There is something enjoyable about looking back on the past year and seeing the good that came from it. There are great shows that lived up to your expectations or you didn’t see coming. Of course, with that are the series that underperformed and disappointed you. But this sort of thing is a great opportunity to condense all the good into one place and make the best out of the year that we got. I went into this year expecting a lot from returning shows and most of them did turn out just fine. This top 10 list is a good reminder for myself to try and give shows a chance. Since if I didn’t give a few of them a second glance then this list would have turned out quite differently.
As always this is just a list of the shows that I enjoyed the most this year. I’m sure a few of the series here won’t be anywhere near the top 10 for others and that’s fine. In the end we’re just having a good time watching shows. I wouldn’t mind hearing what others had in their own top 10 lists if anyone wants to drop a few shows that didn’t make it here. And if there are a few shows that did resonate then it’d be nice to celebrate those as well.
10. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stone Ocean (Fall)
This show is in an interesting spot since it dropped really late in the year in a huge batch. That’s the Netflix style for you. If I’m comparing it to the previous Jojo series I wouldn’t say it is my favourite thus far. But at the same time I’m actually enjoying it more than the last couple series. Jolyne is a solid lead character. She has some of the cleverness of her great grandfather and yet you can see in what ways she took after her father. And how the show has handled Jotaro is also pretty good. It manages to keep him around and yet finds a good way to keep him unavailable for much of the story. Also the humour is working better for me this season than in some of the others. Although it maintains the classic Jojo habit of going into strange places with the humour. The title is what it is with this franchise, but still the humor surprises me at times.
What we got so far is good, but it is only part of a bigger story. And I couldn’t quite put it that much higher on the list. I’m absolutely glad though to see how good this show has been. No question for me that it belonged on this list and I’m happy to celebrate it. There are years when the bottom part of the top 10 is a bit weak, but I’d say this is a strong show for #10.
9. Banished from the Hero’s Party (Fall)
There is something to be said about the enjoyment of seeing two likable characters building a life together. Red and Rit have been outstanding lead characters and are a big reason this show made my top 10. They are refreshing in a lot of ways. There is awkwardness to be sure and they aren’t rushing things either. But it is nice to see two characters that understand that they like and are attracted to the other person. There’s no hiding it and instead they are just finding their way forward. Of course, I do appreciate that the story got increasingly serious over time. And I definitely loved the B plot around the hero Ruti and her personal struggles. It left me wanting to see more of both parts of the story and how things would turn out by the end. Absolutely top 10 worthy.
8. Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san (Spring)
Now this is a show that really surprised me. If you told me after the first episode that I’d have this in my top 10…I wouldn’t have believed it. This is one time when giving a show more than one episode to prove itself was essential. The budding romance between Nagatoro and her senpai was what kept me watching. Going from bullying to actual teasing was good. But also important was the fact that Nagatoro got visibly shaken up herself numerous times. This wasn’t a purely one-sided thing. The aggressiveness may have mostly been on her side, but the guy wasn’t the only one getting embarrassed. It was honestly cute seeing them slowly getting more interested in the other person. And I’m really happy that this will get another season. There’s so much room to develop this relationship and I look forward to seeing it.
7. Dr. STONE: STONE WARS (Winter)
This season lived up to the title. The war really did begin and I had fun watching it unfold. It wasn’t clear how things would play out beyond some basic expectations and it did catch me off-guard at times. This series just had a setting that stands out and does a lot with it. They have fun dropping science on the audience and giving some wild stuff that you wouldn’t expect. Senku remains a good lead, but I was glad to see the overall cast step up quite a bit this season. It has a good group of characters around Senku so only right to let them shine when the time is right. The next season should be great as well. But for now, I’ll just appreciate this season for doing a lot right.
6. World Trigger Seasons 2 and 3 (Winter & Fall)
World Trigger initially was just a solid show for me. I know people had issues with the adaptation, but overall, I liked it. The seasons we got this year were a step up. The animation and overall art just feels much stronger and allows for better action. And the shorter seasons allows the story to get to the point without padding it out. It reminded me why I got into the source material and the original season in the first place. The setting isn’t flawless, but the story is really enjoyable to me. Seeing Osamu try to lead his team towards their goals just feels fun since he really has to work for it. Even though the focus in these seasons is just the main cast trying to rise up Border’s rankings, it really was engaging the whole way through. Some really good character development for the main cast. And the supporting cast still get a lot to do. No question World Trigger as a whole was top 10 this year.
5. Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season (Winter)
This is one that surprised me. I didn’t get into the show originally when the first season aired. It was fine, but it didn’t really grab me enough to watch week to week. But binging both the first and second seasons the past month really warmed me up to this show. The second season especially really just took things to another level. One thing I appreciate when it comes to this show is the world building. The main character slime continues to grow stronger, but the world around him keeps developing at the same time. I oddly don’t feel any pull towards ships in this show and instead just appreciate the overall journey. It has a good mix of characters and I can appreciate what people love about this show now.
4. Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu (Summer)
The isekai genre has gone too far, but I still am happy we got a show like this. There are similarities between this and others like the slime series above. But it does its own thing and I appreciate that the source material of this series did come first. The journey of Makoto to another world and finding his place was enjoyable. The hilarity factor worked so well for me, and I honestly found myself really supporting the main ships. But the best parts came when the show got serious and let Makoto deal with that. I was absolutely thrilled to know we’re getting another season of this and I fully expect it to contend for another top 10 spot after that sequel airs. This show was just a lot of fun and had a nice overall cast. Top 5 for me.
3. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon S (Summer)
I was so happy to see this show come back. Everything that happened with KyoAni made this show special just in terms of existing. But it absolutely deserves a top 3 spot for me this year. The addition of Ilulu to the cast was a great move that added some nice variety to things. But beyond just that this season was full of good little moments. The show goes between absolutely ridiculous stuff to things like the emotional past between Tohru and Elma. The only thing holding it back for me was some criticisms regarding Saikawa’s role and that it doesn’t have as impactful a finale as the first season did. But this show was fun, entertaining, and absolutely beautiful. The top tier talents of KyoAni were on display throughout the whole season. May there be a third season down the road so we can see more of this cast.
2. Yuru Camp△ S2 (Winter)
This season had some truly anticipated sequels and Yuru Camp was right up there for me in that sense. And it really didn’t disappoint. They gave everything I expected from a mixture of camping events and just getting to see more of these characters. There was some depth added when it came to Rin’s family or Nadeshiko’s backstory. But the best part was just seeing them out in the world and enjoying camping. It meant quite a bit more considering the way things have been to see characters doing just that. But beyond that I just liked how relaxing this show was. Sometimes you want some over the top action or emotional drama. But sometimes you just want a show that lets you relax and forget about stressful things. Yuru Camp was absolutely a comfortable show and earned the #2 spot for the year as far as I’m concerned.
1. SSSS.DYNAZENON (Spring)
There are shows that just work and you can find yourself enjoying every episode. This year that was definitely Dynazenon for me. Overall, I enjoyed Gridman when it came out. But at the same time, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy Dynazenon since Gridman was just ‘pretty good’ to me. This show just did everything I could have asked it to do. There was a strong focus on the main characters. Time was spent diving into their lives, troubles, mysteries, and resolving much of them. For some it might not have focused enough on the wider world, but I didn’t have any complaints about the direction of this show. It delivered some great mecha action and had me hyped from start to finish. Even things like character connections were given resolution that I might have expected to see left ambiguous.
For me there isn’t any other show I can go to for anime of the year than this one. And the best thing is that this story isn’t truly over. There is going to be another season that will continue the Gridman and Dynazenon universe and bring these stories together in some way. But for this year I’m proud to say this was the show I thought was the best. I’m sure this entire top 10 list isn’t going to be close to the same for others, but that’s the fun of doing them. Dynazenon brought the action, character moments, and had a nice conclusion. Hopefully next year provides a show I enjoyed as much as this one.
- My Best Male Lead: Makoto Misumi (Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu).
- My Best Female Lead: Rin Shima (Yuru Camp△ SEASON 2).
- My My Best Couple: Yomogi x Yume (SSSS.DYNAZENON).
- My Favorite OP: SSSS.Dynazenon (Imperfect).
- My Favorite ED: Yuru Camp△ SEASON 2 (Haru no Tonari).
This was a fun year for anime. I was honestly happy to see series like Kobayashi-san make a triumphant return. And I never expected to come out of Dynazenon loving it as much as I did. It even made me appreciate Gridman even more than I did before. And I’m excited to see what that franchise does with the third entry since elements of both will obviously get a chance to coexist. It’s easier going into a year with shows like Dynazenon and Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu having new seasons already announced for them. Even though shows always have to end, I like knowing a few likely hits are waiting for me in the coming year.
Fingers crossed that 2022 is a lot of fun in terms of anime. Honestly, I’m still having a great time watching and discussing anime. It’s nice to have that kind of consistency. No idea how the year will play out. So long as my fingers are ready to go, I’ll be here ready to talk about shows that I hopefully enjoyed. There’s no way to avoid disappointments. But I’d honestly just like to see fewer reboots/remakes since I feel like they are rarely successful. Thanks for reading and here’s to more great anime ahead of us!
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