Best of 2022 is ComingSoon’s week-long celebration of the entertainment that made the past year so memorable.
2022 has been a crazy year for fans of action-based shonen anime, which are usually action-packed manga and anime series with a target audience of young boys. Old series have made a comeback, new series have debuted with a bang, and thrilling movies have pushed anime further into the public consciousness. If you like all the variations of people fighting in a clash of ideals, there was something for you this year.
Here are some of the best of the bunch that made 2022 a truly special year for anime:
Bleach: Bloody Thousand Year War
One series that returned with a vengeance was Bleach, which is finally getting its concluding story arc adapted into anime form. The first anime adaptation ended on the “Tale of the Lost Agent” (or “Fullbringer”) arc, before the final arc of the original manga. The much-loved “Bloody Thousand Year War” arc, which follows the battle between the Soul Reapers and Quincies, finally gets its due, and it was more than worth the wait.
Although only the first set of episodes have been completed, we have already had some jaw-dropping moments and battles. The series is visually more stunning than ever, the remixes of classic Bleach tracks (by returning composer Shiro Sagisu) are both nostalgic and fresh, and the stpry itself is mesmerizing. If you fell off Bleach during the day, now is the time to get back on the train.
One Piece Movie: Red
If there’s one thing I love, it’s One Piece. There was no shortage of anticipation for One Piece Film: Red, as it was said to focus on Shanks and his apparent daughter, Uta. Given how mysterious Shanks is, gaining new knowledge about him was an exciting prospect. Moreover, Uta’s songs are performed by the famous Japanese singer Ado, who has a very diverse range.
Movie: Red knocked it out of the park. In its running time of just under two hours, the film features brilliant music, a moving story, plenty of fun moments with the characters, and plenty of information about Shanks. Along with the One Piece manga and anime, both of which are starting to ramp up in their respective arcs, it’s fair to say that it’s been a great year for One Piece fans.
Mob Psycho 100 Season 3
It’s no exaggeration to say that Mob Psycho 100 is one of the most serious and heartfelt anime of all time. The series is all about trying to grow and improve while being happy, with a dandy mantle of psychic power-based battles, dazzling visuals, and hilarious comedy. Season 3 piled on even more laughs and touching moments, with the development of Dimple and Mob in particular.
From cults and giant broccoli plants to aliens and the proverbial “shadow me”, Mob and his friends tackle all kinds of personal issues in a way that never once feels hypocritical or like a complacency. Whether you like high-flying esper action or stories about growing up, this new season is not to be missed.
Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes
My guy Gohan has been there. While I was never too mad at his retirement to become a Scholar, seeing him and Piccolo gain new forms as they battle the Red Ribbon Army and their android superheroes is just as thrilling and thrilling as it may seem.
Super Hero has managed to blend that classic Dragon Ball humor with the unparalleled action of Dragon Ball Z in a way that all shonen fans can enjoy. The focus on characters other than Goku and Vegeta was certainly refreshing too, and the animated 3D visuals haven’t lost an ounce of series creator Akira Toriyama’s charming and iconic style. If this is the first 3D step into another new era of Dragon Ball movies, then we’re all set for some good entertainment.
Demon Slayer Season 2
Earlier in 2022, the second season of Demon Slayer ended. This one covered the “Entertainment District” arc, which sees Tanjiro and his allies collaborating with Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui to, well, slay demons.
As you’d expect from Demon Slayer, this season was gorgeous and packed with out-of-this-world action. Tons of fun moments are wrapped around a well-told story arc that tests Tanjiro’s resolve more than any previous trial. Also, this opening theme is a banger.
Finally, the big one. Chainsaw Man has captivated anime fans this year, delivering an outstanding adaptation that never skimps on hard-hitting violence, gore, and emotional punches. Watching Denji battle all manner of fearsome demons has become a highlight of the week, making the final quarter of the year a little more exhilarating.
Although Denji has become one of the internet’s most beloved (and closest) protagonists, the entire cast has found a raucous and excited fan base. The gripping start has people ready for more, and the series will only get wilder as it covers more arcs. If you enjoy Chainsaw Man now, you’ll enjoy it in the future.
Even one or two of these projects would have been highlights in an average year, so getting such an amazing slate made for a brilliant 2022. Next year, series like Rurouni Kenshin, Undead Unluck, Mashle, and Dr. Stone Season 3, so 2023 might just continue this amazing roll the shonen anime is on.