The Best Anime Of The Fall 2022 Season

(Welcome to I Didn't Know What Seasonal Anime to Watch, So I Asked Slashfilm for Help and They Gave Me a List, a regular column dedicated to helping choose what anime shows to watch each season.)

The fall season, much like the American TV fall season, tends to be the biggest for anime premieres, where heavy hitters compete for eyeballs and social media discourse. Well, that may have been truer than ever this year, because the fall 2022 anime season was absolutely packed with excellent shows — and many of them even made it to our list of the best anime of the year.

There were blockbuster sequel seasons, exciting new surprises, tearjerker finales, and one of the most highly anticipated new adaptations in years. There was something here for everyone, so much so, in fact, that it was nearly impossible to even begin to catch up on all the anime that premiered this season.

This list represents our personal favorites. But more than usual, we encourage you to seek out even those series that didn't make it. The level of quality was high enough this fall that even those shows we didn't have time to vet personally may very well be worth your while. With that said, here's our list of certified anime bangers to close out 2022.

Chainsaw Man

There were many big premieres this year, but arguably no anime was as eagerly awaited as "Chainsaw Man." Even before a single frame of the show had been released, there was a level of anticipation for Studio MAPPA's adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto's manga that matched that of the final season of "Attack on Titan" (without the need for 8 years' worth of seasons to build that anticipation). What's more, the show truly delivered on that hype.

The show follows Denji, a destitute, dumb 16-year-old who ends up fusing with his best friend, a dog-like creature who happens to be the Chainsaw Devil. Now, Denji is forced to work for Public Safety as a devil hunter or get killed as a devil.

The anime is irreverent, hilarious, and full of exciting and rather gory action, but what truly makes this stand out is its sense of cinematic visuals and approach to emotion. One minute you'd have Denji tell some dumb joke that feels right out of a 2000s sex comedy, and the next you have an exquisitely animated, silent scene of a character ugly crying out of grief. Likewise, the crew at Studio MAPPA captures and shares Fujimoto's love of cinema, and trades the go-for-broke chaotic visuals of the manga for subdued naturalism that makes the show look like prestige TV, and it works wonderfully. (Rafael Motamayor)

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

It's been 43 years since its inception, and the "Gundam" franchise is still going strong thanks to its ability to reinvent itself. There have been dozens of series, but they still share the same basic framework of a teenager piloting a giant weapon of mass destruction while dealing with their own angst. The latest reinvention is also one of their boldest and best yet, the first "Gundam" show with a female protagonist, and one that abandoned the fan-favorite Universal Century timeline in favor of a brand new one.

"The Witch of Mercury," centers on a high school run by arms manufacturers: a school centered around dueling, where winning the hand of a "princess" is the prize of the day. What makes this show interesting is how newbie-friendly it is while still following the classic "Gundam" tropes. This is a world where even the word Gundam is not widely known, and it is up to the new generations to reinvent what it means and what its purpose is. Indeed, the show is in constant conversation with the franchise as a whole, interrogating the decades' worth of stories about kids acting as weapons for massive armies and piloting dangerous robot weapons, and the huge commercialization of said robots.

The result is a massively entertaining "Gundam" show, one with fantastic 2D-animated robots, but also an endearing coming-of-age tale, as well as being one of the most high-profile queer anime of the year. (Rafael Motamayor)

My Hero Academia Season 6

"My Hero Academia" was long considered one of the successors of the Big Three, one of the biggest and most popular modern anime. But after a huge start, the past few seasons have undoubtedly been kind of a letdown. Thankfully, that ended this season, which has given us some of the best moments in the entire series. Not just fight scenes, mind you, but emotional moments, and character growth.

Season 6 is essentially the "My Hero Academia" equivalent of "Avengers: Infinity War," with the whole pro-hero community coming together for an all-out assault on the headquarters of the League of Villains and the Meta Liberation Army. From the very first episode of the season, the story has taken on a darker, more mature tone. The stakes are higher than ever, the danger actually feels real — especially once the bodies hit the floor — and the consequences actually feel dire this time.

Whether it's seeing Midoriya battle out Shigaraki with all his power, or Bakugo finally stepping up and becoming a hero, or the devastating revelations about Dabi, this feels like the next chapter in the story of "My Hero Academia." Nothing will be the same after this, and it's been a thrill to see the anime become a must-watch show again. (Rafael Motomayor)

Mob Psycho 100 III

Back when the first season of "Mob Psycho 100" was first announced, I spent my days obsessively watching this commercial drawn by koya58 to advertise the comic. Rendered in pencil sketch and sepia tone, the characters and backgrounds shake and distort as a guitar warbles in the background. koya58 captures the exact flavor of nostalgia suffusing ONE's original story. Like an empty classroom corridor after school, or a clunky Gameboy with just one battery, "Mob Psycho" captures the absurdity, dysfunction and unexpected sweetness of middle school. The anime adaptation of "Mob Psycho 100" later astounded me with its excellent character animation, all-time great action sequences and its willingness to expand on the source material. But these qualities, which alone would be enough to distinguish "Mob Psycho" as the best action series of the decade, merely support Mob's story of personal growth. The heart of koya58's original commercials, and ONE's source comics, is right here.

This remains true of "Mob Psycho 100 III," although I have caveats. The material covered by this season is weaker than the previous, more a collection of side-stories than a big climax. Director Takahiro Hasui faced a stiff challenge in filling the shoes of his predecessor, Yuzuru Tachikawa. The weaker episodes of III feel like more of the same (which is to say: very good.) But the highlights, such as episode 8's walk in the woods, are among the best in the whole series. I'm going to miss this show dearly. (Adam Wescott)

Bocchi the Rock!

"Bocchi the Rock" is unafraid to be weird. It's a series about a cute girl who joins a rock band, but the girl has anxiety. The animation incorporates zoetrope, board games, live action footage, pixel animation and 3D physics. So long as it's a good trick that will make the audience laugh, director Keichiro Saito, character designer Kerorira, and their fellow young animators put it in. The result is a non-stop barrage of visual jokes, exaggerated character animation and references to real-life bands. Realism is cast aside in favor of the avant-garde. "Bocchi" could have bombed, but instead it became one of the fall's biggest sleeper hits. The album even topped Japan's Oricon chart this week. Audiences loved "Bocchi" because of its eccentricities, not despite them.

It helps that the heroine of "Bocchi the Rock!" is so appealing. Bocchi is a disaster, a high school girl tormented by anxiety, jealousy and loneliness. She's also very funny, and a great solo guitar player. Bocchi's antics inspire laughs, second-hand embarrassment and a torrent of #relatable animation clips. (Remember how it felt to be so overwhelmed by a friend's offer to make you a social media account that you glitched out of existence? Yep, been there.) But the staff ensure her dreams and nightmares come from a genuine, recognizable place, even as they subject her to bizarre cartoon scenarios. Bocchi's growth from maladjusted high schooler to steadfast guitarist ensures the series works as an effective coming of age drama as well as a Trojan horse for weird animation. It's one of the best anime of the year either way, and my personal favorite. (Adam Wescott)

Do it Yourself!!

Anime is awash with series about high school girls and their hobbies, whether they be camping, playing hockey or even driving tanks. "Do It Yourself!!" isn't necessarily breaking new ground with its simple tale of Serefu Yua working to impress her childhood friend Purin in the local DIY club. But it's the small details that really sing in this project. Lovely faded backgrounds perfectly capture the high school hang-out vibe. The character animation is just as adept at rendering precise minute DIY work as it is at exaggerated visual gags reminiscent of early 2000s Gainax. In the world of "Do it Yourself!!," drones deliver packages, robots take care of chores and Purin speaks about the coming singularity. As the world drifts into an uncertain future, Serufu and her friends make the conscious choice to build something with their hands.

2022 has seen plenty of discussion about what "the future" might look like, whether that might mean the collapse of social media or the rise of AI art. IMAGO, the mysterious individual credited for creating the setting of "Do it Yourself!!," is no Luddite. The series is careful to position new technology as a means for Serufu and her friends to realize their dreams, rather than an obstacle to their personal expression. As joyous and relaxing as "Do it Yourself!!" might be, though, it's tough not to see the show as a call to arms. In a future where people are given the time and support to make things closest to their hearts, anime could look like this. (Adam Wescott)