Top 10 Best Anime Moments of 2023, Ranked

This past year was packed with amazing anime, and there were a plethora of incredible moments that forced the community at large to stop and stare in awe. Either because of their hype or emotional resonance, these are our picks for the best anime moments of 2023.

Do be aware, however, that we’ll only be including one moment from any given show. This means that you won’t be seeing multiple moments from Jujutsu Kaisen, Attack on Titan, or other offerings that did admittedly have multiple epic scenes and events to choose from but would dominate the entire list if given the chance.

10. Rudy and Sylphie Get Together (Mushoku Tensei)

Rudy and Sylphie Hug After Revealing Identities to Each Other in Mushoku Tensei (Best Anime Moments of 2023)
Image Credit: Studio Bind

Though it might fall lower on our list due to the rom-com levels of dragging out the reveal, Rudy and Sylphie’s reunion in Mushoku Tensei was one of the biggest anime moments of the year.

Initially separated during the series’ first major turning point, the two were forced to fend for themselves and enlist the help of new allies for years. Even after initially meeting each other again, Sylphie was unable to immediately reveal herself for fear of drawing the ire of her benefactor’s enemies. Rudy, meanwhile, was so caught up in his own problems that he couldn’t see his friend through her rock solid disguise of *checks notes* sunglasses.

But when the series stopped farting around and the two finally found each other again, it was undeniably beautiful. The walls between the two come crashing down, and they each admit their feelings for each other in a heartfelt and teary moment of catharsis. Even fans of the series’ other big ships wouldn’t be blamed for tearing up at this beautiful season climax.

9. The Forgers Go on Vacation (Spy x Family)

Loid Carrying Yor and Anya in Spy x Family
Image Credit: Wit Studio and CloverWorks

Spy x Family is series that was tailor made for heartwarming scenes, but a moment at the end of the second season’s first cour is a cut above.

Following some spy and assassin-related shenanigans, Loid and Yor decide to give their all toward helping Anya enjoy a full day of vacation activities to make up for their earlier distractions. They set about exploring a town their cruise ship is docked at, taking in the scenery and exploring the many attractions it offers.

By the end of the day, both Anya and Yor are exhausted to the point that Loid has to carry them home. Though embarrassed at first, he softens up to the idea that they were all able to be happy together, and he even starts to warm up to the idea of them being a real family.

It’s a lowkey moment, but is heartwarming all the same. And, more importantly, it’s a distillation of the emotional highs that have elevated this series toward being one of the biggest shows in anime right now.

8. A Demon Who Walks in the Sun Is Born (Demon Slayer)

Tanjiro Crying After Seeing Nezuko Is Ok in the Sun in Demon Slayer (Best Anime Moments of 2023)
Image Credit: Ufotable

While it may not have lived up to the insanely high bar of the Entertainment District arc, Demon Slayer‘s Swordsmith village arc did contain an anime moment which ranks among some of the best of the year.

After a grueling battle with an Upper Rank demon capable of changing its form and distracting enemies with duplicates of itself, Tanjiro and Nezuko are on the verge of defeating it when the sun starts to rise. Though Tanjiro is prepared to let it get away in order to get Nezuko to safety, Nezuko forces him away from her in a bid to get him closer to the Demon to deal the finishing blow. Tanjiro then succeeds, but is overcome with despair at the thought that Nezuko burned up in the sunlight.

And then, he sees Nezuko, who greets him good morning for the first time since she was turned into a demon.

Is it a bit of a Deus Ex Machina ass pull? Undeniably. But after all of the hardship the two have been through and the emotional obliteration the show teases you with, the sight of her not only alive but thriving is enough to knock the wind out of you.

7. The Timeline Is Established (Heavenly Delusion)

Tokio Activating Powers to Save Her Child in Heavenly Delusion
Image Credit: Production I.G

Heavenly Delusion is a master at keeping its reveals close to its chest, and that’s why the ending to the first season hits the way it does.

After an entire cour of episodes showing two vaguely related storylines — one taking place in an isolated facility, and another in a post-apocalyptic world — the series ends off with a group of super-powered children from the former breaking free from a facility and travelling into a surrounding forest. They make their way through the wilderness, and in time they come across a boat they use to escape their island prison and reach a nearby city.

Unlike the cities shown in the post-apocalyptic storyline though, this one is in perfect condition. It gleams with electric lighting, and looks like it came from a time well before the series’ world-ending disaster.

With this, a key part of the narrative is finally made clear: These children were imprisoned in a facility well before the apocalypse was triggered. And given how similar their powers are to those of man-eating beasts that roam the current day wasteland, they might even be responsible for it.

6. Yuji Reaches His Limit (Jujutsu Kaisen)

Yuji Staring Blanking at Shibuya Wreckage After Having a Mental Breakdown in Jujutsu Kaisen (Best Anime Moments of 2023)
Image Credit: MAPPA

Amid a season filled to bursting with scenes and fights that could qualify among the best anime moments of 2023, few held the raw emotion that Yuji’s breakdown in Jujutsu Kaisen did.

Regaining control of his body shortly after Sukuna’s fight with Mahoraga, Yuji comes to with the ruins of the fight standing in front of him. Where a city of pedestrians and innocents once stood, there is a smoldering crater, the lives of everyone who was once there snuffed out.

Paired with this image are the memories of what Sukuna did. Every life taken, and every act of malice carried out, plays in his mind like so many overlapping images, driving him closer and closer to the edge until he snaps. The optimistic and earnest young boy is replaced with a person who is begging, pleading, and crying out for his life to end before he hurts anyone else.

It’s tough to watch, but serves as an integral moment in his character arc. Yuji was the one who wanted to try and live a good life instead of being executed, and that led to consequences that he may never be able to make up for. And how he decides to act in the face of this — in the face of an insurmountable obstacle — will truly decide whether or not he can live a good life.

5. Akira Realizes He’s Free (Zom 100: Bucketlist of the Dead)

Akira Running and Screaming with Joy in Zom 100
Image Credit: Bug Films

Before the zombie apocalypse kicks off in Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira’s life isn’t going too well. Stuck in a dead-end job where he faces constant abuse, he’s so burnt out that the thought of going to sleep and never waking up constantly runs through his mind.

Because of this, he’s not only incredibly receptive to his discovery that the world as he knew it is ending; he’s overjoyed. What would initially be a terrifying attempt to adapt to a new reality instead becomes a joyous moment of freedom, his responsibilities to his garbage job falling off his shoulders like 10 ton weights.

Even if you’ve never had a terrible or abusive job yourself, it’s hard not to get drawn into Akira’s sheer joy at escaping what he thought would be the rest of his life. Better yet, it encapsulates the show’s ethos that there are some things that are far scarier than a zombie apocalypse, and we owe it to ourselves to pursue what makes as happy as a result.

4. Gesicht Is Taken Out (Pluto)

Gesicht Holding out Hand to Ali After Being Shot in Pluto (Best Anime Moments of 2023)
Image Credit: Studio M2

Part of the reason the Pluto anime and manga work so well is because they center the series so perfectly around Inspector Gesicht. His dauntless pursuit of the truth, and his steadfast dedication to doing what’s right in the moment, make him feel like the ideal protagonist and someone who will go the distance until the story’s epic conclusion.

All this makes his sudden death shortly after confronting Pluto’s real body all the more shocking. Instead of dealing with the series’ antagonist for good — or seeing the story through to the end for that matter — he’s gunned down by a young robot in the street, his guard lowered due to the child’s resemblance to his deceased son.

It’s a twist that comes out of left field, and to say it upends how you’d think the rest of the series would go doesn’t begin to describe it. In exchange though, it elevates the series by reminding you that anything can happen before the series is done; including the death of the protagonist.

3. Ai’s Death (Oshi no Ko)

ai Telling Ruby and Aqua She Loves Them as She Dies in Oshi no Ko (Best Anime Moments of 2023)
Image Credit: Doga Kobo

Even if it is the inciting action for the larger series, Ai’s death in Oshi no Ko still hits you like a runaway truck.

After getting to know her over the course of a movie-length first episode, the legendary idol in the making feels like an integral part of the series. You know her hopes and dreams, and you’ve seen firsthand how dedicated she is to giving her children a good life.

And then, in the blink of an eye, her life is cut short by an insane fan with a knife. as she bleeds out on the floor and tries to say her goodbyes to her kids Aqua and Ruby, the unfairness and cruelty of the moment is palpable. You’re waiting for the moment when help arrives and she’s saved just in time, but as it never comes, you’re left in the same boat as the series’ twin protagonists.

it’s the peak of a devastating inciting incident, and reigns as one of the most gut-wrenching anime moments of the year.

2. Eren Realizes He’s an Idiot (Attack on Titan)

Eren Hugging Armin After admitting He's an Idiot in Attack on Titan (Best Anime Moments of 2023)
Image Credit: MAPPA

No matter what certain fans might try to argue, Eren could never be right based on the actions he took in Attack on Titan, and a moment near the end of the series solidified this fact perfectly.

Connected via the powers of the first titan, Armin and Eren are given the chance to speak to each other honestly about their feelings and their actions before their final confrontation. while Eren makes his case and tries to explain why he unleashed the rumbling on the world, Armin is clear that what he did was wrong and he should have tried to find a better way forward for the Eldians.

During this earful from Armin, Eren finally sees the truth of the matter: He was never some destined hero who was meant to save the Eldian people. He was an idiot who got ahold of indescribable power, and the solution he arrived at was based on his incredibly limited worldview and desires.

A tragically late realization, it’s also one which helps to put over the series’ themes of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Eren goes down not as a hero, but as a man who made the worst choice possible in order to ensure he could get what he wanted, closing out the series in a way so dark it’s honestly unforgettable.

1. “I have no enemies.” (Vinland Saga)

Thorfinn Telling Wulf He Has no Enemies in Vinland Saga
Image Credit: MAPPA

To say Thorfinn’s proclamation during Vinland Saga Season 2’s climax is the best anime moment of 2023 almost feels like an understatement, as it easily ranks among the best anime and manga moments of all time.

After enduring the attacks of a grizzled warrior for hours, Thorfinn successfully earns his moment to speak with Canute in person. And yet, before they meet, the king’s advisor Wulf asks him why he didn’t simply fight against the warrior to prove his skill. Without a second thought, Thorfinn responds that there’s no point to peace talks if those talking start a fight, and that Canute and Ketil are the only ones who should duke it out seeing as they started the war.

He then punctuates his point with the iconic line: “I have no enemies.”

This moment — which follows his ruthless early years as a Viking warrior, his downfall into slavery, and his climb back up to become a better person — encapsulates the message of the anime perfectly. It brings Thors’ message to his son full circle, and solidifies the wider series as one which wants to show its viewers that there is a better life waiting past the bloodshed and hatred inherent in a revenge plot.

Few shows could hope to match its beauty, and you owe it to yourself to experience this anime moment first-hand if you haven’t already.

About the author

Keenan McCall

Keenan has been a nerd from an early age, watching anime and playing games for as long as I can remember. Since obtaining a bachelor’s degree in journalism back in 2017, he has written thousands of articles covering gaming, animation, and entertainment topics galore.

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