7 Best Anime Series of 2022 (So Far) – Esquire

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While popular series like My Hero Academia, Chainsaw Man, and Bleach are set to premiere in the fall, new originals are exciting audiences with their bold, fresh styles.
2022 is gearing up to be a massive year for anime. Crunchyroll acquired Funimation’s library to become the anime destination online, and Netflix announced that they would start producing their own originals as well. While popular series like My Hero Academia, Chainsaw Man, and Bleach are set to premiere in the fall, new originals such as Ranking of Kings and the return of Demon Slayer are exciting audiences with their bold, fresh animation styles.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best anime of 2022 (so far) and will update the list as amazing new entries are released throughout the year.
Following the success of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, a 2020 anime movie that shattered Japan’s box office records even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the teenage hero Tanjiro returned in early 2022 for a second season of epic fights and mayhem. The series, praised for its beautiful animation, is currently in the “Entertainment District Arc,” which sees Tanjiro and friends tracking down a dangerous demon disguised as a high-ranking courtesan.
Even though the English dub just released last month, a third season for the highly successful anime adaptation has already been greenlit.
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The most highly anticipated anime event of the year, the last episode of Attack on Titan’s final season just aired in Japan, shocking audiences completely. Though marred by controversy due to the show’s imperialist messaging and borderline fascist undertones, the series developed a massive American audience.
Evolving over the course of several major twists that turn the original concept on its head, Attack on Titan centers around a post-apocalyptic future in which cities build massive walls to keep out the “titans,” giant, killer humanoids that roam the Earth.
For better or worse, the slow buildup of fan theories and plot reveals was the kind of spectacle that Game of Thrones viewers could recall with excitement and shock, proving the power that strong characters have on their devoted fanbases.
Hulu
A short, six-episode limited series (rare for anime!), The Orbital Children follows five young heroes as they try to navigate through a space station headed toward disaster. The cute kids and their brightly colored world hit Netflix in January, wowing audiences with its crisp animation style.
Created by Mitsuo Iso, a veteran animator of classic anime like FLCL and Ghost in the Shell, The Orbital Children is his first new story in over 15 years. That wait was long but, ultimately, worth it.
Netflix
Ranking of Kings is the adorable tale of Bojji, a tiny prince readying to take the throne from his father. Completing selfless acts and learning to break out of his shell, Bojji is all heart as he discovers what it means to be not just a good leader, but a good person as well.
Complicating the story is his half-brother Daida, who believes that power and conquest could be his way to the throne, putting him in direct opposition to young Bojji.
Amazon
A heartwarming romance about two classmates who help each other tear down conceptions of masculinity, Sasaki and Miyano builds on the history of Boys Love comics, which feature gay romances.
Though Miyano is afraid of letting people in, Sasaki helps break down his walls, and you can’t help but root for these two to grow together.
Amazon
Tokyo 24th Ward is a new original anime by JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure creative director Tsuda Naokatsu, that follows a Minority Report-like plot about people who predict crimes before they happen.
Living in the titular 24th Ward of Tokyo Bay, the three protagonists are classic anime pretty boys that fans will surely fawn over (something that Naokatsu clearly carried over from his experience working on JoJo’s androgynously handsome main characters). That all works here with an exciting new tale.
Amazon
The pirate fantasy epic One Piece, one of the most popular anime series of all time, is currently in its 20th (!) season. The show achieved a massive milestone back in November when they premiered their 1,000th episode, coinciding with the announcement of the upcoming Netflix live action series.
A tale of a world covered in oceans where pirate crews sail the seas, One Piece may be slowing its release schedule as it catches up with the source material, but its success is showing no signs of stopping. Thank god for that.
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