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The 6 New Anime of Winter 2022 You Should Be Watching

Okay folks, I won’t mince words here: this season is a bit slow. There were not a whole lot of new blockbuster anime series, and even among those that did air, we only really enjoyed a few. That being said, let’s try to look at this positively: it’s a great time to clear out the backlog! This is not to suggest that there were no good anime this season, of course. If that were the case, this article would not exist, and AniTAY would fade into oblivion. Our story would pass into legend, and eventually none living would dare speak our names. But we did in fact manage to compile a list in the end, so that must indicate that our existence is still meaningful and that there are still new anime worth watching.

As with every other season, this list is the result of weeks of discussion among a pool of dedicated anime nerds from all over the world. Our collective taste may not perfectly line up with your own, but we at least tried to account for a variety of anime fans. Give this list a read and see if we can’t convince you!

Before we crawl into the abyss, I’d like to remind our explorers of a few safety regulations:

1) As always, we have omitted continuing shows and sequels. Only new stuff here. Check out our winter sequel guide for information about sequels.

2) Similarly, only shows available for legal streaming are considered. Netflix has complicated what the word “available” means, but we still consider limited-availability shows such as Netflix originals for this list.

3) We included a “where to watch” section, but keep in mind that our listings are based on availability in the United States.

With that out of the way, let’s get this party started!

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform

Written by: Viking

Genre(s): Slice of Life

Where to Watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: Komichi Akebi has long dreamed of wearing a sailor uniform, like her mother did in her school days and like her favorite idol does in music videos. Once she is accepted to the prestigious Roubai Academy, her dream is near. But, when she attends the entrance ceremony, she learns that the school has changed its dress code and the girls no longer wear sailor uniforms. However, the school feels responsible for the mixup and allows Akebi to wear her sailor uniform.

Why You Should Be Watching: The story revolves around Akebi and her quest to make friends with each and every girl in her new class. Akebi had never had classmates before, since she grew up in the countryside without other children of the same age. She’s overjoyed at the chance to make so many friends. Each episode features Akebi getting to know and befriend one of her classmates. Each girl in the class has her own dreams and quirks. Along the way, we learn more about Akebi and a little about some of the girls not featured in the episode. The show leans heavily into the heartwarming story of adolescent girls growing, expanding their interests, and learning more about themselves and their growing set of friends.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform features some of the best art and animation of the season. The backgrounds are breathtaking, the animation smooth and detailed, and the unique character design makes each girl distinct in both their looks and how they emote. This gives it a style that stands out among the slice of life shows that rely on wild hair colors to differentiate the characters. The show also frames shots to draw the eye to subtle details and enhance the story being told, rather than always sticking with standard framing.

Admittedly, there are times when showing off the quirks of various girls, combined with the detailed animation, can make the viewer raise their eyebrows and wonder exactly where something is going. However, it always sticks with its chill slice of life theme, leaning heavily into the heartwarming moments, balanced with a bit of comedy.

Recommended by: Doctorkev, TheMamaLuigi, umrguy42, Viking

Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department

Written by: Alistair Hyde

Genre(s): Comedy, Fantasy

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: This is an anime adaptation of a manga which focuses on the work life of Miss Kuroitsu as an assistant in the Monster Development Department of an evil organization called Agastia, which operates in an underground base hidden underneath the front company headquartered somewhere in Tokyo. The goal of her work is to create a powerful monster to defeat Divine Swordsman Blader and take over the world. However, getting approval for making monsters requires Kuroitsu to fight for resources and funding with other departments in the organization, make proposals to the board to justify their costs, and deal with burnout due to the whims of their CEO, Akashic.

Why You Should Be Watching: Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department gives the viewer a behind-the-scenes perspective of how a group of villains from a show like Power Rangers would operate if they were a large company with mandatory policies and procedures. The humor used to develop the plot makes social commentary about corporate culture by presenting an evil organization that wants to take over the world by defeating the hero while complying with applicable legal standards. The jokes and exaggerations are indirect but effective shots against what happens inside working places owned by regular multinational enterprises and black companies alike. It exposes topics like sexual diversity, discrimination, product placement, quality assurance, life and work balance, and budget constraints.

The anime is a love letter to local heroes that dress as Power Rangers knockoffs to “fight crime” in real life all around Japan. The show is a great homage that pays tribute to the classic good versus evil premise by making fun of Divine Swordsman Blader, a half-time convenience store clerk who fights Agastia in his free time. Considering the concept behind his role as a hero has been around almost 50 years, it feels natural to raise awareness of the fact that it has become a parody of itself.

It has a wonderful supporting cast. Megistus is the strict but fair chief of Staff with a human and pragmatic touch. Cannon Thunderbird is the priceless cute monster parody with a heart of gold that supports its colleagues when needed against spoiled magical girls. Hoen Koharu is the classic brainwashed worker that sold her soul to her employer Black Lore and is unable to notice its flaws due to her lack of proper judgment. Karen Mizuki, the protagonist of the B-plot stories and co-protagonist supervisor Heiki Matsuyama give us a recurrent gag through the struggles they face when Karen is outsourced as a henchman for various villainous organizations set to fail every time they fight against local heroes.

The opening song called Special Force by AXXX1S, as well as the ending song called Aimai Identity by j-pop idol group Maybe Me set a hopeful tone in sync with the nice bright color palette animation. This anime made me laugh, and even reflect on how to pick a company when I am searching for a job.

Recommended by: Alistair Hyde, Doctorkev, TGRIP, umrguy42, Viking

My Dress-Up Darling

Written by: TheMamaLuigi

Genre(s): Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Slice of Life,

Where to Watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: Wakane Gojo is an introvert without friends, instead spending most of his free time crafting hina dolls hoping to one day be on par with his grandfather. Marin Kitagawa is a beautiful gyaru, extroverted, popular, and confident. A sudden meeting brings them together, and Marin, learning that Gojo can make clothes from scratch, asks him to help her become the cosplayer she’s always dreamed of being. So begins the budding romance of a gentle craftsman learning how to embrace his passions and a trendy girl coming to understand her own feelings!

Why You Should Be Watching: A recent descriptor that your friends at AniTAY HQ have used to describe some anime is “Wholesome and Horny.” Think Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Remake Our Life!, and Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro!: lighthearted antics, down-to-earth relationships, budding romances, and a fat heaping helping of boobs, butts, and fanservice. My Dress-Up Darling is the latest, and perhaps greatest, in this “genre”, and through its melding of the human moments that make us and the lewd moments that hook us, the show embodies the perfect messiness of our relationships with both each other and with the media we love.

It’s through Gojo and Marin’s bond that we find the show’s wholesomeness. Their shared passions ignite fires within each other that combine to create both art and romance. The show’s portrayal of the fashioner and fashionista reveling in the creative process gives it a reverence towards passions niche and everyday. It beckons the viewer to not just embrace what makes them but share it with others. The community that forms in the process begets something more intimate, as Marin’s swift realization of her feelings towards Gojo paves way for some of the show’s cutest moments, her ditzy awkwardness colliding with his social ineptitude in incredibly endearing ways. It’s a show about how we come together through what we love and the love that forms when we come together.

It’s also a show with a relentless gaze towards the female body. Marin has agency, no doubt, but the camera is relentlessly leery — every inch of her body made simultaneous subject and object. The second episode is particularly egregious, as nearly half the runtime focuses on Gojo freaking out over Marin’s body while taking her measurements. It’s funny, but also pervy and excessive. The rest of the show is nowhere near as horny, but it never lets you forget that Marin is very beautiful and “well-proportioned.”

It’s in the intersection between its wholesomeness and horniness that My Dress-Up Darling finds its thesis. We’re feeling creatures, driven by affect and emotion and passion. And sometimes those feelings come out in a spontaneous stripping and at other times as a teenage girl literally unable to speak because of how cute her crush is. Much like Marin’s initial plea to Gojo, My Dress-Up Darling asks its viewer to engage with it with an open mind — you might just find something to love if you do.

Recommended by: Dark Aether, Doctorkev, Gugsy, Requiem, Tenshigami, TGRIP, TheMamaLuigi, umrguy42, Viking

Orbital Children

Written by: Requiem

Genre(s): Adventure, Sci-Fi, Galaxy Brain

Where To Watch: Netflix

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: In 2045, a disaster strikes a newly opened Japanese commercial space station in geocentric orbit. When that happens, three gifted children are on a sponsored visit to the station as a promotional event. The station also houses the last two children born in a troubled colony on the Moon. The pair, accustomed to low gravity, are undergoing physical therapy with the aim of emigrating to Earth. The children must now overcome their differences to survive, whilst the threat of a rogue AI hangs over the events.

Why You Should Be Watching: Having an anime debut on Netflix is a bit of a double edged sword. Sure, it’s available to a wider, more diverse audience than if it was on, say, Crunchyroll. But too often they get flung onto the service with little fanfare, and it can be easy for a show to be lost in the shuffle. In truth, your humble writer would likely never so much as glanced at Orbital Children if ANN’S own DoctorKev had not recommended it so highly. It’s only 8 episodes, it’s not tied to a popular franchise, and it’s from a brand new studio, so one could be forgiven for not taking notice. But, I implore you: watch Orbital Children.

It belongs to the time honored genre of “Children in Peril”: adventures of minors as they face adversity. Think “Children at space camp are accidentally shot into space” or “Child is left at home for days and has to physically assault home invaders, yet nobody calls DFS”. In this case, our intrepid tweens are caught in a disaster on a space station. This starts as a fun disaster-movie romp and somehow evolves into some galaxy brain territory about AI development.

There are two elements that make Orbital Children really work: character writing and attention to detail. It can be extremely difficult to write believable children, but here they found the right balance; the kids are written realistically enough to be recognizable as kids, but not so much that they become annoying. Thus, they feel like authentic people, which makes us care what happens to them on their space adventure.

Meanwhile, the attention to detail really elevates the material. The look and layout of the station works and is wonderfully thought out. The intrusion of corporate logos (like space suits branded by Not Uniqlo) feels right, exactly the kind of overreach that one would expect from a space station essentially owned by Google. Another home run in design is the look and feel of the technology, most of which strikes again a careful balance of feeling advanced enough to be the future but recognizable enough to be logical extensions of modern day technology. The glowy “glove” kind of smartphones they all wear are a standout bit of design and seem particularly prescient. Plus, you get some real deep stuff mixed in about the future of AI.

It’s a short series, and absolutely worth your time, so moonwalk over to Netflix and enjoy what will likely be an underappreciated gem.

Recommended by: Doctorkev, Requiem

Sabikui Bisco

Written by: Marquan

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Dystopian

Where to Watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: In post-apocalyptic Japan, the country has been ravaged by the Rusty Wind, which causes everything to rust away, including people. Our protagonist, Bisco, sets out on a journey to save those closest to him from the deadly phenomenon, using the healing/protective properties of mushrooms. Yes, I’m serious.

Why You Should Be Watching: There aren’t many outstanding shows this season apart from some continuing series, but even if there were stronger offerings, I’d still recommend Sabikui Bisco. It’s unlike anything else I’m watching and have watched recently, and I mean that in the best possible way. You’re treated to gigantic crabs, aquatic and mollusc creatures that double as aerial transportation and weaponry, and some pretty memorable characters.

You have the talented titular archer, Bisco, and his traveling companion/partner Doctor Panda (not his real name but his eye resembles a panda’s). They aren’t groundbreaking characters, but they’re engaging enough that you care about their mission to cure those closest to them of the Rust. The Rust itself is an intriguing sickness that only mushrooms can eradicate, but the world at large believes that mushrooms cause the sickness, which leads to Bisco being labeled as a dangerous criminal. And this makes nearly every interaction Bisco has with others confrontational. As soon as they see he’s a “Mushroom Keeper,” he’s viewed as a terrorist and pursued as such. This results in some pretty fun action pieces throughout the show, and though they take some suspension of disbelief, they’re entertaining. I mean, where else are you going to see an archer riding a crab going up against a flying snail decked out with weapons?

Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find another anime this season as ambitious as Bisco is just due to the sheer ridiculousness that happens every episode. Action, comedy, mystery, you name it. You never know what you’re going to get with this show and you can’t help but tune in every week to see what’s offered up next.

Recommended by: Dark Aether, Doctorkev, Marquan, Requiem, Tenshigami, TGRIP, Viking

Salaryman’s Club

Written by: TGRIP

Genre(s): Sports light-drama & workplace slice of life

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: A former child prodigy, Mikoto Shiratori’s career in corporate badminton hasn’t gone according to plan. After an unfortunate accident with his former teammate, he transitioned from a doubles player to singles, a move so disastrous he was fired from his bank job. Despite the termination and moving back home, he quickly gets a job at a soda company, only to find out the concessions he has to deal with: working in their sales department, training in a school as the company can’t even afford its own facility, and being forced once again to play with a teammate in doubles. However, as Mikoto adjusts to his new teams on and off the badminton court, this career change starts to look like a step in a better direction…

Why You Should Be Watching: Because this anime embodies the old saying: “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but is oftentimes better than a master of one.” There’s not one thing in particular that sets Salaryman apart from the other anime of this season. It’s not a straight up comedy, it doesn’t go as hard as other sports anime, and it’s not an outright drama; instead, it’s a rare yet satisfying blend of all those things. It’s well animated, thanks to a good showing by Liden Films, a studio best known for last year’s Otherside Picnic and Boarding School Juliet (and Handebado!, oddly enough another badminton anime). It’s got a leftfield yet interesting premise in the form of a corporate sports team player, a concept that you’d think would never work, yet has shown to be a surprisingly good way to get great material out of two anime genres that are usually poles apart from another. I would never have thought blending together the mundanity of a workplace slice of life show with a more serious and heartfelt sports series would work this well, so props to first-time director and series composer Aimi Yamauchi for pulling this off.

Like many other anime, Salaryman does take its time setting itself up due to having a full-sized cast of characters, but when it finally gets going by the fourth episode, it really feels like I’m getting two good shows for the price of one. Mikoto and crew going to their first set of matches against a rival company (as Mikoto has to face the old teammate that he injured), while the same people work to launch a new line of soft drinks (while facing a slew of office antics and mix-ups); you would think this couldn’t work, but it somehow does. Sure, there are better shows this season (man, how great is Sabikui Bisco??), but even in a season as slim as this, there can still be some hidden gems. And trust me, Haikyuu!! meets The Great Passage is one of them.

Recommended by: TGRIP

This article was a collaboration by many members of the AniTAY community. Some wrote part of the final article, and several others took part in voting and discussion over the past couple of months.

Contributors in Alphabetical Order:

  • Alistair Hyde
  • Ancientone
  • Dark Aether
  • Doctorkev
  • Gugsy
  • hybridmink
  • Kinksy
  • Koda
  • Marquan
  • Maxou
  • NomadicDec
  • Protonstorm
  • Reikaze
  • Requiem
  • Stinolez
  • Thatsmapizza
  • Tenshigami
  • TGRIP
  • TheMamaLuigi
  • umrguy42
  • Viking

First time reading our seasonal recommendation list? Check out last season’s recommendations here:

You’re reading AniTAY, a reader-run blog whose writers love everything anime related. To join in on the fun, check out our website, visit our official subreddit, follow us on Twitter, or give us a like on our Facebook page.

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Protonstorm

Protonstorm

Co-Editor in Chief of AniTAY and Coordinator for International Relations in Hokkaido, Japan. Degrees in History and Japanese Lang & Lit. Overly enthusiastic.