2022 has already seen a plethora of fantastic anime. There were a few returning favorites like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Komi can’t communicate, The Rise of the Shield Heroand The attack of the Titans. But beyond all of this returning anime, there’s also been an array of imaginative new titles. Looking for a show about a Three Kingdoms story strategist becoming music director? You have it. How about an anime about girls who use their voices to heal the sick? Yeah, you have it too. While this summer has even more anticipated shows like Made in the Abyss and The devil is part timeit’s time to take stock of what you should watch out for as the first half of 2022 comes to an end. Below are the best anime titles of 2022 so far:
As one of the highest-profile anime of the Spring 2022 season, expectations for Spy x Family were high. The action/comedy has everything an intrepid anime viewer is looking for: spies, assassins, and an adorable kid who just happens to be a telepath. Where does the family part of this spy drama come from? Secret agent Loid Forger (codename “Twilight”) is the only agent capable of keeping the peace between the Westalis of the neighboring country and Ostania. Her mission, Operation Strix, forces her to marry and have a child. The only problem is that Loid can’t just start a family on the fly, but even if he could, what would that be like? Nevertheless, he becomes acquainted with the assassin Yor and the telepath Anya. Wit Studio animation gives Spy x Family the high-quality gloss it deserves, and it’s a wonderful adaptation of the source material. Even with the high octane action, Anya steals the show with her perspective and magnetic personality.
As the third season of a long-running romantic comedy series, Kaguya-Sama: Love is ultra-romantic war had to evolve in depth. Its principle has always been this competition between the high-ranking student council members of Shuciin Academy, President Miyuki Shriogane and Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya. The entire student body imagines them both together, and they seem to like each other, but Miyuki and Kaguya are too proud to confess their feelings. Each episode of the series is traditionally made up of three chapters that show how far these two teenagers plot to get the other to confess. This lightning-fast approach lends itself to absolute comedy ridiculousness. Which makes Ultra Romantic a development from previous entries is the hope that there will be some kind of traction between Miyuki and Kaguya. Who will be the one to win the war? When everyone is having so much fun, it really doesn’t matter.
healer girl is the closest anime to a musical. As you might expect, healer girl follows three girls who study to become healers. A healer in this show is not like a traditional doctor who studies Eastern or Western medicine, no, these girls are going to use the power of song to heal their patients. With their voices, they are able to heal wounds and bring comfort. Not only are there musical interludes as the girls use their abilities, but entire episodes will have the girls practicing their skills, singing all of their lines as if they were in a Jacques Demy movie. Music as medicine has been studied, so this premise is not unheard of, but it might work a bit too well in this world. healer girl is one of the most intriguing titles of the year, and even if the songs don’t work for you, it’s the definition of healing anime: a spectacle that often has a calming or therapeutic effect. Making fictional patients and bystanders feel better – what could be better than that?
An anime about golf doesn’t look that intriguing, but let me tell you, The History of the Birdie Wing Golf Girls is all. A golf shark known as Eve earns money through underground golf games. She has a no-frills style of golf where she simply pushes her way through the course. Although she does not play professionally, she has no equal for her age. That is until Eve meets prodigy Aoi Amawashi, whose mastery of the game of golf is Eve’s greatest challenge. Besides her rivalry with Aoi, Eve is involved in the mafia and the world of Bird wing, scores are settled on the golf course. Many of the golfers featured have their own special abilities – whether it’s lightning strikes or pheromones that confuse players, this isn’t a typical round of golf. Bird wing doesn’t require you to know the difference between an eagle and a birdie, it’s more interesting to show an extreme version of golf. It is in this total absurdity that Bird wing excels.
Dance Dance Dancer realizes that dancing might be a tough sell and uses it as a way to tell his story. When young Junpei Murao is taken to a ballet recital, he is initially uninterested – until he sees a man perform a ballet and is thrilled by the dance. Junpei aspires to study ballet himself, but is persuaded to take up more masculine hobbies like martial arts. When his father dies of a tragic illness, Junpei must forever give up his ballet dream to become “the man of the house.” That is until his interest in transfer student Miyako Godai brought him back to dancing. Dance Dance Dancer is billed as a Seinen series, making its target audience young men. I imagine some men would be ambivalent about reading dance manga due to its image of being traditionally feminine, but Dance Dance Dancer shows the magic of dance and how the art form transcends labels. Junpei loves to dance, and damn it, he will.
Wakana Gojo is determined to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and continue the tradition of creating beautiful Hina dolls. But his unusual hobby has left him as an outcast among his peers. After a chance encounter with the beautiful Marin Kitagawa, Gojo is persuaded to help Kitagawa with his hobby: cosplaying as his favorite characters. The cosplay designs are popular characters from Kitagawa’s eroge games, which means they’re much more risque than Gojo is initially comfortable with. This often leads to awkward situations between the two young adults. My darling dressing has its fair share of gratuitous fanservice, but the heart of the story – two people who fall in love while pursuing the hobbies they love – is so genuine that even audiences who don’t like T&A can get something out of it. thing
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a big deal in the Orient, as it is one of the most cherished stories in Chinese history. What if an anime took a historical character from this period, Kongming, and brought him into the modern age? Not only that, but what if his goal was to use his genius IQ to help a young woman named Eika achieve her dream of becoming a popstar? This is Ya Boy Kongming in a nutshell, but it’s also so much more hilarious than that. Kongming has no problem adapting to the new situation he finds himself in and using his brilliant mind, he reuses military strategies in order to increase Eika’s popularity. There’s fantastic music, and the opening sequence will surely have you trying to memorize the dance, but the show’s secret weapon is Kobayashi, owner of the club Kongming works for. He is a Three Kingdoms fanatic and his knowledge help the audience to contextualize the great genius of Kongming. Ya Boy Kongming is definitely one of the hidden gems of the year so far.
Have you ever seen a protagonist who is so genuine that he elevates the whole story? This is Ranking of kings. The show follows Bojji, a deaf little prince. He excels in defensive rather than offensive tactics, and his naivety makes those around him doubt his possible succession. After the death of Bojji’s father, King Bosse, the court decides to install Bojji’s younger half-brother, Prince Daida, on the throne instead. This sends Bojji on a quest to gain experience and grow stronger, but while he’s away from the kingdom, a mysterious force takes control. Did I mention that Bojji’s most trusted ally is Kage, a creature who looks like an evil black puddle but learns to love Bojji? Ranking of kings is special not only for his adventure, but because Bojji is the best boy and deserves to be followed on his great journey.
Max Covill is a freelance writer for Paste Magazine. For more anime, movie, and TV news and reviews, you can follow him, @mhcovill.
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