The fall 2022 anime season looks to be a promising close to the year before Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga season 2, and Jujutsu Kaisen season 2 take the stage next year. That means what’s left of the year should be bookended by some impressive anime premieres, as the various shows and movies that have been released this year have been quite high-profile.
And thanks to the mainstream spotlight that the genre has commanded more of in recent years, it’s more accessible than it’s ever been. Several of these series are just starting their TV runs, like the first anime adaptation of Chainsaw Man and the latter end of Spy x Family‘s debut season, but the final batch of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean episodes on Netflix and One Piece‘s next theatrical venture will keep fans more than eager for the rest of 2022.
Before the anime adaptation was officially confirmed, Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man was garnering impressive acclaim as one of the best shounen manga in recent years. Animated by elite animation studio MAPPA (of Attack on Titan season 4 and Jujutsu Kaisen fame), the anime adaptation has already premiered and follows the downtrodden young man Denji. The orphan has only known abuse and manipulation his entire life, with the local Yakuza using him as a lapdog to be eventually thrown away.
However, in the Yakuza’s attempt on Denji’s life, his devil-dog makes a last-ditch effort to save him by fusing himself to turn the boy into the titular Chainsaw Man devil. Denji’s world is turned upside down, and he joins up with the government’s devil-hunting agency. Chainsaw Man is as over-the-top violent as its title suggests but masterfully balances gut-punching character drama that is sure to grip fans throughout. The dark themes of loneliness and existentialism will be familiar to fans of Fujimoto’s Fire Punch.
At the time of writing, Chainsaw Man is available to stream now on Crunchyroll.
Though better known for his manga One-Punch Man, writer ONE managed to put together another masterclass series in the form of Mob Psycho 100. The story revolves around Shigeo Kageyama, nicknamed Mob, who is a powerful psychic who is constantly suppressing the massive scope of his powers by being as calm, soft-spoken, and mundane as possible. However, due to a combination of his lovable con-artist mentor Reigen and a myriad of supernatural-themed hijinks, Mob just as often faces stressful situations that test his control.
One-Punch Man season 1 was arguably one of the best modern anime, and while that series is a seinen that cleverly satirizes the shounen and superhero genres, Mob Psycho 100 is a metahuman coming-of-age story. It’s been consistently lauded for its tasteful balance of endearing humor, investing characters, visual spectacles in action sequences, and emotionally rewarding character arcs and themes.
Another shounen series making waves among the community is the animation co-effort of Wit Studio and CloverWorkds to adapt Tatsuya Endo’s Spy x Family, which has proven to be an anime sensation online. Taking a break from bombastic action and supernatural world-ending threats, Spy x Family accomplishes exactly what it set out to do as an espionage adventure and charming comedy with sincere themes of found family.
It starts with Agent Twilight, a world-class spy, given his most challenging mission yet as he travels to snuff out the political tensions that could start another war. However, the challenge for Twilight lies in having to create a family as his cover, with the other members all having something larger-than-life to hide. Its witty use of conventional sitcom tropes and heartfelt characters mesh for a story that knows exactly how much to take itself seriously and how much to cut loose.
Shounen anime expectedly dominates much of the mainstream attention, but there are also some compelling seinen series worth following. Golden Kamuy is a treasure-hunting drama originally written by Satoru Noda and animated by Geno Studio and Brain’s Base that creatively uses historical fiction in its premise. Taking place in the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese War of the early 1900s, veteran Saichi Sugimoto sets out on a quest to find a fortune hidden by the native Ainu people to provide for a fallen friend’s family.
He befriends and teams up with a young Ainu girl named Asirpa along the way, and the story expands through various interconnected storylines as more characters enter the fray. Golden Kamuy has been critically well-received for its balance of comedic elements with grounded, darker tones and themes tackling elements of PTSD and how many veterans find themselves discarded by the government they served.
Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece series is the most enduring shounen of Weekly Shounen Jump Magazine’s era of the “big three” alongside Naruto and Bleach. With over 1,000 chapters and episodes of the manga and anime and counting, One Piece has achieved a level of acclaim few others can compare to.
It started in the late ’90s with protagonist Monkey D. Luffy setting his sights on the seas of the Grand Line to become a pirate and find the titular treasure, and it has expanded into a sprawling shounen odyssey. One Piece Film: Red will be the franchise’s latest theatrical anime movie, telling an original story involving a new character named Uta, as well as Red-Haired Shanks — Luffy’s inspiration for embarking on this quest.
One Piece Film: Red premieres in North American theaters on November 4.
Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has become one of the topical anime adaptations of the last decade. The series has prided itself on its unabashedly campy and melodramatic atmosphere and eccentric sense of style. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has its story separated by generations of the Joestar family’s lineage, starting in 1800s England onward as they battle with equally colorful villains.
Stardust Crusaders introduced the concept of Stands in its power system, and Jolyne Cujoh’s latest prison-break exploits in Stone Ocean have lived up to expectations so far. Jolyne finds herself imprisoned and framed for a crime she didn’t commit as a cult follower of the near-prophetic villain Dio is out for revenge. So far, the only gripe fans have had with Stone Ocean‘s adaptation is Netflix’s staggered released format.
Fans can watch JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure on Netflix, with the final part of the season premiering in December.
One Piece might be the most critically and commercially successful shounen of the “big three” days, but Tite Kubo’s Bleach is getting one more shot at the limelight to close out its story on the small screen. The manga and anime started to take dips in popularity as the story was reaching its end, resulting in the manga managing to finish publication but the anime being cut short. However, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War is back with a bang and picking up where the story left off.
The Souls Society sees themselves attacked from the shadows by the group known as Wandenreich, a dark collective of Quincies hellbent on revenge against the Soul Reapers that defeated them ages ago. Animated by studio Pierrot, Thousand-Year Blood War brings Ichigo Kurosaki and company back to the forefront with Kubo’s unmistakable and stylish art direction.
Sports anime have become increasingly popular as of late, in part thanks to the legacy of manga/anime like the basketball series Slam Dunk and the boxing-themed Hajime no Ippo! In the more modern era of anime, though, Haikyuu!! has greatly helped the subgenre’s mainstream relevance. And conveniently timed with the 2022 FIFA World Cup less than two months away, soccer will get time to shine in anime once again with Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura’s Bluelock.
It isn’t even the first soccer-focused anime to premiere this year, but Bluelock will certainly please fans that want a combination of typical “battle shounen” with sports drama. Isagi Yoichi is determined to up his game to be the Japan National Team’s next top striker, and he joins an experimental and ruthless training facility designed for cutthroat competition.
Bluelock is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
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