The 8 Best Anime Series of 2022 (So Far)

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The 8 Best Anime Series of 2022 (So Far)

2022 has already seen a plethora of fantastic anime. There were some returning favorites like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Komi Can’t Communicate, The Rising of the Shield Hero, and Attack on Titan. But beyond all those returning anime, there have also been an array of imaginative new titles. Looking for a show about a strategist from the Three Kingdom’s stories becoming a music manager? You’ve got it. How about an anime about girls who use their voices to heal the ill? Yeah, you’ve got that one, too. While this summer has even more anticipated shows on the way like Made in Abyss and The Devil is a Part-Timer, it’s time to take stock in what you should be watching as the first half of 2022 comes to a close. Below are the best anime titles of 2022 so far:


1. Spy x Family


Watch on Crunchyroll

As one of the most hyped 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 child who 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 who can keep the peace between the neighboring country’s Westalis and Ostania. His mission, Operation Strix, entails him getting married and having a child. The only problem is that Loid can’t just form a family on the fly, but even if he could, what would that look like? Nevertheless, he becomes acquainted with the assassin Yor and the telepath Anya. The animation from Wit Studio 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.

2. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War Ultra Romantic


Watch on Crunchyroll

As the third season in a long-running romantic-comedy series, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Ultra Romantic had to evolve in a big way. Its premise has always been this competition between Shuciin Academy’s high-ranking student council members, president Miyuki Shriogane and vice president Kaguya Shinomiya. The entire student body imagines the two of them together, and they seem to like each other, but both Miyuki and Kaguya are too proud to confess their feelings. Each episode of the show has traditionally been composed of three chapters that show the lengths these two teenagers are plotting to make the other confess. This lightning-quick approach lends itself to the utter ridiculousness of the comedy. What makes Ultra Romantic an evolution from previous entries is the hope that there’s going to be some kind of traction made between Miyuki and Kaguya. Who will be the one to win the war? When everyone is having this much fun, it really doesn’t matter.

3. Healer Girl


Watch on Crunchyroll

Healer Girl is the closest anime comes to a musical. As you might expect, Healer Girl follows three girls who are studying to become healers. A healer in this show isn’t like a traditional doctor who studies Eastern or Western medicine, though—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 when the girls are using their abilities, but entire episodes will have the girls practicing their skills, singing all of their dialogs like they’re in a Jacques Demy movie. Music as medicine has been studied, so this premise isn’t unheard of, but it might work a little too well in this world. Healer Girl is one of the more intriguing titles of the year, and even if the songs don’t work for you, it is the definition of healing anime: a show that often has a calming or therapeutic effect. Making fictional patients and audiences watching feel better—what’s better than that?

4. Birdie Wing Golf Girls’ Story


Watch on Crunchyroll

An anime about golf doesn’t sound all that intriguing, but let me tell you, Birdie Wing Golf Girls’ Story is everything. A golf shark known as Eve goes around making money from underground golf games. She has a no-nonsense style of golf where she just forces her way through the course. Although she doesn’t play professionally, she doesn’t have an equal for her age. That’s until Eve meets the prodigy Aoi Amawashi, whose mastery of the game of golf is Eve’s greatest challenge. Besides her rivalry with Aoi, Eve is involved with the mafia and in the world of Birdie Wing, scores are settled on the golf course. Many of the featured golfers have their own special abilities—whether it’s lightning shots or pheromones that make players confused, this is not a typical round of golf. Birdie Wing doesn’t require you to know the difference between an eagle and a birdie, it’s more interested in showing an extreme version of golf. It’s in this utter nonsense that Birdie Wing excels.

5. Dance Dance Dansure


Watch on Crunchyroll

Dance Dance Danseur realizes that dance might be a tough sell and uses that as a device to tell its story. When young Junpei Murao is taken to a ballet recital he’s initially uninterested—until he witnesses a man perform ballet and he becomes enraptured by the dance. Junpei yearns to study ballet himself, but he’s persuaded to take up more masculine hobbies like martial arts. When his father dies from a tragic illness, Junpei must forever give up his dream of ballet to become “the man of the house.” That’s until his interest in transfer student Miyako Godai brings him back to dance once again. Dance Dance Danseur is billed as a Seinen series, making its target audience young men. I imagine some men would be ambivalent to read a dance manga due to its image of being traditionally feminine, but Dance Dance Danseur shows the magic in dance and how the artform exceeds labels. Junpei loves to dance, and dammit he’s going to do it.

6. My Dress-Up Darling


Watch on Crunchyroll

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 her hobby: cosplaying as her favorite characters. The cosplay designs are of popular characters from Kitagawa’s eroge games, which means they are significantly more risque than Gojo is initially comfortable with. That often leads to embarrassing situations between the two young adults. My Dress-Up Darling has its fair share of gratuitous fanservice, but the heart of the story—two people who fall for each other while pursuing the hobbies that they love—is so genuine that even audiences who don’t love T&A can get something from it

7. Ya Boy Kongming!


Watch on HIDIVE

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a big deal in the East, as it’s among one of the most cherished stories in Chinese history. Now what if an anime took a historical figure from that period, Kongming, and transported him to the modern age? Not only that, but what if his purpose is to use his genius IQ to help a young woman named Eika realize her dream of becoming a popstar? That’s 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’s in and using his brilliant mind, he re-uses military strategies in order to increase Eika’s popularity. There’s some fantastic music, and the opening sequence will surely have you trying to memorize the dance, but the secret weapon of the show is Kobayashi, owner of the club Kongming works for. He’s a Three Kingdom fanatic and his knowledge helps the audience to contextualize the great genius of Kongming. Ya Boy Kongming is certainly one of the hidden gems of the year thus far.

8. Ranking of Kings


Watch on Crunchyroll

Ever see a protagonist who is just so damn genuine that it elevates the whole story? That’s Ranking of Kings. The show follows Bojji, a little prince who is deaf. He excels in defensive tactics rather than offense, and his naivety makes those around him doubtful of his eventual 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 reliable ally is Kage, a creature who looks like an evil black puddle, but who learns to love Bojji? Ranking of Kings is special not only for its adventure, but because Bojji is the best boy and well worth following on his great journey.

Max Covill is a freelance writer for Paste Magazine. For more anime, movie, and television news and reviews you can follow him, @mhcovill.

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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