The Best Anime Of 2022 (So Far) That You Can Stream Right Now
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This has been a great year for anime fans. Not only did we get solid seasons from some of the most popular shows, we also got new titles with exciting premises. There are romantic comedies, action-packed Shōnen series, the first serialized adaptation of a hit manga and more. Essentially, anime fans are eating well, and the year isn't even over yet--the upcoming Chainsaw Man show sounds awesome.
With there being so many great shows to watch, it can be hard to keep up. And that's before getting into what is or isn't available on a given streaming platform; there's plenty of worthwhile anime that aren't featured on Crunchyroll, for example. Because of this, we have cobbled together a collection of the best anime of 2022 (so far). With everything from musicals to horror themed shows, there's bound to be a show that resonates with everyone. And don't worry, there's still plenty more of 2022 to get through, which will undoubtedly bring even more fantastic anime. For what you need to keep your eyes on this year so far, though, take a look below.
10: Vampire in the Garden (Netflix)
Vampire in the Garden is a thought-provoking tale about two warring races. For years, humans and vampires have been at each other's throats (no pun intended). This eventually causes a shift in power where humans are considered second class citizens, unable to partake in fine art because to them, it's been weaponized to seduce and/or convert them into vampires. The vampires, who were once of lowly status, feel that the humans are cattle and nothing more.
The anime is seen from the perspective of Fine and Momo, the vampire queen and daughter of a human general, respectively. Thanks to a shared interest in music, their paths cross on the battlefield. What they soon discover is that not everyone wants to continue fighting. On the contrary, both of them would rather find a way to live peacefully with their human/undead counterparts. What follows is a perilous journey across a war torn world as they try to find a place where they won't be hunted from all sides.
Vampire in the Garden is a quality anime. It has an interesting story, decent action, and solid visuals. And with its short runtime (the whole story is told through five episodes) it's certainly bingeable.
9. Spriggan (Netflix)
This anime is mainly for the fans of the Spriggan manga. Following the exploits of Yu Ominae, a 16-year-old super soldier tasked with finding and securing powerful out-of-place artifacts (OOPArt), it features all sorts of wild fights and interesting story beats.
As the first animated show--the only other adaptation being the classic 1998 film--Netflix's Spriggan offers a nearly one-to-one recreation of the manga. This has its pros and cons. The first season isn't very long and doesn't do a ton in terms of character building. Instead, the idea is to set up the pieces for later events (like in the manga) by doing a little world building. This is mostly done via Yu's hunt for the varied OOPArt, some of which are pulled from historic and religious texts. Like Noah's Ark being a time-manipulating ship/earth destroying weather machine.
There are plenty of cool fights between cybernetically enhanced individuals in a world where any and everything seems possible. Newcomers might not like that its six episodes don't have a ton of connective tissue at the moment. There's also an issue concerning some bad CG. That said, Spriggan is still one of the better anime to be released this year.
8. Love After World Domination (Crunchyroll)
Love After World Domination is a hilarious romantic comedy that follows the newly formed courtship of Reaper Princess (a teen villain) and Red Gelato (a teen hero), an odd pairing that can only meet up when their opposing factions are fighting each other. Adding to this twist is the fact that they live in a world that's derived from the Super Sentai series.
Children are raised to either be good, bad or neutral (if they don't have any fighting skills) and everyone views this as an ok way to live. It's all absurd, but the cast plays it straight. So it would be extremely taboo if everyone found out that Red Gelato, the leader of a superhero team, was dating Reaper Princes, a general from the evil Secret Society Gekko. Their relationship is kept on the low but considering that neither of them have ever dated before, their meet-ups always almost end in disaster.
Love After World Domination is basically a mashup of Power Rangers and an awkward rendition of Romeo and Juliet. It's great!
7. Tomodachi Game (Crunchyroll)
This anime can't help but be compared to Squid Game. It features a similar premise: a group of people are made to compete in games in order to entertain shady individuals. There are some key differences though. For one, those that lose aren't immediately killed in some violent fashion. That's not to say that people don't die. Just that their deaths usually happen outside the game…
Tomodachi Game is less about socio-economic issues and classism and more squarely focused on friendship and human nature. There are perralles. The groups all share a large debt and most win games in order to either clear their name or pass it on to someone else. This set up leads to all sorts of drama, with in-fighting and secrets being spilled left and right. What really sets it apart though is the aptitude of the main character, Yūichi Katagiri. We won't spoil what happens, only to say that he's an "evil" genius who develops clever ways of getting around each game. Tomodachi Game is a solid anime for sure. But it's mainly worth watching to see how Yūichi competes with and against his fellow students.
6. Kotaro Lives Alone (Netflix)
Kotaro Live Alone can be a tough watch. It follows the story of a four-year-old boy (Kotaro) who lives alone in an apartment building. Each episode is broken into segments that depict certain aspects of his day to day life. Each one showcases Kotaro doing something that seems somewhat eccentric. It isn't until later on that the audience is shown why he thinks the way he does. The reveal is usually heartbreaking, yet profound.
Kotaro Lives Alone is sad at times as it deals with varying degrees of child abuse, any of which may be triggering to an unsuspecting viewer. That said, there's also a ton of levity and heartfelt moments that'll leave a positive lasting impression.
5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Crunchyroll)
It would be easy to say that Demon Slayer made the list based off of its previous seasons. That we're recommending it because of a growing apperitation for certain characters or some epic conclusion to a long tale. And while some of that is true, we'd still recommend this season, namly the Entertainment District Arc, because it's amazing in its own right.
Yes, it's important to follow each arc in order to know the stakes. Who's who and all that. But even if you didn't know who Tanjiro was or why he's fighting demons, you should still be able to appreciate the action packed fights. Picking up after the Mugen Train film, the Entertainment District Arc sees our protagonists going toe-to-toe with a pair of demon siblings. These higher level villains are a force to be reckoned with, prompeting some exciting new moves and transformations from series' faves during the fray. The result is some of the best action sequences in recent memory. Seriously, Ufotable outdid themselves with great line work, vivid splashes of color, and awesome choreography.
Demon Slayer isn't just a flashy action-based anime. There is a decent plot, the telling of which has improved since the film; there's some character growth here. We also got a better look at the main villain with hints of what's to come. It's an exciting season.
4. Ranking of Kings (Crunchyroll)
Ranking of Kings is unique in almost every aspect. The animation is something special, featuring strong bold lines and a softness that invokes a pastel or painterly, almost water-color effect at times. This styling contrasts with the overall tone of the anime. While it features a lot of heartfelt moments, the Ranking of Kings is dark narrative wise.
The story takes place in a fantasy world where powerful beings known as Gods rank the kings of varying races. The king with the highest rank--based on several factors, including that person's overall strength--is allowed into the god's treasure vault to basically acquire whatever it is they're looking for in life. This setup breeds all sorts of evil as each king tries to outdo the others.
This basic premise is the foundation for prince Bojji, the main protagonist's plight. As a deaf character, who's weak in stature, he's forced to overcome all sorts of adverse situations in order to become king. Don't let the charming aesthetics fool you. Ranking of Kings' characters are quick to do something vile and/or bloody one another in combat. That said, Bojji's story is always worth championing, ultimately culminating in a grand adventure thanks to a memorable cast and awesome action sequences, all set in an intriguing fantasy world.
3. Ya Boy Kongming (HIDIVE)
Ya Boy Kongming has to have one of the oddest premises ever. It follows the life of Zhuge Liang Kongming, a military strategist who dies during the Three Kingdoms period of China, only to be reborn in modern Japan. He eventually befriends a singer named Eiko Tsukimi, who's music was so moving that he decides to help her achieve her dreams of stardom. Again, the premise is odd.
On paper, it shouldn't work. A tactician using war-time strategies to help a singer make it big is a hard sell. And yet, somehow Ya Boy Kongming works. It features decent humor, great music (there's even a series of rap battles, 8-Mile style), and an endearing group of characters. The animation is great too. The only issue is that Ya Boy Kongming can only be seen on certain streaming platforms. Those of us living in Japan (or who know how to change their VPN) can watch it on Netflix. Everyone else can use HIDIVE. The catch is that it requires a subscription. Thankfully, you can use the site's 14 day free trial to binge Ya Boy Kongming for "free."
2. Spy x Family (Crunchyroll)
Spy x Family is a delightful comedic anime about a makeshift family trying to fit into high society. The father, code named Twilight, is a famous spy who's been tasked with getting close to a reclusive political leader. The only way he can do that is by enrolling his child into the same private school as his target's son. Unfortunately for Twilight, he doesn't have a child. So he adopts Anya, a sweet little girl who just so happens to be a telepath.
Adopting Anya wasn't enough. Twilight would also need to be married; not just anyone can get into this particular school. Lucky for him, an assassin named Yor Briar is looking for a husband in order to quell everyone's suspicion--apparently, any unmarried woman over the age of 25 is seen as a troublemaker or some sort of spy. What's interesting about this arrangement is that neither Twilight or Yor Briar know what the other does professionally. They also don't know that Anya can read minds. Anya, on the other hand, knows all of their secrets.
Spy x Family entertains on multiple levels. The wild situations these characters get into (while trying not to blow their cover) is always amusing. And while there isn't much in terms of action, when the fists do start flying, so do the bodies. Violently. Twilight and Yor are both trained in hand to hand combat and it shows. Lastly, there's the potential for this fake family to become real. Anya wants to stay with her parents, lest she get sent back to the orphanage. And Twilight and Yor will seemingly grow to like one another. At least, one could hope anyways.
1. One Piece (Crunchyroll)
While Demon Slayer might not have made the list based on past seasons, One Piece certainly does. Everything from the previous episodes have led us to the final moments of the Wano Country Arc. Of course, by final moments, I mean however many episodes it takes to see Luffy defeat Kaido.
The Wano Country Arc is full of exciting reveals for our pirate heroes. It's also a world changing event, not unlike the Summit War of Marineford. The most recent episodes make that clear, as they've been focused on Luffy and crew's fight with Big Momma and Kaido, two of the Four Emperors of the sea. The fighting has been brutal, with our heroes taking the brunt of the damage. The lengthy battle has proven to be epic in scope.
The outcome of this encounter is extremely important. If Luffy wins, not only will he right a wrong committed a generation ago and subsequently free the country of Wano, he'll also dethrone two of the strongest villains in One Piece. The stakes are higher than they've ever been, which makes sense given how this is the next to last arc for the anime/manga. We're heading into the home stretch for the series as a whole.
One Piece is easily one of the best Shōnen anime ever. The latest season helps in solidifying its spot. Here's hoping that the show catches up with the manga sooner than later as we're all eager to see what happens after Kaido's fall!