Twelve-Episode Anime

Series running about half the length of the standard 24-26 (depending on holidays) episode season. These shows are Short Runners, but for these, that was never a bad thing. Scheduled for a 3-month airing slot if aired weekly.note 

This format became popular (see 12 and 13) the second half of the Turn of the Millennium as a compromise to the often sporadic nature of OVAs and the longer, sometimes filler-ridden, standard season. Being a smaller time investment and financial risk, it is much easier to determine if a show will be successful; or, if it isn't, to not take on as much of a loss.

For this reason, many Western live-action shows have adopted this schedule, at least at first (see the link in the next paragraph).

Shows that are successful often get another (12/13-episode) season, essentially achieving a "normal" length. When released on DVD, a bonus episode is often included, making the set a Bonus Episode. The American equivalent to this process is Front 13, Back 9.

Most of these series tend to air at Otaku O'Clock. See also British Brevity.

An increasing number of anime series specifically geared toward otaku (most of them part of the NoitaminA programming block) are airing single seasons of eleven episodes. Although rare, it is also not unheard of for a series to contain fourteen episodes in its original broadcast. These are also listed below.

The approximately twelve-episode format is also commonly called '1-cour' or simply 'cour' which is shorter than 'Twelve-Episode Anime' and less ambiguous than a 'season', which are usually used for installments in the series. Likewise, a standard 24-26 episode run would be '2-cour' and so on. 'Cour' (kuuru/クール), probably from the French cours, is a jargon term used in the Japanese broadcasting industry referring to these periods of time both in production and as they are generally scheduled by TV stations.

The only really downside to this format is that if the anime if based on a manga that's still running and unlikely to receive a second season, expect a Gecko Ending.

Series with 12 episodes

Series with 11 episodes

Series with 13 episodes

Series with 14 episodes

Odd cases

  • ARIA The ANIMATION and The ORIGINATION (Season One and Season Three) are both 13 Episodes in length whereas ARIA The NATURAL (Season Two) is 26 episodes long.
  • Asagiri no Miko has 26 episodes, but each is under a quarter of an hour long, half the "standard" episode length.
  • Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales is an unusual case; it's a 12-episode series and was aired as such on Japanese television, but is actually an anthology consisting of three separate 4-episode anime by completely different production groups. (The final series in the anthology, "Bakeneko", ended up with its own spinoff—Mononoke, also a 12-ep series.)
    • Blue Literature follows the same format, with five arcs adapted from Japanese literature.
  • Black★Rock Shooter is eight episodes long, and was aired in noitaminA. If you count the OVA (which was released two years earlier and is in a separate continuity), then it had nine episodes in total.
  • As mentioned in the main article, many live-action Western shows are adopting this, such as NBC's Chuck. During the 2007-2008 season, however, a lot of this was the unintentional result of that season's Writer's Strike.
  • Fate/Zero's first season has 13 episodes, but it's effectively 14 episodes, because the first episode is 45 minutes long. This was apparently done to get the humongous amount of prologue exposition (for a show which is itself a prologue for an entire franchise) out of the way in the first episode. The second season is a normal 13 episode season.
  • Kamichu! had 12 to start, with four DVD-only episodes interspersed between the broadcast episodes. (A ploy to get people to buy the DVDs, as the DVD-only episodes are not strictly filler.)
  • K-On!'s first two arcs are only twelve episodes, but the show ended with a special episode outside of the second arc. Then it skyrocketed in popularity, and the second season got 26 episodes.
  • Kokoro Connect has 13 episodes, but with 4 OVAs on the way in 2013, it's an amount of 17 episodes altogether.
  • Little Busters! had a 26-episode first season covering Komari, Mio, Haruka, and Kud's routes along with most of the common route, and then a 13-episode second season covering Kurugaya's route, Rin's route, and Refrain.
  • Princess Tutu was a VERY odd variation on this in its original TV broadcast. The first 13 episodes of the series were the standard 30 minutes each, but a time-slot change beginning with episode 14 lead to the running time being halved and the latter half of the series airing as 24 episodes of 15 minutes each - until the final episode, which was again 30 minutes long. Even more strange is that there was no gap in airing between the "seasons" - the 15-minute episode 14 aired the week after the full-length 13. Confused yet? The DVD release restored the split episodes into 30-minute ones, making it look like a 26-episode series to those who don't know its broadcast history. Of course, there were also the three TV specials produced...
  • The fourth season of Slayers ending up being split into two 13-episode seasons instead of one 26-episode season. Of course, Revolution leaves a lot of plot threads for Evolution-R to pick up, but season five did get a new OP and ED...
    • This isn't too dissimilar to how previous series of Slayers played out: typically, The Dragon would be fought by Episode 13, and from episode 14 onwards, the focus would shift to The Man Behind the Man or some other Big Bad therein.
    • It has, however, been packaged together in Japan and elsewhere, and is often referred to as Revolution-R for simplicity's sake.
  • Space Dandy consists of two 13 episode seasons, although this had been planned out before it began airing, so it can also be considered a 26 episode series with a break in the middle. Nonetheless, it's still officially two seasons.
  • The Legend of Korra was going to be the Western Animation version of this. Was being the keyword because it quickly got picked up for a second season of fourteen episodes, and then later another twenty-six episodes. On the other hand, the first season was still similar, being very self-contained.

Alternative Title(s):

Eleven Episode Anime, Thirteen Episode Anime