Best of 2022: How Shonen Anime Thrived All Year

The best of 2022 is ComingSoon’s week-long celebration of entertainment that made last year so memorable.


2022 was a wild one for fans of action-based shonen anime, which are typically action-packed manga and anime series with a target audience of young boys. Old series returned, new series debuted with a bang, and exciting movies pushed anime further into the public consciousness. If you like a variety of people fighting each other in a clash of ideals, there was something for you last year.

Here are some of the best from the bunch that made 2022 a truly special year for anime:

Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War

A series that came back with a vengeance was Bleach, which finally gets its pivotal story adapted into anime form. The first anime adaptation ended on the “Tale of the Lost Agent” (or “Fullbringer”) arc, before the final arc of the original manga. The much-loved “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc following the battle between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies is finally getting its due, and it was more than worth the wait.

Although only the first batch of episodes is over, we already got some exciting moments and battles. The series is more visually stunning than ever, the remixes of classics Bleach tracks (by returning composer Shiro Sagisu) are both nostalgic and fresh, and the song itself is riveting. If you fell off Bleach back today, now it’s definitely time to get back on the train.

One Piece Movie: Red

If there’s one thing I love, it’s that One piece. There was no shortage of expectations One Piece Movie: Red, which is said to focus on Shanks and his apparent daughter, Uta. Considering how mysterious Shanks is, getting new knowledge about him was an exciting prospect. Plus, Uta’s songs are performed by the popular Japanese singer Ado, who has a very varied selection.

Film: Ed knocked it out of the park. In its nearly two-hour running time, the film offers brilliant music, an emotional story, plenty of funny character moments, and a whole lot of Shanks information. Besides One piece manga and anime are both starting to rise in their respective arcs, it’s fair to say it’s been an excellent year for One piece fans.

Mob Psycho 100 season 3

It’s not a stretch to say Mob Psycho 100 is one of the most serious and heartfelt anime in ages. The series is about trying to grow and improve yourself while having fun, with a dandy coat of psychic power-based battles, dazzling visuals and hilarious comedy. Season 3 offered even more laughs and touching moments, with Dimple and Mob’s development particularly focused on.

From cults and giant broccoli plants to aliens and the proverbial “shadow self,” Mob and his friends tackle all sorts of personal issues in a way that never once feels disingenuous or like a drag. Whether you like high-flying esper action or coming-of-age stories, this new season is a must-watch.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

My guy Gohan has been through the wringer. While I was never too mad that he essentially retired to be a scholar, seeing him and Piccolo take on new forms as they battle Red Ribbon is as hype-inducing and exciting as it sounds Army and its superhero androids.

Super Hero managed to mix that classic dragon ball humor with Dragon Ball Z‘s unique action in a way that all shonen fans can appreciate. The focus on characters other than Goku and Vegeta was definitely refreshing too, and the 3D animated visuals didn’t lose an ounce of series creator Akira Toriyama’s charming and iconic style. If this is the first step 3D towards another new era of dragon ball movie, then we’re all in for some good entertainment.

Demon slayer season 2

Earlier in 2022, second season of Demon Slayer wrapped. This one covered the “Entertainment District” arc, which sees Tanjiro and his allies team up with Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui to, well, kill demons.

As you should expect from Demon Slayer, this season looked magnificent and boasted some out of this world action. Tons of hilarious moments are wrapped around a well-told story arc that tests Tanjiro’s resolve more than any trials that had come before. Plus, that opening theme is a banger.

Chainsaw man

Finally the big one. Chainsaw man captivated anime fans this year, delivering an outstanding adaptation that never skimps on the hard-hitting violence, gore, and emotional gut punches. Watching Denji fight all sorts of fearsome fiends has become a weekly highlight, making the last quarter of the year feel a little more exciting.

Although Denji became one of the internet’s most beloved (and relatable) protagonists, the entire cast has found a loud and enthusiastic fanbase. The captivating start has people ready for more and the series only gets wilder as it covers more arcs. If you enjoy Chainsaw man now you get a treat going forward.

Even one or two of these projects would have been highlights of an average year, so getting such an incredible slate has made for a brilliant 2022. Next year boasts series like Rurouni Kenshin, Undead Mishap, Mashleand Dr. Stone Season 3, so 2023 might just continue this amazing roll that shonen anime is on.

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