Questioning the Significance of Anime Shorts

[HorribleSubs] Strange+ - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.29_[2014.03.09_13.57.27]

[HorribleSubs] Strange+ - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.29_[2014.03.09_13.35.08]

What I’m discussing here is about those anime episodes which is only around 3 to 5 mins per episodes in length – thus, anime shorts. Not a side-story of a main anime, nor an OVA or something, purely new anime with only 3 to 5 minutes to wiggle around per episode. I personally don’t watch a lot of them, but for some reason, there are a lot of them this season, ranging from Pupa, to Strange+, to Onee-chan ga Kita; but do they work? Can they even deliver with such a short airing time? This is not the first season where anime shorts are aired together with other main anime titles however, a quick search led me to titles such as Litchi DE Hikari Club, also an anime short adapted from a manga.

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So how do anime shorts fare? I think the most important question we need to ask first is, does it contain any major plot? From all the titles above, the one I actually like best is Onee-chan ga Kita – an anime with a slice-of-life setting. It’s short and fun, and due to the nature of it’s light and comedic settings, it doesn’t really require a lengthy airing time too. Since well, there isn’t really anything much going on, it’s mostly just a light setting, with the characters moving about and messing around within that setting in an unspecified plot direction. Most of the slice-of-life events occur in just 3 mins, and everything doesn’t feel too draggy – the length and pacing feels just right. If you had watched Seitokai Yakuindomo, Onee-chan ga Kita’s format is similar, only that each single event in Seitokai Yakuindomo would count as one episode before the break into the next event. Also, since Onee-chan ga Kita is adapted from a yonkoma, it’s short-length nature works really well with the meager amount of original content.

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I haven’t watch Pupa, and is actually not planning to due to all the negative reception to it, but I knew it will not work since from the moment I found out it is only 3 to 5 mins per episode. In contrast to Onee-chan ga Kita, Pupa is extremely heavy in content, with such a title, a major portion of time is needed to give it a backstory, to provide some level of reason to all the bizarre and disturbing scenes unfolding right in front of your eyes. Also, since Pupa is a psychological horror, we all know pacing is important in developing that sense of tension. With it’s execution, it is expected that something is happening, and an extended amount of time while waiting for that something to happen increases the viewer’s anxiety. In my opinion, such build-up is one of the highlight of psychological horror titles, but with Pupa’s format, it just threw it’s own very unique feature out of the window. Every scenes and plot points will be squished into it’s extremely limited screen time, by the end of the anime, I think it will be a total chaos, or perhaps it already was in chaos. Please note that aforementioned, I didn’t watch Pupa, and most of what I said here is just an assumption, but I’m confident that the problems I mentioned here would most probably be present in the anime.

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Incidentally, I also watched Strange+, but once again, the pacing issues came to the forefront. Everything just moved too quick before I even question myself “What the heck did I just watch?” I almost instantly got fed up with it barely 3 or 4 episodes into the series. Have you watched any anime shorts this season? Or had you watched a few of them in the past? If so, what do you think of them?

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2 thoughts on “Questioning the Significance of Anime Shorts

  1. I think the only anime short i’ve seen is Hetalia, which I didn’t particularly like. Because of this limited experience I can’t really say anything about shorts as a medium. Given the huge amount of series I have in my backlog I don’t see myself watching any of these short series any time soon, mostly because i’m doubtful that I would enjoy them more than a full-length series.
    Do you think i’m being too hasty to dismiss anime shorts?

    • Haven’t watch that myself, lol. I couldn’t say myself since I barely watch much, lol. But I’m sure you’re not missing much even if you didn’t watch any of them, I think. Out of this post, I would recommend watching Onee-chan ga Kita, however odd that is. The pacing works wonders, sure, but I’m not even sure if these Onee-chan ga Kita’s genre caters to everyone’s tastes, lol.

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