2021 was one of the biggest years for quality anime releases in quite some time. It was almost as if the industry and fans were bouncing back from just how rough everything was over the course of 2020, but it also notably had many of the anime that had been delayed from that year. 2022 is coming in with a completely clean slate of brand new anime coming our way, and if all goes as planned despite the current complications of the COVID pandemic, then there’s a good chance that 2022 is going to be just as great of a year or even better than the last.
There’s so much to look forward to such as hidden gems from the Fall 2021 season that are returning for new episodes, there are long awaited returns of fan favorite debut seasons, there are some interesting new adaptations of manga, novels, and video games, and some major sequels to fan favorite juggernauts. It’s a stacked season through and through as there is going to be quite a lot to work through for those wanting to keep track of every major release.
With so many great new anime coming in the Winter 2022 anime schedule, we decided to put together a list of the ten most anticipated releases over the next few weeks. This list is full of the series that stood out to us for now, so that means there is quite a lot that we couldn’t get to here. So let us know what you’re most looking forward to this Winter! Which anime are you most excited to see? What anime are you curious to jump into? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!
Ranking of Kings (Cour 2)
Return Date: January 6th (Funimation, Crunchyroll)
While there will be a number of brand new shows that will be vying for your attention, one of the biggest hits you should keep an eye on is actually a continuation from the Fall 2021 season. Last Fall was so stacked with major hits that some real masterpieces slipped through the cracks before the end of the year. But with new episodes premiering in the Winter 2022 season, now is the time to check out Ranking of Kings.
This is especially true for the second cour of its debut season (produced by former Attack on Titan studio, WIT Studio, by the way) as the young Prince Bojji is getting ready to take on his toughest challenge yet against some of the criminals who have emerged from the underworld and taken over his former kingdom. It’s going to be one heck of a ride.
DOTA: Dragon’s Blood Book 2
Release Date: January 6th (Netflix)
Netflix is working its way further and further into the standard seasonal release schedule each year, and that means fans can count on some pretty major new additions with each schedule. January’s releases include new episodes for previously established series such as Shaman King and Pokemon Master Journeys, but surprisingly they also include a brand new season of the DOTA anime adaptation, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood. There has been very little said about the second season, and even less known about what to expect from this new wave of episodes.
That makes it all the more exciting for what could be coming in Book 2. Produced by Studio MIR (the studio behind The Legend of Korra, Voltron: Legendary Defender, The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf and more), the first season surprised with its compelling story and slick action. If the second season is anything like the first, we’re in for a good time this Winter.
Release Date: January 6th (Crunchyroll)
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is still one of the most popular action anime series out there, but unfortunately it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever get any more of it. If you’re looking to scratch that itch as much as we are, then Orient might do the trick. It’s based on a manga from the same series creator, Shinobu Ohtaka, and has a lot of the same core fantastical elements that the prior series had. But this one has a bit of an edge to its characters, and that’s what makes it all the more intriguing. Anime fans could really use a strong fantasy action series right now, and this one could make for a great start to 2022 if it all works out.
My Dress-Up Darling
Release Date: January 8th (Crunchyroll, Funimation)
Just as how 2022 could use a really great fantasy action series, it could also use a really great new romantic comedy to kick off the year in style. 2021 had an excellent selection of romantic comedies to choose from, and it was honestly one of the strongest years in recent memory. 2022 has a lot to live up to, and that’s why My Dress-Up Darling‘s original premise is making it stand out. Shinichi Fukuda’s original Young Gangan magazine series features a main duo of a doll maker and a cosplayer. In their hobbies they find one another, and through that blossoms a whole new kind of feeling. It’s also one of CloverWorks’ productions this year, and that is either a great thing or bad one. Definitely worth tuning in for.
Release Date: January 8th (TBA)
2021 had its fair share of notable video game adaptations, but 2022 is looking like a promising year for them as well. This is all because the year is kicking off with one of the more notable mobile game releases of the last few years. Girls’ Frontline fans have been hoping to see an official anime adaptation, but since it’s also technically a niche there wasn’t a lot of hope of that actually happening. The game’s been out for a few years at this point, so chances of this being a cheap tie in are actually pretty low. It’s not like the anime has been made purely as an advertisement to coincide with the game’s launch, and because of that there’s a lot of material to go through and pick the best of it for this adaptation. This really could go either way.
Attack on Titan: Final Season Part 2
Release Date: January 9th (Funimation, Crunchyroll and Hulu)
And here we are! The biggest release of the Winter 2022 anime season by far is the return of Attack on Titan. The fourth and final season kicked off last Winter, and left things on a huge cliffhanger that teased a three way war between Eldia, Marley, and Eren Yeager. There’s a lot of wild stuff coming in the final moments of the series if Hajime Isayama’s original manga ending is anything to go by, and it’s likely to reach a whole new level when it’s fully animated.
It’s really the first major anime release of the year overall, and while it’s not the first in the Winter 2022 schedule, this will feel like the true start of 2022 for new anime. It’s from here that fans will keep tabs on their favorites over the rest of the year, but hopefully it won’t foreshadow some of the cool looking anime still to come.
Release Date: January 10th (Crunchyroll, Funimation)
The Winter 2022 schedule also has a number of brand new novel adaptations as well, and thankfully one of the early standouts is not another Isekai series. Based on Shinji Cobkubo, K Akagashi, and mocha’s original novel series Rust-Eater Bisco, Sabikui Bisco is a series we know very little about. Set in a post-apocalyptic Japan following a huge disaster that has turned everything into a giant desert, Bisco seeks a cure together with a strange partner. The show has a wild premise, great looking world, and unique character designs that all pop off the screen with its debut trailer, and it could be a big surprise.
Release Date: January 10th (Funimation)
Thankfully there are also a slew of great looking original anime projects on the way. This is a franchise that is launching a multi-pronged attack from the creator of the Danganronpa series that will consist of a new anime, video games and more. What is most compelling is that Kazutaka Kodaka’s previous original anime effort, Akudama Drive, was one of the best new anime of 2020. Just like that series, Tribe Nine features a post-apocalyptic future full of unique personalities with wild character designs. Except this one has something called “Extreme Baseball,” and that’s just prime.
Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Season 2
Release Date: January 13th (Funimation)
There’s always going to be one standout Isekai release of the season, and this time around it’s actually for a big return. Competing with a number of new Isekai adaptations premiering over the next few weeks is the grand return of Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. This series has struck a major chord with fans for a bevy of different reasons that all come together for a wild experience. Whether it was to see the rough CG animation, seeing how edgy the action hero-esque it’s main character Hajime is, or being a fan of the increasingly ridiculous roster of women at his side, there’s just so much going on here. You have to tune in.
The Orbital Children
Release Date: January 28th (Neftlix)
This one is a bit different as it’s technically a set of films being released internationally as a series with six episodes. From director and famed animator Mitsuo Ito (who was behind Asuka’s big fight in The End of Evangelion, and the creator of Den-noh Coil), this one is exciting because there’s so little we know about it. All that we know is that it’s focused on a group of children who are stuck in a space station and need to work together with the technology available to survive as long as they can. It’s just a mystery project that could also be a major dark horse for the best of the Winter.