We’re halfway through August and through the summer 2023 anime season. Can you believe it?
I’ll be honest, though—it’s right around this time each season that I start looking forward to the next season’s anime. I know, I know—just enjoy the current season, right? Well, part of my looking ahead may be justified as it’s right around episodes six and seven that many first-season anime experience a dip, having completed their first arc and moving into their second (often less-quality) one.
But I admit it—I’ve just become a little too ADD with my viewing habits, a little too demanding, and yes, a little too spoiled.
So in an effort to enjoy what’s before me, even with a summer season that’s lackluster (as summer anime seasons tend to be), I’m going to quickly give my grades for those series I’m currently still watching. As my kids started school again this week, I’ll be giving my tiers by letter grade!
Nothing this season has risen to the level of an “A+” anime—somewhat expected, but still disappointing with us consistently receiving awesome anime each of the past several seasons.
Tier: A- to A
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation 2nd Season, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
There are a couple of anime on my watch list that could potentially rise above this already strong ranking and move into the A+ one above. Mushoku Tensei has been an incredible, moving series, and if you can get past the panty shrines (ugh) and old-man-dating-teens (far more troubling), you’re in for quite an experience—a life-changing one for some, even. But this arc is really just getting started at this point. Similar can be said for Zom 100, which in the manga gets better and better. For now, we’re still just watching (oft-delayed) introductory material; it’s more style than substance at this point.
Horimiya: The Missing Pieces comes with a caveat as well; I can’t see ranking this season any higher, since it’s technically a “side story” collection. However, it raises the entire Horimiya franchise by its mere existence.
Helck, My Happy Marriage
I don’t think enough people are watching these two excellent series. Streaming on platforms that bring less or different eyes to anime, they’re off the radar for many. And admittedly, they’re not perfect series. My Happy Marriage requires a little too much patience from me at times with its slow-moving romance and gentle character growth, but it’s technically a very strong show and featured a nice high point with the fiery conclusion to episode six last week. Meanwhile, Helck is nothing to write home about animation-wise but is an accurate adaptation of the excellent manga, resulting in a lovely, moving series.
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War: Part II – The Separation, Jujutsu Kaisen 2nd Season, The Dreaming Boy is a Realist
A catch-all ranking? Perhaps. But I see these more as shows that have captured my attention enough to keep me watching for now, but which I might end up dropping by season’s end. For instance, I’ve stated that I’m not a big fan of any of the material in Bleach following the Kenpachi storyline that was animated in Part I of Thousand-Year Blood War, but I keep hanging on, maybe just so that one day I can say I finished it.
Jujutsu Kaisen had a crazy high-energy first arc, but I thought totally fumbled its transition story for Geto. It kind of made this prequel arc feel unnecessary. Meanwhile, The Dreaming Boy is a Realist fits a sweet spot for me: mid-level romance series that I nonetheless enjoy.
Tier: C+ to B-
The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses
The only series in this tier for me is The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses, one I would probably have dropped if I wasn’t watching it with together my wife—a more enjoyable experience than if I were on my own constantly wondering what was wrong with this girl…
Am I Actually the Strongest?, Ayaka, Liar Liar, Masamune-kun’s Revenge R, My Tiny Senpai, Reborn as Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, Rent-a-Girlfriend Season 3, Yohane the Parhelion: Sunshine in the Mirror
Most of these series were one-offs that I wrote first impression pieces for. However, two of the series I dropped—Masamune-kun’s Revenge R and the third season of Rent-a-Girlfriend—were experiences in “let’s give this anime one final shot.” I didn’t stay with either very long. Liar Liar was also a disappointment because I really enjoyed the first episode. The proceeding ones? Not so much.
Series I Should Try
Undead Murder Frace, The Masterful Cat is Depressed Again Today, The Most Heretical Last Boss Queen: From Villainess to Savior
I typically pick up a show or two later in the season. The ones above have caught my attention. Are there any you suggest I try?
I also want to hear about your watch list!
What shows are you still watching from this season? What tiers would you place them in? What anime have you dropped?
Let us know in the comments!