Winter 2022 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

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The Winter 2022 season seems like a slower burn than Fall 202, since there aren’t as many fantastic shows this season, and it kind of feels like Summer 2021 due to how so many shows this season feel like they could have used more time in the oven to perfectly bake. Luckily, the good shows this season are not only great, but they stand out from one another and are distinct experiences, which is not always a given with anime as well. Hopefully, this year has serious changes to the anime scene and we can get more quality than quantity, and the commitment to not greenlight second seasons to shows that were abject failures. As usual, this is a 3-episode plus impressions editorial. Now then, let’s get started! 


The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This anime is based on the light novels and manga by Shinkoshoto. It’s directed by Noriaki Akitaya, written by Hiroki Uchida, and produced by JC Staff.  It’s not even halfway through the year, and we can’t escape mediocre power fantasy isekai shows. Even when the isekai is within its own fantasy world, it can’t escape being boilerplate familiar and predictable. There is nothing wrong with doing something familiar, but it has to be executed well, and this was not executed well. It’s a power fantasy that you have seen a dozen times over with some of the wonkiest lore to its fantasy world that I have ever seen. It’s got bland characters, less than great animation, middling action, and some really incompetently made plot twists within its first three episodes. It has some decent ideas for its world, like the crest ranking and how the demons have told the humans through propaganda how bad magic is, but it’s not good at all. Not the worst anime of the season, but a middling one that will get lost in the pile of other isekai that have come out already or will come out. 

Fantasia Sango (Funimation)

This anime is based off of the video game by UserJoy Technology, and no, the US does not have access to this game. Anyway, this anime adaptation is directed by Shunsuke Matchitani, written by Masashi Suzuki, and produced at Geek Toys. The weird thing about these video game tie-in anime is that much of the time, the US does not have any real or legal way of playing these games, so the anime itself has to try even harder to get you interested in what is essentially Romancing of the Three Kingdoms, but with demon slaying. It’s not a terrible show, but it does dump a lot of in-universe lingo and exposition, and when it gets to the stuff you want to see, which is our heroes fighting demons, it doesn’t look all that stellar. I like the half-demon girl, but that’s because she’s the most interesting character while everyone else is just fine. Outside of some extremely gratuitous fanservice from one character, the designs are the only thing that’s kind of interesting with its more Chinese fashion sense and weaponry. However, if you are watching this and not Jujutsu Kaisen or Sabikui Bisco, then you are watching the wrong show. I don’t even really get why we get these anime brought over when no one is going to care about an anime based on a game a huge chunk of the world hasn’t played. 

World of Leadale (Crunchyroll/VRV)

Yet another isekai huh? Buckle up, because we have a few this season. This anime is based on the light novels and manga by Ceez. The anime is directed by Takeyuki Yanase, written by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, and produced by Maho Film. Outside of its fairly dark and depressing starting point of how our lead gets transported to a VR game world, there isn’t a whole lot going on with this anime. Granted, there are two things that make this anime stand out, including the mystery about how she got transported into a game world and how the game world has moved on in the future when the servers were shut down. The second element is how our lead’s in-game character had a family at one point and they remember her. The problem is that it’s just not very funny. Just because you’ve got the writer who helped adapt Reincarnated as a Slime and By the Grace of the Gods, doesn’t mean it’s going to be as good as this one. It’s becoming very abundant that the source material is going to be key with this genre of anime, and when this is trying to be a super cute fantasy show, it doesn’t work. It’s not all that funny, and the animation isn’t as good as it could have been in order to execute the jokes and action. Again, there are some decent story beats, and that ending song is a real bop, but when there are so many isekai released every year, you really have to stand out, and when you don’t, well, that’s a problem. It’s pretty harmless overall though, and it has a few decent gags, but I can’t personally find myself continuing to watch this. 

She Professed Herself the Pupil of The Wise Man (Funimation)

Content Warning: Child Nudity

This is one of the first of the new Funimation co-productions. It’s based on the novels and manga by Hirotsugu Ryusen. The anime adaptation is directed by Keitaro Motonaga, written by Takamitsu Kono and produced by Studio A-Cat. So, we have another isekai that takes place in a fantasy world within a VRMMO, and it’s not the last one of this season. It has a decent idea of how our lead gets sent to another world with how they were just using a new character template, but outside of that? It’s just another isekai power fantasy that does nothing to offset the unbalanced story and action, since there are no stakes due to how powerful our lead is, and the story isn’t interesting enough to keep you going. The English dub is pretty solid, and was one of the first to have one right out of the gate.   It might be the saving grace of this show, because otherwise, it does a lot of the more unsavory anime stuff like use an obviously underaged character for comedy and fanservice, and make one character hyper-obsessed to uncomfortable degrees for, again, comedy. It’s not the worst anime due to how the first episode has an out-of-place sequence where it relies on nothing but visual storytelling for the last third of the episode, but you could literally watch Ascendance of a Bookworm if you wanted a better isekai starring a young girl that focuses more on story and world building. 

Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout (CrunchyrollVRV)

Content Warning: Gender dysphoria is a major part of the story

This comedy fantasy is based on the manga by Yu Tsurusaki. The animated adaptation is directed by Sayaka Yamai, written by Toshimitsu Takeuchi, and produced by OLM. Now, with the premise that one guy gets turned into a hot anime girl, and the goddess of this fantasy world being vindictive enough to put a love curse on the two leads sounds like it could lead to some problematic elements. I’ll be honest, the first episode didn’t catch me, because it felt like there was some slight gay panic being brought into the equation. The jokes didn’t hit at first, and I was worried about how many shows this season have gender dysphoria as a main element to certain characters. Well, it’s hard to feel like they are going to handle these elements and “comedy” well. Once you get past the first episode, they build up the world around the leads, make the leads more endearing and likable, and the jokes land really hard. It has turned into a rough journey to a rather delightful comedy take on the isekai genre and this is why doing the three-episode rule is important. I hope the rest of the show is able to balance good character dynamics and jokes to make for a splendid experience. 

Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department (CrunchyrollVRV)

Content Warning: Gender dysphoria and some nudity

This delightful gem of an anime is based on the manga by Hiroaki Mizuno. It’s directed by Hisashi Saito, written by Katsuhiko Takayama, and produced by Quad. Combining tokusatsu monster-creating with the trials and tribulation of the workplace is so creative, that I’m shocked there haven’t been anime like this before. It takes full advantage of being both a parody and a loving tribute to Tokusatsu shows, while also being wildly funny, creative, and clever with how tough it must be to keep making a brand new monster of the week, every single week on time, on budget, and is able to beat the hero of the day. It has a few jokes that were hit-and-miss, but the overall enjoyment of the show doesn’t outweigh how fun it is to watch this show. 

The Genius Princes’ Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Funimation) 

This fantastic anime is based on the light novels and manga by Toru Tuba. The anime is directed by Makoto Tamagawa, written by Deko Akao aka Hitomi Mieno, and produced by Yokohama Animation Laboratory. If you were bored by Realist Hero and its condescending lead, then you will absolutely love the more comedy-and-story-focused fantasy series about a prince who is a genius, but isn’t technically using his intelligence for the better of the kingdom, but rather to raise the profitability of the kingdom to sell it off. Every time he tries to fail, he ends up succeeding and some victories aren’t all that profitable for the lead. Many of the jokes are at the expense of our lead, and while not every single joke works, the show is a laugh riot and is easily one of the funniest anime of the season so far. It also cleverly balances out world-building and our relationship with the characters in a very organic way, which seems like a thing that’s becoming rare within the anime scene. It’s a show that knows its one gimmick can’t be the end-all-be-all for the show to be a hit, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the show. 

Slice of Life 

Police in a Pod (Funimation) 

Content Warning: Cops, the second episode is about sexual abuse, and just typical Copaganda

So, this awkward-to-watch show is based on the manga by ex-police officer turned manga author Miko Yasu. The anime is directed by Yuzo Sato, written by Ryunosuke Kingetsu, and produced by Studio Madhouse. So, yeah, I don’t think there was going to be any real proper reaction to this show that is a workplace slice-of-life about cops other than polarized thoughts. There are definitely some aspects that it touches upon, like sexism and harassment at the workplace, and it wants to paint a sympathetic take on the stress and nonsense police have to deal with every day on the job. Too bad this anime decided to come out during a time period where cops are not looked upon with respect due to the massive amounts of police corruption and how it paints the police as the victims of the nonsense. It’s pretty much copaganda, and yes, a lot of great shows are copaganda in nature, but what separates the good shows/films about cops and the bad ones is the execution of how they tackle their stories and characters. Unfortunately, a lot of this show falls flat due to how it really can’t balance out the more serious subject matters, and it’s not funny enough to be entertaining. Its setting is grounded, and it makes it more of a weird sit. It had maybe one joke that I laughed at and one sincere moment that makes the characters likable, but this show is kind of weird in a time with everything going on right now. We are past the days of You’re Under Arrest and Patlabor that could take cops and have an obvious tongue- and-cheek take on them, but this show has none of that.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform (Funimation/Crunchyroll/VRV)

Content Warning: Foot fetish and voyeuristic lingering on middle school girls. 

This promising, but underwhelming anime is based on the manga by Hiro. The anime is directed by Miyuki Kuroki, written by Rino Yamazaki, and produced by CloverWorks. Talk about an anime with all of the production values most anime wish they could have. This show has some of the most pristine and gorgeous visuals of any anime this season. Heck, it might be the best looking new anime of the season. It has extremely polished visuals that almost look theatrical in quality. However, it’s mostly another slice-of-life school day story, which wouldn’t be bad. Heck, it may even have some of the charm of the shows that Naoko Yamada has worked on before. The one glaring flaw so far though is how the show is shot. There are way too many shots that linger on these 12-year-old girls’ bodies, how the clothes drop off of them, and the focus on looking at feet and legs. It’s the same problem as a show from Fall 2020, Adachi and Shimamura that had the same issue of an anime that would have been sweet and wholesome, but is otherwise bogged down by a camera that lingers too much on the legs of the female leads. 

Cue! (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This anime is based on the video game by Liber Entertainment. It’s directed by Shin Katagi, written by Tatsuhiko Urahata, and produced by Yumeta Company and Graphinica. Honestly, the one thing that makes this idol anime stand out is the premise that instead of them being pop stars, they are voice actors. That alone makes this way more interesting than the multitude of idol anime that’s all about cute anime girls, pushing a product that no one outside Japan cares about, and not much else. Luckily, they focus enough on the business side of the venture that does help elevate the story, because they made the classic blunder and tried to give you all 15 or so of the cute anime girls that you can manage in the game, within the first episode. 

Slow Loop (Funimation)

This anime is based on the manga by Maiki Uchino. It’s directed by Noriaki Akitaya, written by Yuka Yamada, and produced by Connect. So, at the outset, it looks like cute girls doing hobby shows, and those are usually fairly popular with franchises like Laid Back Camp and Non-Non Biyori. The hobby this time is fly fishing and it’s very much committed to partly explaining every detail of the hobby to hopefully catch the viewer’s interest. It’s a very laid-back show that’s got a lot of the trappings of a “cute girls doing cute things” show, and it does succeed on not being the most cloyingly sweet thing ever. It adds some background to our main characters, due to a huge plot point being that they meet when one of them is fishing and then realize that their respective parents are getting married. It adds a sort of weird wrinkle into the formula that makes it look like the two leads are falling for one another, and I hope the show is smart enough to just make their bond more sister-like and not, well, we really don’t need any bad romance plots for something this harmless and cute. Anyway, if you like laid-back shows about hobbies, then you will probably like this show, but it’s going to be a show you either vibe with or don’t. 

My Dress Up Darling (Funimation/Crunchyroll/VRV)

This is one of three anime CloverWorks is working on this season, and is based on the manga by Shinichi Fukuda. It’s directed by Keisuke Shinohara, written by Yoriko Tomita, and, well, produced by CloverWorks. Now, at first glance, this looks like a very cheap excuse for cosplay fetish and fanservice. I mean, one of the leads is into cosplaying characters from adult-focused video games. It’s no more blatant than that. However, unlike something like this season’s World End Harem, My Dress Up Darling is more about breaking and destroying the stigma of certain hobbies, and who indulges in them. With our lead Wakana Gojo making Hina Dolls, and our other lead Marin Kitagawa into otaku culture and cosplay, the show tangos with the two as they break down the barriers around them and hopefully with society with how they are perceived for being into such things. Sure, it does have a base set up of the awkward quiet guy ending up with the most popular hot high school girl, but again, the show is about de-stigmatizing anyone who has ever been bullied or made fun of for getting into certain hobbies due to who they are. It does dangle a lot of fanservice, but that’s going to be a thing with the cosplay angle, and what saves this from being just another lightweight fanservice show or softcore adult stuff is the dynamic between our leads. They come across as very sincere, and their enjoyment of cosplay and Hina Doll-making is front and center. It might not fly high with its comedy, but it’s a sweet enough show with some stellar production values that can come at an easy recommendation if you aren’t too distracted by the show’s obvious fanservice sequences. 

Sasaki and Miyano (Funimation)

Our first boy-love anime of the season! It’s based on the manga and novels by Sho Harusono. The anime is directed by Shinji Ishihara, written by Yoshiko Nakamura and produced by Studio Deen. After last year’s more troubling trashy boy-love anime, it was fairly refreshing to see one, a genre I’m not too familiar with be so wholesome and sweet. Two boys bonding over boy-love manga and watching their feelings bloom for one another is so cute! Luckily, the story has a few themes of breaking down male masculinity, and I think that’s really refreshing to see due to how many mediocre male power fantasies are released every year. I know Studio Deen doesn’t have the most appealing track record, but they must have had proper resources and time to adapt this anime, because the show looks great. It’s a shame this didn’t get Akebi’s Sailor Uniform’s budget, but it looks better than most Studio Deen productions. It might have a slower pace to its storytelling, but I’m glad it’s taking its time to make the story as impactful as possible. I think I tend to personally gravitate towards romance that is more wholesome and sweet, and if you are into romance anime of any kind like that or Horimiya, then you will like this show.

Thanks for reading the editorial! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to I will see you all next time!

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