Welcome to our Most Anticipated Anime feature for the Summer 2022 season. Below you’ll find our editorial team’s (tentative) top picks from the shows slated to premiere in July. What are your favorite picks? Head on over to our poll and pick your top five. We’ll publish the results before Preview Guide launches on July 1. Also, if you’re still having a hard time choosing what to add to your queue, or you’re just down for a good time, do check out Anime News Network‘s Summer 2022 Trailer Watch Party!
Most Anticipated: Shadows House Season 2
Shadows House‘s second season narrowly beat out Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?‘s fourth by virtue of me not knowing where the story’s going. I’ve read all of the DanMachi books available in English, and this upcoming fourth season is going to be very intense, so believe me, I am very much looking forward to it. But there’s a mystery to Shadows House that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since the first season finished, one that the answers we did finally get weren’t fully able to explain. We now know what the Shadows are and that Emilico and the others are in no way “dolls,” and we also know that Kate, John, and a few other Shadow children are ready to do something about the way that their family has lived, stealing children and basically functioning as the Unseelie Court of Celtic folklore in a pseudo-Victorian soot-coated world. But will the plucky kids be able to actually do anything? Kool-aid has been imbibed (after a fashion), so not everyone is going to be on the same page, and there are also scheming adults to contend with, to say nothing of the mysterious head of the family. The first season’s combined sensibility of a Gothic novel and a grim fairy tale stand to be greatly expanded, and as an added bonus, the trailer also gives us Kate in full-on Sherlock Holmes mode and another John Punch. Someone is doing something in the shadows, and possibly the only way to stop it is to combine with the light of the living dolls. And then there’s also the Shirley soot sprite. What role will she play? So many questions. I hope we get answers.
Runner-Up: Phantom of the Idol
Since I already talked about DanMachi‘s fourth season, my official runner-up would have to be Phantom of the Idol. The first volume of the manga made me think that this is going to work really well as a goofy idol comedy because there’s a lot of room for both sight gags and vocal shenanigans. The plot, if you haven’t read the book, is that when an up-and-coming young female idol dies, her ghost begins forcefully helping a lackadaisical male idol, who really only signed up for the cash. Horrified by his low level of commitment, she begins possessing his body to make him better—and of course the fans notice. Now he’s maintaining two idol identities, she’s going all out on her half of his persona in some very cringey ways, and no one knows what the hell is going on. It’s patently ridiculous and a huge amount of fun, and I really think the voices are going to make this one even better.
Naturally I’m also looking forward to the reboot of Tokyo Mew Mew, because magical girls plus animals plus rosy nostalgia is a very appealing combination. While it wasn’t my favorite magical girl manga and anime of its era, I’m still very fond of it, and I’m looking forward to what the new version will bring to the tale. The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting should also be fun, since I enjoyed the manga and “yakuza doing non-yakuza things” has become an entertaining genre all on its own. Add in a new season of The Devil Is a Part-Timer! and an interesting vampire story with Call of the Night and this is actually looking like a season with more than its fair share of potential.
Most Anticipated: Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun
Ah, my problematic fav. I look forward to watching this at 9 pm while Matt plays Elden Ring and the kids are in bed. Honestly, I find Made in Abyss fascinating despite some of its less savory aspects. The world and creatures are some of my favorites, and you can’t ignore Kevin Penkin‘s score. The Abyss itself might as well be its own living, breathing character taking a similar weight as Alighieri’s Inferno. It’s a world full of nasty monsters and nastier adults. The environment is both lethal and beautiful in the same breath.
I can’t wait to dive in again and see what terrors we unearth.
Runner-Up: Yurei Deco
I remain a Science SARU fangirl, and I’m hopeful for Yurei Deco. It ticks a lot of my boxes like “looks weird” and “reinvents a popular literature story.” In this case that story is Huckleberry Finn. Admittedly, my familiarity is less in the way of Mark Twain and more 1995’s Tom and Huck. The project is reigniting Space Dandy alums Dai Sato and Kimiko Ueno (scripts) and Tomohisa Shimoyama (animation director). This project marks Shimoyama’s directorial debut, although he did previously oversee the Crayon Shin-chan spinoff Super Shiro as chief director. The story itself is giving me some general Lain vibes, although I doubt it’ll be as gritty. Check out the promo video if you haven’t already, it looks like a trip!
Most Anticipated: Love Live! Superstar!! Season 2
While I had my problems with the most recent season of Love Live!‘s Nijigasaki spinoff, all that’s really done is get me more excited for the return of Superstar!! The first season was probably my favorite piece of Love Live! media since the second season of the very first generation, thanks to its drop-dead gorgeous direction and buoyant comedy. Plus the choice to start off with half as many cast members as usual allowed those characters to not just establish their comedic gimmicks, but develop in ways previous series just couldn’t when they had to juggle nine wacky anime girls at once. So now that Liela!’s original core has been established, I’m eager to see how our new additions will mesh or clash with them all, and to hopefully see the same amount of focus and love put towards their own arcs as they join the fold. And I also want to see the youtuber gremlin girl annoy the hell out of Sumire and Keke. I’m never going to complain about more Love Live!, but I’m especially not going to when it’s firing on all cylinders.
Runner-Up: Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer
Not gonna lie, it was rough deciding if I wanted to put this one here, and it’s pretty much entirely on the strength of its original creator. While I’ve only read the first couple volumes of this manga, Satoshi Mizukami has already made one of my all-time favorite manga in Spirit Circle and one of my all-time favorite anime in Planet With. He has a knack for crafting shockingly lovable and human characters while intertwining them with complex and powerful themes, all with an otherworldly touch that can cram mountains of meaning into a handful of comic panels or a single line of dialogue. So by all accounts this one-in-a-million adaptation of his breakout manga should be my number one with a bullet. But then the news of the staff, studio, and promotional video dropped, turning this list into an exercise in tempered expectations.
It just…does not look good. It’s practically a slide show, and not even an artfully directed one like Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun. I’d love to be wrong, but the scant bit of footage we’ve gotten looks like the barest of bones adaptation, and that’s incredibly disappointing. If any writer is capable of overcoming those restrictions, it’s Mizukami, which is why it even made the runner-up spot. But right now my biggest hope for this anime is that it’s enough to get us a reprint or re-release of the manga.
Outside of that, this is looking like a pretty sparse season. I mean, Yurei Deco looks neat—I’m always welcome to more originals from Science SARU—and I’m looking forward to being horrified by Made in Abyss again. But otherwise my “anticipated” list is more of a “well maybe this could be okay?” list. Like maybe Lycoris Recoil could be interesting, with its cutesy sweets-shop meets underground courier shtick. I like Shinichirou Otsuka‘s character designs, so that could possibly make Smile of the Arsnotoria entertaining? I’m not wild about the new art style, but I guess I’m excited for more The Devil Is a Part-Timer!. Really the show I’m most interested in finally seeing isn’t even one I think will be good—it’s just that I’m morbidly curious how an awkward franchise like RWBY will translate after circling back around to become one of the anime that so blatantly inspired it. But that’s where I’m at for this season – I’ll take a trainwreck over boredom, so here’s hoping.
Most Anticipated: Kakegurui twin
In the original Kakegurui, Mary starts off as the first villain to get utterly smashed by Yumeko. But over the course of the series, she becomes Yumeko’s partner in crime more often than not, serving as a sort of middle point between Ryota and Yumeko. On one hand, she is a jaded realist that has an inner kindness underneath. On the other, she has a genius gambling mind nearly on par with Yumeko’s but lacks the latter’s compulsive gambling nature. But as prominently featured as she is, we still know little about her past: why she entered the school in the first place, and how she became the strongest gambler in—and tyrant of—Yumeko’s class. Kakegurui twin appears to be that story.
Based on the previews, it looks like Mary was once almost as naive as Ryota. I can’t wait to see the process that breaks her down only for her to reforge herself as the master gambler we see in the main series. The fact that it is all tied into her relationship with an equally innocent friend makes Twin a font of potential interpersonal drama. Add to all that a ton of weird gambling games and I couldn’t be more excited for what this series will bring to the table.
Runner-Up: RWBY: Ice Queendom
The original, ongoing RWBY series is basically what happens when a group of American anime fans set out to make their own shounen anime—complete with a massive cast of characters, a school setting, and an intricate, evolving lore. In general, it works well as both an homage to Japanese anime and a fun show in and of itself. Ice Queendom, on the other hand, is what happens when a Japanese studio takes all those characters and lore and retells the story as an actual anime. And it’s not just random creators involved—the concept for the series comes from Gen Urobuchi (Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero) and the script is from Tow Ubukata (Psycho Pass 2/Psycho Pass 3). The whole thing will be animated by Shaft as well.
I’m incredibly excited to see what an anime based on a cartoon inspired by anime comes out looking like. Will it feel like the original RWBY or something altogether new? And then there’s the twist that it’s the first anime I’ve seen since the 90s that I’m more likely to watch English dubbed rather than subbed. (I’ve gotten pretty used to the English voice cast after 8 seasons of watching.) All in all, it’s going to be an interesting experiment if nothing else.
Most Anticipated: Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun
“The sadness never disappears, it just becomes a part of us, deep inside”
Those were the last words (well, besides ‘To Be Continued’) that Made in Abyss left us with, back in 2020, at the end of its follow-up film, Dawn of the Deep Soul. I know five years can feel like an eternity in anime-premiere time, so believe me when I try to impart to you just how big a deal Made in Abyss felt like back in 2017. A production dedicated to gorgeously realizing its world-building, presenting a story that constantly felt equal parts inspiring, terrifying, and emotionally devastating. Yes there’s plenty in Made in Abyss that feels exploitative (arguably fetishistic), but it all ultimately rounds back to the story of these hopeful kids and what it’s going to take for them to complete such a harrowing journey.
Dawn of the Deep Soul felt like a transitory turning point in the story, the inevitable stop on that stage of Riko, Reg, and Nanachi’s journey which we’d seen them struggle towards in the TV series. The Golden City of the Scorching Sun thus seems to represent something of a cleaner break, plunging the crew into a completely revisioned setting while the story itself dives even deeper into the history and lore of the Abyss. And anyone who knows this series knows that what we learn probably isn’t going to be pretty. There’s been a viciously tangible motif of all the characters having to lose something before gaining something else as they’ve traversed each level, a higher price paid for a more bittersweet reward on each step of their terrifying trip. The previews already show that the memories of some of those losses will be returning to haunt our heroes in the visceral way I expect, and appreciate, this show punching me in the gut with. It’s a commitment to those complex emotions, to that sadness deep inside. Made in Abyss is a series that can almost make you afraid to see what horrors are going to come next, but after recently revisiting the show, and priming myself for this new season, I can safely say I’m genuinely looking forward to gazing into the abyss once more.
Runner-Up: FUUTO PI
This season’s seeing a fair amount of franchise follow-ups securely in my strike-zone. We’re getting new BanG Dream! and D4DJ anime projects, for heck’s sake. But among all the others is a sequel that’s been a long time coming. Sure, The Devil Is a Part-Timer!‘s nine-year gap might seem impressive, but the original Kamen Rider W first aired all the way back in 2009! So getting an anime sequel (itself based on a manga) feels like a minor miracle of an occurrence. Maybe they just had to wait for all the kids who were fans of the tokusatsu original to grow up.
Kamen Rider W is a bit special to me, being the first show I watched that kicked off my modern fandom fascination with tokusatsu. So getting more of it, even in a new medium, feels like a momentous event for my own personal fixations. And it’s even getting simulcasted over here? What kind of courage to ride with the devil did I have to muster to get this to happen? There is some trepidation of course— Previous follow-up projects to Kamen Rider W could be kind of hit or miss. And while I’m sure the collection of experienced voice actors they’ve amassed will do a fine job (indeed, the duo they’ve cast for Shotaro and Phillip already played the roles in a video game previously), part of me is going to be just a little disappointed that the original live-action actors didn’t come back to reprise their parts (especially Renn Kiriyama, who usually had to be physically restrained by Toei staff from participating in any and all Rider-related activities). But concerns I have over how this project will turn out can be saved for once it’s actually in front of my eyeballs, while for now I can allow myself to break out my DX W Driver and practice my henshin poses in front of the mirror again with excitement over this actually happening
Most Anticipated: Shadows House Season 2
Is it bad that I didn’t even know (or possibly forgot) this got announced? I’m honestly surprised
to get a second season of one of my favorites so soon. Or maybe it’s just the way time flies by
when you’re watching anime? Maybe the constant deluge of anime is screwing with my
memory or maybe I’m a hostage to this goddamn medium but I’m nevertheless ecstatic to see
more of my gloomy children in an otherwise quite scant season. Though not without my
reservations—the previous season’s anime-original ending apparently remains controversial as an
adaption choice, and CloverWorks already had a history of dropping the ball by creating one of the
worst season 2s as both an adaption and continuation of a hugely successful series that rhymes with Bromised and ends in Everland.
However, I want to continue to have faith that all anime has the potential to be great, and Shadow’s House season 1 earned a lot of
goodwill in my book. If anything, I’ll get to spend some time with characters I
already love, solve some mysteries along the way, and take one step closer to sweet freedom.
Or maybe it’ll just continue to look really good and have extremely on-point aesthetics (and not
get hit with a lower budget). There’s hope! Anime has disappointed me many times before, but
I have confidence in my children to overcome the curse of both the Shadows House and anime
Runner-Up: Yurei Deco
This one is even more out there—a brand new original project by Science SARU with composition by Dai Sato. I’ve talked a lot about how
original projects are riskier than adaptions, but I also can’t help but be excited in them
more than anything else. Dai Sato doesn’t have a good track record; his last big original project,
Listeners, really disappointed me but I also have more fond memories of it than I do some
shows that decide to go more the safe route. Science SARU has always gone for the more
experimental side of things too, and I can already tell that Yurei Deco will at the very least be one
of the more visually diverse and interesting anime next season, which is good enough. I never know where I’m going with a new original, but I know how boring and unrewarding
it is to only watch things that play it safe. I’d rather have something interesting in my life and this
strange little project about girls, ghost detectives and social media seem just about enough to
be a real fun ride.
Most Anticipated: The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Season 2
On the surface, the premise of a demon king getting isekaied to our world only to become a McDonald’s employee sounded like one of the dumbest and laziest story concepts I have ever heard. However, The Devil Is a Part-Timer! proved me wrong, turning out to be a surprisingly well-balanced series with plenty of charm, wit, and intrigue. What I initially thought was primarily going to be a comedy had layers of drama, character growth induced by the necessity of adapting to a new environment, and a decent amount of world-building. The presentation was pleasing and there were a lot of little details that indicated real passion behind the project. I definitely don’t think this is a concept that could go on indefinitely without really straining the suspension of disbelief of its viewers but when season one ended, I was completely on board to learn where the story would go next and it turns out I just had to wait…almost a decade to get that follow up. Promotional material looks promising at the time of this writing, save for the new character designs which will take some getting used to. I am fresh off the heels of a rewatch of season one, which mostly holds up save for a few dated ideas here and there. That being said, the longer you wait for something, the harder it is to not set yourself up for disappointment, but I will try to keep my expectations in check—as difficult as that might be.
Runner Up: RWBY: Ice Queendom
We have officially gone full circle everybody. The hit web series that was heavily inspired by anime is now getting an anime spin-off from one of the more surreal animation studios out there. This appears to be a retelling/reimagining of the original story with a more stylized twist but just the announcement of this being a thing alone was enough make me raise an eyebrow out of curiosity. The premise of RWBY has a ton of potential to create a very layered, fleshed-out world, but even though my overall opinion of the original series is generally on the positive side, I feel like a lot of the core components that make up its world building and lore are severely underutilized. However, this also means the story is perfect for a revisit and if nothing else, I’m very curious how the overall reception of this anime will be.
Most Anticipated: Call of the Night
You just cannot keep Tomoyuki Itamura away from vampires. After breathing life into Araragi’s
Monogatari Series misadventures, and on the heels of the classy bodice-ripping debauchery of The Case Study of Vanitas, he’s sprinting back to direct this summer’s adaptation of Call of the Night (with help
from Vanitas’ OP director Tetsuya Miyanishi). While that alone is reason enough to top my list, it also
helps that I’m a fan of the mangaka’s past work. Kotoyama‘s Dagashi Kashi, a.k.a. the horny snack shack,
was a fun and occasionally educational series, and I’m excited to see that meticulous attention to bone
structure applied to a more horror-oriented premise. Having not read the manga yet, I’m inclined to
think it’ll be more of a romantic comedy than a survey of spicy supernatural trysts. However, I also really
like the otherworldliness of the nighttime setting as shown in the trailer, so if the anime can lean into
that air of the mysterious, I’ll be happy to take more than a bite.
Runner Up: Yurei Deco
It’s an original Science SARU anime with a colorfully cartoony art style based on The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn—at least to the extent that two characters are named Hack and Berry. That sounds
good to me. Beyond that, the staff seems promising. Tomohisa Shimoyama doesn’t have a whole lot of
directorial credits, but solo directing, storyboarding, and key animating an episode of DEVILMAN crybaby
is worth plenty in my book. Dai Sato needs no introduction, and it’s nice to see DÉ DÉ MOUSE composing
for another anime (while Wonder Egg Priority had plenty of problems, the soundtrack was definitely not
one of them). I don’t exactly expect it to capture the rough creative spark of studio founder Masaaki
Yuasa’s early shows, of course. He’s a very singular voice, and Science SARU isn’t a monolith. But if Yurei
Deco possesses even a mote of that flame, it could be worth keeping tabs on.
Most Anticipated: Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun
This was an easy one. Despite the intense emotions, horrifying scenarios, and the occasionally off-
putting material that makes it impossible for me to recommend the series to casual acquaintances,
there have been few anime of recent years that have hit me quite as hard as Made in Abyss. The first
season would have been an absolute masterpiece of mood, world building, and gut wrenching tragedy
even if it had never gotten a follow-up. Riko, Reg, and Nanachi are some of my favorite heroes in anime,
and the world of the Abyss is a contender for one of the greatest fantasy landscapes of all time. Plus,
Kevin Penkin has managed to consistently produce top-tier music for the show that rivals the best
compositions I’ve ever heard across any medium.
Thankfully, Made in Abyss did get the continuations it so rightly deserved. First we had to endure the
harrowing film sequel, Dawn of the Deep Soul, and now we have a fully-fledged second season, The
Golden City of the Scorching Sun, and it looks to contain just as much wonder, mystery, and dread as
anything that has come before it. My only reservation comes from knowing that this is right around
where the source material started to get really weird, and that is honestly saying something for this
franchise. Thankfully, Studio Kinema Citrus has done great work in the past with this adaptation by
emphasizing everything that makes the story great while paring back some of the author’s more dubious
fixations. It’s still the kind of messy masterpiece that can only be appreciated with a host of caveats and
content warnings, but if this second season is even only half as good as the first, it’ll be a tough act to
beat this upcoming season.
Runner-Up: The Devil Is a Part-Timer! Season 2
It makes my blood run a little cold whenever I realize that I first enjoyed the original The Devil is a Part
Timer anime when I was in college, nearly a full decade ago, but now that I’ve downed enough booze to
temporarily come to terms with the inexorable passage of time, I can appreciate that we’re finally
getting a second season. The original anime and Amagi Brilliant Park both represent a wonderful
reverse-isekai renaissance that I wish would have stuck around longer, and it’s wonderful to know that
we’ll get to spend some time with our devilish hero and his goofy companions once again. The anime
landscape has changed considerably since TDIAPT debuted, so it will be interesting to see if the series
still holds up, and it could be that the transition to a new director and animation studio will make for a
rocky reunion, but with such strong foundations to work with, I have faith in my beloved MgRonald’s
crew. If the series can continue (and possibly even conclude) our dark lord’s story with plenty of laughs
and “awws” to go around, I’ll be satisfied.