Happy New Year: 2022 in Review
Hey, thanks for stopping by Mono's Anime Rants. All that's left of the December Holidays is New Year's Eve. To commemorate the past year, I put together an article looking at what I did as an anime blogger in 2022. The biggest change for me was switching from my old WordPress blog to this new site at Wix. This year, I also watched about a dozen new seasonal anime series, as well as writing some interesting blog posts.
In this article, I'll summarize the series I watched and tell you which ones I believe are the best. After that, I'll provide some notes about my plans for the new year, followed by a list of good articles from Mono's Anime Rants. Enjoy!
Part 1: New Anime Series Watched
This is a list of the anime series I saw from 2022. I also re-watched a few old favorites like Ergo Proxy, Future Diary, and Madoka Magica. Finally, I watched the first two arcs of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. But as for anime that aired in 2022, here is my list. Each entry has a paragraph description of the story concept.
1) Tokyo 24th Ward
The 24th Ward of Tokyo is an experimental city on a manmade island, which uses an advanced system called Hazard Cast to predict and prevent crime and accidents. The story follows the lives of three young men in the 24th Ward-- Shuuta, Ran, and Kouki-- as they adjust to being adults and try to cope with the death of their female friend Asumi. One day, the three boys get each get a mysterious phone call warning them about an impending tragedy/crime that they must prevent. The voice on the phone is none other than Asumi. Shuuta, Ran, and Kouki must deal with the stressful predictions to save the maximum number of lives, while trying to unravel the mystery of the phone calls.
2) Sasaki and Miyano
A story of young love, Sasaki and Miyano focuses on two boys who couldn't be more different from each other: the shy and contemplative Miyano, and the boisterous and goofy Sasaki. The boys end up bonding over a new shared interest: reading BL manga. Sasaki quickly develops a crush on Miyano, and Miyano starts seeing Sasaki in a different light as he explores the possibility of being bisexual. This anime is a rare example of a gay romance in anime that isn't problematic. It's just a sweet, calming love story with decent LGBT+ representation.
3) Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 2
The story of AOT continues as the conflict rages between Marleyans and Eldians. Eren has undergone a strange transformation, acting cold and betraying even his dearest friends. He plans to combine his powers with those of the Beast Titan to achieve the power of the Founder and the King at the same time. But once he gets that power, what will he do with it, and can it really stop the endless fighting? While Eren and Zeke hatch their schemes, the two Marleyan children Gabi and Falco must try their best to survive.
4) Tomodachi Game
Five friends are kidnapped and forced to play intense, high-stakes games that test the strength of their friendship compared to their need for financial security. The one explaining the game and enforcing the rules is a creepy mascot from a kid's show called Manabu. The five friends are told that one person among them is a traitor who racked up a huge debt. Everyone now has to work together to pay a portion of the debt by winning prize money. Protagonist Yuuichi is conflicted, wanting to experience true friendship but hiding his dark past. Who is the traitor? And what matters more: money or friends?
5) Spy x Family (Parts 1-2)
Twilight is a secret agent working tirelessly to help keep the peace between two neighboring countries: Ostania and Westalis. One fateful day, his orders tell him to begin Operation Strix: a plan to get top secret information from a man named Donovan Desmond. But the only way to get to Donovan is through the elite school that his young son attends. So Twilight must adopt a child, send her to this school, and use her to get close to his target. The child he adopts is a girl named Anya who has psychic mind-reading powers. In order to imitate a real family, Twilight (now "Loid Forger") must get along with Anya as well as find a wife to complete the family unit. The woman Loid pretends to marry, Yor Briar, is secretly an assassin. So we have a spy, a psychic, and an assassin all in one chaotic family!
6) Ascendance of A Bookworm: Season 3
Things are more dangerous for Apprentice Priestess Myne now than ever before. She has gotten the attention of many power-hungry nobles because of the vast amount of mana she wields. She's also the target of envy and hate from tradesman who hear of her inventions and successful business ventures. Head Priest Ferdinand gives Myne a bodyguard to help protect her against the ever present dangers. Going forward from this point, Myne will have to work harder to achieve her dreams and ensure the safety of her beloved family.
7) Summertime Rendering
After his parents died, Shinpei Ajiro was taken in by the Kofune family, who had two daughters, Ushio and Mio. To pursue better education, Shinpei left his small island home and went to highschool in Tokyo. The story begins with Shinpei returning to the island for a funeral. Ushio apparently drowned while saving another girl. But something isn't right. Shinpei's close friend tells him that the circumstances are suspicious and there were bruises from strangling on Ushio's neck. Thus, Shinpei begins to investigate. You may be expecting a classic murder mystery when you start this anime, but it's actually a supernatural thriller. It's not a question of who killed Ushio, but what killed her. Strange creatures roam the island with a dark agenda.
8) Shadows House (Seasons 1 and 2)
Technical Note: Shadows House's first season aired in 2021
In a large mansion shrouded by grey clouds, there lives a clan of mysterious creatures called the Shadows Family. They are pitch-black and have no faces, but they act like humans. When members of the Shadows family are upset, they give off large amounts of enchanted soot. To clean up the soot that they are always losing, the Shadows keep servants called Living Dolls. It is also the job of a Living Doll to act as the "face" of their Shadow master. Emilico is a brand new Living Doll who serves her mistress, Kate Shadow. Although she loves Kate, Emilico is troubled by and curious about many aspects of her life in the Shadows House. Despite pressure to stop thinking, this young girl begins to seek out answers, slowly revealing the dark secrets of the mansion.
9) Hoshi no Samidare (Lucifer and The Biscuit Hammer)
Yuuhi is a college student whose traumatic upbringing has left him detached, frustrated, and cynical. One day, a talking lizard appears to tell him he is destined to be a Beast Knight and serve the Princess to save the world from being destroyed by a wizard. The wizard, Animus, has a giant hammer poised to fall upon the earth within a year. Yuuhi initially rejects his role as a knight, having no desire to save the world, nor risk his life fighting. However, the "Princess" changes Yuuhi's mind. Her true identity is Samidare Asahina, Yuuhi's cute and eccentric neighbor. She wishes to destroy the world with her own immense power, after the wizard is defeated. Yuuhi falls in love with this bizarre girl and swears to fight by her side.
10) The Devil is a Part-timer! Season 2
In the world of Ente Isle, the demon lord Satan was making war on the human realm. The only one with a chance of stopping him was the angelic sword-wielding hero, Emilia. During their epic battle, a portal was opened and both of them were transported to another world: our modern world. Satan and Emilia-- now Sadao and Emi-- must adjust to this new life. Sadao gets a job at a McRonald's fast food restaurant. In this second season, Sadao and company take care of a mysterious being named Alas Ramus, who takes the form of a toddler. Besides working modern jobs, they now need child-rearing skills too!
11) Mob Psycho 100: Season 3
Shigeo "Mob" Kaegyama is a powerful psychic with a gentle and quiet personality. He tries his best to have self-control in whatever he does, and he hides his powers from most people. But when his intense emotions build up enough-- slowly growing from 1% to 100%-- Mob is known to go a little crazy. This anime follows the life of Shigeo/Mob. Season 3 deals with 2 major arcs and a few in-between episodes. Both arcs are action-packed and full of interesting character development as Mob deals with supernatural threats.
12) Chainsaw Man
The world is full of dangerous devils who prey on humans. Populated areas are protected by government-run units of devil hunters who are allowed to make contracts with certain devils to defeat those that are threatening society. A boy named Denji becomes an independent, unofficial devil hunter for the bounty money. He needs to pay back a huge debt to a cruel yakuza sect who is abusing him endlessly. Denji's only companion is a small dog-like devil with a chainsaw sticking out of it. The little devil bonds with Denji and he names it Pochita.
When the yakuza sect is taken over by devils who try to kill Denji, Pochita sacrifices himself to become Denji's heart and give him the ability to transform into the Chainsaw Devil. After defeating the yakuza devils, Denji gets taken in by a mysterious and extremely attractive woman from public safety: Miss Makima. The boy-devil hybrid begins a new life where his basic needs are being met for the first time -- plus, he gets to keep company with an attractive woman. What could go wrong?
Part 2: Best Anime Series of 2022
This section contains my opinions on which anime series from 2022 were the most impressive and in what ways. I'm notoriously bad at choosing just one of something, so I included six different unofficial "awards" to capture the best parts of a variety of anime series. I will explain my reasoning for each choice.
1) Best General Production Award
The winner is Chainsaw Man. This anime was extremely popular. I think the main reason for that was the production value-- though it may have also been the presence of a main character who is easy for young men to relate to. Anyway, Chainsaw Man looks and sounds amazing. There are a few corners cut here and there with 3D animation, but in most scenes, the visuals are strikingly good. The opening song is a banger, the various ending songs are creative, and the instrumental OST is memorable. In addition to top tier audio-visual quality, the plot of Chainsaw Man is thrilling and the major characters each see some interesting development.
2) Favorite Visuals Award
The winner is Summertime Render. Although the dynamic and detailed animation in Chainsaw Man was astounding, I have a slight preference for the art style utilized in Summertime Render. The characters and their proportions are more realistic than average, but still appear distinctly anime-ish. I love the way the characters look. The face expressions are good. There is a lot of creativity with lighting in some shots, as well as some beautiful island scenery. The four-armed shadow monster Shide looks awesome, and I like the creepy aesthetic of the shadows in general.
3) Favorite Song Award
The winner is Attack on Titan: Final Season Part 2. The song that stole my heart is "Akuma no Ko" by Ai Higuchi. There are a few ways to translate the meaning, but it's something along the lines of "Demon Child." I don't know how to describe the sound of the song, but it has a beautiful melody as well as lyrics that are hugely profound in relation to the character of Eren Yeager. The lyrics are basically Eren's thoughts as he starts his destructive plan that will save his home at a great cost to the rest of the world. While he only wants to protect what he loves, and he won't turn back, Eren also acknowledges that he is a demon.
4) Best Story Concept Award
The winner is Shadows House. But note that this anime's first season, which establishes the basic concepts, aired in 2021. So, I'm cheating a little bit for this category by counting an anime introduced in a different year. That being said, season 2 in 2022 continued the fascinating concepts and lore. The shadows family is extremely interesting: how their life cycle works, the culture they established in the mansion, how they interact with humans, and more. I'm intrigued by the idea of a faceless entity having a Living Doll act as its public face. There is also a lot of interesting lore about scorches, soot powers, and brainwashing. Shadows House definitely takes the cake for creative concepts.
5) Most Wholesome Anime Award
The winner is Spy x Family. This popular anime captured the hearts of millions with its adorable foster child character, Anya Forger. She can read minds using psychic power, and she's a little ball of mischievous energy and active imagination. This anime is also wholesome because of the family bonding moments that include Anya's foster parents, Loid and Yor. Although there are action scenes in Spy x Family, they are never violent, and the atmosphere is never dark. The show's abundant humor is also wholesome and innocent. Spy x Family is a treat you can enjoy with your loved ones across all ages.
6) Year's Best Anime Award
The winner is Summertime Render. Several of my very favorite anime series deal with time loops, and/or characters who can loop backward in time to repeat a world that went wrong. (One popular example is Steins;Gate.) In Summertime Render, Shinpei can loop through worlds due to a latent supernatural power. That's not the only reason I love this anime though. The plot is thrilling, the characters are easily relatable, and the music is great. I already mentioned how awesome the visuals were, too. The themes explored in the story are classic and the sci-fi and philosophical elements are fascinating. Summertime Render is my favorite anime of the year.
Note: This only my personal opinion. Every person who enjoyed anime in 2022 might have a differing opinion about which show is the best. No hate please.
Part 3: Plans for 2023
I haven't made very detailed plans for the coming year yet, mostly because I want to leave myself a lot of wiggle room. I tend to lose interest in blogging for a few months at a time each year. Making allowances for hiatuses is important. However, for Winter 2023, I do have some plans for Mono's Anime Rants.
For starters, I'll continue covering the last few weeks' worth of episode reviews from 2022. I'll also be working on reviews and other posts related to 2022 anime. Additionally, I may write a few MBTI-related articles in the coming season. Once we're a week or two into January, I plan to start covering a small selection of Winter 2023 anime series in the form of episode reviews. I haven't decided for sure which shows to cover, but here are the ones posted on MAL that look interesting to me at this point.
1) Bungou Stray Dogs Season 4
2) Vinland Saga Season 2
3) Koori Zokusei Danshi to Cool na Douryou Joshi
(The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague)
4) Malevolent Spirits: Mononogatari
5) Nokemono-tachi no Yoru
(The Tale of Outcasts)
6) Aggressive Restuko Season 5
I may or may not pick these 6 anime series to write episode responses for. Again, I'm leaving myself some wiggle room. Also, if another anime pops up that looks interesting, it may take the place of one of these. I won't cover more than 7 series at a time from a given season. Now about these shows, I have a few early thoughts to share.
First of all, I'm certain that I'll watch and cover episodes for Bungo Stray Dogs. I've been following that show for many years, and season 3 was very enjoyable. I wasn't expecting a fourth season, but I'm glad for it. There's still so much potential development for these plentiful characters. As for Vinland Saga, I might be covering season 2, but for that I need to watch season 1. Despite many people recommending it to me, I haven't watched it yet. If I have time in the next few days, I'll finally take a look at the series.
Aggressive Retsuko episodes are so short that I may choose not to write about them this winter, but either way, I'll be tuning in to watch. The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague looks like it could be funny, and features an adult cast. It's also the sort of thing that could fall flat on its face if the humor is wrong, so we'll have to see. I love mononoke spirits and similar creatures from Japanese myth, so that's why I'll probably watch Mononogatari.
Finally, there's The Tale of Outcasts, which I think looks mildly interesting due to the fluffy humanoid animal character. It could be funny, sweet, or calming to watch this character's story. Then again, it could suck. There's nothing to do but wait and see. That's about it for my thoughts regarding Winter 2023.
Part 4: Featured Articles
The following articles were selected from throughout the year. Some of them are posted on the old WordPress site, while the rest are from the current Wix site.
Thank you for reading and have a Happy New Year!