2023 has marked the arrival of some of the most entertaining, emotional, and intense anime seasons. From slashing Demons in grueling, bloody fights or actively avoiding being hunted for a six-million dollar bounty to adapting to living in a world inhabited by the undead, we’ve rounded up the best contenders to create a list of the best must-binge series of the year so far.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – Season 3
Watch on: Crunchyroll
Demon Slayer’s third season takes place during the Swordsmith Village arc, where viewers will get to see Tanjiro and the Hashira duo of Muichiro Tokito and Mitsuri Kanroji step into the limelight and go head-to-head against two of Muzan’s fiercest Upper Moon henchmen.
Even though a lot of this season is jam-packed full of dynamic fighting action between Tanjiro and friends and the Upper Moons, there are some significant character and lore developments that take place regarding the Hashira, Nezuko, Genya, and Demon Slayer Marks. The animation in this season is absolutely breathtaking, with gorgeous lighting, immersive soundtracks, and emotional storytelling. There’s no doubt about it; Demon Slayer Season 3 is a must-watch.
Tokyo Revengers – Season 2
Watch on: Crunchyroll & Disney+
Tokyo Revengers Season 2 is an intriguing and dynamic continuation of the time-leaping gang tale of Takemichi, who was previously given a second chance to change his place in life by traveling to and altering the events of his past. This concept of time travel and the butterfly effect, where one small change in a timeline can have dramatic effects on the future, is very interesting. Tokyo Revengers explores this concept through a very gritty, violent setting, with some characters you may love, some characters you may hate to love, and some who you wish to suffer in repetition.
However, what makes this show worth watching is these characters and their motives. When it comes to Tokyo Revengers, the imperfections of these characters (especially Takemichi as a protagonist) make them much more compelling. The regrets, fears, grudges, and determinations of the cast that influence their actions are fascinating to witness as they unravel, and this really makes them feel more human. You may like the continuation of the story, or you may hate it; either way, you should absolutely give Tokyo Revengers Season 2 a try.
Hell’s Paradise – Season 1
Watch on: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Apple TV, Prime Video, Roku
If you’re looking for a good, dark-fantasy world with psychological thriller elements, Hell’s Paradise Season 1 should be at the top of your list. Set in the Edo era of Japan, the show follows a group of convicts on death row who are given the opportunity to be pardoned for their crimes and freed. All they have to do is investigate a mysterious island that has recently been discovered in search of the Elixir of Immortality. However, after setting foot in this destination, protagonist Gabimaru and the other convicts soon discover just how dangerous this mysterious location can be.
Hell’s Paradise utilizes engrossing characters with eye-catching, memorable designs, steady story pacing, immersive soundtracks, gorgeous animation, and very engaging, satisfying fight scenes. What more could you ask for from an animated series?
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead – Season 1
Watch on: Netflix & Crunchyroll
Have you ever been stuck at a bad, boring day of work and just wished a zombie apocalypse would break loose and take over the world so you didn’t have to adult anymore? Well, that’s pretty much exactly what Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead explores. This clever, dystopian horror-comedy takes a unique spin on the classic Zombie apocalypse scenario, with main character Akira thrilled to kill off his work life and start living for himself, aiming to tick off all one hundred items on his bucket list before the possibility of succumbing to the undead.
Zom 100 is a breath of fresh air, utilizing a unique take on a rather bleak situation. The comedic elements are perfectly intertwined into Akira’s journey of personal growth, and the animation style is incredibly visually appealing and entertaining to watch. All around, Zom 100 brings something new to the screen while keeping that same familiar, visual anime style, meaning it’s more than deserving of a place on your own anime binge bucket least.
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War – Part 2, The Separation
Watch on: Disney+ & Hulu
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War covers the final arc of the Bleach manga, with the anime adaptation being split up into four different parts. Part 2, The Separation, is the continuation of Ichigo’s story, picking up exactly where the previous season ended — at around Chapter 542 of the manga.
Thousand Year Blood War (TYBW) is a perfect example of how modern animation techniques and resources can be utilized to breathe fresh life into older franchises without necessarily ruining the special charm and nostalgic value for fans. TYBW uses beautiful, clean animation and visual effects to create dynamic combat scenes and sword-fighting action, lighting up the screen with bold colors that will keep your eyes glued there until the episode hits the end credits.
Buddy Daddies – Season 1
Watch on: Crunchyroll
Buddy Daddies is a wholesome, heartwarming anime about two assassins who live together and spend their lives on missions so they can financially support themselves and one another. On Christmas Eve, the two stumble across Miri, a young girl searching for her father. There’s only one problem — her father was a target that the two previous assassinated. The two men then adopt Miri and take her home with them in an attempt to give her a somewhat normal childhood.
Buddy Daddies is a tale that proves even some ‘bad guys’ can be good guys. It has a hilarious take on some of the more challenging aspects of children and raising a preschooler, and successfully balances the light, adorable antics of Miri with the more dark and violent occupations of her new caretakers, creating quite a unique story. Buddy Daddies is an interesting show that is easy to follow along and has extremely likable characters that will draw you in. This one needs to go on your hitlist asap.
My Hero Academia – Season 6
Watch on: Crunchyroll & Prime Video
My Hero Academia’s Season 6 takes the beloved, bright, and vibrant comic-book influences of Izuko Mioriya’s pathway to heroism and makes a sharp turn, heading into much more dark and gritty territory with the Paranormal Liberation War story arc — one of the most popular sections of story from the MHA manga.
We see noteworthy character development from many of Deku’s classmates this season as they step into much bigger shoes. Deku, on the other hand, takes a much darker road, which creates some really interesting conflict for the story.
There’s also the addition of some interesting characters, such as Lady Nagant and Star and Stripe. All around, MHA Season 6 holds the same high standard of animation, visual effects, and soundtracks that the show is well-known for, but with the addition of arguably some of the most successful and engaging storytelling within the whole series. You don’t wanna miss this one. Plus Ultra!
Trigun Stampede – Season 1
Watch on: Crunchyroll & Hulu
Trigun Stampede is a modern remake of the original Trigun anime, bringing the iconic characters of Vash the Stampede, Millions Knives, Meryl, and Wolfwood back with fresh, updated designs. Trigun Stampede is also a series that uses 3D CGI techniques for animation, which has been a negative point to many other anime that have attempted the same methods.
However, Trigun Stampede is one of the first shows to pull off this visual take, complete with smooth animation and extremely engaging, bright, dynamic, and fluid combat scenes. I can never seem to tear my eyes away from the screen when it’s time for Vash to jump into combat! Trigun Stampede has a mysterious, unique plotline with heavy sci-fi and post-apocalyptic aspects and characters that will draw you in from the very beginning. With a six-million-dollar bounty on his head, Vash sure seems popular! Why not jump into the world of Trigun Stampede and find out why for yourself?
Jujutsu Kaisen – Season 2
Watch on: Crunchyroll
It’s not often that an anime series receives such high praise for following seasons outdoing the premier when a significant stylistic change takes place. Haikyuu!!, Trigun Stampede and Log Horizon have all received very mixed reviews on the stylistic changes from the original renditions or premiers of their shows. However, Jujutsu Kaisen has stunned fans with how effortlessly Season 2 outshines Season 1, earning it heavy praise with just the three episodes that have been released thus far.
Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 kicks off with a prequel arc, following the life of a younger Gojo living his days as a student of Jujutsu Academy. Gojo is a fan-favorite character, so many are eager to see the limelight shine down on him for this section of the story. The visuals of the show have also taken a big step up, with the artistic style appearing as clean and crisp as ever and the animation moving so fluidly and dynamically that it’s extremely satisfying to watch. Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2 is an absolute winner, do yourself a favor and watch this one.
Mashle: Magic and Muscles – Season 1
Watch on: Crunchyroll
Mashle: Magic and Muscles may have a few similarities to My Hero Academia or Black Clover on the surface, as the plot revolves around Mash Burnedead, a human who can’t use magic in a world, well, filled with magic. Mash enrolls himself in a school for magic with dreams of joining the elites, a classic underdog hero story. However, Mashle holds a unique charm that makes it a heavily enjoyable experience to watch.
Mashle uses a very detailed and vibrant animation style that makes characters pop against the backgrounds, and the magical visual effects add a layer of whimsical yet chaotic fantasy to the world. Mashle has a very lively animation style with fluid movements and great soundtracks and effects that heighten the mood of each combat. If you’re looking to binge an anime that combines elements of fantasy and comedy with some seriously satisfying fight sense and memorable, intriguing characters that you can’t help to love, Mashle: Magic and Muscles might be the perfect choice for you!