Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and My Hero Academia made their long-anticipated returns in 2021, along with a host of other long-anticipated and much-anticipated series like Odd Taxi, The Heike Story, Sonny Boy, and SK8 the Infinity. Mob Psycho 100, Vinland Saga, The Devil Is a Part-Timer, and Bleach is all expected to return in 2022, as are a number of other popular series. Chainsaw Man and Uzumaki are gearing up for their big-screen debuts, too.
Our list of the finest anime running in 2022 will be updated throughout the year as the seasons advance because there is so much to pick from and not enough time in the day to watch it all. Consider this year’s best anime so far, and be sure to come back later this summer for an updated list! This year’s list is arranged in chronological order by release date, for the sake of readability and ease of reference.
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Entertainment District Arc
This time around, the stakes are even higher after the Mugen Train Arc. Uzui, the Sound Hishara, goes incognito in the Entertainment District in order to smell out a demon lurking there. Tanjiro and his pals Inosuke and Zenitsu follow him. To begin this story arc, Tanjiro and his comrades disguise themselves as courtesans and try to discover where the powerful monster is located.
Over half of the arc is devoted to the epic showdown between the Demon Slayers and two monstrous demons. Tanjiro and Nezuko, the two devils who are brother and sister, are depicted as having a brother-sister relationship that is both touching and tragic. —Petrana Radulovic (author)
2. Ranking Of Kings
In the fantasy series Ranking of Kings, kings are ranked according to their deeds and, more crucially, their physical might. Bojji is the heir apparent to the kingdom after his sick father, the current monarch dies. In order to communicate effectively, Bojji relies mostly on sign language because he is unable to talk. When it comes to leadership qualities, he may fall short of more conventional leaders, but he makes up for it in the heart. First, he literally gives his shirt to someone in need in the first episode.
As an anime viewer, I found Bojji to be one of the most endearing and compelling characters I’ve ever seen on television. Even a non-lethal spar between Bojji and his half-brother somehow feels more momentous than a battle between gods in the Ranking of Kings.
Because of his diminutive height and a deep feeling of awe, he is the ideal protagonist for a fantasy world filled with golems, wizards, and giants. Despite this, Bojji isn’t the only one to catch your eye throughout the film. It’s not just his half-brother who’s struggling to find a path to power that feels right to him; it’s also his only surviving member of an exterminated clan.
Because I would die for Bojji, the ranking of kings works. It’s not only an underdog story in this series, though. There are intriguing monsters, magical and dark sorcery, royal intrigue, and an adventure that brings a tiny lad to the depths of hell in this anime adaptation of the manga by Sosuke Toka. So far, this series has been nothing short of amazing, and I cannot suggest it highly enough. In the words of Ana Diaz:
3. My Dress-up Darling
High school girls Wakana Gojo and Marin Kitagawa share a passion for traditional Japanese dolls (Hina), while Marin is an avid gamer and anime fan who enjoys dressing up as characters in cosplay. Marin, a vivacious gyaru fashionista, seeks Gojo for help with her costume, and the two form a terrific partnership.
While Gojo is a cautious but motivated young man, Marin has an outgoing and friendly demeanor that complements each other perfectly (in which the gyaru girl simply teases the boy relentlessly while hiding her own feelings for him).
Even if Gojo feels uncomfortable while collecting Marin’s measurements, it’s clear that she doesn’t mean to upset or worry him. Despite the fact that My Dress-Up Darling contains an excessive amount of fan service, the story itself is so refreshing that I had to include it on my list. JULIA LEED
4. Attack On Titan Final Season Part 2
In terms of this year’s best-of lists, this season of Attack on Titan may be the most divisive. Attack on Titan manga writer Hajime Isayama’s apparent pro-imperialist views has been widely discussed, as have the series’ uncomfortably analogous depictions of real-life historical tragedies. Attack on Titan’s inclusion on this list is understandable given the accusations that have been leveled at it.
MAPPA and Jun Shishido and Yuichi Hayashi have developed (through 22 episodes) the best possible animated interpretation of a difficult and disputed finale. As a single episode, it rates as one of the most frightening and apocalyptic disclosures in recent anime history, with some of the most gruesome images shown in the series to date.
Experiencing an anime series’ continuous climax with the rest of the world is an experience like no other, especially when it’s part of a Big Anime Event. In spite of its many problems, Attack on Titan’s final season is a must-see anime event for 2022, flaws and all. It is the climax of one of the most important series of the last decade. Theodore Egan
5. The Orbital Children
A Dennou Coil director Mitsuo Iso has returned to animation with The Orbital Children, a six-episode series (distributed in Japan as two feature-length features) about five children trapped on board a commercial space station on the verge of a catastrophic calamity.
An epic coming-of-age story is told through a kaleidoscope of rich world-building brought to life by gorgeous animation, putting five young people on the verge of human expansion into the wide unknown of space. It’s a fantastic animation that rewards both first-time viewers and those who return to it again and again. —TE
The Orbital Children is available to stream on Netflix.
6. Healer Girl
If we were going through a year that felt like it was going to last forever, then a program like Healer Girl would be a welcome relief. “Vocal medicine” healers are the focus of the original anime, which was directed by Yasuhiro Irie (who also helmed Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the GOAT). They use the healing power of music to help their patients recover from their afflictions.
My other favorite anime is Healer Girl, which I watch on a regular basis. It’s tucked away in a corner, yet it’s also nutritious and warm. In spite of this, trust that the show’s art direction will provide its own set of benefits for those who are willing to give it a chance. It’s Irie’s gift for seeing the most expressive angles in a subject that sets her apart from other photographers. It’s easy to see why Healer Girl is such an easy (and important) charm in a world that is cruel and savage. In the words of Zosha Millman:
Healer Girl is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
7. Ya Boy Kongming!
An ancient Chinese statesman named Zhuge Liang Kongming, who died on his deathbed wishing to be resurrected in a more peaceful era, is the central character of the novel Ya Boy Kongming! During his final breaths, Kongming finds himself in an alleyway in present-day Shibuya on Halloween night. He discovers more than he bargained for. When a pair of partygoers tempt Kongming into a nightclub where they encounter Eiko Tsukimi, an aspiring singer and part-time bartender, he believes he is in hell. With his legendary skills as a military tactician, Kongming offers his services as Eiko’s manager, moved to tears by the beauty of her voice and unsure of what to do with his new existence.
It’s been a blast watching Ya Boy Kongming thus far! Kongming is a cunning manager and a savvy decision-maker who uses old battle stratagems to pull in new audiences and foil underhanded opponents, as well as his freestyle rap abilities to attract reluctant supporters. There is a lot of humor to be found in watching Kongming, a man from several centuries ago, learn to adapt to modern life despite the fact that he is living in the present day. Not to mention the series’ meme-worthy theme song, a Japanese cover of the Hungarian pop song “Bulikirály,” which is not only wonderfully animated but also an absolute bop. —TE
Ya Boy Kongming! is available to stream on HIDIVE.
8. Tomodachi Game
It’s simple (too easy) to draw comparisons between Tomodachi Game and Squid Game because of the mysterious underground game the adolescents are sucked into, the capitalistic debt that keeps them playing, and the life or death stakes that bind every episode. Instead of focusing on economic issues, they utilize it as a weapon. While playing the “Tomodachi game” with some of their buddies, they’re enticed to do so by the promise of a debt-free acquaintance. Although we’ve seen a few episodes of Tomodachi Game, it’s evident that the primary currency isn’t yen, but rather friendship. With companionship comes an abundance of secrets.
Animation and tempo aren’t spectacular in Tomodachi Game, and it’s difficult to keep up with the story. If you’re a fan of this anime, you might want to check out the manga as well, simply to see where the plot goes from here. When it comes to people ping-ponging off of each other, you can’t get enough of it. Where do all these smoldering threads end up going? I’m running out of time. —ZM
Tomodachi Game is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
9. Spy X Family
Spy x Family’s first season is expected to be one of the finest anime of 2022, despite only having four episodes released. It’s all about a spy called Loid Forger, and his mission: to stop the National Unity Party leader from tampering with peace negotiations between neighboring nations. By attending an event at a prestigious elementary school, he intends to get to know the political leader. But there’s a snag: Loid is single.
The arrival of Anya and Yor, his adoptive daughter, and his new wife, complete the family picture. While Loid’s true identity is unknown to the two, they each have their own secrets. An assassin and a telepath are two of the most dangerous characters in the game. To begin, they all share a house and struggle to keep up the appearance of a family while keeping their own secrets hidden.
Ananya serves as both the show’s emotional and humorous center. The sincerity (and, to be honest, pure idiocy) of the short, pink-haired child unites the show in a sequence of endearing character moments. Anya exclaims, “I’m so excited!” when she learns that Yor is a professional killer. You get the impression that Anya is just a girl who wants to be loved, despite these cheesy moments. A welcome respite from the world’s ills, this comedy is both humorous and charming. —AD
10. Kaguya-sama: love Is War -ultra Romantic
The setting of Kaguya-sama: Love is War remains fresh after three seasons. This is the plot of Kaguya-san, a Japanese anime series that follows two high-achieving students who play a game where they try to convince each other to admit their emotions to one another. The only problem is that they’ve both fallen head over heels in love with one other at some point along the route and are now refusing to let go.
Humor rises as the ensemble expands to include characters like perky Fujiwara and gamer Ishigami, as well as goody-two-shoes Miko. This is something that turns from something horribly cringeworthy into something deeply touching every week, as Kaguya-Sama consistently outdoes herself in terms of public embarrassment. While Shinomiya and Shirogane’s romance remains the focus of the story, the bonds formed among the student council members and the other individuals in their lives take on an emotional weight of their own. —PR
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War -Ultra Romantic- is available to stream on Crunchyroll.