This was a lackluster year of anime for me. I only managed to finish two series–Jujutsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan: The Final Season (the former being the newest addition to my list of favorites). I grew up on anime, but as the years go by I find myself more inclined to read manga than watch its animated counterpart, partially because there’s far more content, it’s more convenient, and reading is my preferred medium. Is it still considered an anime slump if my interests have been tepid for the last few years? Just as all hope seemed to be lost, next year’s confirmed anime comes in swinging to change my disposition. 2022 might just be the year that reignites my love for anime.
There’s a plethora of shows I’m incredibly excited for; some of my favorite mangas finally getting adaptations, highly-anticipated prequels and sequels confirmed, and a handful of unfamiliar ones that have piqued my interest. Without further ado, here are 10 anime series and movies to keep on your radar in 2022.
This started off as possibly the strangest and most absurd manga I’ve ever read, but gradually developed to become one of the most haunting and memorable ones I’ve had the pleasure of reading. A fantastic combination of dark fantasy, comedy, and horror with a deeper plot than meets the eye. The protagonist is a Devil Hunter with simple dreams, who also happens to become the chainsaw devil after an unfortunate turn of events. The first arc seems silly with very typical shonen tropes, but it gets significantly better the further you read. It’s also full of pain, but hey, the best things pull at your heartstrings. Content warnings for gore and body horror. This series is dark.
SPY x FAMILY
My favorite manga of 2019 is finally getting an anime adaption! Did I scream when I heard the news? Possibly. Words can’t fully express how much I love this series. It’s full of heart and humor and the wholesome-value is off the charts while also satisfying my preference for exciting action. SPYxFamily follows a spy who’s tasked with an assignment that requires him to go undercover and procure a fake family. Marriage of convenience fans, this is your calling! He ends up unknowingly marrying an assassin and adopting a telepath daughter. Hilarity ensures. Can’t wait to watch the anime? Pick up the manga! I also recommended it in my ‘New to manga? Start here‘ post.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0
Jujustu Kaisen is my latest favorite shonen. After finishing the first season, I read the manga and devoured it in a week (a lot of pain and suffering was involved). I love the characters, the storyline, the art, and everything in between. It subverts a lot of shonen norms of the older big 3, and has some of the most well written female characters in manga in my opinion (I’m looking at Maki). This series has me in an emotional chokehold. Was there a period of time where I obsessively read JJK fanfiction after catching up with the manga? Maybe. To say I’m excited for the prequel movie is an understatement!
Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2
This will be the end of an era. I still remember watching the very first season of Attack on Titan back in high school, when it was considered one of the few “mainstream” anime that everyone could get into. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and as a manga reader of this series, I’m ready to bawl my eyes out. I almost teared up when I initially heard the ending song of the final season part 1 (Shock by Yuko Ando). I can only imagine how much more devastating it will feel when the final ending song of the final episode plays. I hope we all recover from this, fellow AoT fans.
Bungo Stray Dogs 4
This is one of those series I’m invested in for the characters far more than the plot. In fact, if you asked me what the overarching plot was (my terrible memory aside), off the top of my head I wouldn’t be able to give you much. What I do love, however, is a character named Dazai–a member of the Armed Detective Agency and former executive of Port Mafia. The magic system/concept of everyone’s abilities is also really cool. The characters are based off of famous writers and their books (Osuma Dazai, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E.A. Poe, Ryunosuke Akutagawa).
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War
Bleach was one of the very first anime I watched when I was young, alongside Inuyasha and Naruto. It holds a special place in my heart, despite the rushed manga ending and the not-so-satisfying outcome. Bleach still has some of the most legendary moments in anime for me, from the Ulquiorra vs Ichigo battle to the reveal of the big baddie. Don’t get me started on the phenomenal OST. I imagine I’ll feel terribly nostalgic watching this, after all the last episode of Bleach was aired nearly a decade ago.
Kaguya-Sama: Ultra Romantic (season 3)
One of my favorite romcoms is getting another season! I love the rivals-to-lovers trope and Kaguya is such an awkwardly endearing character. The comical cast of side characters makes the show even better. I can never get enough of this series!
I’ve been searching high and low for the next sports anime to obsess over (after Haikyuu), and Blue Lock might be the one. I’ve never read the manga but the trailer has me excited with the intensity! I’m hoping for wholesome bromances, exciting competitive matches, distinctive character dynamics, and the uplifting/motivating vibes I tend to get from sports anime.
Compulsive Gambler Twin (Kakegurui Twin)
The spin-off to Compulsive Gambler! It’s technically a prequel that takes place a year before Yumeko Jabami enters the academy, focusing on our favorite psychopathic blonde gambler, Mary Satome. It’s a bit trashy but really such a fun series. As the title suggests, the anime is about gambling! Taking place at one of Japan’s most prestigious private schools, the student hierarchy is determined by one thing and one thing only: gambling prowess. High-stakes matches take place among these gambling maniacs, sometimes putting their very lives on the line.
Fruits Basket Prelude
I love Fruits Basket. It was the first manga I read in the library when I was young and it’s a romance/slice of life classic! I’ve read the whole series and watched the original anime (I need to catch up on the remake). I can’t think of an anime with a more lovable cast of characters than this series. The upcoming special episode centers around our beloved main character’s parents. I can’t wait!