ANIME REVIEW | Fall 2022 Returning Series
Okay, what the hell, Fall 2022?! You’re supposed to be the leftover season of anime. But no, not only did you deliver some of the best anime of the year, but you trounced us all with a plethora of returning favorites! So without further ado, let’s get reacquainted with the new favorite family in anime, some demonic students, an immortal, and an annoyingly adorable shorty!
Spy × Family: Season One (second cour)
The best good boy finally arrives in the second half of Spy × Family’s first season. Although teased in an earlier episode, the precognitive canine had heart to grace his presence. That all changed right at the start, as Anya and her new fluffy friend stopped a bomb threat and became the most adorable pair in anime today. But that’s not all Spy × Family brought us!
Yor finally learns how to cook, albeit with some pretty mixed responses. Damian wows the arts & crafts contest judges, with a little help from Anya. Twilight even enters an underground tennis tournament with Nightfall, in a story that was told better in animation than it did the original manga! But it was Anya who constantly stole the show, be it on a shopping trip with Becky or when she’s making her own secret code for others to crack.
What else more can one say about Spy × Family? Wit Studio and CloverWorks hit a grand slam with its adaptation of Tatsuya Endo’s original manga. Thankfully, we’ve got a lot more animated adventures with the Forgers to look forward to, with both a movie and a second season already in the works! It’s enough to make any Spy × Family fan’s heart go “waku waku”!
To Your Eternity: Season Two
Yoshitoki Oima’s got a knack for showcasing human emotion. Her series A Silent Voice knew how to pull out one heartfelt moment after enough, and the same could be said about To Your Eternity. However, unlike A Silent Voice, there were plenty of character and story flaws to be found, especially in its troubled first season. With Studio Drive taking over for Brain’s Base, Season Two brings us back to Fushi as he deals with the Nokkers who aim to rid the world of all living creatures.
Centuries have passed since the end of the first season, as Fushi finds himself living in isolation. But his past catches up to him as the descendants of Hayase keep coming to Fushi for aid. Fushi and the current descendent Kahaku find themselves captured by the flamboyant prince Bonchien Nicoli la Tasty Peach Uralis, who has his fair share of mental issues to deal with. With the church wanting to hunt down Fushi, Kahaku and Tasty Peach do all they can to protect the immortal, while awaiting for the next Nokker attack.
Although the animation done by Drive is somewhat better than Brain’s Base’s attempt, there’s far too many glaring issues to go unnoticed. Characters sometimes move awkwardly, with facial expressions being too stoic from time-to-time. It often causes the more heart-wrenching moments of To Your Eternity to not hit their emotional marks, resulting in a narrative that — at first — fails to gain the traction it wants. Thankfully, the writing does start improving, especially when the stakes run high for Fushi and the others.
Tasty Peach could’ve easily been a forgettable character, as his introduction made him out to be annoying and eye-rolling. However, as the season progressed, Tasty Peach has become one of the most sympathetic characters of the show. Although there’s a lot of weight on Fushi’s shoulders, the same can be said about Tasty Peach, who is often tormented by literal and metaphorical ghosts of his past. Once he figures out the proper way to help Fushi, Tasty Peach transforms into a character one can’t help but hope comes out on top towards the end.
Season Two of To Your Eternity has its problems, even more-so than its first season. But it has the beating heart of a good narrative, especially if you give it time to pump out its story. Yes, it can drag here and there, and it lacks the soul that A Silent Voice had. But if viewers can push themselves to keep on watching, then To Your Eternity will reward their efforts with a goes dose of surprises in the long run.
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω (Season Two)
Love her or hate her, you cannot deny that Hana Uzaki has become one of the most mentioned women in anime rom-coms these last couple of years. So it seemed all too likely that a second season of her teasing her senpai Shinichi Sakurai would be in the cards. After two years of waiting, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! made its grand return, albeit with some frustrations in tow.
Like the first season, much of Season Two is focused on the will they/won’t they love tizzies between Uzaki and Sakurai. However, Uzaki’s father Fujio plays a big role this time around, inadvertently giving Sakurai advice on how to push him and Uzaki together. It leads to the usual misunderstandings, as both Uzaki and Sakurai do some deep soul-searching into what they want from one another. Meanwhile, Asai, Sakaki, and the café owner sit by watching it unfold, as they — like the audience — grow frustrated over Uzaki and Sakurai’s feet-dragging tactics.
Much of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is focused on the when’s of the two main characters’ relationship. We all know something going to happen between these two, but one’s too dense (Sakurai) while the other is more stubborn than a mule (Uzaki). It can lead to a lot of scenes being dragged out more than they should, with the animation format not showcasing this struggle as strongly as its original manga. With that being said, it does know when to bring a big laugh, thanks in part to the strong voice work of Naomi Ozora (Uzaki) and Kenji Akabane (Sakurai).
If you enjoyed the first season of this anime, then you will no doubt like the second. Those who felt more frustrated by Uzaki and Sakurai’s antics will more than likely be even more irked by their stubbornness. In any case, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! delivered plenty of fun moments between the two lovebirds, even if a love confession never really happened between the two. (Thankfully, if a third season is greenlit, that confession will be coming. Prepare yourselves!)
My Hero Academia: Season Six
Sometimes too much action is a bad thing. It can cause heavy-hitting moments to lose steam, or even dilute the intensity of a situation. Season Six of My Hero Academia does exactly this, with shocking plot twists being drowned out by the sound of a man beating a dead horse. (Basically, it’s doing what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is doing, but without a major payoff as of yet.)
Season Six covers the “Paranormal Liberation War” arc, as Shigaraki is given the powers of All For One whilst the League of Villains goes to war with the Heroes and the world they reside in. Although Hawks — pretending to be a villain — pieces the plan together, everything backfires once Shigaraki comes to. Death and destruction occur on both sides, as many of the villains ride the massive Gigantomachia towards the biggest pro heroes of all. And leading that charge is Dabi, who’s got his own personal “daddy issues” to deal with.
There’s no doubt that My Hero Academia’s throwing everything on the line here in this current season. The battles are intense, with the likes of Eraser Head, Mirko, and Midnight taking heavy damage. We also find plenty of sympathy within the villain of Twice, whose narrative brings about one of the most heartbreaking moments this anime has ever delivered. All of it leads to both Shigaraki’s awakening and Dabi’s back story, both of which showcase plenty of shock & awe to its viewers.
Alas, this is a situation of having too much of a good thing. Although the fights are great, they tend to be a little overwhelming for the senses. It’s like going into a food coma, only to have lasagna constantly shoved into our unconscious throats. There’s no good break or quiet in-betweener to fully appreciate what is going on, especially with the level of character development on display here.
Maybe I’m just being nit-picky here, but My Hero Academia needs to slow its roll. There’s too much action here, which is offsetting the balance between the heavy and light moments of Kohei Horikoshi’s creation. With the series going from one heavy narrative to the next, I worry that My Hero Academia might crash and burn its viewers to the point of exhaustion. I mean, can’t you give the U.A. High School students just one worry-free beach episode before diving into the heavier shit?! Is that too much to ask?!
Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: Season Three
Almost nobody talked about Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun when it first aired in 2019. Yet here we are years later with its ever-growing fan base and a third season. Taking place in one giant arc, the lovable of in the Misfit Class must take on the ultimate challenge: reach the Daleth level, or be forced to lose their classroom. To do this, Iruma, Clara, Asmodeus, and the rest must be successful in the upcoming Harvest Festival.
Split into different teams, the Misfit Class must gather as much rare fruits in the game zone. But competitors are allowed to steal another team’s stash for their own, albeit with a couple of necessary rules here and there. It is here where the students can showcase their true skills, with Iruma’s knack for a bow, Clara’s seductive talents, and Niro & Ichiro’s gambling-like cheat mechanics.
Where My Hero Academia’s sixth season gets wrong, the third season of Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun gets right. Although it takes place in one massive competition, there’s still plenty of room for heart and hilarity. Whether it’s a back story like Picero & Goemon’s friendship origins or Iruma’s training regimen with Barbatos, these narratives are filled with big laughs and a surprising amount of good spirit. And it’s all captured in a lighthearted-yet-emotional tone, even if a certain character’s taken advantage of all for the sake of a laugh.
Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun knows how to balance its action, comedy, and drama in great ways. Season Three continues to showcase this strongly, even in the midst of a major competition. All one can hope is that Iruma and the gang will grow from their experiences, as they have in the past. Knowing how Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun likes to set its story beats out, one knows deep down that these Misfit Class kids are gonna turn out all right!
Mob Psycho 100 III
I didn’t expect this adaptation of ONE’s manga to be the crowning achievement in anime, yet here we are with the third and final season of Mob Psycho 100. Shigeo Kageyama has proven time & time again why he’s the best boy in all of anime. On top of him being powerful, he’s also been the guy constantly looking for peace and friendship even amongst his enemies. Thankfully, the final season delivered with strong comedy, action, and even some surprising drama.
A big theme of one’s purpose is played strongly in this final season. On top of Shigeo trying to figure out what he wants to do career-wise, we have those looking for their reason to fight, to pray, and even simply to live. Dimple takes another crack at religion, becoming the head of Psycho Helmet. Tome wonders if the Telepathy Club’s been a waste of time, even with there being an actual telepath in their surroundings (two, even!). Reigen also wonders about his future, especially with Shigeo thinking of what happens after he’s down with school.
All of it builds towards the final arc, with news of Shigeo’s crush Tsubomi moving away. He takes the opportunity to confess, but gets hit by a car on his way to the meetup. It leads towards one of the series’s most impressive visuals, as the city crumbles around Shigeo as he walks subconsciously towards Tsubomi. Moments of destruction, self-realization, and heartache follow, with every key player in Mob Psycho 100 coming in to try to help Shigeo snap out of it.
And then…well, I really don’t want to spoil it here. Mob Psycho 100 was an absolute joy to watch, with its third season concluding in the best possible way. It’ll give viewers hope that Shigeo, Reigen, and the rest of the cast have plenty of sunny days ahead of them, even if we’re not around to see them. Even with BONES working on My Hero Academia at the same time, the legendary studio delivered some of their best and most beautiful work to date. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Mob Psycho 100, you best book an appointment with Reigen Arataka posthaste and witness a true anime triumph!
Any other returning series we missed? Got a second opinion? Comment below with your thoughts on the returning series of Fall 2022!
Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.