While it’s no great revelation that anime fans can have some pretty wildly different opinions (including, of course, among the GLORIO crew), it’s probably fair to say that a lot of viewers – maybe even the majority – felt a little underwhelmed this year, at least when it comes to sheer numbers. I’m not necessarily of the opinion that anime is “getting worse,” but it does seem accurate to state that in 2022, there just weren’t that many truly great shows. (I for one was scratching my head a fair bit trying to come up with my yearly Top 5 – not because I watched fewer than five anime all the way through, but because so few of those that I did finish seemed worthy of being called a “top.”)
Which brings me to the topic of my own end-of-year GLORIO post: the anime you should probably give a try if you’re bored or something but aren’t quite motivated enough to seek out something amazing. Because realistically, not every series can be a gem, and not every series even strives to be. So, here’s a toast to the little guys – those anime that aren’t great but also aren’t terrible, the shows that got people through seasons full of outright shite, the titles that helped fill in the blanks and got a “well, that was at least okay” seal of approval in return. Cheers, guys.
Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer! / Kono Healer, Mendokusai (Spring 2022)
Looking for a completely inoffensive fantasy comedy that feels like a sitcom as much as it does a fantasy/JRPG trope-derived parody, complete with all the one-liners you could possibly ask for? Look no further than Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer! (Kono Healer, Medokusai), which isn’t afraid to subvert stereotypes, throw in a bunch of talking animals/monsters and even a sentient mushroom, and make its main character a total asshat.
Sure, you can see a lot of the punchlines way off, while others sometimes take about half an episode to land, but hey, not every comedy needs to be deep, or even just deeply witty for that matter. Does the series get old by somewhere around the halfway mark? Probably. Will you actually care if you’re looking for something lighthearted to laze-watch over the Christmas/New Year break? Quite possibly not.
Uncle From Another World / Isekai Ojisan (Summer-Fall 2022)
Isekai, am I right? No no, don’t run. It might be better to think of Uncle From Another World (Isekai Ojisan) as merely isekai-adjacent, which would be fair to say anyway since the titular uncle is already back from his isekai trip by the time the first episode starts up. While a good deal of this series is about him and his nephew watching recorded memories of his time trapped in this isekai world and commenting on how shitty everything was (albeit mostly for totally different reasons), Uncle shines brightest with its more fish-out-of-water-style comedy, as the main character spent 17 years away and must now get caught up on the likes of Amazon, YouTube, and iPhones.
The humor gets a lot more eye-roll-inducing whenever it focuses too much on the character stereotypes, especially the tsundere elf (the ‘joke’ being that Uncle didn’t know what that was and therefore utterly failed to get the hint), and the fanservice in later episodes is admittedly appalling. However, there’s enough alternative material here to have a decent time with if you’re willing to give it a chance, and as far as isekai itself goes, this is easily one of 2022’s least worst shows.
Do It Yourself!! (Fall 2022)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. See, a couple of new first-year high school girls end up discovering the joys of a new hobby and want to join that school club, but unfortunately, said club needs at least X number of members and will lose its funding if it doesn’t get them. Luckily, over the course of the series, more girls join, likewise discovering the amazingness of this fantastic hobby, thus forming lifelong bonds of friendship along the way despite each having very different personalities, and… yeah, it’s the literal blueprint of “cute girls doing cute things” anime.
However. If you manage to overlook the fact that a couple of these characters are completely insufferable (which couple probably depends on the viewer’s tastes), you may find originality to be a tad overrated. This is the show for everyone who gravitates toward “charming and wholesome” – a series that demands absolutely nothing of its viewers other than possibly a similar passion, or at least a curiosity, for good old-fashioned handiwork even when technology might make the job easier, quicker, or cheaper. Oh, and the artwork is very nice too.