Many of us start watching the one-season anime with the same thoughts: how will it squeeze all that plot into thirteen episodes? Will the ending be any good? Will there be an ending at all? Will we ever get a second season? In recent years, almost all the anime we see is released across only one season, spanning thirteen, sometimes even fewer, episodes. It often leads to a rushed, incomplete ending, and a show that seems simply too short. Although it’s easy to understand why creators only wish to release one season, it’s still a bit dissatisfying at times. Deadman Wonderland, for example, gave us a show with great potential and a great manga, only for it to flat on its face, and, well, not really end at all. Let’s take a look at a few of the shows that actually got it right.
First on our list is Inu X Boku SS. Length: twelve episodes plus one OVA. In a way, Inu X Boku was perfect for one season. The anime is based entirely off the first three volumes of the manga – just three volumes. And these volumes were merely the prologue of the much longer second part. The anime details how part-yokai adolescent Ririchiyo falls in love with her secret service agent Soushi – how the two of them quickly form a close bond despite their battered pasts. It’s a seamless romance, ending perfectly since the third volume of the manga is an ending to the prologue. Of course, things go drastically wrong between them and things in the manga get much more intense. But if you just watch the anime, you don’t miss out on anything and instead get a romance with seemingly endless possibilities after the twelfth episode. The show, released in 2010, is gorgeously animated and has an amazing Japanese dub, as well as a great English dub. It’s available on DVD too. Give it a watch if you love to be immensely satisfied with a good ending.
Another pretty satisfying show to watch would be Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary). A brain-child of KyoAni, its credentials are enough to pique the interest of quite a few people. It was released in 2013, and seemed like KyoAni trying to release a serious anime with absolutely no cute idol girls singing cute songs at all (obviously they failed). Hey, even that part was good. It’s about a girl who can solidify her blood into weapons to kill demons, and a boy who cannot be killed due to his demonic blood. Girls meets boy, girl tries repeatedly to kill boy, girl falls in love. Simple. To be honest, a lot more could have been done with Kyoukai no Kanata, and it could have made a good two-season show, but thirteen episodes is still satisfying enough. It gets intense, emotional, and the romantics in the audience get their gratification. Of course there’s a few character stereotypes and it seems a bit formulaic at times, but we can’t have it all. We can all trust KyoAni to make something that is at least pretty good, and they don’t disappoint here. Plus it’s one of the prettiest anime to have ever been created.
The most recent on this list, and the number one spot, is 2015’s Death Parade. Only in a few shows could characters wind up where they were at the beginning and still give us an ending to remember. Death Parade surrounds a bar called Quindecim, and it’s where people who die at the same time come to face judgement. They could either be reincarnated, or sent into the ominously named ‘void’. Through the show’s episodic structure, there is an overarching plot that eventually gets resolved, bringing together all we have learned from previous episodes. Never do we feel that the show is being rushed or that they are skipping out on important information. Again, it was made by a studio we can trust: Madhouse. The creators of Death Note, Monster, and other big names of the darker anime out there, Madhouse know how to deliver. We fall in love with the characters, we want them to succeed, and we just want them to be happy. This, the driving force in a show with only one season.
If you’re despairing at the high volume of incomplete one-season wonders, rest assured that there are still many shows that will satisfy your justified need for an actual ending. Give these three a try.