Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up

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Winter Anime 2022

The new anime season is in full swing. With so many anime coming to our favorite platforms I wanted to take a moment and give you all my early impressions about several anime I’ve been watching. I’ll give you my thoughts on what I think works or doesn’t along with what my early feelings are on how likely it is that the series could develop into something great. So, without further ado, let’s kick off this Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up!


Rusted Armors

Winter Anime 2022

Animation Studio: Kigumi
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: Deep in the wilderness lies a small, isolated village. This village is the birthplace of an extraordinary type of weapon called Armors. When the village comes under attack by foreign invaders it looks to the local mercenary leader Magoichi for protection. But if he and his troops are going to protect anyone from the merciless assault that awaits, they are going to need to get a lot stronger and a lot better at wielding their Armors.

What Works: The classic hero’s journey is generally a safe bet for a solid story premise. This, along with some gorgeous painted style backdrops are the shows two strongest elements.

What Doesn’t:  Rusted Armors is the lowest-rated series in our Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up due to many factors. The CGI used to animate the characters leave most motions feeling stiff and unappealing to see. The characters’ personalities all feel far too familiar, with little to set Magoichi or the rest of the cast apart from many anime characters you’ve seen before. With so much feeling unoriginal in the show, there is nothing to help make up for the lackluster visual presentation.

Odds of Success: Low

Sabikui Bisco

Sabikui Bisco

Animation Studio: Oz
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Synopsis: In the future, Japan struggles under the ever-present threat of infectious rust that spreads disease. Many believe that mushrooms spread by terrorists are the blame for the rust. But when a small-time doctor named Milo runs into the most notorious mushroom tender of them all, he might just learn that there is much more going on than most suspect.

What Works:  An intriguing world, lots of personality, and stylish combat all help create a great first impression for Sabikui Bisco. Deliver all this with a fluid visual presentation and you have a strong potential for a hit on your hands.

What Doesn’t: The biggest potential trouble this series may have rests solely on its main protagonists Bisco and Milo. With a strong Angry Boy and Soft Boy interaction(Think Bakugo and Deku) it remains to be seen if the show can handle delivering this interaction in reasonable amounts or not. While the shtick is a classic one in anime, it needs moderation, or it can become extremely annoying.

Odds of Success: Moderately High

Requiem of the Rose King

Winter Anime 2022

Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Where to Watch: Funimation
Content Warning: Requiem of the Rose King deals with themes of child abuse.  

Synopsis:  Inspired by the period in English history known as The War of the Roses, Requiem of the Rose King follows the exploits of the house of York as they battle the Lancasters for supremacy of the English Throne. Focusing on the young Prince Richard of York, the story is about the young man struggling with his place in court due largely to his being a hermaphrodite, which causes some, such as his mother, to believe he has a “Demon Body”.

What Works: The dark courtly intrigue and merciless battles are captured through a visual style that delivers some gorgeous moments that are more painting than animation. Combine that with the far more serious and level tone of the series, and you have an experience that truly stands out among the offerings of the Winter Anime 2022 season.

What Doesn’t: At this point in the series, I can’t point to much that I would say doesn’t work. However, the dour tone of the series may put off many anime fans who are used to even the most series of shows looking to get a laugh in now and then. The other potential danger spot for the series will be with how they continue to present Richard. While his physiological situation has, in my opinion, been handled well so far, that could easily change.

Odds of Success: Moderate

World’s End Harem

Animation Studio: Studio Gokumi, AXsiZ
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: In the world of 2040, the male gender has come under attack by a virus that has all but wiped it out of existence. Most males who aren’t dead have been placed in suspended animation till a cure can be found. However, five men have been discovered that are mysteriously immune to the disease. One of these men is Reito Mizuhara. When he is brought out of suspended animation he is informed that, for humanity to survive, they need him to breed with as many women as possible. But Reito isn’t interested and quickly begins to stumble upon a conspiracy that may reveal the virus to be more than a random occurrence.

What Works: Reito’s character and his early investigations into the potential conspiracy surrounding the virus have me genuinely intrigued. With several different moving pieces involved, there seems like a basis for a solid story here so far.

What Doesn’t: Despite World End Harem’s TV-14 rating, there is a lot of nudity in this series. To keep the rating down the series has been heavily censored. And I mean heavily. Some sequences feature shots where half or more of the screen is blacked out. This causes some rough visual struggles for the viewer. Plus, there is a real likelihood that the seemingly strong over-arching plot could get drowned out with needless side moments of nudity that serve no purpose to the narrative.

Odds of Success: Moderately Low

Police in a Pod

 

Animation Studio: MADHOUSE
Where to Watch: Funimation

Synopsis: Mai Kawai joined the Police Force because it promised a steady paycheck. But now, her already lacking motivation for the work is being amplified by her frustrations with the job. Just as she is about to quit, she is teamed up with a new partner: Seiko Fuji. Before long, Fuji has Kawai second-guessing her decision to leave.

What Works: More of a Slice-of-Life story than a police drama, Police in a Pod delivers a mostly laid-back set of mini-stories that sees the series lead duo doing traffic stops and talking at schools. While the series has leaned into more serious topics once or twice, like domestic abuse, they are always after-the-fact interactions that have the duo helping people overcome what has happened to them.

What Doesn’t: The only thing that may turn off a viewer to this series is the overall rosey presentation that it delivers of the police in general. While some members are definite jerks, the series hasn’t touched on any of the corruption or abuse that plagues law enforcement services thus far. Whether this is a problem or not rests solely with each viewer.

Odds of Success: Moderately High

Orient

Winter Anime 2022

Animation Studio: A.C.G.T.
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Synopsis: Humanity has been conquered by demons. Subjugated, people are trained to obey their masters’ orders without question. But there is one group that still believes humanity can cast off the yoke of tyranny. They are the Bushi. And a pair of young men named Mushahi and Kojiro may soon find themselves among their number in the fight for freedom.

What Works: The positives for Orient are its unique creature designs and upbeat energy. The gusto that Mushashi throws himself into the battle against the demons is fairly infectious. Despite the significant war themes present in the show, the presentation does a fair job of balancing fun with the danger of the protagonists’ situation.

What Doesn’t: Like previous entries on this Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up, this series will feel overly familiar to viewers on several levels. The central focus to get stronger is as familiar as you can get. And it does feel like this will be the overriding theme of the series moving forward. The other problem the show has is with Mushashi himself. While determination is great, the character has taken his focus to such extremes that they become frustrating. Taking on challenges and insulting those who save him, despite the fact that he was literally 100% about to die crosses the threshold from tough to dumb.

Odds of Success: Moderate

My Dress-Up Darling

Winter Anime 2022

Animation Studio: CloverWorks
Where to Watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll

Synopsis: Wakana Gojou is a high school student with a love of traditional doll making. But this focus in his life has left him with little to talk to his peers about and so, Gojou has become self-isolated. Till one day, when his beautiful classmate Marin Kitagawa discovers his ability to sew and make garments. She quickly reveals to Gojou that she dreams of being a cosplayer and asks him to make her an outfit to wear that is from her favorite game “Slippery Girls 2”. Gojou accepts. Now the duo faces the many hurdles that come with crafting an intricate cosplay together.

What Works: This series’ lynchpins are Gojou and Kitagawa. Both come across as charming, nice individuals who share the fact that they have a hobby they are embraced to share with others. Both have moments where they are at a loss with the other and both get the opportunity to learn and grow from their experiences together. While Kitagawa has some advantages over Gojou, due to his insecurities in dealing with the opposite sex, the young lady has always remained respectful of Gojou, never manipulating or pressuring him to do things he wouldn’t want to.

What Doesn’t:  My only major concern for My Dress-Up Darling comes with where they take the characters moving forward. While I fundamentally like both characters overall, Gojou needs to grow out of his frequent freakouts every time Kitagawa comes near him, or the interaction is going to become tired extremely quickly.

Odds of Success: Moderately High

Fantasia Sango – Realm of Legends

Animation Studio: Geek Toys
Where to Watch: Funimation

Synopsis: In ancient China, war sweeps over the land. Due to the pain, fear, and frustrations brought on by the conflict spiritual beings who feed on these negative feelings have begun to appear. Taking possession of those who fester in these emotions, the being causes even more death and fear, which leads to more of their kind being born. Now a special unit has been formed to confront and drive out these monsters.

What Works: The Chinese aesthetic that permeates this series helps it stand out visually from the other series in our Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up. Each character in the series serves a unique purpose within the core party and the story has set up a great emotional dynamic centered around one of the party members and their unique connection to the malicious spirits the group pursues.

What Doesn’t: There are a few areas of this show’s lore that I wish were a bit clearer. A fair amount of explanation is given early on, but no matter how hard I try to keep up, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing things. This lack of clarity may get better as the show runs its course, though it’s just as possible that it could get worse.

Odds of Success: Moderate

Tokyo 24th Ward

Animation Studio: CloverWorks
Where to watch: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Synopsis: On an artificial island in Tokyo Harbor exists the 24th Ward. A previously independent entity that will soon be brought into Tokyo proper. As the 24th district prepares to join with the mainland, three of its residents experience a bizarre occurrence. The trio all receive a phone call from a recently deceased friend warning them that a tragedy is about to occur. Temporarily imbued with super-human strength and speed, the trio set out to save the day. But this seems to be only the first in a series of such moments in store for the boys. But why is this happening? And who is really making the calls?

What Works:  There is little about this series that doesn’t work. A great cast, an interesting premise, and a strong visual presentation combine in each episode to bring the narrative to life. Combined with an early moment that establishes that our protagonists will not always be able to save everyone and you have the makings of a series that are equal parts fun and tense.

What Doesn’t: I cannot think of a single thing to put here. This show is just bonkers good so far. Easily the brightest star in this Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up.

Odds of Success: High


And there you have it. My early thoughts on some of this season’s many anime. I hope our Winter Anime 2022 Round-Up helps you find an anime that is right up your alley. ‘Till next season!