FEATURE: Crunchyroll News Staff Picks Their Favorite Anime of the Year
See what we've all been watching and loving in 2022!
Another year is winding down, so it's finally time for all of us to stop second guessing ourselves and commit… to an Anime of the Year! While you won't be getting any definitive rankings from us, the Crunchyroll News staff has taken this opportunity to list their favorite anime of 2022. This has been another great year for anime, and now is the best time to take a moment to reflect on the shows that made it special while we prepare for another loaded season.
NOTE: Much like our favorite games, these are in alphabetical order by title!
Aharen-san wa Hakarenai
It's been a rough year, so a series that is both gentle and consistently funny was a welcome respite from the stresses of 2022. Aharen-san wa Hakarenai has whip-crack comic timing and genuine character growth, so it gets my vote for favorite 2022 anime.
- Paul Thomas Chapman, Contributing Writer - EN
Honorable mentions: Chainsaw Man, Pop Team Epic Season 2, I'M KODAMA KAWASHIRI, SABIKUI BISCO, The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2
Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2
Two Brothers and The Dawn of Humanity. Need I say more?
- Kristine Don, Senior Editorial Manager
Honorable mentions: SPY x FAMILY, Komi Can't Communicate, My Dress Up-Darling, Chainsaw Man, Kotaro Lives Alone
This anime is packed with twists and turns and never fails to keep the audience engaged. The music is perfect, it's part of the storytelling of the anime and speaks directly to the souls of the fans. The opening and ending are both masterpieces. I can't wait to see the true ending of the series, to look at every piece of the plot coming together.
- Francesco Ventura, IT Editor
Honorable mentions: Chainsaw Man, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc
BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls' Story-
I'm a sucker for sports anime, but especially when they're incredibly over-the-top and the stakes are shot way out in the stratosphere. BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls' Story is about two girls who are head over heels for each other and also happen to have practically supernatural abilities at golf. Throw in some mob entanglement and you have the Golf or Die anime of the year.
- Joseph Luster, Sr. EN News Editor
Honorable mentions: Chainsaw Man, My Dress-Up Darling, SABIKUI BISCO, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2, Ranking of Kings Cour 2, SPY x FAMILY, Mob Psycho 100 III
Call of the Night
It wouldn't be completely remiss to label Call of the Night as "no thoughts, just vibes", if only it didn't somehow manage to meaningfully ponder the times and spaces we inhabit as well. Raw gremlin-fueled fun with a precise mix of drama, romance and a stellar soundtrack; it may not be the most impressive of the year, but it is my unabashed favorite in the visual and enjoyment departments.
- Liam Dempsey, Senior EN Producer
Honorable mentions: Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Kaguya-sama: Love is War -Ultra Romantic-, Ya Boy Kongming!, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, BOCCHI THE ROCK!, Pop Team Epic Season 2
Chainsaw Dogs, Chainsaw Fiction, The Tokyo Chainsaw Massacre – MAPPA’s adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga is all about movies. It’s not just anime and manga but a piece of work that synthesizes different media including cinema, music, anime, manga, literature and so on.
The series revolves around the most significant elements of the art of imagination, therefore you dive into different levels similar to how the main characters in Christopher Nolan’s Inception were traveling around dreams. By the way, the hotel episode of Chainsaw Man heavily refers to this movie as well.
- Asya Zabolotskaya, RU Editor
Simply one of the best anime in recent years! Animation, voices, story, adaptation, music... whoa!
- Julio Velez - ES Editor
Honorable Mentions: SPY x FAMILY, Urusei Yatsura, My Dress-Up Darling
Kaguya-sama: Love is War -Ultra Romantic-
THEY DID THE THING. They pulled it off. The crew at A-1 Pictures have mastered the art of romantic suspense, building this adorably wholesome comedy up for three seasons before giving us all the biggest dang smile on earth. In a year where tentpole shonen series ruled the conversation, Kaguya-sama puts up a fight. And in my opinion? It totally wins. Also more Ishigami is always a good thing.
- Nicholas Friedman, Sr. Manager, EN Editorial
Honorable mentions: Kotaro Lives Alone, BOCCHI THE ROCK!, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Lycoris Recoil, Do It Yourself!!, Ranking of Kings Cour 2, SPY x FAMILY, Call of the Night
Mob Psycho 100 III
The Mob Psycho 100 anime has always been a top-tier series. Outstanding animation, charismatic characters and such an emotional story about a boy trying to deal with his own emotions and growth. The last season is delivering everything Mob deserves to go out with a blast.
- Samir Fraiha, Senior Contributing Writer - PT
Honorable mentions: Aoashi, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, BOCCHI THE ROCK!
My Dress-Up Darling
My Dress-Up Darling wonderfully combined the beauty of the Japanese cosplay scene with an adorable blossoming love story with absolutely breathtaking animation and direction that made for an engaging watch each week.
- Daryl Harding, Senior Japan Correspondent
Honorable mentions: Mob Psycho 100 III, Chainsaw Man, SPY x FAMILY, Kaguya-sama: Love is War -Ultra Romantic-, Tatami Time Machine Blues, Pokémon Journeys, Suzume
Sabikui Bisco is nonstop, over-the-top action with hard "only in anime" vibes. There are hippos with lasers, gigantic rideable crabs, and each character is more hard-core than the last. What's not to love?
Kathleen Townsend, Senior Contributing Writer - EN
Honorable mentions: SPY x FAMILY; I'm the Villainess, So I'm Taming the Final Boss; Ya Boy Kongming!
Sasaki and Miyano
It's a tough choice this year and I have a lot of absolute favorites, but the anime I keep coming back to is Sasaki and Miyano. It's like a nice, warm hug when you need it, with easy to love characters and an extremely accurate depiction of that moment when you realize you have a crush on someone. The time it takes to let the characters explore their feelings is wonderful, and the wink to the camera moments on the genre it's a part of is entertaining to watch.
- Briana Lawrence, Senior EN Features Editor
Honorable mentions: Chainsaw Man; SPY x FAMILY; My Hero Academia Season 6; BLUELOCK; BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls' Story-; Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury; Play It Cool, Guys; Salaryman's Club; Dance Dance Danseur
SPY x FAMILY
SPY x FAMILY was already a great manga and the anime adaptation completely nails the tone and approach. The series is so incredibly heartwarming and delightful and wholesome, using all of that to get us invested in a family that is ultimately fake—the small bits of happiness Loid, Yor and Anya (and goodest boy Bond) experience are real, but the scenario is not.
That's what makes the anime so powerful, the level of joy and familial warmth felt is ultimately build on a frame of tragedy and sadness and the cost of war; it's one of the most deeply affecting and powerful anime to come out in the last decade.
- Sean Aitchison, Sr. Contributing Writer
Honorable mentions: Kaguya-sama: Love Is War -Ultra Romantic-, SABIKUI BISCO, Dragon Ball Super: SUPER HERO, My Dress-Up Darling, Do It Yourself, Romantic Killer
Not only does SPY x FAMILY have a unique premise but it's a mix of wholesome and chaotic moments. It's a new definition of a found family where each person has a secret that they can't share with each other. Plus, Anya is a whole MOOD with her humor and expressions.
- Deanna Nguyen, Senior Writer - EN
Honorable mentions: Chainsaw Man
Saying you like SPY x FAMILY is like saying you like chocolate. It would be really weird if you didn’t. But this show just does everything right and it elevates an already great manga to new heights. This has been an incredible year for anime, with many, MANY excellent shows, but I’m choosing an obvious one. How could I not?
Amílcar Trejo Mosquera, Sr. Contributing Writer - ES
Honorable mentions: Summer Time Rendering, Yofukashi no Uta, Lycoris Recoil, Kaguya-sama: Love is War -Ultra Romantic-
This was a tough choice because the anime this year has been so good. SPY x FAMILY won my heart by being that show to watch when you want to feel happy. It is wholesomeness packed into great animation and it includes hilarious characters, an interesting plot filled with all kinds of action, artistic frames, nice music, and it will make you laugh without fail.
I’d strongly recommend it to anyone new to anime. My other choice is BOCCHI THE ROCK!; you should watch that one too if you’re looking for another wholesome anime.
Paola Stoncius, Editorial SEO Manager
Honorable mentions: BOCCHI THE ROCK!, Chainsaw Man, Lycoris Recoil
Alright, I admit that I'm in love with everything SPY x FAMILY, from the manga to the anime, and I never tire of talking and writing about it. How can I not when it has every element of a hit series? Most importantly it manages to keep the balance between entertainment, depth and splendid quality. My first encounter with SPY x FAMILY was with the wholesome manga by Tatsuya Endo, but when the anime produced by WIT STUDIO and CloverWorks first aired, I was so much like Anya in the first episode when she pointed at the TV screen saying: "I love this show."
There are many factors that make SPY x FAMILY work, from the artful direction to the interesting plot, and Anya's relatable expressions (does anyone else get Chibi Maruko-chan vibes?), but the relationship dynamic between the characters are a major win in my opinion; the very things that separate them are the very same things that keep them together. There's something for everyone in this series, and I can easily recommend it to everyone. I really love this show.
- Nada Ali - AR Editor
Honorable mentions: Ranking of Kings Cour 2, BLUELOCK, Chainsaw Man, BOCCHI THE ROCK!, My Dress-Up Darling
I was honestly thinking of choosing something different because I just know a lot of people are going to pick SPY x FAMILY, but I couldn’t do that to the Forgers. I’ve been following Anya, Bond, Yor and Loid for so long in the manga—and now finally seeing them animated is AMAZING. I almost cried out of happiness after the first episode. Honestly, WIT Studio and CloverWorks are doing such an amazing job on this series; an outstanding adaptation.
- José Sassi, PT Editor
Honorable mentions: Pokémon, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Chainsaw Man, My Dress-Up Darling, SALARYMAN’S CLUB
It has the fun, the charm and the characters to back this crazy story. Plus, who wouldn't want to know someone like Anya, Yor or Loid?
- Mohamed Mir, Sr. Contributing Writer - FR
Honorable mentions: Chainsaw Man, BLUELOCK, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Do It Yourself!!, Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2, My Hero Academia Season 6
Action and intrigue meets family fun and love. There's something for everyone and the characters are adorable.
- Carolyn Burke EN Features Editor
Honorable mentions: My Hero Academia, Chainsaw Man
Summer Time Rendering
Summer Time Rendering offers a suspenseful mystery story which doesn't shy away from bloodying its hands. Every episode kept me on the edge of my seat, and it had some of the best-animated fight scenes (and scenes overall) this year. Most of all, it scored with its unspent story and incredible Japanese voice acting.
- Melanie Höpfler, DE Editor
Honorable mentions: The Case Study of Vanitas, SABIKUI BISCO, Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie, My Dress-Up Darling
Tatami Time Machine Blues
The unexpected sequel to 2010's sleeper hit The Tatami Galaxy picks back up right where the first series left off and manages to maintain the same level of humor and narrative depth. It's as if no time has passed between either series, and fans of the first as well as Night Is Short, Walk On Girl need to watch Time Machine Blues to truly complete the cycle with Tomohiko Morimi's memorable characters as they use ever more grandiose solutions to fix the most minute problems. Shingo Natsume stands in for Masaaki Yuasa in the director's chair, but they might as well be the same person because Natsume manages to maintain and even improve on Yuasa's sense of pace and comedic timing, a truly rare feat for a sequel series.
- Humberto Saabedra - Contributing Writer - EN
Honorable mentions: BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls' Story, Ranking Of Kings Cour 2, Lycoris Recoil
Did your favorites make our list? Let us know in the comments!
Joseph Luster is the Games and Web editor at Otaku USA Magazine. You can read his comics at subhumanzoids. Follow him on Twitter @Moldilox.