The year 2022 hath blessed us with an illustrious catalogue of anime, the best of which garnered their own dedicated day of the week among the anime faithful with the likes of Bleach Mondays and Chainsaw Man Tuesdays. Many of you probably wouldn’t put up a fuss if this list was solely comprised of that buzz-saw dude, but I’m not quite so bold to do such a thing. Outside of the usual suspects of returning and debuting shonen anime, this year brought a diverse selection of shows more than worthy of basking in the limelight as the best anime of 2022, according to myself, the Otaku of Kotaku.
As such, here’s my list of the 10 best anime of 2022. Honorable mention to Hideo Kojima’s favourite anime, Lycoris Recoil.
Akiba Maid War
The elevator pitch for Akiba Maid War is as follows: What if the “moe moe kyun” world of maid cafe workers was just as cutthroat and bizarre as the Yakuza franchise’s melodramatic main quests and nonsensical side-quests? Dear reader, Akiba Maid War not only succeeded in delivering on that point of comparison week in and week out, but it is also up there as one of this year’s funniest anime. It’s got explosive shootouts, underground boxing, and most importantly, a whole lotta heart interwoven with the day-to-day hijinks of its colourful cast of waifu archetypes.
Akiba Maid War streams on Hidive.
Bocchi The Rock!
When anime fans think about a music-centric show that has cute girls doing cute things, the late oughts’ K-On! usually comes to mind. But 2022 isn’t the year of the hyper-capable taking centre stage. No, this year is for the freakazoids, the shut-ins who would die on sight if they ever had to speak in front of an audience, let alone get dressed to greet the day. This is the year of Bocchi the Rock!
Bocchi the Rock! follows Hitori “Bocchi” Gotou as she grows closer to her bandmates and overcomes her debilitating social anxiety as the group’s guitarist. Fear not, you don’t have to sit through a handful of episodes while Hitori learns the basics of guitar playing. She’s got that down from the start. However, you’ll still have to endure her endearing battle with stage fright. Of all the anime on this list, Bocchi the Rock! best manages to utilise its animated medium to the fullest extent with its over-the-top off-model character acting and Family Guy-esque cutaway non-sequiturs into Hitori’s inner turmoil trying to seem normal to her peers.
Bocchi the Rock! streams on Crunchyroll.
There was virtually no way one could make a best anime of 2022 list without mentioning the powder keg of hype “peak fiction” that is Chainsaw Man. No anime since Attack on Titan has been the catalyst of online discussion among anime fans quite like Chainsaw Man since it began airing this fall.
The anime’s overwhelming popularity is not only a credit to the show’s provocative use of film techniques and superb performances from both its English and Japanese voice actors, but also to each episode culminating in its own unique and imaginative ending theme. What makes Chainsaw Man special is that it makes you lean forward in your chair during both its action-packed fight scenes and the discussions among its characters in the show’s quieter moments. Chainsaw Man lived up to its own hype and is easily one of the year’s best anime.
Not many anime can say they single-handedly restored the public opinion of a video game’s troubled release. Then again, not many video games have the luxury of being made by Studio Trigger. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners stands as the prime dark horse anime this year. No one had particularly high expectations for it considering Cyberpunk 2077’s shoddy release, but the Netflix-original anime managed to gaslight folks into believing the game was good from the start (it wasn’t), rejuvenated its playerbase, and propelled anime fans’ faith in the streamer’s output of original anime projects.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners’ pulpy film noir story is masterfully paced within its 10 episodes and serves as the perfect introductory point to the greater world of Cyberpunk 2077, with the added bonus of being animated by the studio behind Kill la Kill and Promare.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners streams on Netflix.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean
Despite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fans usually being notorious for not shutting up about the anime online, no one seemed to notice that the second and final cour of Stone Ocean was soon to release on Netflix. Still, the show packed one hell of a punch as the emotional climax of the series. David Production continues to do a masterful job of adapting mangaka Hirohiko Araki’s popular anime with wacky musical references, and the studio got to the point where the show references itself with its stylish CG animated intro.
The beginning and the end pic.twitter.com/DCVFXttb6I
— Daily Jojo Women (@DailyJJBAWomen) December 2, 2022
Stone Ocean offers a perilous odyssey that’s just as bizarre an adventure as its contemporaries while delivering a heavy gut-punch of an emotional climax to the series. Albeit, with a couple of copyright strike-worthy name changes and omissions from the manga to keep a certain steamboat-steering rat from knocking on Netflix and Warner Bros. Japan’s doors.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean streams on Netflix.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury
Getting into the Gundam series is as intimidating as reading all of One Piece for the first time simply by virtue of its years of dense intergalactic politics interwoven through a swath of spin-offs and continuations. Luckily, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury serves not only as a great introductory point to the series for newbies but also as a wholesome palate cleanse by way of the blossoming romance between its stammering protagonist Suletta Mercury and her bride Miorine Rembran.
Witch from Mercury comprises all the political intrigue and backstage politicking the series is known with the added bonus of being told through the lens of a shojo romance like Revolutionary Girl Utena. Just replace RGU’s magical chest swords with 2D animated mecha battles, and you’ve got G Witch. If you still need more convincing to watch this gem of a show, check out this clip of one of its characters absolutely decking her classmate for talking shit about Suletta. You’re welcome.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury streams on Crunchyroll.
Mob Psycho 100 III
Mob Psycho 100’s third season has been a spectacular culmination of the supernatural anime — outside of the controversy of longtime main character English voice actor, Kyle McCarley, not returning after Crunchyroll refused to discuss future anime being under union contracts. Ahem. Much of the appeal to Mob Psycho 100’s final season comes from how understated its stakes seem in comparison to prior seasons. That isn’t to say that Studio Bones mailed it in this time around. If anything, this season hits so hard because its lowered stakes allowed for its stellar character writing to take centre stage.
While the overall conflict of the season revolves around Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama fighting off a giant psychic broccoli that the townsfolk have been worshipping (don’t worry about it), the majority of the season focuses on tying up loose ends from the anime. These escapades focus on Shigeo’s evolution into a young man with his own autonomy and control over his previously volatile emotions while also allowing the show’s colourful cast of side characters to have a proper send-off as well.
Mob Psycho 100 streams on Crunchyroll.
My Dress-Up Darling
Anime that are equal parts horny and wholesome have been plentiful this year with such shows as More Than a Married Couple, But Not Lovers, A Couple of Cuckoos, and Love Flops. While all of these animes’ disparate Venn diagrams share the quality of having a gyaru among its main cast members, My Dress-Up Darling far outshines its peers.
My Dress-Up Darling follows a schoolgirl named Marin Kitagawa who indulges in her secret cosplay hobby alongside her classmate, Gojo Wakana, who just so happens to be a fledgling dollmaker. Hence the name. Seeing as how most of the episodes depict the introverted Gojo sweating bullets while taking measurements of the painfully attractive Marin, this anime is jam-packed with flirting and the like, but what makes this show special is that it’s about unabashedly loving one’s hobby no matter how weird it may seem to outsiders. Throughout the show’s will-they-won’t-they romance between Gojo and Marin is a multitude of meaningful conversations where the two discuss their respective passions and recognise where their ambitions overstep the other’s boundaries. It’s a show with “well-animated plot” and a great story with likable characters to boot.
My Dress-Up Darling is streaming on Crunchyroll
Spy x Family
Spy x Family is arguably the anime with the most obvious mainstream appeal this year. Season two continues Spy x Family’s momentum as one of the most wholesome, action-packed shows with the newest addition to its fake family, the loveable hound named Bond.
Spy x Family follows Loid, a super spy tasked with ensuring conflicts between nations don’t evolve into all-out war. To prevent this cataclysmic event, Loid must infiltrate a prestigious school and curry favour with a politician’s son. To do so, Loid assembles a fake family, who unbeknownst to him each have secrets of their own. Chief among them are his fake wife’s double life as a deadly assassin and his daughter’s mind-reading power. Spy x Family’s second season is more of the good stuff from season one. Papa Loid maintains his status as a paragon among men, Yor continues to be the archetypal fail wife who doesn’t know her own strength, and Anya the meme queen is still an adorable little gremlin with a menacing grin.
Last, and certainly not least, is a remake of the classic harem anime that spawned the original manic pixie dream (alien) girl, Urusei Yatsura. Urusei Yatsura follows a lecherous high schooler named Ataru Moroboshi. After competing against a space princess named Lum for the fate of Earth, Lum mistakenly misinterprets Ataru’s marriage proposal to his sweetheart Shinobu as one between the two of them. Hijinks ensue.
Urusei Yatsura is a fresh retelling of the 1978 manga from its prolific creator, Rumiko Takahashi. Instead of being a shot-for-shot remake of the original ’81 anime, this remake adapts select stories from the original manga, thus making the initial viewing experience feel like an arrangement of skits before the show starts introducing more waifus and rivals into Ataru’s life. David Production seems to be making a career out of revitalizing older anime like JJBA and Netflix’s Spriggan. With Urusei Yatsura 2022, David Production reintroduces a whole new generation of anime fans to Takahashi’s classic comedy romance series with all the quality it deserves. Hopefully, the BBC will handle its English dub as it did back in the day, should the anime ever receive one.
Urusei Yatsura streams on Hidive.
The Cheapest NBN 1000 Plans
Looking to bump up your internet connection and save a few bucks? Here are the cheapest plans available.