2023 has proven to be another stellar year for anime.

As we take a nostalgic trip down memory lane, it’s time to revisit the extraordinary worlds and characters that made anime this year exceptional.

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Whether you’re encountering these gems anew or revisiting them to relish the sheer joy they bring, the best anime of 2023 showcases the creativity and passion behind the studios and talents working on these series.

Funko Pop! Jujutsu Kaisen Itadori Multicolor 61358 figure on Amazon
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In 2023, beloved anime series such as Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer, and Bleach not only maintained their fan-favorite status but also ascended to unprecedented heights.

Newcomers like Hell’s Paradise, Oshi no Ko, and Frieren also made a noteworthy impact with their debuts this year.

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The dramatic finale of the renowned series Attack on Titan is also a testament to how big of a year 2023 is for anime.

The 10 best anime of 2023

  • Jujutsu Kaisen season 2
  • Suzume
  • Mashle
  • Hells’ Paradise
  • Attack on Titan finale (Season 4 Part 4)
  • Bleach Thousand Year Blood War
  • Rurouni Kenshin 2023
  • Oshi no Ko
  • Demon Slayer season 3 Swordsmith Village arc
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Jujutsu Kaisen season 2

Key visual shared by Japanese artist Hitsujibungaku of Yuji Itadori from Jujutsu Kaisen season 2
Credit: Hitsujibungaku

Jujutsu Kaisen fans were treated to an explosive year with the second season, setting the anime community ablaze with excitement.

This season delved into the intricacies of the series, offering a detailed prelude that allowed viewers to discover new sides to their beloved characters, such as Satoru Gojo and his best friend, the mysterious Suguru Geto.

Funko Pop! Animation: Jujutsu Kaisen Satoru Gojo
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The animation quality reached movie-level heights, providing viewers with over-the-top battle sequences that left them on the edge of their seats.

Toji Fushiguro cosplay by Taryn highlights character’s rocklike physique like no other

A standout moment was the long-awaited unfolding of the Shibuya arc, allowing the villains of the show to take center stage. Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 not only met but exceeded the expectations of fans, solidifying its place as one of the most exhilarating anime experiences of the year.

Nigel Zalamea

Suzume no Tojimari

Suzume no Tojimari movie poster
Credit: CoMix Wave Films

Makoto Shinkai strikes again in what I believe is his best movie yet.

The main character, Suzume Iwato, is a 17-year-old girl residing in Kyushu, located on the southwestern side of Japan’s primary islands.

One day, while on her way to school, she bumps into a mysterious man from out of town who’s searching for ruins. She directs him to a nearby abandoned village and goes on about her day.

Suzume no Tojimari cat plush toy dajin doll figure by Seaehey
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However, just before she reaches the schoolgrounds, she turns back. Curiosity gets the better of her as she rushes to the very spot she pointed him to.

There, she discovers an enchanted door that the man is clearly knowledgeable of. However, things soon get out of hand, and leaving the door open poses a looming threat filled with disasters and calamities. Suzume therefore chooses to embark on an adventure to seal it shut.

Unlike Your Name and Weathering with You, romance isn’t the central theme of this movie. Instead, you’ll discover and feel different kinds of love across space and time that will penetrate the depths of your heart.

Amanda “Tania Mae” Tan

Mashle: Magic and Muscles

Mashle: Magic and Muscles season one official key visual poster
Credit: Shueisha, Hajime Komoto

Written and illustrated by Hajime Komoto, Mashle: Magic and Muscles first premiered in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in January 2020.

A relatively new series, it was adapted by studio A-1 Pictures, where its success surprised, making it one of the best anime of 2023.

The story is set in a world where magic is normalized. Everyone uses wands in their daily lives to accomplish tasks and go about their activities — everyone except Mash Burnedead.

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His adopted father knew about his complete lack of magical powers since he was a baby, and therefore inspired him to excel in health and fitness instead.

After a series of unfortunate events take place in the first episode, and their secret is soon discovered by authorities, who give Mash the most impossible task: get accepted in the town’s most prestigious magic school, take classes, and excel to become a “Divine Visionary” (their version of a valedictorian), or be persecuted.

Promotional image for Mashle season 2 anime
Credit: A-1 Pictures
Mashle season 2 release date, OP announced: All new characters introduced in trailer

If you think Harry Potter is too mainstream and so yesterday, Mashle: Magic and Muscles is the anime for you. Be prepared to laugh your heart out and develop a deep craving for cream puffs.

Amanda “Tania Mae” Tan

Hell’s Paradise (Jigokuraku)

Hell's Paradise Jigokuraku Gabimaru and Yamada Asaemon Sagiri
Credit: ONE Esports, MAPPA

Hell’s Paradise protagonist shares the same Japanese voice actor as Mash Burnedead in Chiaki Kobayashi — but these two characters can’t be more different.

Based on the original manga series written and illustrated by Yuji Kaku from 2018, it was serialized and available to read for free through Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+ app and website

Adapted and produced by MAPPA, Hell’s Paradise is on our list of best anime of 2023 because it’s… well… pleasantly weird. The title itself is an oxymoron, and you’ll experience even more through the anime’s themes, characters, and scenes.

Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku, Vol. 1 Paperback manga English cover
Credit: Yuji Kaku, VIZ Media LLC
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The plot follows a ninja named Gabimaru the Hollow, one of the best, most infamous killers in the world. Because his life has been full of bloodshed, he believes he deserves to be executed.

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However, due to various reasons, Sagiri Yamada Asaemon of the executioner clan refuses to carry out her duty. Instead, Gabimaru and a bunch of high profile criminals are offered a chance at redemption: journey to the mysterious island of Shinsekyo and bring back the legendary Elixir of Life.

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku Gabimaru, Bandai Spirits S.H.Figuarts Action Figure
Credit: Bandai Namco
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If he’s able to triumph over others and complete this task, he’ll be granted a full pardon, freedom, and the chance to return to his wife.

Of course, nothing is ever that straightforward. Veiled in mist, the island is a far cry from normality and humanity, full of deadly secrets and mystical foes.

Don’t use your logical brain to watch this series. Go in with an open mind, appreciate the cast of characters, and most of all, enjoy MAPPA’s striking animation.

Amanda “Tania Mae” Tan

Attack on Titan finale (season 4 part 4)

Attack on Titan characters Hange Zoe and Levi Ackerman in Final Season Part 3
Credit: MAPPA

After a decade-long journey, the world’s most popular anime, “Attack on Titan,” reached its riveting conclusion in 2023. The battle between humanity and titans saw its climax as Eren Yeager executed his master plan, delivering a conclusion that was as intense as it was emotionally charged.

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The collaboration between the Survey Corps and the Marleyan army against a world-ending threat showcased the pinnacle of strategic warfare.

As the series came to a close, fans were given a glimpse into the futures of iconic characters, accompanied by a chilling revelation of the dark future awaiting the Attack on Titan universe. The finale served as a fitting tribute to a series that has left an indelible mark on the anime landscape.

Nigel Zalamea

Bleach Thousand Year Blood War

Funko Pop Bleach Ichigo Kurosaki Bankai Tensa Zangetsu figure
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It took 10 years after episode 366, and faced with an uncertain future, Bleach finally returned — and it did not disappoint.

The change to a seasonal format instead of being forced to pump out weekly episodes proved a massive boon to the series’ animation. The anime team even had time to juice up the content by adding new fights and powers.

Official Bleach Thousand Year Blood War exhibition key visual
Credit: Tite Kubo, @BLEACH_anime_ex on Twitter

Often, when it comes to anime adaptations, the usual line for hardcore enthusiasts is: “You should read the manga.”

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But the improvements and additions to the Thousand Year Blood War arc make it the definitive way to newly experience — or retread — the wonders of Bleach. It’s a non-stop, action-packed thrill ride with all sorts of characters to marvel at (and drool over). Underneath the bloodiness, there’s a surprisingly philoshophical take to life and death if you’re willing to pore over the details — if not, the fights and animation are still more than enough eye-candy to obsess over.

Dexter Tan Guan Hao

Rurouni Kenshin (2023)

Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin Himura Nendoroid Action Figure
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Oro? Oro! Oro!?

Rurouni Kenshin, perhaps better known as Samurai X, is a Japanese manga series created by Nobuhiro Watsuki.

Set in the Meiji era of Japan, the story follows Himura Kenshin, a wandering swordsman with a dark past. Once an assassin during the Bakumatsu revolution, he vowed never to kill again and carries a reverse-edged sword.

Rurouni Kenshin anime 2023 key visual
Credit: Linden Films

Seeking redemption for his violent past, he becomes a wandering swordsman who protects the innocent without taking lives. Kenshin’s journey brings him to Tokyo, where he encounters new friends and adversaries, all while navigating the challenges of a rapidly changing society.

The original TV series, animated by Studio Gallop and Studio Deen, aired on Fuji TV from 1996 to 1998 with a total of 95 episodes, and is one of the most-watched animes of all time in Japan. Notably, female actress Mayo Suzukaze had lent her voice to Himura Kenshin.

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25 years after the original anime ended, a second anime television series adaptation by Liden Films was released in 2023, with a brand new cast and interpretation.

Led by voice actor and singer Soma Saito as Kenshin and Rie Takahashi as Kamiya Kaoru, it’s done so well that it’s been renewed for a second season airing in 2024.

Amanda “Tania Mae” Tan

Oshi no Ko

Oshi no Ko anime Kurokawa Akane, Hoshino Ruby, Hoshino Aqua, and Mem-cho
Credit: ONE Esports, Doga Kobo

Oshi no Ko was one of the biggest anime releases this year, kicked off by a 90-minute first episode that had audiences hooked.

The series delves into the cutthroat world of Japan’s entertainment industry, introducing viewers to the intricate relationships between celebrities, managers, production companies, and studios.

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While the lives of celebrities and idols look to be all glitz and glamor, the show challenges those notions and highlights the dark side of show business.

Additionally, the anime features an opening song titled Idol by Yoasobi, which is sure to captivate fans of anime, JPOP, or KPOP alike.

Nigel Zalamea

Demon Slayer Season 3 Swordsmith Village arc

Demon Slayer Season 3 finale
Credit: ufotable

Building on the success of its predecessor, Demon Slayer returned with the Swordsmith Village arc, raising the stakes and delivering another captivating chapter in the series.

This arc introduced two menacing Upper Ranked demons, intensifying the challenges faced by our beloved characters.

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The inclusion of two formidable Pillars, Muichiro Tokito and Mitsuri Kanroji, alongside Tanjiro and Nezuko Kamado, showcased the relentless determination of the demon slayers.

As they pushed themselves to their limits to save the Swordsmith Village, the anime left audiences eagerly anticipating the next moves in the ever-evolving battle against the formidable Demon King, Muzan Kibutsuji.

Nigel Zalamea

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Frieren: beyond Journey''s End
Credit: Madhouse

What happens if you are immune to the ravages of time? Let Frieren tell you — near-immortality isn’t all that it’s so cracked up to be.

Frieren, a powerful elven mage who’s lived thousands of years and will live thousands more, is a member of the party that’s already defeated the Dark Lord. Instead, her real confrontation comes when she realizes what passes her by — her much more mortal brothers-in-arms.

Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, Vol. 1 paperback cover
Credit: VIZ Media, Kanehito Yamada, Tsukasa Abe
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Frieren sets about dealing with grief in her own way. The journey here isn’t to defeat a final boss. It’s about finding herself, and in turn, honoring the memories of her allies both old and new. It’s a comfy, beautiful anime that will have you laugh and cry in equal measures — and many agree that it’s not just one of the best shows of the season, but of all-time.

Spend some time with Frieren. But after that, spend some time with the ones you love. You deserve it — and so do they.

Dexter Tan Guan Hao

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