For anime fans, the change of seasons means more than just warmer or colder weather. Each season brings a brand new slate of shows to dive into. For the casual fan, or even an anime veteran, the sheer number of shows released in a season can be overwhelming. A series can feel like a big commitment, and it’s hard to dedicate time to a new show you’ve never heard of.
Don’t let this deter you! The world of anime is huge, and finding a hidden gem in any given season is an incredibly rewarding and powerful experience.
Summer 2022 is underway, and I think it's fair to say that we have a season of sequels. The biggest names are all follow ups to previously established shows. Some of which have been waiting a long time to get their moment in the spotlight.
However, just because our A-list titles are coming out with second seasons, doesn't mean there aren't some niche newcomers worth your time.
Below you’ll find a little guide for those who might not have time to sample every show.
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It’s hard to say anything about Made in Abyss that hasn't already been said. For those who haven't had the chance to give the series a look, I would have to give it a strong recommendation… with some caveats. The show follows the journey of Riko and Reg as they descend into the “Abyss”, the last unexplored place on earth. The Abyss is full of rare treasure, dangerous creatures and dark secrets. Our leads venture off hoping to uncover the mystery of the Abyss, and search for Riko's lost mother. But the deeper they go the harder it is to return.
Made in Abyss: Season 2 is actually the third installment in the manga based series. You’ll want to begin with the first season, then watch the 2020 film in order to catch up.
Made in Abyss is simply a master class when it comes to atmosphere, world building, and dramatic character moments. At the same time, Made in Abyss is also traumatic. The show is incredibly dark, violent, and at points grotesque. The anime spares no expense when it comes to pulling the viewer straight into these profoundly sad and terrifying moments. For those looking to dive into the abyss be warned, it's not for the faint of heart. That being said, if you're looking for an emotional and beautiful journey it's hard to find something better.
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After over ten years, the second season of The Devil is a Part Timer! is here. This reverse isekai has remained in the anime zeitgeist for a whole decade, and it’s finally getting a chance to shine with some new episodes. For those unifamiliar, a traditional isekai style anime see’s a modern day character thrust into a magical or unfamiliar world. The Devil is a Part Timer! flips this trope on its head. Our main character Sadao Maou, formerly The Demon King Satan, is thrust into modern Tokyo with no power and no money to his name. Naturally, he resolves to acquire power, and income, by climbing the corporate ladder as a fry cook at fast-food juggernaut MgRonald’s.
The Devil is a Part Timer! Season 2 is the second installment of this manga adaptation. I would recommend watching the first season as an introduction to the cast of characters. Season 1 is a short watch with only 13 episodes.
The best way to describe The Devil is a Part Timer! is purely charming. The cast is loveable and charismatic, and it doesn’t take much to get the viewer on their side. The show is a fish out of water comedy through and through, with some romance elements. Comedy is subjective, and The Devil is a Part Timer! definitely has a style. Watch some clips and see if it’s for you. The return of Satan and his friends is a welcome breath of fresh air in an overly saturated isekai genre. The Devil is a Part Timer! is able to successfully poke fun at itself, and the genre as a whole, in a way that doesn't feel forced or contrived. If you’re looking for a laugh this season this show is a good place to start.
Watch the Devil is a Part Timer! Season 2
Yofukashi no Uta is the first newcomer on this list, and my personal favorite so far this season. If you’re looking for a slice of life anime with supernatural and comedic elements this might just be the show for you. It’s lowkey and beautiful to watch. The voice actor’s performances are especially inspired. The show follows main protagonist Kou Yamori, a particularly jaded middle schooler, who has decided to renounce the world. Forgoing school, and social interactions, he ventures off alone at night. However, he isn't quite as alone as he thinks. Kou quickly encounters the mysterious vampire Nazuna Nanakusa. Nazuna resolves to help Kou rid himself of his inhibitions and Kou quickly learns there may be more to relationships than he thought.
Yofukashi no Uta is a Manga adaptation slated for 13 episodes this season. For viewers in North America it is only available to be streamed via HiDive.
Vibes are at the core of Yofukashi no Uta’s style. Taking big inspiration from classics like FLCL, the show presents a charming and touching coming of age story splashed with vibrant lo-fi beats that bring color to the night. Director Tomoyuki Itamura takes the reins on another vampire slice of life, and his style is oozing from every inch of this show. For anime veterans, you may be familiar with his work on the legendary Monogatari series. If lo-fi FLCL with Monogatari stylings isn't enough to pull you in, worry not. The cast of characters are all as fun as they are awkward and quirky. The VA performances are top quality and really bring these characters to life. Only two episodes in at the time of writing this, Yofukashi no Uta is off to a great start and worth getting in on early.
John Wick with anime girls, or Lycoris Recoil, is this season's pistol toting action packed series. Blending slice-of-life comedy with quick gunfights, Lycoris Recoil is a wild ride all the way through. The show follows our two main protagonists Chisato Nishikigi and Takina Inoue as government trained hitmen tasked with keeping the peace in modern day Tokyo. Working out of their own local cafe, LycoReco, they take on any order whether that be a sweet treat or a monster extermination. The girls quickly learn that when it comes to government work, there is always more than meets the eye.
Lycoris Recoil is an anime original in its first season. The show is available for weekly streaming on CrunchyRoll.
If you're a fan of well animated anime then Lycoris Recoil definitely has something for you. The show feels very modern, and although its art direction isn’t imaginative the show is incredibly clean. The fight scenes are where Lycoris Recoil shines. The choreography is stunning to watch and its fluid animation makes it feel fast and impactful. It’s for this reason that John Wick comparisons aren’t unwarranted. When the show isn’t busy blasting, it still holds up pretty well. The slice of life elements aren’t anything special, but the charming cast keeps the viewer engaged between gun battles. Only three episodes in, it remains to be seen if the story can do enough to carry Lycoris Recoil over the finish line. Honestly, the show feels a lot like K-On! but with guns instead of instruments, and that’s not a bad thing. If you’re into girls with guns definitely give Lycoris Recoil a chance.
Watch Lycoris Recoil
By: Simon Mancuso