Anyone who loves to spend a weekend watching movies and series on video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ and so on?
There are a huge variety of categories on those platforms, and anime originated in Japan have become much more famous and popular worldwide recently. Some popular anime show you powerful battles between cool characters; others depict emotional stories that touch your heart. The problem is that you have had less time for leisure as you have too many choices of more diversified digital attractions today. However, anime are a perfect option to get satisfaction in a small amount of time.
For everyone who are looking for some nice contents to have laid-back weekends or seasonal vacations, I’d like to introduce the best one-season anime that you can binge-watch in a weekend. There are a bunch of good anime series you can enjoy within just a day and one-shot movies for a few hours while some famous anime series consists of hundreds of episodes.
Have a laid-back weekend with these finest anime with only one season!
1. Violet Evergarden
As one of the best masterpieces in the 2010s, Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) has been appraised by lots of fans all over the world. The moving coming-of-age and drama anime series was released on Netflix in 2018, which constitutes a 13-episode season though it was followed by two movies Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll in 2019 and Violet Evergarden: The Movie in 2020. A famous Japanese anime studio Kyoto Animation completed this anime series, which is based on the 4-volume light novel published between 2015 and 2020. It was written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase. The screenplay of the Violet Evergarden anime series was written by Reiko Yoshida, who also joined the production of the K-On! series (2009-2011) and A Silent Voice (2016).
Violet Evergarden is set in a fictional European world just after the four-year-long great war finished. The titular female protagonist Violet Evergarden, who used to be known as a strong weapon during the war, re-starts her life despairingly and hopelessly after she parted and lost contact with her beloved Major Gilbert in the middle of a terrific battle. She gets a new job as Auto Memory Dolls, who write letters on behalf of those who can’t do that. Through encounters with various customers, she seeks what “I love you”, the words that were left by Major Gilbert, means while becoming richer with emotion.
It is highly recommended to watch the two anime movies for further emotional episodes after the 13 episodes of the anime series!
2. Angel Beats!
Angel Beats! is a popular one-season anime series, which aired with 13 episodes in 2010. The school-themed anime, also categorized as fantasy and comedy, is made as an original anime by P.A. Works. The story is written by Jun Maeda, who is also famous for other moving series such as Air and Clannad as a scriptwriter from Key, the visual novel game brand of Visual Arts.
A protagonist Yuzuru Otonashi awakens without his memory somewhere like a high school, which turns out to be in the after-life. He meets a high schooler-looking girl Yuri Nakamura and joins the SSS, an organization that she leads to make resistance to the student council president of the school. The members of the SSS will be erased from existence if they follow the discipline of the school. They are armed to fight against the president who is also known as Angel.
3. No Game No Life
No Game No Life (ノーゲーム・ノーライフ) is one of the most popular one-season anime series that you can complete on a weekend. It is adapted from the same-titled ongoing light novel series written by Yuu Kamiya since 2012, and the next season of the anime has been waited by many fans since the first anime series finished with 12 episodes in 2014. Of course, you can enjoy the story just with the current anime series, but it is also recommended to step ahead to its anime movie No Game No Life: Zero in 2017/. Both the anime series and movie were made by Chihayafuru and directed by Atsuko Ishizuka, who is also famous for the other popular one-season anime A Place Further than the Universe (2018).
No Game No Life tells an Isekai and fantasy story of the step-siblings Sora and Shiro. The 18-year-old brother and the 11-year-old sister are socially withdrawn but have an extremely high level of intelligence and gaming skill. The story starts out when they are suddenly transported to another world, where 16 raced known as The Ixseed are ranked. As a member of Immanity, which is ranked at the bottom, they fight other species in a variety of games.
4. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。) is a top-rated moving anime that consists of just 11 episodes. In 2011, the high-quality original coming-of-age anime series was made by A-1 Pictures with the famous Super Peace Busters staff including the director Tatsuyuki Nagai, the screenwriter Mari Okada and the character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, who are also famous for the other one-season anime Toradora! in 2008-2009.
The story revolves around Jinta, a reclusive boy who has just started his first year of high school, and his childhood friends. They were good friends in elementary school and formed a group called the Super Peace Busters to play together. On the other hand, their relationship has faded and a sense of distance has developed as they have become high school students since their childhood friend Menma died in an accident. One day, Menma appears in front of Jinta, and she has grown up. The complex inner lives of young people are painfully and realistically depicted, and the emotional climax is a must-see.
5. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Many anime fans look on Puella Magi Madoka Magica (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ) as one of the renowned dark-fantasy anime series in the last few decades. The magical girl themed anime is the most successful original work made by the famous studio Shaft, which is also known for Monogatari Series (2009-2019). It was broadcast with 12 episodes in 2011, followed by the Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Movie series since 2012. The whole story is written by Gen Urobuchi, who is one of the best recent Japanese scriptwriters and is known for other fine works such as Fate/Zero and Psycho-Pass.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is set in a fictional future city called Mitakihara. Chosen girls are pressed to make a contract to become magical girls and fight enemy witches in exchange for having their wishes fulfilled. The main character, Madoka Kaname, an ordinary second-grade middle schooler, has wonderful qualities as a magical girl, but is hesitant to sign the contract to become a magical girl. On the other hand, a transfer student Homura, Madoka’s best friend Sayaka, and their senior Mami, become magical girls and fight witches for their lives.
6. Girls’ Last Tour
Girls’ Last Tour (少女終末旅行) has been known as a hidden gem to a part of anime fans since it was broadcasted in 2017. The one-season laid-back anime, which is categorized as science fiction and post apocalyptic, is composed of just 12 episodes. It was made by White Fox, based on Tsukumizu’s six-volume manga series serialized on an online manga publishing platform Kurage Bunch between 2014 and 2018.
Girls’ Last Tour is set in an apocalyptic world after civilization has collapsed. The story centers around two girls who wander around such a desolate world. Chito has a calm and collected personality, and Yuri is a carefree girl. They travel around in a half-armored Kettenkrad, seeing traces of civilization and surviving on limited supplies. This is a strange story of two girls who seem to live happily in a hopeless situation.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
7. Tsuki ga Kirei
There are a lot of modern anime genres that are becoming more popular worldwide, and Tsuki ga Kirei (月がきれい), which means the moon is beautiful in Japanese, is classified into those genres such as slice-of-life and coming-of-age as well as romance. In 2017, it was made as an original anime series by Feel, the anime studio also known for the My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU series. The director of Tsuki ga Kirei is also famous for the other one-season anime Angel Beats! in 2010.
The story of Tsuki ga Kirei revolves around two junior high school students who live in Kawagoe, Saitama. Kotaro aspires to be a novelist, and Akane is a scholar athlete. They begin to like each other and finally start dating, although they are new to each other. However, she goes to a high school a short distance away because of her father’s job transfer, and the two begin a long-distance relationship. Kotaro writes about the struggles of a long-distance relationship being high school students, all of which he describes in his novel. You can enjoy this touching and heartwarming story within a day off.
As one of the most famous and popoular one-season anime globally, Erased (僕だけがいない街) is named firstly. The mystery series mixed with science fiction and thriller was originally serialized as Kei Sanbe’s manga series on Young Ace from 2012 to 2016, which consists of nice volumes. Its anime adaptation was released by A-1 Pictures in 2016. It was also made into a Netflix series adaptation in 2017.
Satoru Fujinuma, an unsuccessful manga artist, had a special ability called “revival”. Revival is triggered just after something bad happens, which makes him he repeatedly go back to the scene immediately before the incident or accident until the cause is removed. One day, Satoru’s mother has a misfortune. He then becomes involved in a serial kidnapping and murder case that took place in Hokkaido in 1988.
A modern slice-of-life comedy anime Kakushigoto (かくしごと) has been well-accepted by manga and anime fans since it aired in 2020 though it may be less known abroad. The 12-episode anime series was made from Koji Kumeta’s manga series that was serialized on Monthly Shonen Magazine from 2015 to 2020 by an anime studio Ajia-do Animation Works. The title has a double meaning: “secret” and “work of drawing”.
The setting is Tokyo. A veteran manga artist Goto Kakushi, who writes blue comic strips, loves his only daughter, 10-year-old Hime, very much. In order to protect his daughter’s life, he keeps his work hidden from her. Despite the “hidden work” that they seem to be doing, Goto Kakushi and Hime’s happy days go on. The story also focuses on the hidden things about their now deceased mother. A daily life anime that will make you laugh and cry.
10. A Place Further than the Universe
If you look for a finest emotional and uplifting anime series, A Place Further than the Universe (宇宙よりも遠い場所) will be a perfect option for you. The slice-of-life and coming-of-age anime series aired as an original anime that is not adapted from any manga or novel in 2018. The story completely finished with the 13 episodes, which was made by Madhouse with the director Atsuko Ishizuka, who is also famous for the other nice one-season anime No Game No Life in 2014.
A Place Further than the Universe presents the story of an ordinary second-grade high school girl Mari Tamaki, set in Tatebayashi, Gunma. She notices she spends her days without achieving anything special. Her life is changing after she meets her schoolmate Shirase Kobuchizawa, who has a dream to go to Antarctica where her mother became missing three years ago. With two more girls Hinata Miyake Yuzuki Shiraishi, they grow up aiming to travel to Antarctica one way or the other.
11. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
For those who seek intense action scenes or cool cyberpunk worlds, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (サイバーパンク エッジランナーズ) is one of the top priorities. Since it is complete in 10 episodes, you can of course finish it in a weekend. Released on Netflix in 2022, it was made by Studio Trigger and CD Projekt. One of the best recent science fiction anime series is categorized as cyberpunk, action and romance.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners deals with a variety of themes, including social issues such as the gap between the rich and the poor, future technology such as cyborgs, Ero-gro (eroticism and grotesque), and flashy action scenes. The setting, characters, and music are all cool. The main character David Martinez, who rises from the depths of life, as well as the netrunner heroine Lucy, the dependable team leader Maine, and the petite gunfighter girl Rebecca, are all full of personality.
12. Summer Time Rendering
Concluded in one season with 25 episodes, Summer Time Rendering (サマータイムレンダ) is considered one of the most intriguing mystery anime in recent times. This highly acclaimed work has received praise both domestically and internationally. Based on the manga by Yasuki Tanaka, which was serialized on Shonen Jump+ from 2017 to 2021, the anime adaptation was brought to life by OLM Team Kojima in 2022.
A 17-year-old boy Shinpei Ajiro returns to his hometown of Hitogashima Island, Wakayama City, upon hearing the news of the death of his childhood friend, Ushio Kofune. Ushio is said to have died in a drowning accident, but there are suspicious circumstances surrounding her death, raising the possibility of foul play. At the same time, Shinpei hears a sinister rumor: “Those who see their own doppelgänger, a ‘shadow’ that resembles them, will die.” On a small remote island in the summer, a time-traveling science fiction suspense story unfolds.
This emotional drama-fantasy series, consisting of 12 episodes, touches the hearts of viewers with its engaging story. Air is based on the original visual novel developed by Key as their second work, which was released in 2000. Similar to its predecessor, Kanon, the series combines a romantic tale involving young boys and girls with supernatural elements. It is also well-known as the successor to the poignant masterpiece Clannad series. The anime adaptation of Air is produced by the renowned Kyoto Animation.
The story revolves around a wandering young puppeteer, Yukito Kunisaki, who stumbles upon a seaside countryside town and becomes entwined with the girls he meets during a single summer. The tale begins with his first encounter with the main heroine, Misuzu Kamio. The narrative uniquely unfolds as it goes back to a summer one thousand years ago and returns to the present, constantly shifting perspectives.
Deca-Dence (デカダンス) is a 2020 action sci-fi series that features an epic story unfolding over 12 episodes. This original anime, which is not adapted from any manga or novels, was produced by the anime studio NUT. The studio is well-known for its work on the 2017 dark fantasy Isekai series The Saga of Tanya the Evil and the 2018 anime movie FLCL Alternative.
Set in a world where 90% of the world’s population has disappeared and civilization has collapsed, in the late 2400s, the surviving humans are threatened by an unknown life form called Gadoll. They have built a huge moving fortress, Deca-Dence, where they live. Natsume, a young girl who lost her father because of Gadoll, dreams of becoming a warrior to defeat Gadoll, but her dream does not come true and she actually starts working as an armored repairman for Decadence. Natsume is a positive girl who never gives up on her dream, and her boss Kaburagi is a realist who has given up on his dream; their seemingly opposite encounters will soon shake up the future of this world.
15. Serial Experiments Lain
A psychological horror series that was simultaneously developed as both an anime and a game, Serial Experiments Lain holds a prominent status among core anime fans and has gained popularity overseas as well. Airing in 1998, the series concluded in 13 episodes, with Triangle Staff handling the anime production.
Serial Experiments Lain follows the story of Lain Iwakura, a 14-year-old girl who is introverted and has difficulty socializing, but is otherwise an ordinary teenager. The appearance of another girl, who looks identical to Lain but behaves completely opposite, marks the beginning of a series of mysterious events. These strange occurrences seem to be a harbinger of the collapsing boundary between the networked world and the real world. As Lain becomes further entangled in these events, you will find yourself unable to escape, leading to a haunting psychological horror.
+ Anime Movies
If you want to satisfy yourself with high-quality anime within a limited amount of time, it’s highly recommended to choose one-shot anime movies that you can finish just for a couple of hours. Here is the list of the best anime films of all time that are worth spending your previous time on weekends!
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