The must-watch anime to look out for in spring 2023

The spring anime season (which runs from April through June) is right around the corner, and with it comes a whole slew of exciting new premieres and highly anticipated returning shows to choose from. Last season saw the debut of Trigun Stampede, Tokyo Revengers season 2, and Nier: Automata Ver. 1.1a, not to mention the last-minute premiere of the first episode of Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 3.

In spring, we have the third season of the hit supernatural action series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and the return of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury, as well as new seasons of Birdie Wing, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and a limited series continuation of Ranking of Kings. On top of that, there’s tons of new and exciting premieres this season, like the post-apocalyptic drama Heavenly Delusion, the feudal fantasy adventure Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, the slice-of-life comedy Skip and Loafer, and Oshi no Ko, a subversive idol drama from the creator of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, to name only a few!

We’ll continue to update this list as we get a clearer picture of everything the upcoming anime season has to offer, but in the meantime, here are some of the most exciting anime airing this spring that you should look forward to.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village (season 3)

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It’s been a hot second since the last season of Demon Slayer wrapped up with the catastrophically epic Entertainment District arc. And honestly, I needed a moment to recuperate after the emotional toll of the fierce, bloody battle with Upper Rank demons Daki and Gyutaro. (And I’m glad that my king, Tengen Uzui, gets to retire with his three hot wives). But Tanjiro and Nezuko’s quest is never-ending, and so it’s on to the next adventure for the duo and their friends.

In the upcoming season, Tanjiro journeys to a village of swordsmiths to repair his sword. But this isn’t just a simple fetch quest — demons are closing in on the village (this is Demon Slayer, after all). Tanjiro will work together with two of the Hashira that we haven’t seen much of yet: Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokito and Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji. What does Love Breathing entail? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

Like previous seasons, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village will be produced by anime studio Ufotable and directed by Haruo Sotozaki. —Petrana Radulovic

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village premieres April 9.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury (cour 2)

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If you haven’t already watched Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury, one of the best anime to premiere this past year, you now have all the more reason to: The series is set to return this April with all new “cour” (a production block of episodes that’s around 11-14 episodes) following the adventures of Suletta Mercury and her friend (maybe girlfriend) Miorine Rembran as they continue to wage battle against the monopolistic tyranny of the Benerit Group conglomerate led by Delling Rembran, Miorine’s father. The finale of the first half of The Witch From Mercury ended on a shocking climax that featured a callback to the events seen in the anime’s prologue episode and put Suletta and Miorine’s relationship in question. How the battle over the future of GUND-ARM technology (and Suletta and Miorine’s own future) will pan out at this point is anyone’s guess.

The second half of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury will be produced by Sunrise. Hiroshi Kobayashi (Kiznaiver, Spriggan) and Ryo Ando (86) return as the series’ director and assistant director, and Ichiro Okouchi (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion) returns as the series’ chief scriptwriter. —Toussaint Egan

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury (cour 2) premieres April 9.

Heavenly Delusion

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Based on Masakazu Ishiguro’s ongoing manga series, Heavenly Delusion is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi mystery anime set 15 years after a mysterious disaster has seemingly wiped out all of modern civilization. A group of children lives in a nursery-like facility separated from the outside world, raised by robotic caretakers and taught that everything outside the facility is dangerous. The series follows Maru and Kiruko, two children exploring the desolation of this strange and inhospitable world in search of “Heaven” — a nursery facility where a mysterious young girl with a striking resemblance to Maru has lived out her entire life.

There’s not a lot in the way of big-name talent attached to this adaptation, aside from studio Production I.G, the one exception being composer Kensuke Ushio (Space Dandy, Chainsaw Man). The trailer itself certainly looks intriguing, and the music in the first teaser sounds reminiscent of percussion wood instruments of composer Steve Reich (1973’s “Music for Pieces of Wood”) and Geinoh Yamashirogumi (Akira). That short snippet already has me very excited for how this new series will sound, apart from how impressive the animation is. —TE

Heavenly Delusion premieres April 1.

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku

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Based on the manga of the same name, Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku follows a ninja on a quest for the elixir of immortality. Thanks to his superhuman strength and resilience, the ninja Gabimaru has survived countless attacks and also multiple executions. One of the executioners, a master swordswoman named Sagiri, recognizes this strength and recruits him for a dangerous mission decreed by the shogunate. Previous attempts to retrieve the elixir of immortality from a mysterious island have all ended in death, so this time around, the shogunate is sending a group of death-row convicts. If they succeed, they will be pardoned.

So basically, Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraka is the Suicide Squad of Edo-era Japan.

Each of the cutthroat death-row convicts has their own complicated backstory — and each of them has their own personally assigned executioner accompanying them on this suicide mission. The original manga was written by Yuji Kaku, who is also known for Fantasma and Ayashimon. The anime series comes from MAPPA, the studio behind Jujutsu Kaisen, Attack on Titan, and Yuri on Ice. You could say they absolutely have their hands full. —PR

Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku premieres April 1.

Skip and Loafer

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Skip and Loafer is about a small-town girl who gets way more than she expected after she enrolls in a high school in Tokyo. One of the trailers reveals that our overprepared protagonist, Mitsumi Iwakura, comes from a place where her entire high school class is made up of 26 people — clearly she’s in for a huge shock when she shows up at her new school. Luckily for her, she befriends charming and laid-back (and most importantly, handsome) classmate Sosuke Shima, who shows her the ropes. But it’s not just the handsome boy that Mitsumi meets. The trailers show off the range of classmates that she will befriend throughout the show. It looks like it’s going to be a sweet story about breaking out of your comfort zone and meeting people you otherwise would never have.

The romantic comedy slice-of-life is based on the manga of the same name, written by Misaki Takamatsu. The anime comes from studio P.A. Works, which previously worked on Buddy Daddies (one of our top anime of the year) and various animated sequences in the Professor Layton games. —PR

Skip and Loafer premieres April 4.

Tokyo Mew Mew New season 2

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The second part of Tokyo Mew Mew New finally graces us in the spring, and this is when the show starts getting juicy. Stakes are rising as the animal-infused magical girls have to continue to duke it out against the aliens, but a new challenger appears: Blue Knight, a mysterious blond-haired alienlike man who comes to Ichigo’s side when she’s in trouble. I’m excited to continue reliving my childhood every week with new episodes of Tokyo Mew Mew New — and if you want to watch (a remake of) one of the most influential magical girl shows of all time, you should give it a watch, too. —Julia Lee

Tokyo Mew Mew New season 2 premieres April 4.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride season 2

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the romantic slice-of-life fantasy drama about the apprentice (and future bride) of a 7-foot skull-headed demon, finally returns for a long-awaited second season set after the events of the 2016 series.

As seen in the above trailer, Chise has been able to resume a normal-ish life after coming to terms with her situation with Elias, her master, after being invited to attend a university for aspiring mages known as “the College.” Things seem to be looking up for Chise and Elias — that is, right up until the machinations of a mysterious society of mages who convene far beneath the British Library threatens to disrupt their otherwise quaint and orderly lives.

Unlike the previous season, the second season of The Ancient Magus’ Bride will be produced by Studio Kafka (Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song) instead of Wit Studio (Ranking of Kings). Kazuaki Terasawa, who served as an episode director on the first season, has inherited chief director duties from Norihiro Naganuma (Speed Grapher), whose upcoming project The Apothecary Diaries is set to premiere sometime later this year. —TE

The Ancient Magus’ Bride season 2 premieres April 6 and will stream on Crunchyroll.

The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls: U149

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Idolmaaster fans, rejoice: We finally have a new anime after so many years! This season focuses on the younger girls all under 149 centimeters (thus the name) and how they figure out who they are as they try to make it as idols. While this show definitely can have room to be icky, the manga has done a great job keeping things extremely wholesome. As an Idolmaster fan, this show is a must-watch, but it’s also just inspiring to see the girls overcome common problems and insecurities so that they can shine bright as idols onstage. —JL

The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls: U149 premieres April 6.

Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story season 2

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Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story, the over-the-top sports drama about two girls’ rivalry to be recognized as the world’s best golfer, became a favorite among many anime fans for its irreverent humor, nonsensical anime logic, and quirky characters when the series premiered last April. Fans of Birdie Wing won’t have to wait that much longer for more of Eve and Aoi’s misadventures, as a second season of the anime is set to premiere this April — almost exactly one year after the debut of the first! Considering how involved anime production is, and that the season was originally scheduled to premiere in January, that’s quite the impressive turnaround!

Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story season 2 premieres April 6 and will stream on Crunchyroll.

The Marginal Service

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I’m going to be totally honest with you: I haven’t the faintest idea what the hell is going on in The Marginal Service, the new original anime series from studio 3Hz (Dimension W, Healer Girl, The Devil Is a Part-Timer season 2). I know the series is being directed by Masayuki Sakoi (Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious) and written by Kenta Ihara (Uncle From Another World), and features character designs by Yoshio Kozakai (Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online).

From very brief mention in Crunchyroll’s news article on the show, I know that The Marginal Service is about a crew of “legendary creature crime-stoppers” and their odd career paths. I know there’s a talking chipmunk attached to a keychain, but aside from those few cursory details, I’m nearly at a total loss. The trailer looks cool, though! Sort of like a comedic mashup of a Super Sentai tokusatsu parody by way of a Chippendales dance troupe.

The official website for The Marginal Service is being very cagey as per the concrete details of the show’s premise, so we’ll just have to wait and see what this new series has in store for us when it premieres this April. —TE

The Marginal Service premieres April 11.

Dr. Stone: New World (season 3)

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The post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure anime based on Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi’s beloved Weekly Shōnen Jump manga is set to return with an all-new season this April! Following the abbreviated (and much improved) second season’s climax, the so-called “Stone Wars” between genius protagonist Senku Ishigami and erstwhile antagonist Tsukasa Shishio have been resolved.

So what awaits Senku now that the “Stone Wars” era is over? Why, an “Age of Exploration,” of course! Senku and his trusty ally Ryusui embark on a high-seas adventure to experience the new world that has arisen in the wake of the mysterious petrification crisis.

Season 3 of Dr. Stone, titled Dr. Stone: New World, will be produced TMS Entertainment and helmed by returning director Shinya Iino (Made in Abyss). Yuichiro Kido will also return as the series’ chief scriptwriter, as will Yuko Iwasa (Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas) to design this season’s characters. —TE

Dr. Stone: New World premieres this April.

My Home Hero

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If there’s one word to describe Tetsuo Tosu, it’s “ordinary.” He’s an average everyday salaryman with a doting wife and a loving (albeit rebellious) daughter attending university. That is, until the terrible day Reika, Tetsuo’s daughter, is physically assaulted by her boyfriend, Matori. Possessed by rage, Tetsuo takes to the street to hunt down his daughter’s abuser to bring him to justice, killing him in the process. However, Tetsuo soon learns that Matori was employed by a dangerous local crime syndicate, which, upon realizing Matori’s abrupt disappearance, begins to comb the city in search of answers. Terrified, Tetsuo and his wife must work together to elude Matori’s employers and protect their family from further harm.

Based on Naoki Yamakawa and Masashi Asaki’s ongoing manga series, My Home Hero is directed by Takashi Kamei (Kodocha), written by Kohei Kiyasu, and produced by Tezuka Productions, the illustrious animation house behind such iconic works of anime as Astro Boy and Dororo. As if that weren’t enough, Kenji Kawai (Ghost in the Shell) is composing the score for the series. —TE

My Home Hero premieres this April and will stream on Crunchyroll.

Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage

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Ranking of Kings won the hearts of anime fans (and a place on our best anime of 2021 and 2022 lists) when the series debuted back in fall 2021. The coming-of-age fantasy action series follows Bojii, the kind-hearted deaf and mute prince of a powerful kingdom who, with the help of his shadowy friend Kage, embarks on a quest to become strong enough to assert his claim to his father’s throne.

Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage, a limited series of special episodes — think Adventure Time: Distant Lands — is set to premiere this April, following Bojii and Kage embarking on yet another grand adventure presumably in pursuit of the eponymous trove of bravery. As was the case with Ranking of Kings, this limited series will be directed by Yosuke Hatta and Makoto Fuchigami and produced by Wit Studio. —TE

Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage premieres this April.

Oshi no Ko

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Just before teen idol Ai Hoshino sky rockets in popularity, she gets pregnant. The doctor who takes care of her and one of his other patients (who are huge fans of Ai) both die and are reincarnated as Ai’s kids. Since Ai’s kids, Ruby and Aquamarine, retained their memories from before they died, they begin to use their newly obtained resources in the entertainment industry to try and solve many mysteries surrounding their mother.

Yes, that premise sounds… wild, to say the least, and that’s without us actually spoiling anything for you. The series is getting an extended first episode for a reason. It admittedly needs tons of setup before it stops being weird and the actual premise of the show starts. The series is written by Aka Akasaka, the genius behind Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, but this series is a complete flip in genre, though it still has its meta commentary and meme-worthy moments. —JL

Oshi no Ko premieres this April and will stream on HIDIVE.