How do you measure the success of a year? The money you made? The places you went? The people you met? For me, one of the most important defining features of a year is which anime I completed during it. Now that the calendar has officially turned to 2023, I can say that in 2022, I finished watching 29 different anime, nearly all of which both started and finished airing within that same year. Here are all of the 2022 anime that I watched, ranked from worst to best (based on how much I enjoyed them)!
21. Yuri no Aida ni Hasamareru. Aru Asa Dummy Head ni Natte Ita Ore-kun no Jinsei
Why did I not drop this anime after the very first episode? I guess since each episode is only 3 minutes long, I figured I might as well stick it out till the end, but even 3 minutes was far too much for this nonsense. I think I only laughed twice in this entire series, which is pretty bad for a comedy.
20. Shoot! Goal to the Future
I am a simple woman: I see a sports anime, I watch it. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best decision. Out of the 37 sports anime I’ve watched so far (yes, I counted), this one ranks among the lowest. This anime is almost comically bad. Most of the main characters have unbearable personalities, and the plot is so melodramatic while taking itself too seriously.
It is also apparently a sequel to a 90s anime called Blue Legend Shoot! which I’ve never heard of, but the coach in this show was apparently also in that series and he frequently references other characters from it. Maybe that would have been cool if I knew what they were talking about, but Blue Legend Shoot! doesn’t seem to have a big enough fanbase to reasonably expect audiences to know about it almost 30 years later.
19. Futsal Boys!!!!!
This anime is not much better than the previous one. Some of my all-time favorite sports anime (Free!, Haikyuu!!, and Yuri!!! On Ice) contain exclamation points in their titles, so I thought that a show with five in the title must be worth the hype. It was not.
The main character’s sad backstory (i.e. daddy issues) fails to leave an impact and us underdeveloped, plus the animation is very low quality. However, I do still want to play the video game if I can find it, so it’s not like I hated it so much I want nothing to do with it ever again. Maybe the game is better.
18. Love All Play
It really seemed like the Sports Anime Gods blessed us this year with so many new sports anime coming out, but unfortunately, most of them were not very good.
Love All Play does absolutely nothing to set it apart from any other run-of-the-mill sports anime, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this show is just frankly boring.
17. The Devil is a Part-Timer! 2
I was so excited for this show to finally get a second season after nearly 10 years, especially because I remember the first season being absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, I felt the sequel paled in comparison. It wasn’t as funny as I expected; at the same time, however, it’s been so long since I watched the first season that maybe my expectations were a bit skewed.
Interestingly, it sets up for another season better than the first one did, and yet now I’m less eager for a season 3 than I had been for a season 2.
16. Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club Season 2
The first season of Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is one of my comfort anime; however, the cast was already almost awkwardly large, so the addition of three new idols was a bit much.
I also didn’t really understand why Lanzhu chose to transfer to a school with a prominent school idol club but then refuse to join that club, even though her goal was to become an idol. I guess it was for the drama?
15. Dance Dance Danseur
I like that this anime is a blatant rejection of toxic masculinity. Despite backlash from his peers and concerns that his late father would be disappointed, the main character turns away from martial arts and towards his true passion for ballet dancing.
The hints of romance aren’t too overbearing, and Luou’s back story is just so artfully heartbreaking. Unfortunately, the ending is so underwhelming, it almost overshadows the positive aspects of this show.
14. Fanfare of Adolescence
Hear me out: I actually rather enjoyed this anime, even if I have to admit it isn’t objectively good. It tackles serious issues like eating disorders and euthanasia, which is unexpected in a sports anime. The tone reminds me of Stars Align, which I believe is extremely sorely underrated.
The animation is subpar (especially with the horses), and the pacing of the plot is poor, but I liked it a lot nonetheless.
13. Heroines Run the Show: The Unpopular Girl and the Secret Task
This show was surprisingly good, considering how little traction it gained. It could have easily turned into your generic love triangle story, which is my absolute LEAST favorite trope, but it didn’t.
The main character is very likable and easy to root for. I also love that she’s not conventionally attractive but doesn’t try to change how she looks to impress the two hot boys she works with. I would say this is one of the most underrated anime of the year.
This anime is sort of like a less extreme version of Blue Lock, which also started airing in 2022 but is not on this list because it will finish airing in 2023.
I really like how instead of a rags-to-riches story, it shows the main character coming to Tokyo despite his family’s financial struggles, and still feeling the impact of those struggles while also fighting to keep up with his teammates. I’m hoping this gets a season 2.
11. Attack on Titan The Final Season: Part II
This series meant so much to me back when I started it in 2013, so I feel the need to stick with it until the end. However, in all honesty, I haven’t enjoyed any season even half as much as I enjoyed season 1. I miss the simplicity of humans versus titans, but now the plot has become convoluted with human warfare.
It’s not as if the anime has gotten worse per se, because it certainly is still a masterpiece… But at this point I just want it to be over. After all, how many times can they say the final season is out, only to say “Actually, wait, we’re splitting it into yet another part”?
10. The Case Study of Vanitas: Part II
This would have ranked higher if this season hadn’t pushed the relationship between Jeanne and Vanitas so much. They feel SO forced as a couple, and the show tries too hard to make it seem like they would be good together.
Even though Jeanne and Vanitas’s relationship isn’t the main focal point, it’s prominent enough to nearly ruin the whole season for me. Still, I love the overall plot of this season, as well as the new characters it introduces.
9. Sabikui Bisco
This is another underrated gem from this year. It was an interesting, whimsical take on a post-apocalyptic world, and the 2 main characters were very likable with excellent chemistry.
I wish it received more attention and had a bigger fanbase.
8. Love Live! Superstar!! Season 2
Out of all the versions of Love Live, I feel like this particular season has the most accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be in a school idol group (not that I would know anything about that, but I can guess).
The struggle to recruit new members despite the group’s popularity, as well as the difficulties of the new members trying to catch up to the skill level of the original members, feels very real. Also, one of the new characters has a pet goat, and I am obsessed with goats. That goat is now my profile picture on TikTok.
7. Mob Psycho 100 III
Mob Psycho is just always so enjoyable. Even though the art style is very simplistic (particularly when it comes to characters’ faces), the animation is actually quite complex, and it only got better this season.
This season is not only full of emotion and important character growth for Mob (who is the most precious, genuine, and lovable shounen protagonist out there), but also lots of amusing gags.
6. The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting
This anime was so cute it made my teeth hurt from the sweetness. It had me intermittently cracking up and tearing up, and also low-key wanting to be a yakuza wife (even though I obviously know that is a horrible dream to have. What can I say? I just love Kirishima that much).
5. Salaryman’s Club
Finally, a modern sports anime about grown men! Don’t get me wrong, I will love high school sports anime for the rest of my life, but it was refreshing to follow characters closer to my own age.
Most of this year’s sports anime may have been flops, but this one was a winner for sure.
4. Chainsaw Man
As one of the most anticipated anime of 2022, in my opinion, it definitely lived up to the hype. The animation is disturbingly realistic, and I mean that in a good way; I’ve never seen anything like it.
Having a different ending sequence and song for every single episode is also an awesome concept. Gory, raunchy, heartbreaking, and hilarious all at once, I absolutely cannot wait for a second season!
3. My Dress-Up Darling
I’m surprised by how good this anime was and how much I enjoyed it, considering I don’t usually like the romance genre. Marin is such a fun, interesting character, and Gojo is just so good and sweet. Plus, the art style is lovely.
This anime really showcases how much money, passion, attention, and hard work can go into the hobby of cosplaying, and it made me want to pick it back up myself.
2. SPY x FAMILY: Part I & II
I don’t even know where to begin to sing my praises of this anime. It is one of the funniest things I have watched in a long time. All 3 of the Forgers are so ridiculously lovable as characters and as a (fake) family, and while dramatic irony usually frustrates me, in this case, it cracks me up.
I have never wanted to get married and adopt a child more than I do every time I watch an episode of this series.
1. Sasaki and Miyano
Be still, my heart! Having grown up consuming media like Junjou Romantica and Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, which abound with horribly toxic tropes, to see such a sweet, wholesome relationship be the focus of a BL anime makes me feel like the genre is healing.
I just adore the irony of a guy who loves boys’ love and often imagines his friends in BL scenarios, but never pictures them for himself because he’s not attracted to men, being the protagonist/love interest of a BL anime.