Anime films hit different. After the successes of 2022 with blockbusters like One Piece Film Red, Suzume, and The First Slam Dunk, anime 2023 had an exciting lineup for us anime fans too. This includes the highly anticipated return of Hayao Miyazaki to the director’s chair for the first Ghibli movie in a decade, to Makoto Shinkai’s return as well. But before we finish this year, let’s talk about some of the best 2023 anime movies we’ve seen in the last 12 months.
1. The Boy and The Heron Anime Film
Hailed as an instant classic from the masterful Hayao Miyazaki, “The Boy and The Heron” follows a straightforward story structure familiar to Studio Ghibli experiences, with a young protagonist embarking on an honourable quest. However, beneath the surface, the film grips to themes such as death, escapism, grief, and change.
As we observe the young hero, Mahito Maki, grappling with the loss of his mother and adapting to a new life with his aunt, the narrative takes unexpected turns. The introduction of a mysterious Heron and elements of fantasy horror thrust Mahito into a wholly new dynamic. This shift seemingly holds the promise of reuniting him with his mother if he can achieve his noble goals. It’s an intriguing tale that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, offering valuable lessons for younger viewers if you choose to make it a family movie night. Undoubtedly, it stands out as one of the best anime movies of 2023.
2. Suzume no Tojimari Anime Film
Next on the Best 2023 Movie is Suzume no Tojimari. Directed by the highly acclaimed Makoto Shinkai, the anime movie industry anticipates something extraordinary each year. Shinkai’s latest creation is no exception, offering a breathtaking rural backdrop adorned with vibrant gardens and a keen attention to intricate details.
Suzume unfolds as a coming-of-age journey, distinguishing itself from Shinkai’s other works. It avoids heavy reliance on mysterious metaphors, presenting a story that’s relatively easy to grasp. The narrative follows an orphaned girl living with her aunt, whose life takes an unexpected turn when she encounters a stranger, propelling her into an alternate dimension. As the plot unfolds, Suzume and the stranger find themselves tasked with preventing a mysterious cat from the alternate dimension from wreaking havoc on the world. This intriguing premise serves as the initial layer of a beautifully crafted world that gradually builds up to an emotionally fulfilling third act.
3. Gold Kingdom and Water Kingdom Anime Film
Adapted from Nao Iwamoto’s manga, this film is a fantasy romance where two kingdoms aim to mend relations through a unique approach—exchanging animals instead of adhering to the traditional marriage system.
What sets the film apart is its character-focused structure. The main characters are not only intriguing but also play a pivotal role in driving the narrative. The film skillfully incorporates a thousand-year-old backstory to provide insight into the current conflict.
While it isn’t without its imperfections, the film effectively establishes the stakes in the conflict. The climax, while not flawless, satisfactorily concludes the narrative, making it a compelling watch. If you’re in search of something different and engaging, this film is certainly worth exploring.
4. Black Clover: Sword of The Wizard King
The spotlight shifts to a mysterious character from the series’ past—Conrad Leto, a former Wizard King turned villain. After breaking free from his imprisonment for rebelling against the country, Leto resurrects three previous Wizard Kings with nefarious intentions
The responsibility of thwarting this destructive plan falls on the shoulders of Asta and his friends. The movie not only serves up thrilling action but also provides a gauge of Asta’s growth since his last adventure. Despite lacking magical abilities, Asta stands his ground against Leto, showcasing an impressive level of strength and resilience. It’s a compelling narrative that not only expands on the Black Clover lore but also offers fans a closer look at the development of their favourite characters.
5. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends
Next on the list of Best 2023 movies, we have The Kaguya-Sama movie. Continuing the story from Ultra Romantic, this film dives into the deepening connection between Kaguya and Shirogane. With a focus on Kaguya, it explores her challenges in seeking a normal relationship while grappling with her unique traits. The movie also emphasizes Kaguya’s growth, especially in terms of being more open in her relationship.
Taking a more serious tone than usual, the narrative goes beyond the main characters, offering significant developments for other side characters. While Chika’s role is smaller, there are intriguing dynamics in Ishigami’s love triangle.
Visually, the film maintains the series’ style but introduces striking shots that provide a different perspective on the characters. The skilled direction enhances the overall viewing experience, making it an accessible and enjoyable watch, especially for dedicated fans of the show in 2023.
Other classic anime 2023 movies you don’t wanna miss –
- Psycho-Pass Providence
- Super Mario
Which is the best 2023 anime movie according to you? Let us know. Click here for more anime updates.
You can watch Suzume on Crunchyroll.