These anime flew under the radar, but Seiji is bringing them into the light!

The winter 2022 anime season is a huge one. A number of big titles made comebacks this winter, including season two of record-smashing Demon Slayer and the long-awaited final season of Attack on Titan, as well as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stone Ocean, season two of Princess Connect! Re: Dive, and Saiyuuki Reload: ZEROIN.

But in the shadow of all those heavy hitters are some new anime that have been flying under the radar. Our otaku reporter Seiji Nakazawa hasn’t missed them, though; and now that two or three episodes have aired of each, he’s found some new titles from the Winter 2022 season that he thinks are worth keeping an eye on. Here are, in no particular order, Seiji’s seven personal recommendations for the Winter 2022 anime season!

1. Akebi’s Sailor Uniform

A school life drama starring a junior high school girl set at an all-girls school. The manga it’s based on was serialized in web comic anthology Tonari no Young Jump, and the character designs are very similar to what you might see in its sister magazine Young Jump. Young Jump generally has pretty heavy sexual content targeted toward young men, but this anime is different and almost seems to be more shojo than shonen. The main character, Akebi, has a youthful and fresh perspective, and there are lots of small, touching moments in the anime. It’s like crossing the heart of a Pocari Sweat commercial with the feel-good situational comedy of the manga Yotsuba &!. Seiji says it’s a really great anime to watch before bed because it’s so soothing.

2. Sabikui Bisco

This is a sci-fi anime based on a light novel set in post-apocalyptic Japan. In this anime, a wind that can turn even people to rust blows across the land, nothing remains of Tokyo but a giant hole, and Saitama is a desert. The main character is thought to be a villain but is actually a Mushroom Protector trying to fight to save the land.

Some people might say it’s like Dorohedoro with its sci-fi setting and the importance of mushrooms, but in Seiji’s opinion, it’s way more terminal than that and is more like Desert Punk. It’s a gritty story that holds no punches. Seiji feels like in the end, this one’s gonna hurt.

3. Tribe Nine

This anime is a bit of dark horse that started off without any buzz about it at all, but after Seiji watched the first episode, he couldn’t wait to see the next one. Put simply, it’s an anime set in the near future about a sport called “extreme baseball”. It sounds like it would be kind of dumb, and Seiji thought so too, but as it turns out all of the characters are all outlaws, and the result of putting them together on a team is intense interpersonal conflicts, sort of like in Tokyo Revengers. It’s kind of a crazy premise, but still somehow really interesting. When Seiji looked it up, he learned it was made by the same team that made Danganronpa, the high school murder mystery game, so that might explain it.

Coincidentally if you like this anime and wish there was a video game version, you’re in luck, because apparently there’s a mobile game, too.

4. Police in a Pod

This anime has completely arrested our 39-year-old reporter. It has a really modern feel in the way it reflects the kind of listlessness the main character feels, but it’s not overly intense, so Seiji doesn’t have to work himself up to watching it. In short, it’s a great anime to watch if you feel like vegging out for a bit. It might even be the anime Seiji will be watching the most this winter.

5. The Heike Story

This anime is based on the classical Japanese work of literature known as Heike Monogatari, or The Tale of the Heike. It was pre-broadcasted on Fuji TV’s streaming sight FOD. Seiji’s first impression was that the way they married new animation technology with an old story was well done. Seiji generally has no interest in classical Japanese literature, but the ancient, unforgivable, cruel Japan presented in this anime almost seems like a fantasy world. By contrast, the anime is also touchingly human, with each character having their own sensibilities. Though Seiji came into it not expecting to like it, it turns out he likes it so much that he would even recommend it to people who don’t like anime.

6. Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department

Seiji thinks Wolf is so cute! This anime is about a woman who works in the monster development department of an evil organization, and it can be summed up by the word “cute”. There’s so much that goes into working in the Monster Development Department of an evil organization that is surprisingly mundane, like having to follow certain compliances, or else no one will come to work for them. It feesls surprisingly realistic, which makes it funny in a cute way. Kuroitsu, the monsters, and even the boss known as Megistus all working as hard as they can is also kind of cute. It’s just an all-around cute and fun anime, Seiji says.

7. Tokyo Twenty Fourth Ward

Seiji picked this one because he’s really not sure how it’s going to turn out. It’s sort of like the Persona game series in the way it stars a cast of high school students in a mysterious group operating behind the scenes, so on the first episode, Seiji was pretty hooked. Unfortunately, after the third episode, he feels it’s fallen into a bit of a slump. The art and the story have a real seriousness to them that’s quite impressive, but Seiji wonders if the anime will keep it up to the end. It might end up being one of those anime that finishes on an ordinary note and gets lost in the crowd. But it’s only on the third episode, so Seiji will keep watching to see what happens.

Besides this list, there are three more titles Seiji has been watching: Life with an Ordinary Guy who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout, Slow Loop, and The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt, but these he tends to put off watching in favor of the others, so he left them off his top list. But it’s still early in the season, so there’s plenty of time for them to catch up!

For those who feel like seven is too many recommendations, out of all of them, Seiji thinks you should give Sabikui Bisco a try. It’s one of those anime that makes you wonder how far it’ll push things, but it also looks like it’ll have a pretty large scope, so it has good promise.

Of course, these are all Seiji’s personal recommendations, so you can take them or leave them. But if you’re looking for something new to watch, Seiji’s always got the hookup. Here are Seiji’s best picks for fall 2021, as well as his favorite anime from 2020. There’s so much good stuff out there, you could watch anime forever and never run out!

Top image ©2021 Shinji Cobkubo/KADOKAWA/Sabkui Bisco Production Committee
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[ Read in Japanese ]