Most anime fans will agree that 2023 was a great year for anime. Tons of new shows were released, and many major titles came and went as the year progressed, like the release of the One Piece live-action and the final episode of Attack on Titan (heartbreaking).
With so much focus on these major titles, however, many of 2023’s other anime were easily overlooked. This article will give those anime the recognition they deserve by focusing on all of the greatest underrated anime of 2023!
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
Okay, so this one actually got a fair amount of recognition after its initial release. However, because it was released right in the middle of summer, it was majorly overshadowed by tons of other anime releases, making it one of the greatest yet criminally underrated anime of 2023.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is an unconventional zombie apocalypse anime that didn’t get nearly the amount of attention that it rightfully deserved. This anime follows the story of Akira, a businessman trudging his way through life while suffering at the hands of his soul-suckingly meaningless office job.
Once the undead pandemic hit, however, Akira couldn’t have been more excited; finally, he could have some well-deserved time off from his corporate nightmare! Rather than feel overcome by mortal terror at the end of the world as he knew it, Akira simply decided to go about his daily life, slaying zombies left and right, while crossing off the 100 entries on his bucket list.
Level 1 Demon Lord and One Room Hero
This anime is criminally underrated. Similar to Zom 100, Level 1 Demon Lord and One Room Hero was released around the middle of summer 2023 alongside some pretty major anime titles, which could be the reason why it has flown under the radar for so many.
Level 1 Demon Lord and One Room Hero is about a hero, Max, who defeats a fearsome and dangerous Demon Lord named Maou. Instead of dying as everyone expected him to, however, the Demon Lord went into a deep slumber instead, to preserve his remaining power. Ten years later, he unexpectedly awakens into an adorable chibi version of himself!
Curious about his predicament and how his mortal enemy has been faring all this time, Maou visits Max to see if he’s gotten stronger in his absence. Instead, Maou learns that Max is now a total loser living in a disturbingly run-down one-bedroom apartment. Absolutely disgusted at how low his once fearsome rival has sunk, Maou the Demon Lord decides to move in with him, in hopes that they’ll both be able to regain their former glory!
Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre
Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre, other than being a mouthful to say, is easily one of the most underrated anime of 2023. This anime is based on a series of short horror stories written by Junji Ito, a famous author of numerous horror manga.
If you’re a fan of horror/supernatural anime, or are just a fan of horror in general, then you would love this series. Japanese Tales of the Macabre features an animated collection of 20 of the most horrifying, macabre stories written by Juji Ito.
Each episode features one or more of his famous works, ensuring that fans of the series remain constantly on the edge of their seats. This series is pretty much only available on Netflix, which could explain its lack of popularity.
How is this anime not more popular? Frankly, I was on board as soon as I saw “daddies” in the title, but after watching it, I honestly don’t see how more people aren’t just as obsessed with this anime.
Buddy Daddies is about Kazuki Kurusu and Rei Suwa, two extremely talented assassins who happen to be roommates (oh my god, they were roommates…). This pair of deadly (and attractive) assassins have literally never failed a single job; they’ve never once let a target escape and are widely considered to be the most dangerous men in their fields. All it takes is one adorable little girl to completely change their lives forever, though.
An innocent four-year-old girl is spontaneously thrust into their lives with little explanation, and they have to suddenly figure out how to juggle being cold-blooded assassins and loving, adoptive parents at the same time. These assassins are normally able to take anything that’s thrown at them, but somehow find themselves struggling with this little kid; from taking her to nursery school to feeding her balanced meals, Kazuki and Rei realize that they may just be up against their toughest job yet: parenthood.
The Gene of AI
The Gene of AI is a perfect choice for fans of futuristic and sci-fi anime alike, as it takes place far in the future. The world that this anime takes place in is similar to ours, but it comes with a very specific unique twist: humanoid AIs walk and live among humans in a futuristic society.
Similar to humans, these AIs suffer from a variety of ailments and illnesses, the likes of which can’t be solved by regular doctor appointments. Thankfully, Dr. Hikaru Sudo has dedicated his life to the field of medicine, and won’t turn a patient away just because they aren’t human!
Dr. Hikaru Sudo treats these humanoid AIs with the same level of professionalism and respect that he does with his human clients, though he often has to resort to illegal methods in order to treat their ailments. But as more and more AIs become afflicted with strange ailments, and the ethical lines of Dr. Hikaru Sudo’s practice become further blurred, how will humanity be able to continue existing peacefully alongside these hyper-intelligent beings?
The Fire Hunter
The Fire Hunter is admittedly a bit of wild ride, but hoo boy you’re going to love every single second of it. The Fire Hunter is easily one of the best, yet most criminally underrated anime of 2023; there hasn’t been a single person who’s watched this anime and not loved it.
The Fire Hunter takes place in a supernatural world that’s been overrun by terrible, fiery beasts known as Flame Demons. Mankind’s last hope for survival lies in the hands of the Fire Hunters, the only ones capable of facing the fiery menace.
This anime follows the story of Toko, a young girl who is miraculously saved by a Fire Hunter while being attacked by one of the beasts. The Fire Hunter who saved her tragically died as a result of the attack, and she, along with the Hunter’s dog (who also miraculously survived) must travel to the country’s capital to deliver the terrible news to the Hunter’s family. Terrible secrets about the country’s leaders, the Demons, and the very world they live in are gradually unraveled in the process, however, and it becomes a race against time itself to stop humanity from succumbing to its imminent downfall.
My New Boss Is Goofy
Unlike a handful of other entries on this list, My New Boss is Goofy is a very lighthearted and unproblematic anime that’ll leave you in stitches! This anime is hilariously relatable, especially to anyone who’s ever felt underappreciated in their workplace (and I mean really, who hasn’t?).
This anime follows the sad little life of Momose, a middle-aged salaryman just trying to navigate the stale and underwhelming world of corporate advertising and business sales. After having finally reached the end of his rope at his last job due to his boss’s constant harassment, Momose decides to find a new job entirely, where he’ll never have to face his tyrant of a boss ever again.
Once he’s been hired in at his new job, however, Momose suddenly becomes filled with anxiety; what if his new boss is somehow even worse than his last?? Thankfully, however, not only is Momose’s new boss, Shirosaki, the farthest possible thing from a tyrant, but he’s also a total air-headed goofball. Like, the very definition of a dumb blonde; it’s amazing that he even managed to make it to adulthood at all. As Momose’s anxiety decreases and Shirosaki becomes hopelessly more and more attached to his new employee, their relationship begins to gradually turn into something more… bromantic.
Ron Kamonohashi’s Forbidden Deductions
If this isn’t one of the greatest underrated anime of 2023, then I don’t know what is; it’s the perfect combination of murder mystery and buddy-cop. Ron Kamonohashi’s Forbidden Deductions has been described by many as the “anime version of Sherlock Holmes” and, honestly, I totally get it. If you loved watching BBC’s Sherlock or reading through Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlockian mysteries, then you’re going to fall head over heels for this anime!
In this anime, Ron Kamonohashi was once a genius lead detective capable of solving any case that was thrown his way. After one fatal mistake, however, he was forced to resign and never return to his career as a detective, causing him to fall into a terrible depression and become an isolated, reclusive member of society. Thankfully, that’s where Totomaru Isshiki comes in!
Totomaru Isshiki is a young and naive police officer who is, admittedly, pretty terrible at his job. After trying and failing to solve a horrifying serial murder case on his own, he knocks on Ron’s door to ask for help. Ron reluctantly agrees to help him, and their odd partnership as a mismatched detective team begins!
I’m in Love with the Villainess
Now I’m not usually one to fawn over romance anime, but I’m in Love with the Villainess is a notable outlier in the genre. Not only is this anime hilarious and incredibly engaging, but it also tugs on your heartstrings and leaves you wanting more after every episode!
Similar to Zom 100, this anime did get some relatively decent recognition after its initial release, but fans quickly moved on to bigger and better titles directly after, leaving poor old “I’m in Love with the Villainess” in the dust. This anime is genuinely one of the most hilariously relatable and engaging anime I’ve ever seen; I can’t believe it isn’t infinitely more popular by now! Romance genre aside, this is easily one of the most underrated anime of 2023.
I’m in Love with the Villainess is about a corporate drone who suddenly awakens as Rae Taylor, the protagonist in her favorite otome game. Rather than feel something normal about her situation, like fear or confusion, she is astoundingly ecstatic about the opportunity to finally romance her favorite character: Claire François, the villainess. Armed with only her knowledge of the game and her passion for Claire’s affection, Rae sets out to finally court the girl of her virtual dreams!
Migi and Dali
This anime somehow manages to be unbelievably creepy and hilarious at the same time. Migi and Dali is definitely one of the weirder titles that was released in 2023, but I guarantee that anyone who sticks around for this wild ride won’t be disappointed in the slightest. Migi and Dali is about a seemingly perfect little family that harbors a dark and mildly disturbing secret.
In this anime, Osamu and Youko Sonoyama are a lovely elderly couple who decide to adopt a young boy, Hitori, from an orphanage. Unbeknownst to them, however, their seemingly perfect adopted son is harboring an insane secret: he’s not even real.
In reality, Hitori is actually two twin boys pretending to be the same person. Migi and Dali (hence the name) are twin brothers who switch out at wildly inopportune times in a desperate attempt to make it seem as though they’re one child. Their motive behind keeping their true identities hidden remains a mystery in the beginning, but as their infallible plot begins to quickly unravel, the terrifying reason behind their deception becomes astonishingly clear…
And that’s it for our list of the greatest underrated anime of 2023! These anime may not have been among the most major titles released this past year, but that doesn’t make them any less worth watching. If you’re curious about the many other amazing anime that headlined in 2023, feel free to take a look at our other recommendations, like our “Best Shonen Anime of 2023” list!
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