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2023 Anime Year in Review Part III: Wrap-up and Reader Poll

Thus endeth the ball game, as Linus said to Charlie Brown is 1960.  Another anime year in the books, and a durn good one too.  Last year I called 2022 an above-average anime year based on current metrics, and I think on balance 2023 was better.  Certainly deeper – the second 10 was much better this year (I had to reach to fill it last year, and had to cut shows I really liked this time).  The lower half of the top ten was pretty close between the two years, but I’d definitely take the ’23 top five.

It’s significant that we’ve now had two good years in a row, as that hasn’t happened for a long time.  All the problems besetting the industry remain significant – overtaxed and underpaid staffs, risk-averse production committees calling the shots and starving studios of funds, a reliance on tired formulas like isekai LNs and idol series.  But enough good stuff is making it to the screen to keep things afloat creatively.  Some of that comes down to the fact that really good manga sometimes sell well too, but there’s also a crucial role being played by industry veterans who fight to get the occasional high-quality commercial obscurity produced.

Here’s the breakdown on the Top 10 list:

By Season:

– Fall 2022 – 2

– Winter 2023 – 1

– Spring 2023: 4

– Summer 2023: 1

– Fall 2023: 2

It can come as no surprise to see Spring 2023 dominate.  It looked like the best season in half a decade or more going in, and it probably ended up being that in hindsight (especially if you’re a romance fan).

By Studio:

– Bones: 1

– M3: 1

– MAPPA: 1

– Lapin Track: 1

– Lidenfilms: 2

– Production I.G.: 1

– Brain’s Base: 1

– Pierrot Plus: 1

– Shin-ei: 1

What jumps out at me here is the similarity between the 2022 and 2023 lists – six of the nine studios who made it this year were on last year’s list too, and Lidenfilms was once again the only studio with two shows in the Top Ten.  They’re a studio on the rise, no question about it.  But no studio has been a fixture on these lists more than Pierrot – they of the humble, modestly-budget adaptations that always seem to capture the essence of the source manga better than anybody else’s works.

By Source Material:

– Manga: 10

Can’t get much more straightforward than that.  I haven’t checked all the way back to the beginning but I don’t think LiA has ever had manga sweep the entire top 10 (and it’s 18/20 too, with two originals cracking the second ten).  I jokingly referred to 2023 as “the year manga saved anime” but in truth, it really is the robust creative ambition and diversity of the manga medium that keeps anime artistically viable.


As always, my sincerest thanks to everyone for sticking with me this year.  I’m grateful to everyone who reads and comments (“like, comment, subscribe” on the YouTube channel helps out, too), and especially those of you that help out financially on Patreon, Ko-fi or PayPal.  The LiA Oscars will be coming up in a couple of weeks as usual, and the reader poll is below (note: as usual I’m borrowing RC’s code for this poll and they didn’t include Pluto in the list – if you vote before I get it added, please let me know if you’d like to cast a vote for it in the comments and I will add your votes to the total) – please take a moment to share your picks for the best anime of 2023.

Finally, the Top 10 contest!  Alonom, Red Hat, Eugene (third year in a row), and youlikerice all pegged 9/10 series on the list – good work!  As always the tiebreaker is the total displacement of the shows correctly picked, and there Alonom wins with a total of 9 missed spots.  Congrats Alonom, your prize is a haiku or top 5 list of your choice – let me know in the comments.  However, as I suspect youlikerice typed “Undead Unluck” in error, meaning to type “Undead Girl Murder Farce” (hard to imagine anyone thinking I’d have Undead Unluck on the list), I’m giving the benefit of the doubt and I’ll throw in a haiku of choice for you as well.

Thank you again, and here’s hoping 2024 is a better year than 2023.  Stay frosty.




What Was Your Favorite Anime of 2023? (Choose up to 5)

The post 2023 Anime Year in Review Part III: Wrap-up and Reader Poll appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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