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Heya-Can, Isekai Karutetto, and Yamanosumei… What is the significance of short anime?

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Late-night anime is usually broadcasted in 30-minute slots, but there are always shorts that are aired in shorter slots than that.
We’ll take a fresh look at the significance of these shorts and the role they play in the production of anime!

How many minutes of animated shorts?

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A short anime is an anime that has a shorter air time than a normal TV anime.
Since TV animations are basically broadcasted in 30 minute slots, it is often defined as animations that are shorter than this.

So, how many minutes are called a short animation?

There are 3 minute slots (e.g., Takkyu), 5 minute slots (e.g., Heya-Can), 10 minute slots (e.g., Space Battleship Tiramisu), and 15 minute slots (e.g., Isekai Karutetto) that are less than 30 minutes in length.
A 3 minute frame is a 5 minute frame, which of course falls under the category of short animation.
But what about 10 and 15 minute slots… Each medium uses the term “short animation” for these too.

But what about the web-based animations that are distributed on the internet?

The term “short animation” is often used for web animation as well.
In this case, it seems to be called “web short animation”.

The definition of broadcast time is almost the same as for TV anime.
The web animation “Today’s Food at Emiya-san’s House” and the app-only anime “Koyomi Monogatari” have a delivery time of about 12 to 13 minutes per episode, but these works are also officially referred to as “short anime” or “short animation”.
A 15 minute TV anime is about 12 minutes long if you omit the commercials, so it seems to be a borderline for a short anime, which is about half the time of a normal TV anime.

Cosmo advertising

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In fact, the history of short animation is quite old, and it already existed in the 1960’s. Since then, a sexy anime called “Lemon Angel” was aired in a 5-minute slot at midnight.
Since then, a sexy anime called “Lemon Angel” was aired in a 5 minute slot at midnight, or an anime slot was set up as a mini-corner within the program, and various other forms of short animations were introduced to the world.
There seemed to be a lot of cases where they were made for a specific audience, such as children’s programs.

Also, it seems that there were spots that focused on advertising other than anime.
For example, Lemon Angel is an anime featuring members of the idol group “Lemon Angel”, to which voice actor Sakurai Tomo and others belonged, and it is a work that also served as an advertisement for the idols.
It seems that the anime was used in order to make a certain impact in a short period of time.

This point of advertising can be said to be the same as the current short animations.
Originally, one of the roles of anime is to “promote the original work”, so the anime with the original work is intended to promote the original work at that point in time, but in the case of short animations, it seems that the percentage of works that focus on advertising is high.
The reason for this is because most of them are sponsored by publishers.

Two of the most prominent ones are Take Shobo and Earth Star.
These two companies are the main reason for the dramatic increase in the number of short animation programs around 2013.

Take Shobo, which publishes four-panel manga magazines such as “Manga Club” and “Manga Life,” started with the short anime “Morita-san is Silent” that was broadcast in 2011. which aired in 2011, followed by “Yurumeitesu” and “Ricorder and Randoseru”, both of which were adapted into short animations.
Earth Star, which manages the now web-based comic Earth Star, broadcasted “Takyu” in 2012 and has since produced “Mangaluru! Short animations such as “YAMANOSUME” have been broadcast in their own slots.

It is said that short animations are much cheaper than regular anime and it is easier to secure a broadcast slot.
For this reason, they purchased the short time slots and aired their own works one after another in order to advertise to the anime fans as well as to increase the number of animated works to be broadcasted in order to boost the prestige of the magazine.

In this way, short animations have been effectively used as a cost effective advertising medium in the past and present.

A “get-rich-quick animation” that can be made on a low budget

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In the case of short anime that can be made on a low budget, even if the Blu-ray/DVD (disc) doesn’t sell that well, there is also the advantage of being able to recover the cost.
Even if you can’t recoup all of the costs, it won’t be a big deficit, so it can be divided up as an advertising expense.

In fact, there are many cases of shorts that have been produced for 2 or 3 seasons even if the sales of discs are less than 1000 copies.
It is a low-risk, low-cost sales strategy, so it is easy to get the go-ahead.

However, low risk does not always mean low return.
Some of them are animated shorts that have been a hit.

The best example is “Hetalia Axis Powers,” which became a big hit despite being a short animation.

This work was released as a web manga on the personal website of Mr. Hidekazu Himaruya and received tremendous support from women, and was made into an anime in 2009, but because of the sensitive issue of anthropomorphizing a nation, it was initially only released for online distribution.
Nevertheless, the discs sold well and the first season was a huge hit, averaging over 25,000 copies.
It has continued to maintain its popularity, and by January 2020, a sixth season will have been produced.

Manaria Friends” and “The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Theater”, both based on games, were also big hits despite being short anime.
These are thought to have been very effective because of the perks associated with the games and events.
For games that already have a large number of fans, it seems to be a good match for short animations since it is possible to keep the production cost down while promoting the game to non-fans and aiming for high sales with perks for game fans.

The reason why “Yamanosumei” was expanded to a 15 minute slot is because the first season was 5 minutes long and the second and subsequent seasons were 15 minutes long, but the sales of the first season were strong.
The discs that were initially released were also very popular, but the low priced special edition that was released the following year also did very well, selling about 8000 copies in total.

As an unexpected hit, “Fist of the North Star Strawberry Taste” was also a big hit.
Also, “Takyu” has recorded outstanding sales for a 3-minute short animation, and has been made into an anime for TV 10 times including spin-offs.



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