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Our Favorite New Anime of 2023 and Where to Watch Each Show

This year saw the return of many popular, ongoing anime series, but here are some gems to put on your radar. 

Best New Anime of 2023
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  • Photo Credit: Hell's Paradise / Crunchyroll Collection

Long gone are the days where anime was a fringe hobby. The Japanese medium has become mainstream during the past few years. But if there’s one thing that fans have noticed, it’s that anime seasons are usually filled with sequels, spin-offs, and ongoing series.

That’s not to say there aren’t new series premiering every year. There are. It’s just that they might get buried under the return of anticipated juggernauts like Demon Slayer or Jujutsu Kaisen. So, here are some of the best new anime that launched in 2023.

The Best New Anime of 2023

Hell’s Paradise

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Based on the manga by Yuji Kaku, Hell’s Paradise presents a familiar premise: Death-row convicts are given a chance at exoneration if—and only if—they accomplish a Herculean task. Here, the convicts are sent to a remote island and charged with finding the elixir of eternal life. Alas, there are a few complications. First, each convict is paired with an executioner from the legendary Yamada Asaemon clan. Second, they comprise the sixth expedition to the island, with no one from the previous expeditions returning alive. Finally, the island is filled with eldritch horrors that present a bigger challenge than finding the secret to immortality.

I’m in Love with the Villainess

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Japanese light novels have no shortage of isekai stories—tales where people from our world transmigrate to another world. Sometimes these are an actual other-world. Other times, the protagonist awakes to find themselves a character in their favorite videogame or their most-hated novel. Originally penned by Inori, I’m in Love with the Villainess puts a queer spin on a common storyline. Office worker Rei wakes up as the heroine of her favorite video game. In the original game, the heroine must choose between three potential male love interests. Rei has no time for that or them. Instead, she opts to romance the game’s female antagonist, Claire. 


Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Adapted from a manga serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump (the manga anthology magazine that gave us Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Demon Slayer), Mashle takes the magic school premise and flips it upside down. In a world where your social status is determined by your magical power and skill, Mash is a young man born without magical ability at all. That doesn’t stop him from enrolling in a magical academy, though. There, he intends to show everyone that magic can’t top muscles. This anime is for people tired of dark supernatural series—and the high death count that accompanies those storylines—and simply want ridiculous comedy.


Where to Watch: Netflix

Based on a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga, Ooku introduces us to an alternate Japan where a mysterious plague strikes down 80 percent of the male population. In our real-world history, the Ooku referred to the Japanese shogun’s harem. But in Yoshinaga’s vision, Japanese society becomes matriarchal due to the declining male population and the shoguns are now women—thereby making the Ooku a harem of men. The series reimagines Japanese history with this gender reversal, mixing real world events with fictional storylines.

The Apothecary Diaries

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Based on a light novel series by Natsu Hyuga, The Apothecary Diaries features no flashy magic or terrifying demons. Instead, it delivers a singular, brilliant heroine navigating the perils and intrigue of an imperial court. Set in a country based on China during the Ming Dynasty, the series follows Maomao, a young woman working as an apothecary in the red-light district. One day, she’s kidnapped by human traffickers and sold to the imperial palace as a servant. 

Rather than lament her situation, Maomao plans to keep her head down and work for the duration of her contract, after which she’ll be set free. But that’s easier said than done when you’re inquisitive and can’t leave things alone. When Maomao’s deductive skills draw the attention of the eunuch overseeing the rear palace, she’s recruited to serve as a poison taster for one of the emperor’s favored concubines while also unraveling the various mysteries plaguing the imperial court.

My Happy Marriage

Where to Watch: Netflix

Don’t let the saccharine title fool you. This Cinderella story features a powerful emotional journey and compelling supernatural intrigue. Originally a light novel series by Akumi Akitogi, the story centers Miyo Saimori, the eldest daughter of a supernaturally gifted family. Born without talent, however, she’s abused by her stepmother. 

When she’s engaged to the powerful scion of another supernaturally gifted clan, her hopes for escaping her pitiful existence are destroyed. Her new fiancé is infamous for driving away would-be brides. Resigned to her fate, Miyo is shocked to discover that the handsome Kiyoka Kudou isn’t the terrible man his reputation promises, and that perhaps this arranged marriage won’t so terrible.


Where to Watch: Netflix

Known as the Godfather of Manga, Osamu Tezuka penned many foundational manga titles. Among them is Astro Boy, about an android boy with human emotions. In the early 2000s, Naoki Urasawa took a story arc from the original Astro Boy and reimagined it as a detective mystery. That manga was Pluto. Presented as eight hour-long episodes, the anime introduces us to Gesicht, an android detective investigating a series of murders targeting both humans and robots. But it soon becomes apparent that the serial killer’s intended victims are either the strongest robots in the world or humans responsible for the laws granting robots equal rights.

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Fantasy readers are quite familiar with stories about a band of heroes coming together to take down a demon king. Maybe if they’re dedicated fantasy readers, they might have read a story or two about what happens after. Do the heroes live happily after, or do they have a falling out and go their separate ways? Perhaps they live mundane existences with their glory days well behind them—until, of course, they need to pick their swords up again. Frieren offers a different answer to the question of what happens after the heroes party defeats the demon king. 

Based on a manga by Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe, the series follows Frieren, the near-immortal elf-mage of the heroes party and what happens when she outlives her very-mortal companions. Bittersweet in tone yet punctuated by stunning animation and striking action sequences, Frieren may have debuted in the final months of 2023, but it easily became a top contender for best new anime of the year due to its strong character work and deceptive slow-burn storytelling style.

Featured image: Hell's Paradise / Crunchyroll Collection