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Best Anime of 2023

Best Anime of 2023: The Ultimate Must-Watch List

Our top picks for the Best Anime of 2023—the ultimate must-watch list, curated by an anime fan.

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Much like the 2022 anime lineup, the 2023 anime lineup was nothing short of spectacular, filled with highly-anticipated continuations of some of my favorite series. From Vinland Saga Season 2 to Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Season 2, and from the Demon Slayer: Swordsmith Village Arc to the Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Arc Part 2, the year was a treasure trove of anime.

Not to mention, The Eminence in Shadow Season 2, Bungo Stray Dogs Seasons 4 and 5, Dr. Stone: New World, Attack on Titan The Final Season Part 3 (Part 1), Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV Part 2, Spy x Family Season 2, and Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, which were amazing as well. Each of these seasons are one’s you don’t want to miss. But 2023 wasn’t just about the continuations.

It also marked the debut of some phenomenal new anime that have quickly found a special place in my heart. I want to shine a spotlight on these newcomers because they deserve just as much attention as these longer-running series. I watched all of the anime on this list as well as many, many more to curate the ultimate must-watch list of the new series that debuted in 2023. That said, here are the best anime of 2023!

Best Anime of 2023 - Trigun Stampede

Trigun Stampede

Out of all the anime to air in 2023, Trigun Stampede is the series that, in my opinion, has not received the recognition it truly deserves. This visually striking reimagining, animated by Orange—the team behind Beastars and Land of the Lustrous—breathes new life into Yasuhiro Nightow’s original series by introducing us to a modernized, and at many times darker, take that both honors and refreshes the classic story.

While some longtime fans of Trigun might initially be skeptical about Trigun Stampede, I find this new perspective to be both bold and amazing. The character designs, which are strikingly different from the original, are a major highlight for me. They are some of the most, if not the most, impressive of the year.

They’ve brought this classic series back into the spotlight in a truly unique and refreshing way, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall result. The storyline was impactful, leaving me emotional by its end. As someone who loves Trigun, from its manga to the original adaptation in 1998 by Madhouse, I was thrilled to experience it again in 2023. The series’ revamped yet familiar approach truly resonated with me, making it one of the best of the year.

Where to Watch

Best Anime 2023 - Insomniacs After School

Insomniacs After School

Insomniacs After School is a breath of fresh air and there’s a healing and calming quality to it that’s both melancholic and profoundly beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Inio Asano’s work, especially Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction, which I absolutely love thanks to its character dynamics. And if you enjoyed one of our top anime of 2022, Call of the Night, this one is a must-watch. It doesn’t have supernatural elements, like Call of the Night does, but the vibe and depth of the characters’ stories are really similar.

The series follows two high schoolers who can’t sleep and end up hanging out in their school’s old observatory as a result. It’s kind of their secret spot, a place where they can just be themselves and relax. Seeing them form this unexpected, deep connection in their little hideaway is something special. It’s so rare to find someone who really gets what you’re going through, and this show captures that feeling perfectly.

What I love most about slice-of-life anime series is how they dive into the characters and their lives, including the struggles they are working through. Insomniacs After School absolutely excels at this. The premise is fresh, the characters are the kind you’re rooting for from the start, and the night scenes are just beautiful. Watching these two grow closer, in their own little world, makes the story feel relatable and real. It’s one of those shows that doesn’t just entertain you; it stays with you by reminding you of the simple, yet profound connections we make with others and how, even though it may feel like it at times, we are never truly alone.

Where to Watch

Best Anime 2023 - The Apothecary Diaries

The Apothecary Diaries

I found myself completely captivated by The Apothecary Diaries and its MC, Maomao, a girl with a knack for herbal medicine, who finds herself unwillingly working in the inner palace. Her longing to escape her mundane life resonated with me and I instantly felt connected to her and her story. Maomao’s breakthrough moment comes when she cleverly uses her herbal expertise to lift a ‘curse’ from the imperial heirs. Her success attracts the attention of Jinshi, a handsome eunuch who promotes her to attendant food taster.

What I love most about this series is its blend of episodic mysteries and its underlying narrative. Maomao is such an engaging character. She’s not your run-of-the-mill protagonist; her charm, wit, and kindness is refreshing. Her excitement for new herbs and her visible annoyance with Jinshi, who’s usually surrounded by admirers, adds a delightful twist as well as a great deal of humor to the series. And then there’s the anime’s historical setting, which is juxtaposed by the its modern feel and unconventional main character.

Visually, The Apothecary Diaries is a treat. The animation is gorgeous, especially the way they play with highlights and shadows. There are scenes in The Apothecary Diaries that are simply stunning. OLM (Odd Taxi, Summertime Rendering) and TOHO Animation Studio have done an incredible job bringing this story to life. Watching The Apothecary Diaries has been an absolute joy—it’s a series that combines great storytelling with beautiful animation, making it a memorable watch you don’t want to miss.

Where to Watch

Best Anime of 2023 - Hell's Paradise

Hell’s Paradise

MAPPA (Chainsaw Man, Jujutsu Kaisen) pulled out all the stops again with Hell’s Paradise, which is adapted from Yuji Kaku’s manga. For anyone that is into the raw, unbridled energy of anime like Chainsaw Man or Dororo, this series is a must-watch. Not only does it feature some of the best action sequences and crisp animation in all of 2023, but it has an incredible story as well.

Hell’s Paradise dives into the concept of immortality, challenging the idea of it being a blessing and painting it more as a curse. The story centers around the mysterious island of Shinsenkyo, a place that lures people with the promise of eternal life, only to curse those who survive its dangers with grotesque transformations. The decision to send a group of condemned criminals to explore this lethal island amps up the stakes, especially with Gabimaru, the Hollow, an elite shinobi assassin, as our main character.

The action in Hell’s Paradise is intense, with plenty of chaos and combat as characters clash over their shared goal. But what really draws you in is the mystery surrounding Shinsenkyo. The more you learn about the island and delve into the characters’ backstories, the more engrossing it becomes. There are so many well-crafted characters, each adding depth and intrigue to the plot too, so you’ll be drawn into their stories as much as you are the island.

What strikes me most about Hell’s Paradise, though, is how it blurs the lines between shonen and seinen. It’s got the excitement and energy of a shonen, but with a maturity and depth that leans into seinen territory. No matter what your usual anime preferences are, I highly recommend giving Hell’s Paradise a shot. It’s not just one of the best shonen releases in a while; it’s one of the best anime of 2023.

Where to Watch

Best Anime of 2023 - Heavenly Delusion

Heavenly Delusion

Heavenly Delusion really took me by surprise—in the most amazing way. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it reminds me of anime like Made in Abyss with its blend of darkness and light. The stark contrast between the world’s grim reality and the warmth of the main characters’ interactions is what sets this anime apart.

Inside its walls, kids are raised by robots in what seems like a serene, nursery-like environment, brimming with curiosity and potential. It’s like a slice of heaven amidst chaos. Outside, the world is a complete contrast—a desolate hell-scape, now home to bizarre supernatural beings. What captivates me most in Heavenly Delusion is the journey of Maru and Kiruko, as they traverse the ruins of Tokyo in search of ‘heaven.’ Their quest, challenging the notion of heaven as a distant, perhaps unattainable dream, keeps you hooked.

Production I.G, one of my favorite studios, has outdone themselves with their work on this series. And with Kensuke Ushio, known for his work on Chainsaw Man and A Silent Voice, handling the music, the experience is elevated to a whole new level. The combination of stunning animation and near-perfect music makes Heavenly Delusion an unforgettable viewing experience. Even more so than that, it’s a journey that captures both your eye and your heart.

Where to Watch

Best Anime 2023 - The Dangers in My Heart

The Dangers in My Heart

Shin-Ei Animation really hit it out of the park with The Dangers in My Heart, which is easily my pick for the most hilarious anime of the year. This rom-com had me laughing at every turn, thanks largely to the spot-on character interactions and the priceless facial expressions.

The story is about Kyoutarou Ichikawa, a middle schooler harboring a dark fantasy: he imagines himself as a potential killer with his classmate Anna Yamada as his target. But as he gets to know her, he’s caught off-guard by the different sides of her personality he never expected to see. Before he knows it, his feelings start shifting from dark fantasies to genuine affection and a desire to protect her.

The real draw of The Dangers in My Heart is this unlikely dynamic between Kyoutarou and Anna. It’s fascinating, and oddly sweet, watching these two characters, so different at first glance, develop a bond that helps them grow as individuals. You can’t help but laugh at their quirky interactions, but there are also these ‘aww’ moments that catch you by surprise. It’s a blend of humor and heart that makes this series a must-watch.

Every episode leaves you asking whether or not Kyoutarou will overcome the darker aspects of his imagination for the sake of his newfound feelings. The journey of their relationship is as heartwarming as it is entertaining, making The Dangers in My Heart a standout in 2023.

Where to Watch

Best Anime of 2023 - Skip and Loafer

Skip and Loafer

Skip and Loafer was an absolute delight to watch. The story that follows Mitsumi, our main character, as she enters high school in Tokyo, is full of laughs and heartwarming moments that make it one of the most endearing series of the year. Coming from a small town, Mitsumi’s book smarts are put to the test in a big-city high school, where social norms are thrown into the mix. The series is animated by the same studio that brought us Ya Boy Kongming! and Buddy Daddies, so it comes as no surprise that the animation is good. But it is the cast of characters that make this one such an amazing series.

Out of all the new anime I’ve watched this year, Skip and Loafer stands out as one of the most joyful you can watch. Watching Mitsumi adapt to her new environment, so different from her hometown, and the friends she makes along the way, adds a lot of depth and charm to the series. What I really appreciate about it, though, is the perfect mix of heartfelt and humorous moments. It’s this balance that makes Skip and Loafer not just entertaining, but also incredibly relatable and captivating.

All in all, Skip and Loafer is that cozy, easy-going slice-of-life anime that just makes you feel good. It’s the kind of show that tugs at your heartstrings and connects you to its characters through their genuine interactions and experiences. It’s been a joy watching Mitsumi’s journey, and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone looking for a heartwarming, feel-good anime.

Where to Watch

Best Comedy Anime - Buddy Daddies

Buddy Daddies

Buddy Daddies is a heartwarming and hilarious comedy anime about a duo of skilled assassins, known for never letting their targets escape, who unexpectedly find themselves taking in a four-year-old girl. The cool and fiery pair embark on a new chapter of their lives as they attempt to balance family life with their newfound innocent and adorable companion. Despite their expertise in assassination, they struggle with the challenges of raising a young child.

Their lives become even more hectic as they continue to accept assassination jobs while juggling their parental duties. To add to the chaos, it turns out that the little girl is the secret love child of a ruthless mafia boss they had previously eliminated. One crucial question remains: can they successfully navigate life as assassins and caretakers?

While it’s lighthearted and sweet, Buddy Daddies also tackles more complex topics, such as parenting and child abandonment. In this way, Buddy Daddies reminds me a lot of another series, Kotaro Lives Alone. The adults learn a lot from the kids in each series, but the kids learn and gain a lot from the adults too. Given the nature of their content, these series can be sad at times, but they are heartwarming and humorous as well.

Where to Watch

Best Horror Anime - Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead

I was already a fan of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead after reading its manga, which captivated me by its refreshing mix of comedy and horror and its unique spin on the zombie genre. So, naturally, my anticipation was sky-high for its anime adaptation.

What BUG FILMS have brought to life on the screen is nothing short of brilliant. On top of having some of the best animation of the 2023 anime season, this anime stands apart because it is a vibrant and thought-provoking journey that flips the script and brings something completely new to the table in the world of zombie horror. It’s so good that it even landed a spot on our top horror anime of all-time list.

The heart of Zom 100 is its protagonist, Akira, who’s a perfect example of how mundane life can turn us into metaphorical zombies. His day-to-day life in a draining office job resonated with me, as I’m sure it will with many. One thing leads to another, and an actual zombie apocalypse turns out to be Akira’s unexpected ticket to freedom. I found myself genuinely rooting for Akira as he embraces this chaotic world not with fear, but as a chance to break away from his monotonous routine.

What I love most about Zom 100, though, is its core message – it’s not just about surviving; it’s about living life to its fullest, especially when the world seems to be falling apart. This anime isn’t just a blend of laughs and scares; it’s a story about rediscovering oneself and seizing the day, no matter the circumstances. While I enjoy a good dose of zombie gore, Zom 100 offers so much more—a reminder that sometimes, the chaos brings out the best in us, encouraging us to live life with no regrets and experience it to the fullest.

Where to Watch

Best Anime of 2023 - Pluto


Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto is like a love letter to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, particularly the ‘The Greatest Robot on Earth’ arc. As a fan of Urasawa’s works like Monster and 20th Century Boys, seeing his take on this classic was thrilling to say the least. Pluto adds a layer of mystery and depth to the original story, turning it into a gripping tale where the world’s most advanced robots are being mysteriously hunted down. The manga itself is a standout in the sci-fi genre, but the anime adaptation is a must-watch as well. It’s something else entirely, bringing the story to life in ways I hadn’t imagined.

What I find most fascinating about Pluto is its exploration of the thin line that exists between robots and humans. Following Gesicht, a robot detective, the story beautifully portrays his very human-like experiences and emotions. It’s a deep dive into the complexities of robot-human relationships, tackling themes of discrimination and identity with a finesse that only Urasawa can. But Pluto goes beyond just blurring the lines between the lives of humans and robots. It dares to delve into topics such as: what happens when robots start experiencing human emotions like hate and sadness? Set against the backdrop of a post-war society, it’s a story that’s both heart-wrenching and exhilarating, filled with mystery and action that keeps you hooked every step of the way.

Pluto stays true to the spirit of Astro Boy while breaking new ground, offering both a sense of nostalgia and a fresh narrative to newcomers and fans alike. The animation is stunning too, bringing a new dimension to this beloved story and its characters to life. Watching Pluto unfold on screen is an experience that’s not just visually captivating, but emotionally impactful as well. It’s not only one of the best anime that 2023 has to offer, it’s one of the best sci-fi anime you can watch right now.

Where to Watch

Best Anime of 2023 - Oshi no Ko

Oshi no Ko

After reading and loving Oshi no Ko, I was certain it would shine as an anime, especially given its distinctive style and content. Then the anime released and I couldn’t believe just how amazing it actually is. The series offers a fresh look into the world of showbiz, all the while unraveling the complexities of fame and idolhood through its engaging narrative.

It follows the life of Goro, a countryside OB-GYN, whose ordinary life takes a turn when he meets his favorite idol, Ai Hoshino, under unexpected circumstances. Ai’s pregnancy and her choice to stay at his clinic sets off a chain of events that intricately links their fates in ways both intriguing and shocking. Trust me, there’s so much more to this anime than meets the eye and it constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat over the course of the episodes.

Oshi no Ko features a masterful blend of mystery, comedy, and drama, seamlessly weaving serious and lighthearted moments. The series invites us into the lives of those in the entertainment industry, making us empathize with their struggles and triumphs. Its captivating plot twists keep you on the edge of your seat. From the memorable anime opening to the vivid character expressions and dramatic scenes, every aspect of this show is top-notch. The array of characters, each grappling with their own challenges, creates a dynamic that strikes all the right chords. Oshi no Ko is a testament to how a great story, combined with stellar animation, voice acting, and music, can create a truly unforgettable experience.

Where to Watch

Best Anime of 2023 - Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

There’s something truly special about Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End. As I followed the story of Frieren, an elf and mage, I couldn’t help but be moved by her quest to honor her late comrades’ final wishes. Her introspection, after losing a friend to old age, struck a chord with me. It’s a journey about revisiting past memories and understanding the human experience, all while Frieren grapples with her near-immortal existence. This story is not your average fantasy anime; it’s a heartfelt reflection on the passing of time and the relationships we build.

What really resonated with me most in Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, though, is its exploration of our deep-seated need to connect. The setting may be a fantastical world of magic and demons, but the emotions and struggles of its main characters and the individuals that we meet along the way are incredibly real and relatable. It’s rare to find a fantasy story that steers clear of clichés and brings something genuinely fresh to the table, both in terms of its themes and ideas, all the while keeping you deeply invested in the lives of its characters and its world.

The animation by Madhouse is another aspect that left me in awe—the way they capture the nuances of life, the poignant scenes, and the characters’ emotions is extraordinary. This anime has easily become my favorite of the year and stands out as one of the most compelling fantasy stories I’ve come across in a long time. The true beauty, however, of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End lies in how it intertwines the past and present, painting a story that’s not just visually stunning but also emotionally rich and deeply human as well.

It’s currently one of the best anime streaming on Crunchyroll if you’d like to check it out.

Where to Watch

These are the best anime that have debuted in 2023 so far. There are a lot of unique series to dive into on this list, so I hope you find a new anime or multiple new anime series you enjoy. Curious as to what other anime you may have missed in 2023? Check out the full 2023 anime lineup.

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