So, here are my top anime picks from this year that you can dive into right away without any hesitation. A few are still ongoing, but between the assortment of new shows released this year, there’s something for everyone.
But if you want to take a look at what the best anime of 2023 was according to IGN, check out this list here.
Nier: Automata Ver1.1a is based on the 2017 action role-playing game Nier: Automata, created by PlatinumGames and published by Square Enix. The A-1 Pictures production takes place in the far-off future during a war between Machine Lifeforms created by aliens and androids crafted by humans. Similar to the game, the story follows 2B and 9S, members of the combat force called YoRHa. The sci-fi and action-packed tale of Nier: Automata has been slightly tweaked to fit into the anime format, and it’s handled quite well. Yoko Taro, the co-writer of the game, also contributed to the anime, ensuring you experience the original creator’s vision. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the game, NieR: Automata Ver1.1a remains accessible and might even pique your interest in the game.
If you’re after some anime comedy that’ll leave you in stitches, Buddy Daddies fits the bill perfectly. It’s not only hilariously entertaining, but also heart-warming with a good dose of action. The series revolves around two professional assassins who find themselves tasked with caring for a four-year-old girl after a mission goes awry. The enjoyable premise maintains its charm throughout as Buddy Daddies keeps a consistent, warm, and sweet tone while bringing emotional elements that connect you to the story. If you’re a fan of Spy x Family and want more, Buddy Daddies is a must-watch for you.
This list features anime that you can dive into right away without the need for prior knowledge or prequels, and Trigun Stampede fulfils that requirement by being a remake of the beloved 1998 series, Trigun. The story follows the renowned outlaw Vash the Stampede, who is on the run with a staggering 60 billion dollar bounty on his head. Trigun holds a special place as a cherished retro series with a dedicated fanbase. However, Trigun Stampede strikes a balance by adding fresh elements to the storyline previously unseen. Expect stunning visuals courtesy of studio Orange, offering a fresh take on this decades-old tale.
Oshi No Ko
Oshi No Ko made a colossal impact in the anime world with its 90-minute premiere episode. If you somehow don’t know what the show is about, it shows the life of a popular idol, and explores the darker aspects of this industry. Not into idol culture? No need to fret because this isn’t one of those anime tailored for a specific niche audience. Oshi No Ko serves as a commentary on the entertainment industry, consumerism, and the hidden shadows concealed beneath the sparkle and allure. It draws inspiration from numerous real-life events as it portrays these themes with care and depth.
Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is a dark fantasy surrounding a ninja sentenced to execution, yet seemingly invincible to death. He is then tasked with a difficult mission to retrieve the elixir of life from a legendary and treacherous island, where previous death row inmates vanished without a trace. Hell’s Paradise follows Gabimaru the Hollow, navigating this perilous world in pursuit of a pardon for his life sentence. The series unfolds in a riveting, fast-paced manner, brimming with unexpected twists and turns throughout his journey.
Despite its low profile on Disney+ and poor efforts at marketing from the streaming service, Heavenly Delusion still managed to find its way to anime fans’ hearts. This series goes into profound themes like free will and the nuances of morality. Set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, it features two storylines — one following two characters travelling the world and another centred on a group of secluded children within a sheltered school environment. The remarkable cinematography and animation make Heavenly Delusion a delight to watch.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead revolves around a simple premise: a man fed up with his exploitative corporate job suddenly finds freedom from work as the world succumbs to a zombie apocalypse. His response? Create a bucket list of things to experience! This series offers a refreshing perspective on the zombie genre by highlighting how life can remain enjoyable amid a crumbling world. It emphasises that maintaining a fun-loving attitude can make even a disaster-filled world a playground for memorable experiences.
My Happy Marriage
My Happy Marriage combines elements of romance, drama, and the supernatural. The story revolves around Miyo, a noblewoman facing ostracisation due to her supposed lack of magical abilities, and Kiyoka, a Duke shunned for his alleged demonic powers and unapproachable demeanour. Despite an arranged marriage for political motives, they discover each other’s compassion and vulnerabilities, eventually forming a close bond. My Happy Marriage explores the themes of overcoming prejudice and discrimination while unravelling a tale of love found in unexpected circumstances.
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End stands out as one of the notable hits of 2023, a must-watch from the year’s offerings. It is an epic fantasy that also discusses the loss and legacy after the passing of a loved one. The story follows Frieren, an elf mage who can live for thousands of years. However, her human companions, with whom she went on adventures for years, do not share the same extended lifespan. When she witnesses the loss of a comrade due to old age, it triggers a profound realisation in Frieren. She acknowledges having taken life and relationships for granted, leading her on a transformative journey of self-discovery and learning to value and cherish others.
Pluto is based on Naoki Urasawa’s manga series and is a testament to the legendary creator’s acclaimed works like 20th Century Boys and Monster. Its adaptation into an anime promised a top-tier modern series, and it truly delivered. This murder mystery revolves around a celebrity robot within a war-ravaged world. The storyline is full of depth, sophistication, and insightful commentary on life’s essence. Representing a mature approach to Astro Boy’s legacy, the Pluto manga has won numerous prestigious awards worldwide, and the anime adaptation brilliantly captures its essence.
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Rayan Sayyed is a staff writer for IGN India with a primary focus on Asian entertainment spanning from anime, manga, games to films and dramas from the East. You can reach out to him at email@example.com, or find him on Twitter @rayanaver and Instagram @rayansayyed.