It’s still wild to me that we’ve been doing this for ten years. Technically we didn’t start the “A Very GLORIO” format until 2014, but we’ve been doing some kind of anime year in review since our first year in 2012. So many things have changed since then, in the anime industry, in our little group of GLORIO friends, in our personal lives, and yet, somehow, we keep coming back for more. I just want to say again, thank you to the rest of GLORIO crew and everyone out there still reading and listening. It’s been quite a ride, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
OK, now that I feel self conscious for getting sentimental about watching cartoons, let’s dive into my (mostly silly) favorite anime moments of 2022.
The Happiness Spiral
Bocchi the Rock! Episode 6
This is tough because Bocchi the Rock is a non-stop stream of great, small moments, and not necessarily a lot of big ones. I think the one that stands out to me though is when Hiroi, Bocchi’s drunken musical senpai, gleefully throws down some hard life lessons. Her description of the “Happiness Spiral” and Bocchi’s subsequent look into her future is the series’ black humor at its peak. You gotta laugh to keep from crying, right?
Allow Me to Send You Off
Akiba Maid War Episode 1
I had a few ideas in my head about what Akiba Maid War was going to be, and none of them led to the visually stunning, hyper violent music video that concludes the first episode. It immediately establishes what this series is going to be: an absurd, black comedy overlaying cute anime maid aesthetics over a classic, hard boiled Yakuza story. I was still a little skeptical at that point, but I’m happy to say the writers prove they know exactly what they are doing as the series progresses. This was the perfect starting point for it.
Call of the Night Episode 11
Anko Uguisu, a character I have described as “what if Columbo was a hot anime lady with glasses, voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro”, is the perfect woman for older anime fandom. She’s a disheveled, depressed, morally dubious detective just trying to chain smoke her way through it all. Aside from inspiring many people to check out the series very late in its run, her appearance also marks a smooth transition from the laid back vibes of earlier episodes into darker, heavier territory. It’s a move that paid off, as Call of the Night ended up being a lot more substantial and satisfying than I was originally expecting.
Spy x Family Episode 6
Anya’s attempt to follow Yor’s advice about when and when not to punch people not only gave us one of the greatest Anime Faces of all time, it felt like the moment I fully understood Spy x Family. All the setup for the series’ ridiculous premise is finished, and now we can settle in for the fun, mostly light hearted hijinks that the Forgers will be getting themselves into. It makes me wish every episode was an Anya episode.
The Curse of Immortality
Ranking of Kings Episode 17
Focusing on the second cour that aired in 2022, I think the most poignant moment was the flashback to Ouken’s backstory. I was shocked to find myself feeling some sympathy for a character that up to now has been nothing but a mindless, cold blooded murderer. It makes the ending that much more disappointing when he never gets his shot at dying in peace, unlike the main series antagonist Miranjo who most certainly does not deserve what she gets. I can’t cover all that in one paragraph, so maybe check out the podcast episode where we discuss our disappointment with a series that should have easily been the best anime of the year.
Jinguuji Says Trans Rights
Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated as a Total Fantasy Knockout Episode 3
Any time anime plays with gender, alarms go off in my head. Will they actually take the premise seriously (or at least respectfully), or will they just resort to cheap and easy transphobic and homophobic jokes like they have many times in the past? I’ve been happy to see that is less and less the case these days, and I think this is a good example. Our two main characters have a rare serious conversation, in which Tachibana (the titular fantasy knockout) questions if gender is tied to body or spirit. Jinguuji simply replies, “whichever you think is right, is right.” This blends surprisingly well with the comedy, as Tachibana immediately starts vomiting from drinking too much. It’s the most basic, baseline acceptance I would expect from any media, but I think it’s important we continue to see these things explicitly stated this way.
Pop Team Epic Season 2 Episode 12
The ending of Pop Team Epic season 2 is perfect. I can’t explain it, nor do I feel obligated to. I have nothing else to say.
Kaguya-sama Love is War Season 3 Episode 5
Sure, I could have picked more important moments like the grand, dramatic conclusion of season 3, but what we all really want is Shirogane and Fujiwara droppin’ bars over an old school hip hop beat. Not only was this hilarious for sheer absurdity, it plays off the joke that Shirogane has been terrible at everything Fujiwara has tried to teach him up to now. So when he’s actually competent at something… well, humor is the subversion of expectations, right? It’s also so well produced that this was probably my most replayed clip from an anime in 2022. It’s just fun to watch.
Revolutionary Girl Suletta
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Episode 1
Facing the pressure of delivering the first Gundam series starring a female protagonist, I’d say drawing heavy inspiration from Revolutionary Girl Utena was an amazing choice. The fandom shockwaves from Miorine declaring she is Sulleta’s bride are still being felt to this day. Since then, G-Witch has found its own identity. It’s a wonderful combination of the classic robots and politics of Gundam with the occasional goofy, memetic moments we all want in 2022. But as a hook to draw everyone in immediately, copying Utena was perfect.
Tears of a Pac-Man
Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story Episode 4
Believe the hype, Birdie Wing is the greatest television program of all time. It’s pure, unhinged chaos laid over the backdrop of the world’s most boring sport to watch. Every episode delivers several moments that could make this list, so I just picked the first one that comes to mind. It’s pretty simple: Eve stands up Aoi and misses their date, and they communicate their feelings the only way they know how: GOLF. Explaining it further would ruin the moment, just go watch Birdie Wing before season 2 arrives.
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Episode 10
We joke a lot about every Trigger anime somehow ending in space, but even the most epic intergalactic showdown can’t deliver the devastating emotional irony of Lucy’s final scene in Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. It not only ties a bow on her relationship with David, it makes you process all the series’ themes and messages in the span of a few, quiet seconds. Classic cyberpunk questions like can the oppressive systems of capitalism be changed? Is it even worth fighting against them? We don’t know what Lucy does after this and the series does not answer those questions for us, which is the perfect way to conclude the series.