Every year, over a hundred new anime series will be released, and fans only have so much time they can devote to watching them. Here are four of the absolute best new anime series to debut in 2022, and with plenty of confirmations to go on, now is the perfect time to jump on board.
Quality is obviously an important metric when it comes to establishing the best, and this applies to both writing quality and animation quality. Fan reaction also plays a big role; series that got a lot more buzz were more likely to end up on the list. Impressive opening (OP) and ending (ED) themes, cool characters and designs, and pure style are also factors that can help an anime series rank high. Without further ado, here are (in no particular order) four of the best anime series of 2022.
Cyberpunk: Edge Runners
The Cyberpunk: Edgerunners anime was a highly anticipated project. A Netflix series, it’s actually a spin-off of the Cyberpunk 2077 video game, which itself is based on the Cyberpunk tabletop role-playing system. The story follows David, a poor child in the dystopian world of Night City. David’s mother works hard to get him to school, but David isn’t really interested in becoming a costumer and moving up the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, David’s mother is killed almost immediately, leaving the young man alone. Faced with an indifferent world that demands huge sums of money from him, David meets Lucy, a “picksocket” who steals cybernetic items from people. He decides to become an “edgerunner”, a type of cybernetic mercenary, using a salvaged military-grade implant to fight.
Animated by Studio Trigger, known for Kill la Kill and the Power Rangers parody SSSS.Gridman, Edgerunners truly captures the grungy feel of most cyberpunk works, while simultaneously creating a setting that feels uncomfortably close to modern. Edgerunners is all about style and isn’t afraid to use color, as evidenced by Lucy’s rainbow hair. Still, the show does an incredible job of turning its characters into likable, relatable people despite the actions they’re forced to take. It also takes full advantage of the incredible Cyberpunk setting, creating a world that touches on all the key tenets of the genre while giving many of them a unique twist. Even sci-fi fans who don’t normally watch anime would do well to check out the series, as there are few other works like it. Be warned, though: the show can be quite graphic when it comes to sex and nudity as well as violence and gore.
The Chainsaw Man manga has already been making waves for years, so the anime adaptation was certainly highly anticipated. The series follows Denji, a man deeply in debt who sells his own body parts and hunts demons for money. He does this with the help of an evil “dog” named Pochita, who has a chainsaw sticking out of his head but is otherwise incredibly friendly. But when the men who were in his debt lured him into a trap, Denji nearly died…until Pochita fused with him, creating the devil-human hybrid, Chainsaw Man. As Chainsaw Man, Denji slaughters the zombie devil responsible for it but passes out from exhaustion. He is discovered there by Makima, an official Devil Hunter from a government organization, who recruits Denji and puts him to work slaying demons.
Chainsaw Man is animated by MAPPA, which previously worked on the last season of Jujutsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan, and its animation is pretty smooth. The series revels in gore and violence, but does it in a flashy and stylish way. The series has also made a name for itself for its ending themes. Demons are suitably crude and inhuman, while Chainsaw Man’s Denji himself remains a relatable character, always dreaming of the day when his life might be a little less shitty. While the gore may be a turn off for some, those who can tolerate it will find there’s a lot more beneath the surface of Chainsaw Man.
Spy X Family
For something completely different, there’s Spy X Family, read simply as “Spy Family.” Spy X Family is about a spy codenamed “Twilight” from the fictional country of Westalis in the early 20th century. Twilight, better known to Spy x Family fans as Loid Forger, is given a mission that requires her to build a fake family to cover herself in order to infiltrate a prestigious school. Loid adopts a child – the precocious Anya, who is also gifted with the ability to read minds, although Loid does not know it. He ends up meeting a young woman named Yor who agrees to marry him shortly after meeting, but Yor also has a secret: she is the assassin known as Thorn Princess. A family brought together by circumstances that each carries a secret about the other leads to all sorts of crazy situations.
Spy X Family uses its slightly goofy premise for both comedy and action, which the series excels at. Loid and Yor both look driven and dangerous when doing their jobs, providing the show with opportunities for some cool action scenes. Anya provides most of the comic relief, as her psychic powers often let her know things she’s not supposed to and lead to wild choices to hide her secret. While the animation is good, where Spy X Family really shines is its music, which uses jazzy big band songs to emphasize both the action and the era. For those looking for both a laugh and a fight scene, you can’t go wrong with Spy X Family.
Recoil of Lycoris
Lycoris Recoil is an action anime series with slice of life elements. Lycoris is a government assassination group that exclusively uses young orphan girls as agents, who fight to keep the peace in Tokyo. The story follows Takina, a Lycoris agent placed on probation after breaking orders to save another girl. This finds her reassigned to “LycoReco”, a cafe run by the agency as a cover, to work with Chisato, another Lycoris agent famous for his involvement in a radio tower incident some time before. Chisato’s energetic personality contrasts with Takina’s pragmatic, work-oriented demeanor, and the pair must learn to work together as they attempt to unravel a mystery involving pirates, arms deals, and terrorists.
Lycoris Recoil is not based on a manga, but rather an original animated project from A-1 Pictures, a subsidiary of Aniplex. The series is loaded with shooters, which leads to the inclusion of many great action scenes. Although Chisato and Takina’s dynamic isn’t the most original, it’s well executed here and the two girls are likable. The series has caught the eye of Western critics for its depiction of state-sponsored violence, but while that can be overlooked, there’s a lot to enjoy here for fans of gun-based action.