Crunchyroll has been the go-to destination for great anime for about seventeen years and is still going strong. Of course, we now have many other streaming services that also give us anime and, without question, anime fans have been living in the golden years of anime these days. So, naturally, listing the best anime of the year would be a long (though fun) endeavor, but today, we focus on Crunchyroll and its incredible library of 2023.
The list you’re about to read is a careful compilation of what we at Collider consider to be by far the best titles the service has released in 2023. But if you’re someone who hasn’t watched anime before, some of these titles are also great options to start you off on your exploration of this expansive world. Additionally, we’ll be throwing in multiple genres within this list instead of focusing on just one, so prepare for adventure, comedy, action, horror, and general insanity (in a good way).
Read More About What’s Streaming on Crunchyroll:
‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ (Season 2)
- Junya Enoki, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuma Uchida, Asami Seto, Robbie Daymond
Jujutsu Kaisen has been a non-stop thrill ride since the “Hidden Inventory” arc, the first part of Season 2. But comparing the first arc to the second part of Season 2 is like day and night. While the Hidden Inventory arc is dark, it feels far more lighthearted and calming than the “Shibuya Incident” arc, which is a lot more horror-esque. What also makes Season 2 great is how it connects these two parts together. At first watch, you might question why the “Hidden Inventory” arc (a prequel story) is placed where it is compared to the rest of the series. But, the arc turns out to be quite important to the Shibuya Incident, helping us understand Gojo and Geto’s relationship before their confrontation in Shibuya. Not only that, but it is also a breather mini-arc before everything goes wild. Whether because of the animation, character art, or story, many fans love Jujutsu Kaisen. The numbers are proof of that, with the season reportedly averaging six million individual viewers and an average of four million per household. And that’s just in Japan!
‘Spy X Family’ (Season 2)
Spy x Family
- Takuya Eguchi, Atsumi Tanezaki, Saori Hayami, Megan Shipman
- WIT Studios
Spy X Family is one of the more family-friendly anime out in 2023. You will laugh a lot and fall in love with all the characters. Whether it is Anya, Loid, Yor, or any side characters like Yuri, Franky, or Damian, there is someone for everyone. Not only are the characters fun and charismatic, but the art of the anime is beautiful and calming. It is truly an anime made for everyone! Spy X Family Season 2 might be Kazuhiro Furuhashi‘s best work as a director, and he has worked on many great projects, like Dororo, Hunter X Hunter, and Ranma. There is something about Spy x Family that gives so much love and joy, which is funny because it focuses on a fake family that is only about themselves (though you could argue that they are better than most real families).
‘Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End’ (New Series)
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is spectacular, period! I’m talking anime of the year! If Beyond Journey’s End were a movie, everyone would have to bring it up in talks for the Best Picture Oscar. That is how good Beyond Journey’s End is. Keiichirō Saitō and his team have created a true labor of love with this series. For all the action buffs out there, Beyond Journey’s End isn’t super heavy on the action, choosing a more character and journey-based narrative, but when there is action to be had, it does not disappoint at all, with some of the best-animated fight scenes of the year.
‘One Piece’ (The Wano Country Arc)
- Mayumi Tanaka, Kazuya Nakai, Kappei Yamaguchi, Hiroaki Hirata, Ikue Ôtani, Akemi Okamura
The “Wano Country Arc” of One Piece is the most artistic arc in all of One Piece history, and it’s not unbelievable to say that it is one of the most artistic anime of 2023. And if you knew who has been working on One Piece this year, you would not be surprised. Tatsuya Nagamine has been in charge of the Wano arc, which is why One Piece has looked fantastic ever since. For those who do not know who Tatsuya Nagamine is, he is the director of One Piece Film: Z, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and Heart of Gold. A highlight of the season is the animation of Gear 5, which many fans have compared to the Legendary transformation scene in Dragon Ball Z. The transformation even got its own trailer to hype it up.
‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’ (“Swordsmith Village” Arc)
- Natsuki Hanae, Zach Aguilar, Abby Trott, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Demon Slayer has been one of the most popular anime since its release in 2021, known for its vibrant and energetic animation and sympathetic villains. The “Swordsmith Village” arc does many things right by adding multiple characters and developing them from when we first met them. Not only that, but series director Haruo Sotozaki also gives us more of Tanjiro and his growing relationship with Mitsuri and Muchiro. Even Nezuko develops significantly and creates friendships during the arc, with Mitsuri taking on an older sister figure mentality with Nezuko. In short, it’s a solid addition to the series that gives the fans what they want.
‘Vinland Saga’ (Season 2)
- Aleks Le, Mike Haimoto, Yûto Uemura, Alejandro Saab
When the first season of Vinland Saga was released, it was love at first sight for the fans. From the opening of the series to the ending song; Season 1 was nothing but perfection. So it’s quite impressive that Season 2 has topped the first and with flying colors. Vinland Saga Season 2 is not as action-oriented as Season 1, but it makes up for that with beautiful storytelling about forgiveness and bettering yourself as a human being. Season 2 is a complete 180 to Season 1 when it comes to the vibes, but it feels just right because of this tug-of-war effect going on between the regression of the story and the progression of Thorinn, by which I mean that while the world surrounding Thorfinn seems like its getting worse, Thorfinn is becoming a better person, trying to become like his father in a cruel world.
‘Ranking of Kings: The Treasure Chest of Courage’ (Spinoff Series)
Ranking of Kings: The Treasure Chest of Courage has produced something essential to the anime community: Best Boy Bojii. Treasure Chest of Courage is much darker than the original Ranking of Kings, but at the same time, it still holds this hope of optimism throughout the entire season that it makes a feel-good series. Treasure Chest of Courage is a fantastic surprise, and a third installment to the franchise is expected. After all, none of the fans want Bojji’s story to end any time soon.
‘NieR:Automata Ver1.1a’ (New Series)
Due to a lot of things happening behind the scenes, fans have had to wait a long time to see the video game adaptation NieR:Automata Ver1.1a. However, the show’s quality is fantastic, and for those who are new to the franchise, you won’t have to feel those delays like the rest of us, so there’s a good chance you will enjoy it even more. The action is excellent, and the entire anime style looks great. NieR, much like Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Castlevania, is based on a video game, but it is far more underrated and deserves to be talked about more because it is just as good as those series.
TRIGUN STAMPEDE (New Reboot Series)
Much like Vinland Saga and Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Trigun Stampede is character-driven, but it is also heavy on action. What makes this series great is that it is one of the best CG remakes of animated anime, something that many previous shows have failed to be. When Trigun Stampede was first announced and had its first trailer, the anime community at large was not a fan of the new style, but with the release of the first episode, the detractors were effectively silenced. The animation is fluid, the CG models don’t have that awkward movement that has led so many to hate this particular animation style, and the story is strong. Both for fans of the original 90s series and those who have yet to watch anything Trigun, Trigun Stampede is a must-watch.
‘Hell’s Paradise’ (New Series)
Hell’s Paradise was released early in the year and is still near the top of the list of favorite anime. The series presents a power system that’s fascinating in concept, and how it is used in action is truly remarkable. The Tao System is similar to chakra from Naruto, in that it uses inner energy to strengthen your mind and body. But unlike chakra, it is not like an aura surrounding the body but looks more like waves. The cast of characters is excellent as well. A few standouts who make this series great in Season 1 are Tamiya, Sagiri, Chōbei, Shion, Yuzuriha, and Gabimaru. What makes them great is they are all strong in different ways. For example, Shion is the first to use Tao, Yuzuriha is the best at gaining information, and Gabimaru learns the fastest in battle. It’s the uniqueness of each character and the way they interact that makes Hell’s Paradise truly great.
‘Dr. Stone: New World’ (Season 3)
Dr. Stone already has a brilliantly written world, and with excellent world-building and unique characters, Dr. Stone: New World builds the world up even more by adding new characters to the mix: Ibara, Moz, and Kirisame. Ibara is the main antagonist for the Kingdom of Science and minister of the Petrification Kingdom, Moz is one of the strongest warriors of the Petrification Kingdom, and Kirisame is the other strongest. It’s not just the new characters as the recurring characters also still feel fresh. Senku and Chrome are funny as always, and Kohaku and Ukyo are just as awesome as ever.
‘Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead’ (New Series)
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead gives us a depressing premise but makes it a fun and very vibrant anime series. The show follows an overworked and bullied young man who finds a new lease on life when a zombie outbreak begins. The character designs are excellent, and how they introduce each character fluidly makes it much more fun. The way Beatrix is presented is the best, with the whole sushi shtick, and the second time Shizuka is introduced, with Akira playing a superhero, is one of the funniest anime moments of 2023.
‘Shangri-la Frontier’ (New Series)
Shangri-la Frontier is one of those shows that may get no love in the future but deserve to be as popular as the likes of Sword Art Online when it first came out. In terms of animation, it is fantastic, and the story gets better and better as the weeks go by. If you need something new to watch without getting bored and wishing you could have more once your binge is over, Shangri-la Frontier is that anime.
‘Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation’ (Season 2)
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is probably the weirdest title on this list, with one of its stories focusing on Rudeus having erectile dysfunction. But don’t let that turn you off from the series. The show is high quality in its production, and the series’ overall theme is vital. The series focuses on social withdrawal and how that affects you mentally and emotionally in terms of personal growth and a sense of responsibility.
‘Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters’ (Last Season)
Attack On Titan
- Marina Inoue, Hiro Shimono, Takehito Koyasu, Yûki Kaji, Josh Grelle, Bryce Papenbrook
This anime series has been inching towards its end for forever, and now that it’s finally finished, the question on everyone’s mind is “Was it worth the wait?” The answer? Absolutely! The animation of Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters feels like an upgrade from the other seasons of Attack on Titan. The characters are always ridiculous in all the best ways possible; Levy is the goat, and no one is better than Mikasa. And despite all the jokes the anime community has made over the years about the studios milking the series for all it’s worth, Attack on Titan is definitely a journey you should watch from beginning to end. (You could even say “the ends justify the memes”.)