Approximately three months ago, we shared our Top 10 Anime Series, released in Winter 2023. Now that the Season is ending, let’s see how these anime series performed throughout the Season. As we all know, this Season was almost ruined by the worldwide pandemic, so that we will rank the delayed anime series based on their released episodes.
Here are our Top 10 Anime Series That Performed the Best and the Worst in the Winter Season of 2023, beginning with those series that we initially had high expectations for but they ultimately failed to impress.
10. BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Season 2
- Personal Rating: 5.50
- Sequel Announced: TBA (Will Finish in April)
“BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Season 2” proved to be the biggest disappointment of this Season. Perhaps it struggled to find its rhythm due to the COVID-related delays, but regardless, it failed to captivate audiences as it did in the previous Season. One reason could be that protagonist Maple had already reached her maximum defence capabilities in Season 1, making Season 2 less engaging.
Synopsis: In “BOFURI,” Kaede, a high school girl, is initially reluctant to try a VRMMO game but eventually gives it a shot at her friend’s insistence. Once inside the game, Kaede maximises her defence stats to avoid getting hurt. Surprisingly, her dedication to defence makes her virtually invulnerable and an unstoppable force in the game.
As Kaede’s defensive prowess reaches unparalleled heights, she breaks records and catches the attention of other players. However, the question remains: will her unrivalled defences prove to be a blessing or a curse in the virtual world?
9. The Misfit of Demon King Academy Ⅱ (Season 2)
- Personal Rating: 6.00
- Sequel Announced: TBA (On Indefinite Hiatus)
“The Misfit of Demon King Academy Ⅱ Season 2” also fell short of expectations, although the anime itself wasn’t entirely to blame. The series lost its lead voice actor, Suzuki Tatsuhisa, who had voiced the protagonist Anos Voldigoad, resulting in a significant shift in the anime’s overall tone. The loss of this iconic voice was a severe blow to the series, and the complexity of the new Season’s storyline only compounded the problem.
Synopsis: “The Misfit of Demon King Academy” is set in a world inhabited by demons and follows the tale of Anos, a reincarnated demon king who begins speaking immediately after birth. At just one month old, Anos has the stature of a high school boy, and he displays strength far surpassing that of his teachers and seniors once he starts attending school. His sole mission is to locate the hero who perished alongside him, who must have also been reincarnated.
8. Tokyo Revengers Christmas Showdown Arc (Season 2)
- Personal Rating: 6.50
- Sequel Announced: No
“Tokyo Revengers Christmas Showdown Arc Season 2” disappointed many fans, myself included. The slow pacing at the beginning resulted in minimal character development for the protagonist since the first Season. Furthermore, the manga series’ controversial ending and losing Draken’s voice actor added to the letdown. While still enjoyable, the Season failed to reach the same level of quality as Season 1.
Synopsis: In “Tokyo Revengers,” Takemichi is a 26-year-old man who has made poor decisions and is now working at a bookshop. One day, he learns that his high school girlfriend, Hinata, has been murdered by the notorious Tokyo Manji Gang. Desperate to save her, he rushes to the train station, only to be pushed in front of an oncoming train.
Miraculously, he wakes up to be transported back to when he was a teenager. With the help of Hinata’s brother, a police officer, Takemichi can travel back and forth through time as he tries to prevent her murder and ensure that she lives a long and happy life. But will his actions in the past have unintended consequences in the present? Can he genuinely change the course of history and save the one he loves?
7. Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Season 4 Part 2
- Personal Rating: 7.50
- Sequel Announced: No
On a brighter note, “Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Season 4 Part 2” was a beacon of hope this Season. This one raised the bar amid a sea of dull sequels to the isekai series. It is the only anime on this list that has consistently improved with each new Season. With a darker, grittier atmosphere in contrast to its previous upbeat seasons, the mature storyline was a refreshing change.
Synopsis: Set in the fantasy world of Orario, “Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” follows Bell Cranel, a young adventurer who sets out to explore the Dungeon, a treacherous underground labyrinth filled with deadly monsters. As he braves the dangers of the Dungeon, Bell also has a secret goal: to win the hearts of the girls he meets along the way.
6. Campfire Cooking in Another World with my Absurd Skill
- Personal Rating: 8.00
- Sequel Announced: No
“Campfire Cooking in Another World with my Absurd Skill” offered a pleasant change of pace from Studio Mappa and delighted isekai fans. Boasting a perfect blend of action, cuteness, and gore, it presented friendly competition for other isekai series this Season. Additionally, the animation was top-notch, with the mouthwatering food rendered to perfection, making viewers hungry every time they tuned in!
The story follows Mukoda Tsuyoshi, a humble salaryman transported to a magical realm, where he discovers he has been given a unique skill – “Online Shopping.” Initially, this skill seems completely useless, but when Mukoda realises that it allows him to bring the delicious cuisine of his home world to the new world, he embarks on a journey to become the ultimate master chef.
As Mukoda navigates this strange new land and uses his absurd skill to cook up a storm, he faces various challenges and meets a cast of intriguing characters. Will he be able to turn his passion for cooking into a successful career in this fantasy world?
5. Tomo-chan is a Girl!
- Personal Rating: 8.20
- Sequel Announced: Finished (Last Chapter Animated)
“Tomo-chan is a Girl!” offers a refreshing take on the rom-com genre. Although the realm of rom-com anime is often overflowing with fanservice and recycled jokes, making it difficult to find a truly satisfying romance anime, this series stands out. While it does contain its share of fanservice, the likeable characters make up for it. The only drawback is that the studio animated the manga’s final chapter at the end of the anime, leaving little hope for a sequel. However, as we’ve seen with Horimiya, a sequel may still be possible!
Synopsis: “Tomo-chan is a Girl,” tells us the story of Aizawa Tomo, a high school tomboy who confesses her love to her childhood friend, Jun. However, Jun has always considered Tomo a boy due to her masculine appearance, so seeing how this confession plays out will be interesting.
4. Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack (Season 2)
- Personal Rating: 8.50
- Sequel Announced: No.
“Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro Season 2” is a series that you’ll either love (as I do) or wonder why anyone would watch it. This Season provides an excellent adaptation of the anime’s sequel, featuring the return of Nagatoro, but with less teasing as the romantic development progresses. Perhaps we’ll see Senpai (Naoto) and Nagatoro in a relationship in a future sequel!
Synopsis: In “Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro,” we are introduced to Naoto, an introverted young man who spends his days studying in the library. One day, he meets a group of mischievous girls led by Nagatoro, who enjoys teasing and tormenting him. At first, Nagatoro’s antics are purely playful, but as she spends more time with Naoto, she develops feelings for him. This newfound emotion causes Nagatoro to behave unexpectedly as she tries to find her place in their relationship.
3. NieR:Automata Ver. 1.1a
- Personal Rating: 9.00
- Sequel Announced: TBA (On Indefinite Hiatus)
As a fan of the Nier Automata game, I thoroughly enjoyed this anime adaptation. Initially, I assumed it would be a direct copy of the game, but I soon discovered the added content, which I wish had been included. “Nier Automata” had the potential to be the best anime series of the Winter Season, but the pandemic-related delays disrupted the show’s momentum. Nonetheless, the series boasts excellent animation, perfect character designs, and a fantastic soundtrack by the legendary Sawano Hiroyuki. Fingers crossed for a second season after its hiatus!
Synopsis: “NieR: Automata” follows the journey of androids 2B, 9S and A2 as they fight to reclaim their dystopian world from the clutches of powerful machines. After humanity is driven from Earth by mechanical invaders from another world, a group of android soldiers is sent to defeat the enemy and take back the planet. This sets off a war between machines and androids, which may uncover long-hidden secrets about the world. The anime follows the androids as they navigate this dangerous and uncertain landscape to save humanity and uncover the truth.
2. Bungou Stray Dogs 4th Season
- Personal Rating: 9.50
- Sequel Announced: Yes
“Bungou Stray Dogs 4th Season” emerged as a Winter Season masterpiece that didn’t receive as much attention as it deserved. The show maintained the thrilling action sequences and intense character development established in previous seasons while introducing intriguing new characters that added depth to the storyline. Let’s eagerly anticipate the upcoming Season and more fantastic animation!
Synopsis: “Bungou Stray Dogs” follows the story of Nakajima Atsushi, an orphan who finds himself homeless and hungry after being kicked out of the orphanage. As he wanders the streets, he comes across two men: one attempting to drown himself in broad daylight and the other seemingly ignoring him as he looks through a notebook. When Nakajima approaches them, he learns they are the Armed Detective Agency members investigating a man-eating tiger case. With nothing else to do, Nakajima joins them in their investigation.
1. Vinland Saga Season 2
- Personal Rating: 10.0
- Sequel Announced: No
“Vinland Saga Season 2” certainly lived up to the hype regarding animation quality and maintaining the high standards set by the first Season. Initially, some fans were skeptical about Thorfinn’s significant development when Studio Mappa released the critical visual for Season 2. However, despite the change in pacing, Season 2 became the best series of Winter 2023. Once again, Studio Mappa demonstrated their ability to elevate any project they undertook, even without having worked on the prequels. The only disappointment is that Season 3 has not been announced yet, but we remain hopeful for an announcement soon!
“Vinland Saga” follows the story of Thorfinn, who grew up listening to fantastical tales about a continent far away in the west while sitting at the legendary Leif Ericson’s feet. An ambush by mercenaries, however, crushed his impressionable fantasies. Thorfinn, raised by the Vikings who killed his family, developed into a formidable warrior sworn to kill the band’s commander Askeladd to get revenge on his father. Thorfinn’s pride in his family and his visions of a prosperous westward land—the land Leif christened Vinland—keep him going during his experience.
What are your thoughts on this list? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? We’d love to hear your opinions, so feel free to share them in the comments section below!