Ojisan And Marshmallow

I like to pay attention to the changes that have occurred in the anime industry over the decades. Like the rise of moe, characters calculated to be so cute they generate feelings of love and protectiveness in fans. Or the shift from hand-painted cels to digital coloring that begun at the beginning of this century, which is when old-timey animation like this gave way to more modern, less nuanced styles. Another change has been the “super short anime” format that took fans by surprise when it showed up around 2012, with shows like Teekyu and Yama no Susume that had episodes that were just 2-3 minutes long.

At the time I remember thinking that the new short format was going to bad for the industry, the next shortening of the once-“long tail” of anime. Once upon a time, anime series ran for a whole year, around 45-50 episodes per season. When the anime licensing bubble popped in 2006 (leading to, among other things, the bankruptcy of Newtype USA *wipes anime retailer tears*), the industry had to make some changes to remain profitable. This is when the current cour system of 12-13 episode seasons emerged, and we got really weaponized pantsu and oppai to capture fans’ attention.

But now I’m more upbeat about short anime these days. They allow for a lot of fun, experimental shows that couldn’t possibly be made any other way, and take risk off the table for animation studios, who often lose money. One such show I recently watched was the totally random Marshmallow and Ojisan, about a 24-year-old OL named Wakabayashi who’s in love with a middle-aged, overweight coworker named Hige-san. The man loves marshmallows, so in each episode Wakabashi tries to lure him into a relationship using his favorite snack. The anime has more depth to it than I expected—Wakabayashi’s romantic plans are derailed when she learns (erroneously) that Hige-san is married and has a child, causing her to re-evaluate her goals—but every episode is bite-sized and fun.

In case you’re curious about what my favorite short-format anime series are, here’s my top 5:

  1. Plastic Nee-san. Random and fun.
  2. Tawawa on Monday. A short anime that makes us feel better about Mondays through the power of oppai.
  3. Love is Like a Cocktail. A high-powered professional woman has the perfect young husband, a bartender who makes exotic cocktails for her before cleaning the house.
  4. Oshiete! Galko-chan. A wonderful short anime about a gal who everyone expects to be a slut…but Galko is the sweetest girl ever, which can teach us a lot about not making assumptions about people.
  5. Tsuredure Children. Kind of cheating a little, since each episode is 12 minutes. It’s a collection of hilariously cute romantic stories about different kids in high school, trying to come together romantically. Just watch it, I’m not kidding.

Got any more short anime format shows to recommend? Hit us up on Twitter!

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About the author

Peter Payne

I live in Japan and I run J-List, an anime shop famous for shimapan and Tentacle Grape. I love being able to bring Japanese culture to the world.