Storytelling does not necessitate an entire series or film. Some of the best anime shorts ever made are included in this list.
There are times when a short animated picture can tell some of the best stories. Some of the most well-known names in the anime industry, such as Makoto Shinkai and Yoh Yoshinari, got their start with short films like this. If you’re looking for some of the best short anime flicks out there, go no further than these.
1. Little Witch Academia
Atsuko “Akko” Kagari, a cheerful and extroverted young witch in Little Witch Academia, aspires to be a witch like Shiny Chariot, despite the fact that other witches despise Shiny Chariot. Despite her lack of magic knowledge, Akko proves herself to be a powerful witch when a dragon is liberated from its seal. The Young Animator Training Project, an annual animation project financed by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, sponsored Little Witch Academia in 2013. Little Witch Academia was hailed as a critical and popular success around the world for its unique style and endearing characters. As a result, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, a longer sequel film, was released in 2015, and an anime series was released in 2017.
2. Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek
“Otokoyo” is a hide-and-seek game for kids where they don fox masks and hide from demons. Shuhei Morita’s Kakurenbo is based on this game. Seven children engage in a game of “otokoyo” in an abandoned and decaying town reminiscent of Kowloon. If a youngster wants to win, he or she must get to the city’s heart, where the battery tower is located, before the demons do. A simple game of hide-and-seek becomes a “life or death” struggle for survival, all thanks to Morita’s menacing graphics and haunting soundtrack.
3. Cat Soup
It’s a short film based on the manga by Nekojiru, Cat Soup. One half of Nyko’s soul is missing, so Nyatta, an anthropomorphic kitty, sets out to find it. By cutting and putting back together living animals, the story plays with the idea of life and death in a surrealist fashion. At the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival, Cat Soup took first place in the Excellent Prize (Animation Division) for a strange and disturbing short, and at the 2003 New York Exposition of Short Film and Video, it took silver for animation.
4. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light
One human named Hotaru Takegawa falls in love with both a woodland ghost named Gin and a one-shot shojo manga created by Yuki Midorikawa. Hotaru becomes lost in the jungle as a six-year-old and is rescued by Gin, who tells her that he cannot be touched by a human or he will vanish. Even as their friendship and love grows, the insurmountable obstacles they face in their relationship become more difficult to overcome. With such compassion and simplicity, Midorikawa narrates a tragic love story that reveals the beauty of Japanese mythology and folklore. During the 66th Annual Mainichi Picture Awards, this film was awarded the Animation Film Award.
5. The Garden of Words
To pass the time on a rainy day, Takao Akizuki, an aspiring shoemaker in Makoto Shinkai’s The Garden of Words, skips class to sketch shoes at Shinjuku Gyo-en. Yukari Yukino, a literature teacher at his high school and a victim of bullying and rumors, is spotted in the park eating chocolate and drinking beer by the lake. In the course of their daily park outings, Takao falls in love with her and vows to create her a pair of shoes. Shinkai is recognized for his attention to detail in his animated backgrounds, which is seen in this short through his depiction of Shinjuku Gyo-en National Park’s lush foliage and summer rain. To further illustrate the melodramatic love ties between his characters, Shinkai uses subtle metaphors and allusions, such as Takao’s handmade shoes and the classical Japanese poetry anthology, Man’yoshu. The Kobe Theatrical Film Award went to The Garden of Words in 2013.
6. La Maison en Petits Cubes
Short film La Maison en Petits Cubes tells the story of a widowed old man who unintentionally dropped his favorite smoking pipe in the water and thus, he swims through the various storeys of his inundated house to find it. During the course of his quest for his pipe, he recalls some of his fondest memories from before his house was flooded. It is through the use of water-colored animated graphics that Kat creates a meditative and contemplative ambiance that she conveys the thematic message of the value of human life. At the 81st Academy Awards, La Maison en Petits Cubes took home multiple honors, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Porter Robinson and Madeon collaborated with A-1 Pictures and Crunchyroll to produce this beautiful music video for their song “Shelter.” When Rin isn’t drawing on her tablet, she uses it to construct new landscapes in her virtual world. In her virtual world, she is confronted with an unexpected influx of photographs of her father and her spending time together. To send Rin into space, her father has been working on the construction of a sleep pod, which Rin witnesses in these memories. In addition to a letter explaining his actions, Rin’s father erased his daughter’s memory and developed a simulation to replicate her childhood recollections when she’s older. Shelter depicts a dying father’s longing for his daughter to go on in the hope of a bright future. Images of nature and space convey the song’s underlying themes of safety and the true meaning of a “home” in an evocative way.