It’s time to celebrate the best anime! If you’re new to the medium, welcome! If you’ve been watching anime for years, then you know how difficult it is to narrow down the must-watches from the middling and the classics from the OK. With so many great options out there, it can be hard to decide what to watch next.
We know that it’s impossible to please everyone with a “best anime” list, but we’ve looked high and low to put together a selection that we hope will have something for everyone. If you’re a fan of slice-of-life or sports anime, we’ve got you covered. And if you’re looking for some all-time greats, there are plenty of amazing shows to get started with right away.
The 5 best anime shows to watch in 2022
Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is an anime series based on a 2009 manga series of the same name. The series follows humanity’s war against the Titans, monstrous beings that lurk just outside the walls of civilization. After losing his mother to a Titan, Eren decides to fight back. The anime series is filled with heart-pounding action, nerve-jangling moments of horror, and a body count that would make Game of Thrones blush.
This anime series has stood the test of time for its ability to change and adapt to some truly shocking plot twists. What started out as a fairly standard anime about “man vs. monster” has become a much deeper exploration of morality, revenge, and whether someone can be defined by the sins of their past. This is essential viewing for all anime fans, especially as we approach the final episodes in 2023.
The short-lived Netflix live-action series may have soured some on the property, but there’s a reason why Cowboy Bebop is almost always seen as shorthand for ‘classic anime.’
The show’s legendary 26-episode run fuses creator Hajime Yatate’s effortless eye for action with composer Yoko Kanno’s kinetic jazz soundtrack. The end result? As the show puts it, in tongue-in-cheek fashion: “The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called… Cowboy Bebop.”
In other words, Cowboy Bebop is the perfect example of what happens when everything comes together perfectly. The story, the characters, the music… it all just works in harmony to create something truly special. It’s no wonder the show has had such a lasting impact, even though it only aired for a brief time.
No show has come close to replicating Cowboy Bebop’s sense of coolness and charm. Each episode is full of color and chaos, as Spike, the stoic Jet, hair-trigger Faye, energetic Ed, and uber-smart dog Ein move towards their next target. Beneath it all, there’s a sense of melancholy, as each member of the Bebop crew is trapped by their tragic pasts.
If you’re just getting into anime and are feeling overwhelmed with where to start, we recommend beginning with Death Note. Not only is the English dub fantastic, but it also has a relatable and widely known story arc – good guy turned bad – that is similar to Breaking Bad or Ozark.
Light Yagami is a teenager who comes across a notebook called the “Death Note.” This notebook allows its user to kill anyone anonymously by simply writing down their name. Light uses this power to kill some of Japan’s most hardened criminals and, eventually, starts to get ambitious.
Ufotable – the animation studio behind the hit anime Demon Slayer – is well-known for its intense and well-choreographed fight scenes. And the latest addition to its resume does not disappoint.
Demon Slayer tells the story of Tanjiro, a young boy who sets out on a quest for revenge after his family is killed by demons. He joins the Demon Slayer Corps in order to better his chances of defeating the monsters. Along the way, he encounters several members of the Demon Moon clan – each more dangerous than the last.
The Fate/stay night series is a sprawling universe that centers around the Holy Grail, a mythical object that allows whoever obtains it to have their wishes fulfilled. But it’s not that easy. Every few generations, magic users – known as Masters – clash in a battle royale-style conflict to get their hands on the Grail. They’re aided in that crusade by Servants, legendary warriors pulled from the pages of real-world history and legends, such as Gilgamesh and King Arthur. The Servants are extremely powerful, and each one has their own unique skills and abilities that they use to try and help their Master claim the Holy Grail. However, the Masters are not allowed to fight directly – they must rely on their Servants to do battle for them. This makes for a very interesting dynamic, as the Masters must use strategy and cunning to outwit their opponents, while the Servants must rely on their strength and abilities to win victory in combat.