The spring 2022 anime that fell short of greatness

Every year there are more new anime to watch than anyone has the physical time to see, and the spring 2022 anime season has been no different. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to catch everything you want to watch — even if staying on top of anime becomes part of your job. Knowing when to drop a show becomes just as important as knowing which ones to pick up.

Inevitably, there will be anime that simply fail to live up to the hype surrounding them, or which are unable to deliver on the promises of their premise. These are some of the shows from the spring 2022 anime season that just didn’t live up to expectations.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie

More than ever before, I’ve found myself adoring slice-of-life anime, particularly those with a romantic angle to them. I have devoured Love After World Domination and Spy x Family, but one show that just didn’t catch my attention in the way I hoped was Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie. While I didn’t think the titular heroine would give the likes of Yor or Desumi a run for their money for the title of Best Girl of the season, I did hope Shikimori would fill the gap left by My Dress-Up Darling for a high school romance story.

Unfortunately, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie, aside from having decent animation, doesn’t have a lot going for it. The cast largely fails to capture my interest, with Shikimori being supernaturally good at everything and her boyfriend Izumi having the curse of terrible luck in everything he does. Watching everyone fawn over Shikimori in every scene of the first two episodes got old surprisingly fast. There just isn’t enough happening to keep this show from being one of the more surprising duds of the Spring 2022 anime season.

The Rising of the Shield Hero: Season 2

Spring 2022 anime: Shield Hero season 2

This should have been a slam dunk for the spring 2022 anime season. A second series for one of the most promising shows of a few years ago, Rising of the Shield Hero brought back some of our favourite characters for a whole new challenge. This time they’re taking the fight to a giant, lumbering turtle that is bound to destroy the world. It should have been an easy win.

Maybe it’s because so much time has passed since the show’s first season, which aired so long ago that no one knew what COVID was — and meant that I couldn’t remember any character names that didn’t have raccoon ears. Maybe it’s because the controversial slavery aspect of the plot remained front and centre in the show’s opening episode. Whatever the reason, watching past the first two episodes of Rising of the Shield Hero became an insurmountable barrier.

Tomodachi Game

Spring 2022 anime: Tomodachi Game

Hey kids. Do you remember Squid Game? Want to watch an anime version of it? That’s basically the premise behind Tomodachi Game, which sees a group of friends thrown into a cruel set of games to pay off their extortionate debt. With such a similarity to one of the biggest Netflix shows of all time, it isn’t a big surprise that the show made its premiere during the spring 2022 anime season, despite having a manga that has been running since 2014.

Unfortunately, the pacing is the true enemy of the Tomodachi Game. Whole episodes pass without anything of substance happening. Multiple episodes end with the same cliffhanger, with the main character Yuuichi looking set to reveal his master plan to win the game moments before the closing credits run. It works once as a lead-in, but three times in a 12-episode season and it becomes repetitive and boring. The pace of the action is just too slow to keep me excited throughout the season. At this point, I am watching mainly to spite myself rather than out of any real enjoyment.

What were your letdowns of the spring 2022 anime season — and what were your highlights that you’d recommend people check out instead?

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