and OVAs to watch for those who manage to watch every single episode.

3) Naruto (220 episodes)

The young versions of Sakura, Naruto, and Sasuke (Image via Pierrot)
The young versions of Sakura, Naruto, and Sasuke (Image via Pierrot)

The original Naruto was a classic with 220 fun episodes for viewers. Naruto: Shippuden is its sequel, and while it is an excellent show to watch, it does suffer from some writing issues compared to its predecessor.

Naruto is better by comparison for building up the characters and giving viewers a reason to care for them. The animation might not be as good, but the fun plotline and better balance regarding fights make it an enjoyable experience that every anime fan should consider giving a try.

If one loves the original show, they should give the sequel a go. Keep in mind that Naruto: Shippuden has 500 episodes.

4) Dragon Ball Z (291 episodes)


There are many different parts of the Dragon Ball series, but Dragon Ball Z is arguably the best to watch if a viewer could pick only one show. It's not that the other shows like Dragon Ball Super are terrible.

Many modern animes have derived inspiration from this particular series, so younger fans who haven't seen it should be able to draw the obvious parallels between modern shows and this classic. Likewise, nostalgic fans could always use an excuse to rewatch parts of Dragon Ball Z.

Many great fights occurred in this show, such as:

  • Goku vs. Vegeta
  • Gohan vs. Cell
  • Goku vs. Vegeta
  • Vegeta vs. Majin Buu

That's a short list too, actually. While Dragon Ball Z might not have the most riveting storyline out there, the combat is where this series shines and is a must-see anime for any action fan.

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Edited by Sayati Das
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