20 Best One-Season Anime You Can’t Skip (RANKED)

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

A good anime show usually has several seasons; if an anime lasts long(er), it’s usually a good sign that it is a high quality show. Depending on whether it’s an original story or a manga adaptation, an anime will have two, three, or more seasons and will be on the air for years, even decades in some cases.

But, alongside these, there are those anime series that come and go. They do their run, usually between 12 and 26 episodes (although there are some notable exceptions) and they simply end. These one-season anime series can turn out to be simply great and we have decided to dedicate this article to them.

Our list is going to contain a total of 20 titles. We shall include anime series from different eras, as well as of different genres without any discrimination. They are going to be ranked from 20th to 1st place and we are going to bring you some basic production and plot info about each of them.

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Best One-season Anime

The anime series are ranked from 20th to 1st place, with the latter being the best on the list. We have tried to pick the best one-season anime which will not simply entertain you, but also enlighten you in some way.

20. Claymore

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: April 4, 2007 – September 26, 2007
Number of Episodes: 26

Claymores are half-human, half-demon warriors called upon by villagers to protect themselves from monsters such as demons. Feared and dreaded, they are distinguished by their silver eyes and the gigantic sword they carry on their backs, hence their names by humans of “silver-eyed witches” or “Claymore” (the name of the type of sword they use). Claire is one of them.

Called to a village to eliminate the demons that attack and devour the population, she kills the penultimate member, who has become a monster, of an already decimated family. The last survivor, Raki, finding himself alone, then decides to follow her in her bloodthirsty adventures, as a cook. He will gradually discover the secrets and the tragic destiny of these singular women.

19. School Days

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: July 3, 2007 – September 27, 2007
Number of Episodes: 12

School Days centers on the life of Makoto Itō, a first-year high school student living with his divorced mother in the fictional town of Haramihama. He is attracted to Kotonoha Katsura, a classmate from another class who shares the same train with him to go to high school.

After a change of class plan, he becomes acquainted with Sekai Saionji, an optimistic girl who will help him form a relationship with Kotonoha by giving them reasons to meet.

18. Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: July 2, 2015 – September 17, 2015
Number of Episodes: 11

The story takes place in a college where several murder cases take place. Kobayashi, a boy who goes to this school, meets genius detective Akechi, who comes to the school to investigate. Kobayashi takes an interest in Akechi, and despite his friend Hashiba’s concerns, he volunteers to be Akechi’s assistant.

17. Erased

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: January 8, 2016 – March 25, 2016
Number of Episodes: 12

We are in 2006. Satoru Fujinuma is a mangaka who cannot get his career off the ground. To make ends meet, he works as a pizza delivery boy. Reserved, Satoru does not open up to the world around him.

RELATED: 20 Best Anime Like Erased You Can’t Skip

Yet he has the ability to go back a few minutes before an accident occurs. One day, following a sudden event, Satoru is taken back to 18 years ago when he was still in elementary school, giving him the opportunity to stop a criminal who had kidnapped and murdered three of his classmates.

16. 91 Days

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: July 9, 2016 – October 1, 2016
Number of Episodes: 12

The story takes place in the United States, during prohibition. The mafia is then a powerful organization which it is better not to rub shoulders with. However, Avilio decides to confront this gigantic organization with the one and only goal of avenging his murdered family. His target? The group his father once worked for.

15. The Vision of Escaflowne

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: April 2, 1996 – September 24, 1996
Number of Episodes: 26

Hitomi, a high school athletics champion, versed in the art of cartomancy, one day finds herself the victim of strange visions and loses consciousness in the middle of training. Shortly after, during another class, one of his visions materializes. A column of light forms, revealing before it a young man in armor. This is Van Fanel, heir to the Kingdom of Fanelia. Before she has time to find out more, a dragon appears in front of the incredulous eyes of Hitomi and two of her friends present, Yukari and Amano.

14. 🢒M⊙NS†ER🢐

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: April 7, 2004 – September 28, 2005
Number of Episodes: 74

The story begins in Germany in 1986, at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Düsseldorf. Kenzô Tenma, the main character, is a young Japanese neurosurgeon with exceptional skills. He is engaged to Eva Heineman, the daughter of the director of the hospital, and is destined for a brilliant career. However, one day, he refuses to give priority to his care to the mayor of the city and prefers to operate on a boy injured by a bullet in the head, who arrived at the hospital before the mayor.

13. Case File nº221: Kabukicho

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: October 11, 2019 – March 27, 2020
Number of Episodes: 24

The special district of Shinjuku, Tokyo, is divided into two parts by an impassable wall. In the West area order and safety reign; vice versa, in the eastern area, chaos is the order of the day. The glittering Kabukichō, the city that never sleeps, is the scene of shady trafficking and strange cases that escape the understanding of the police.

In order to solve them, it is customary to contact one of the six investigators residing at the detective house located on street 221 of Kabukicho. The most brilliant among them is the eccentric Sherlock Holmes, whom John Watson, a fugitive doctor from the West area also turns to one day, and in the meantime he becomes his roommate and assistant.

The vertical plot of the individual episodes focuses on solving a mystery presented at the detective’s house. The horizontal plot of the first half of the series deals with the investigations carried out to trace the identity of the heinous killer Jack the Ripper, wanted for the murder of the young Alexandra, daughter of Mayor Moran. The second half of the series deals with the formation and destruction of the Moriarty crime network.

12. Pokémon Origins

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: October 2, 2013
Number of Episodes: 4

The story follows a young boy named Red, who begins his journey with his partner Pokémon, Charmander, with the goal of capturing every known Pokémon in the Kanto region and also becoming the champion of the Pokémon League. Along the way, he comes up against his rival, Blue (“Green” in Japan), various Pokémon arena champions, and the infamous crime organization, Team Rocket.

11. Umineko no Naku Koro ni

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: July 2, 2009 – December 24, 2009
Number of Episodes: 26

In October 1986, members of the wealthy Ushiromiya family reunite on an island called Rokkenjima, the home of the family’s head, Kinzo. The family doctor has announced that the latter only has three months left to live, and his heirs therefore meet to negotiate the division of the inheritance as well as to designate who will take the head of the family.

In addition to members of the Ushiromiya family, a number of servants live on the island, as well as an appointed doctor, bringing the number of people present to eighteen people. However, shortly after the family’s arrival, a typhoon breaks out, preventing them from leaving the island.

On the island now cut off from the world, strange events occur, and people are killed inexplicably, leading those present to believe that the culprit may be the legendary witch Beatrice, who is said to haunt Rokkenjima.

10. Fullmetal Alchemist

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: October 4, 2003 – October 2, 2004
Number of Episodes: 51

The Elric brothers (Edward and Alphonse) inherited their talent as alchemists from their father, who left the family home without ever returning. Following the death of their mother, the two young people try to revive her through alchemy, by performing a human transmutation despite the ban. The operation fails and the two brothers suffer the backlash.

Al disappears and Ed loses his leg but saves his body-deprived brother by fixing his spirit in the metal body of medieval armor with a transmutation circle drawn with his blood, but must sacrifice an arm for it. Subsequently, he will use mechanical metal prostheses, mecagrafts (1st dubbing) or automails (second dubbing). Ed then passes the exam and becomes a State Alchemist, so he can travel and find the Philosopher’s Stone, for his brother and him to find their bodies.

9. Digimon Frontier

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: April 7, 2002 – March 30, 2003
Number of Episodes: 50

Long ago, a group of ten Digimon gave their lives to defeat the evil forces that threatened the Digital World. These warriors created artifacts from their own data, the twelve “spirits” before leaving the Digital World in the hands of three celestial Digimon. However, one of these three Digimon, Cherubimon, decides to imprison these companions in order to reign supreme.

To remedy this situation, another celestial Digimon Ophanimon summons five young children chosen from the real world thanks to the Trailmon (Digimon with the appearance of hybrid trains). In the Digital World, these five chosen ones find two spirits, each to transform into Digimon Warriors. However, while they find their respective spirits, the five chosen ones are chased by several Digimon, minions of Cherubimon.

After four of these five minions are killed by the Chosen, Koji Minamoto discovers that Duskmon, the fifth legendary evil warrior, is Koichi Kimura’s true twin brother. With Takuya’s help, Koji manages to free his brother, and the latter fights alongside them in the form of Löwemon.

8. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: January 7, 2011 – April 21, 2011
Number of Episodes: 12

There are creatures with the power to grant a young girl’s wish, in exchange for which she will become a Puella Magi (or Mahou Shoujo) to fight demonic creatures, witches. A schoolgirl named Madoka Kaname, as well as her friend Sayaka Miki, are approached by one of these creatures, Kyubey, who offers them to become Magical Girls in turn. The new student in their class, Homura Akemi, however, mysteriously seeks to prevent Madoka from making this contract.

7. Death Parade

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: January 9, 2015 – March 27, 2015
Number of Episodes: 12

The story consists of a succession of two people who wake up in a bar with a dark atmosphere. Unsuspecting, they do not yet know that they have entered a deadly game. Indeed, they don’t know how they landed here. Decim, the bartender, and his assistant then explain to them that they will have to play a bar game (darts, bowling, billiards, etc.) and put their lives in game in order to perhaps understand what happened to them.

6. From the New World

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: October 3, 2012 – March 27, 2013
Number of Episodes: 25

The story of this anime takes place in Japan, a thousand years after our era where war dominated the world. The world is ruled by people who have the power of the gods, psychic gifts. We will follow the lives of Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru and Shun, who grew up in a quiet little town that can only be described as a utopia. But after an incident, the children discover the true nature of the world. Will they be able to change their destinies?

5.  Cowboy Bebop

Bebop_Interior1

Release: April 3, 1998 – June 26, 1998
Number of Episodes: 26

In the year 2071, the crew of the spaceship Bebop travels the solar system in search of bounties. In the slang of the time, these bounty hunters were called “cowboys”. Most episodes revolve around a bounty; however, the focus of the story is on each character’s past and more general ancient events, which connect as the series progresses.

RELATED: Cowboy Bebop Watch Order: The Complete

The first story is that of Spike Spiegel, a former member of a criminal organization, the Red Dragons, who is haunted by a love triangle he experienced with his former teammate in the Red Dragons, Vicious, and a mysterious woman named Julia.

4. Digimon Tamers

Tamers

Release: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002
Number of Episodes: 51

Takato Matsuki, a 12-year-old protagonist, is a fan of the Digimon card game. One day, after a game of cards with his two friends Kazu and Kenta, he discovers a mysterious blue card in his storage box. His reflex is to analyze it in his plastic Digivice which starts to shine in a strange way. Takato eventually realizes that he has become a “Digimon Tamer”, and accidentally creates his own Digimon partner, Guilmon, from a drawing.

RELATED: Digimon Watch Order: Anime Series & Movies

Takato then meets two other children, who later turn out to be tamers as well: Henry Wong and Rika Nonaka. He gets along very well with Henry right away, but the two boys take time to get to know and team up with Rika, who considers the digimon to be “fighting machines.

3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: April 5, 2009 – July 4, 2010
Number of Episodes: 64

In the country of Amestris, a country where alchemy is elevated to the rank of universal science, two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, travel the country in search of the legendary philosopher’s stone. Their father left them and their mother, Trisha Elric, died a few years later of an illness, leaving her two young children behind.

Some time later, the two brothers try to bring her back thanks to alchemy, defying the law which formally prohibits human transmutation. They will pay a heavy price. Edward, the eldest, will lose his left leg, his little brother his whole body. Ed will sacrifice his right arm by sealing the soul of his little brother Alphonse in armor.

RELATED: Fullmetal Alchemist & Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – The Complete Filler List and What to Skip!

Edward decides to enlist in the army at the age of 12 as a State Alchemist, passes the exam with flying colors and obtains his alchemist name: Fullmetal. Helped by Edward’s state alchemist status, the two brothers will seek, at the risk of their lives, the stone that will give them back what they have lost, but the secret of the philosopher’s stone is well kept.

2. Death Note

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: October 3, 2006 – June 26, 2007
Number of Episodes: 37

This anime had only 37 episodes and managed to get into the annals of anime history. Light Yagami is a gifted high school student who judges the current world to be criminal, rotten, and corrupt. His life changes completely the day he accidentally picks up a mysterious notebook entitled “Death Note”. Its user manual states that “the person whose name is written in this notebook dies”.

At first skeptical, Light however decides to test the notebook and discovers that its power is very real. He meets the former owner of the Death Note, a death god named Ryuk. This one declares to have voluntarily dropped his notebook in order to entertain himself. Light decides to use the Death Note to exterminate the criminals, with the aim of building a perfect world of which he will be the god.

RELATED: 20 Best Anime Like Death Note You Can’t Skip

He gradually learns to use the powers of the notebook and its rules: the user can only kill a person if he knows their face, by writing their first and last name. He can also specify the cause and detailed circumstances, the default cause being a heart attack.

1. serial experiments lain

20 Best One-Season Anime You Can't Skip (RANKED)

Release: July 6, 1998 – September 28, 1998
Number of Episodes: 13

After the suicide of the young Chisa Yomoda, some girls receive e-mails from the girl. The suspicion is that this is a bad joke, but one of them, Lain Iwakura is particularly intrigued. After asking her father for a new NAVI (Navigator, the evolution of the PC), she starts surfing the Wired (a computer network similar to the Internet) in search of answers.

From here on, a series of inexplicable events disrupt her life. She learns that another Lain, quite similar to her physically but temperamentally opposite, has made her the appearance of her both in the Wired and in the real world and that the Knights (knights – a group of hackers) are particularly interested in her.

Indeed, it seems that Lain has always had a counterpart in the network, born with the network itself. In the search for the truth, Lain discovers that she has no past, that her parents are nothing but actors and that her real self is the virtual one.

Through the Psyche chip, Lain comes into contact with the creator of the Wired structure, who after having downloaded her conscience in the computer network has proclaimed himself God; driven by her requests, she Lain begins to make real reality and Wired collide and merge, connecting all human beings on planet earth without the aid of peripherals through the Wired Protocol 7, which exploits the Schumann resonance.

But during the process she realizes, thanks to her only human friend Arisu, that reality and the Wired must remain separate if she doesn’t want to cause just more pain. She then makes the decision to reset the system by restoring the world to the state prior to Chisa’s death and erasing herself from the memory of human beings to completely eradicate the anomaly.

  • Arthur S. Poe has been fascinated by fiction ever since he saw Digimon and read Harry Potter as a child. Since then, he has seen several thousand movies and anime, read several hundred books and comics, and played several hundred games of all genres.