2022 was a great year for anime. Then again, which year wasn’t?

It’s that time once again to look back on the best anime of 2022 and watch them if you haven’t already — or re-watch them for the third time because you simply can’t get these characters out of your head.

Attack on Titan debuted in 2013, and nine years later — shocker — it’s still running, with an ever growing complexity. Joining the dark and gritty genre is Chainsaw Man, which lived up to its hype.

On the opposite end of the spectrum lies Spy x Family and My Dress Up Darling, whose loveable characters will forever remain in our hearts.

7 primetime anime shows that took the year by storm

  • Spy x Family
  • Lycoris Recoil
  • Attack on Titan
  • My Dress Up Darling
  • Demon Slayer
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
  • Chainsaw Man

Spy x Family is a heartwarming comedy

Spy x Family wallpaper featuring Loid, Yor, and Anya Forger
Credit: CloverWorks, Wit Studio

Your mom’s watching it, your kid’s watching it, your neighbor’s sister is watching it — everybody’s watching Spy x Family!

The series stars the Forger family, an extraordinary family comprised of an undercover spy named Loid Forger, a stealthy assassin named Yor Briar, and a telepathic kid named Anya. The three protagonists appear as a normal, functioning family by day, but lead double lives at night with their secret identities.

The anime adaptation premiered in April and has become wildly popular in the community, evident by the sheer amount of cosplays, fan art, and merchandise.

This comedy/slice-of-life series is a highly enjoyable watch for weeaboos of all ages. It shows how an unlikely trio of characters can live together and form a loving, nurturing family that’s very supportive of each other’s goals and dreams.

From its first cour to the second, the anime also exhibited Loid’s growth in personality since he started Operation Strix, then meeting Anya and Yor. Agent Twilight started out as a cold and very formal man but later developed care and compassion, especially when it came to issues concerning his family.

Without a doubt, Spy x Family made a mark in the action-comedy genre and deserves to be recognized as one of the best anime of 2022.

Attack on Titan continues strong as an epic series

Attack on Titan for best anime references in rap music
Credit: Official Shingeki no Kyojin website

Nearing a decade since its first episode, Attack on Titan still stands as a titanic franchise in 2022.

Attack on Titan’s final season turned the world of Paradis and Marley upside down with multiple plot twists. All hope feels lost when you see that the main character Eren Yeager has turned heel to wage wars for his Eldian ancestors.

But the season now puts the spotlight on its true heroes, the remaining members of the Survey Corps. Despite going against their best friend and former ally, Armin, Mikasa, and the rest of the crew are willing to risk everything to stop Eren’s plans for world domination.

It just goes to show that fighting for peace is actually worth dying for.

My Dress Up Darling

My Dress-Up Darling Marin
Credit: CloverWorks

On the surface, My Dress Up Darling is about a best-girl candidate, Marin Kitagawa, wading her way into the cosplay world. Then, eventually, everyone inadvertently falls in love with Wakana Gojo — as does Marin herself, creating a sensational romantic comedy that’s equal parts funny and amorous.

Like cosplay, there are hidden layers here. There’s a decent amount of minutia diving into the specifics of cosplay, like the materials you would use to create a costume, the measurements you need to take, and what kind of wigs to buy. But the main focus of the show is the budding romance between protagonists Gojo and Marin.

While the show is ostensibly about high-schoolers, the themes and animation choices that CloverWorks chooses to expand on veer fully into knowing, coy winks territory. There are some scenes that can be considered brazen, depending on your sensibilities — but it’s never explicit.

The show pulls off romantic Tension to a capital T, and CloverWorks cleverly dances around the edge, leaving you breathless and always wanting more.

Oh, and if you are watching episode 11, put on a good pair of earphones or headphones. That scene becomes so much better.

Demon Slayer

Doma Demon Slayer Entertainment District Arc
Credit: ufotable

The battle between good and evil rages on in Demon Slayer.

The series focuses on a secret society known as the Demon Slayer Corps, an elite group of warriors that was formed to wage a never-ending war against Muzan Kibutsuji and his horde of sadistic demons that have been terrorizing Japan.

Demon Slayer’s main protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado, gets caught up in the battle when Muzan slaughters his family, and his younger sister, Nezuko Kamado, is transformed into a demon. To save his sister and turn her human again, Tanjiro enlists in the Demon Slayer Corps and joins the battle.

The dark fantasy anime has had a meteoric rise since its release in 2018. Demon Slayer’s Mugen Train movie was the highest-grossing film of 2020, earning over US$506.5 million worldwide.

Japanese studio Ufotable, with director Haruo Sotozaki and producer Hikaru Kondo, has masterfully adapted mangaka Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer story and illustrations.

The show has constantly delivered incredible action and great character development. The anime is set to reach new heights once the show introduces Muzan’s Upper Ranked demons in the next Swordsman Village Arc.

Fans can expect death and destruction on a whole new level.

Lycoris Recoil

Lycoris Recoil main characters
Credit: A-1 Pictures

Do you love firearms, friendships between girls, and a good story that makes you question the concept of morality? Lycoris Recoil has them all!

Set in Tokyo, Japan, A-1 Pictures’ Summer 2022 anime entry follows the story of Takina Inoue and Chisato Nishikigi, two assassination agents under the all-girl Lycoris program. Takina and Chisato met following the former’s transfer to LycoReco, a branch of the Direct Attack (DA) crime prevention organization disguised as a café.

Let’s be honest here — the anime was pretty slow. It took forever for Lycoris Recoil to move to its main plot, only picking up by its ninth episode. It was all worth the wait, however, since the anime’s last five episodes certainly kept everyone on the edge of their seats as the fate of Chisato, the DA, and all of Japan hung in the balance.

Despite its slow pace, the series still managed to show the protagonists’ individual charms in-between filler episodes of shopping for underwear and serving poop-looking parfait.

Oh, and did we mention? Both the anime’s opening and ending songs, performed by ClariS and Sayuri, are bangers! Even game developer Hideo Kojima agrees!

Cyberpunk Edgerunners restored the faith of its fanbase

Two characters in Cyberpunk Edgerunners
Screenshot by Joseph Asuncion/ONE Esports

Following the disastrous release of Cyberpunk 2077 in 2020, CD Projekt RED redeemed itself by turning the interesting, tech-savvy IP into an impeccable anime.

Cyberpunk Edgerunners unravels the harsh realities of life through main character David Martinez. Broke and orphaned after a tragic accident, he makes ends meet by doing odd jobs with a rag-tag group of cyberpunks.

While David climbs up the ranks as one of Night City’s top cyberpunks, there’s still much left to be desired in his life. Following a slip-up on one of his gigs, he struggles to deal with his trauma and eventually sees how it bleeds into his relationships.

Beyond the gore and glitz, Cyberpunk Edgerunners doesn’t shy away from showing how Night City’s fast-paced lifestyle can drive you crazy.

Chainsaw Man

Aki and the squad in Chainsaw Man anime
Screenshot by Joseph Asuncion/ONE Esports

Chainsaw Man’s anime adaptation made a massive splash at the tail end of the year.

The series follows the cliche shonen tropes of a downtrodden teen protagonist who’s got a devil stuck inside him — much like Naruto and Jujutsu Kaisen — but Denji’s story feels just a bit more relatable.

After getting killed by his father’s creditor, Denji merges with his best friend, a devil dog, and becomes the unstoppable monstercalled Chainsaw Man. He then finds a new life under the supervision of Makima, a high-ranking Public Safety officer who’s interested in his powers.

The best part about the series is how Denji reacts to his new life as a devil-human hybrid. Instead of thinking that he’s a superweapon that can save the world, he continues to have a down-to-earth attitude about everything, only caring about his next meal and hanging out with girls.

If you’re into gory fight scenes, teenage tomfoolery, and themes of existentialism, then this is the anime for you.

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