Couch Soup Favourites: Summer Anime 2023

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| October 31, 2023

Another season has come and gone, which means we have a bunch of fantastic anime to binge from the Summer 2023 season. This season was stacked with news shows like Zom 100, Liar Liar, and Ayaka, alongside returning shows such as Horimiya: The Missing Pieces, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Jujutsu Kaisen. Don’t worry if you’re overwhelmed with all these shows because Couch Soup has you covered. We’ve selected the best anime from the Summer 2023 season that you need to watch right now.

Side Note: Horimiya: The Missing Pieces and Link Click Season 2 won’t be on this list, even though I think they’re the best shows this season. Instead, you can check out why they’re the best here and here.

Mushoku Tensei, Season 2

Watcha looking at. (Studio Bind/Media Factory/Magonote & Shirotaka)

Tom: Mushoku Tensei surprised me and many other people when it started in 2021. This series breathed new life into the isekai genre with its gorgeous animation and compelling story. People were creeped out by the protagonist, Rudeus (which is fair enough), but the show itself was one of the best. So, saying I was excited for season 2 is an understatement, and I’m happy to report that it’s just as impressive as ever. The story, characters, animation, and even the soundtrack are some of the best around. Studio Bind hit it out of the park even with most of the season taking place in a school.

Mushoku Tensei Season 2 Part 1 (classic anime title) covers the Mid-level Adventurer and University arc. These would seem like pretty ordinary arcs on paper, but I was looking forward to new episodes every week. Seeing Rudeus go from a depressed adventurer with ED to a confident mage who has reunited with a friend was excellent. What made this season so special was how many emotions this show made me feel in 12 episodes. I would laugh one week only to be hit with panic the next. If you’re on the fence about this show because of the protagonist (again, fair enough), I’d say give the series another chance. Trust me, he gets slightly better.

Bungo Stray Dogs, Season 5

A confident Fyodor watches Dazai on the prison monitors as Dazai cautions Fyodor not to count him out yet. (Crunchyroll, Bones, Asagiri).

Stef: Bungo Stray Dogs is one of my current obsessions, and this year has been a BSD feast with Season 4 in the winter and Season 5 in the summer. S5 has tons of great moments, elevating S4 threats and building suspense before resolving some major plot threads. My personal favorite things in S5 include the double life of the Port Mafia’s Michizo Tachihara and the added character dimensions for Ranpo Edogawa. And I’ll never see Bram Stoker’s name again without wanting to call him “Bram Bram”! Tons of exciting things happen during S5, but the essence of the season resides in two well-constructed duels: Fyodor Dostoevsky vs. Osamu Dazai and Ochi Fukuchi vs. Yukichi Fukuzawa. 

Fyodor and Dazai started their mental chess game in S4, and my heart was pounding through S5 as Dazai seemed to be outsmarted at every turn. I love the control-versus-trust dynamic: Fyodor persistently seeks control of everything to assure himself a win, while Dazai relinquishes control and trusts his allies to strip Fyodor of his power. I especially love the trust Dazai puts in his former partner and forever frenemy, Chuuya Nakahara. Fyodor goes down in literal flames, and it is glorious! 

Elsewhere, Fukuchi’s terrorist plans culminate in a face-off with Fukuzawa. Their backstory as long-time friends highlights the tragedy in Fukuchi’s spiral from dreaming of world peace to orchestrating a global takeover. I was shook when Fukuchi revealed how he had rigged the terrorist plot to be resolved: Fukuzawa killing Fukuchi and assuming leadership of the centralized Army of Mankind. I was glad that Fukuchi got the fatal stab he deserved without Fukuzawa making the kill. But Fukuzawa is still left with a dreaded responsibility.

The end of S5 promises that more BSD anime is coming. What will Fukuzawa do next with the responsibility Fukuchi forced upon him? How will the badass team-up of Atsushi and Akutagawa clean up Fukuchi’s mess as they vowed in the last minute of S5? I’m anxious for answers, and I’m now getting “bungo” (“literary”) as I dive into the manga and light novels.

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead

I’M FREE! (Bug Films/Viz/Aso & Takata)

Tom: As someone who grew up with an irrational fear of zombies (and to be honest, I still am), I was skeptical about giving Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead a watch. I was intrigued by the vibrant art style, the promised comedy, and the stacked dub cast that included one of the best around today, Zeno Robinson. After a few weeks of contemplation, I decided to try to conquer my fear, and I’m glad I did because Zom 100 is outstanding! Bug Films has combined comedy, horror, and toxic work culture to make a show that is hilariously entertaining week after week.

Zom 100 follows Akira Tendou (Zeno Robinson), a former overworked employee for a big animation company (got to love that meta-commentary). Having had his soul crushed by his job, Akira is excited when the zombie apocalypse starts as he realizes that he doesn’t have to go back to work. Unlike most people who would try to keep safe, Akira instead decides to write a bucket list of things to do before he becomes a zombie. An example would be traveling to a zombie-infested shopping center to get a new TV to play games on (he’s got his priorities straight). During his quest to complete the list, he runs into friends new and old, the source of his trauma, and a butt load of zombies. The series is currently on hiatus due to scheduling issues (how ironic), but the final episodes will be coming soon. Regardless, Zom 100 is a hilariously good time, even if I’m still a bit scared of the undead.

Jujutsu Kaisen, Season 2

It’s no surprise that Satoru Gojo was a troublemaker during his high school years, and Shoko and Suguru were quick to point the blame his way. (Crunchyroll, Mappa, Akutami)

Stef: If I could, I’d freeze Jujutsu Kaisen in the past when Suguru Geto and Satoru Gojo were classmates at Tokyo Jujutsu High School. The five-episode Gojo’s Past Arc featured the wonderful chemistry between Suguru and Satoru when they were student sorcerers together. “We are the strongest,” as Satoru put it. But after Satoru experienced his near death at the hands of Toji Fushiguro, resulting in his discovery of Hollow Purple, there was no “we” anymore. It was painful watching Suguru spiral deeper, questioning his long-held convictions, while Satoru left everyone in the dust, taking the “strongest” title solo. This brief arc is essential for understanding Satoru’s emotions when he sees Suguru’s face again during the Shibuya Arc. It also elevates the impact of their last moments together in Jujutsu Kaisen 0, which occurred a year before the Shibuya Arc.

Speaking of which, the much-hyped Shibuya Arc in Season 2 is frickin’ gorgeous. I previously read this in the manga, and I thought it was cool seeing the real-life Shibuya Station paying tribute to this JJK arc back in 2021. There are some great moments in this arc for many of our heroes, but it’s also packed with moments that tore at my emotions when I read the manga. As of this writing, the arc is still playing out in the anime, and it’s been a powerful and satisfying viewing experience approaching Halloween (during which the arc is set). Oh yeah, and I can’t close without saying that JJK knocks it out of the park yet again in S2 when it comes to their opening and closing credit music. I recommend playing “SPECIALZ” by King Gnu through high-quality speakers or headphones to appreciate the thump in that bass!

Reign of the Seven Spellblades

Somebody is gonna die tonight. (J.C.Staff/ASCII/Uno & Miyuki)

Tom: Reign of the Seven Spellblades was the wild card for me this season. I hadn’t heard anything about the series until several episodes had already aired and the dub was starting up. I had just finished Mashle and was looking for another magic school anime to fill the void, and Spellblades does that and then some. While Mashle was Harry Potter with muscles, Reign of the Seven Spellblades is Harry Potter with a lot more casual student murder. Whether it’s monsters in the labyrinth under the school, other students, or shitty teachers, no one is safe, and that makes it all the more interesting. This unique set-up (alongside magic swords) got me interested, and it ended up becoming one of my favorites of the season.

The series revolves around a group called the Sword Roses, who have all just started at the Kimberly Magic Academy. The group is led by Oliver Horn (Drew Breedlove) and Nanao Hibiya (Veronica Laux), alongside their friends. This season covers their first year at the prestigious school, and these kids deal with a lot. Rampaging monsters, murderous upper-class men, and evil teachers are just some of the obstacles standing in Oliver and his friends’ way. There’s even a revenge plot that is revealed halfway through the season, but I won’t spoil that for you. J.C.Staff has done an excellent job of bringing this world and characters to life, and I’m desperately hoping that a Season 2 is confirmed sooner rather than later. Until then, I’ll be reading the light novels.

And that’s our list. It was hard to narrow it down this time because this season was absolutely stacked. With all these quality shows, you won’t be bored for the next several months. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for everything anime. All of the series are available on Crunchyroll in Sub and Dub.

Did you watch any anime this Summer? What was your favorite? Did you find a hidden gem? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about our favorite shows from this season.

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