Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos courtesy of the studios

If the best animated films and TV series of 2021 were largely characterized by creator-led spectacles and manipulations with the art form, the most exciting titles of 2022 seem to us to appeal to the crowd. Spring will feature a reimagining of an animated comedy set in the tumultuous bathhouses of Rome and Japan, the long-awaited film from the Bob’s Burgers team, Richard Linklater’s return to rotoscoping and an adaptation of Kate Beaton’s illustrated book about a princess and her whistling pony. Later in the year, we can expect the return of Miles Morales in a spider worms sequel and (hopefully) Hayao Miyazaki’s final box office hit. We also know from experience that whatever this list is right now, our year-end picks will likely take a very different shape – full of unexpected hits that no one could have predicted. It’s probably still the most exciting takeaway of all.

Just like he did with crybaby devilman, Saint Seiyaand other long-running anime titles Netflix releases manga and anime update Thermae Romae, a series following the screwed-up shenanigans of a Roman bathhouse architect who finds himself in modern Japanese and Edo-period bathhouses. Using the techniques he discovers in the future, he manages to create architectural marvels in Rome. If the delightful trailer is to be believed, animation studio NAZ has made this very naked comedy about a fish out of the bath water. —EVB

The director behind Dazed and confusedthe Before trilogy and Childhood has another movie about growing up, this one drawing on what he learned doing the rotoscope neo-classics waking life and A dark scanner. Already getting strong reviews in its SXSW premiere, Richard Linklater’s latest film is about a boy who desperately wants to go to space – and gets shot. The call to adventure is typically a little goofy: “We need a kid like you to test this accidentally smaller version” of a spacecraft, says a NASA shirt and tie to a kid from 10 years. Have been sold. —EVB

Get ready for Princess Pinecone and her farting friend, Pony! Illustrated storybook by acclaimed children’s author Kate Beaton The Princess and the Pony is now a new anime series produced by DreamWorks Animation. Pinecone’s expectations are shattered when, expecting a strong warrior horse, she receives a “Too small! Too round!“Pony named, well, Pony. Beaton’s original story teaches Pinecone the value of his new, slightly gassy friend, and the new animated series seeks to adapt some of the book’s heroic essays, hopefully with several endearing whiffs of flatulence. —EVB

After 226 episodes, Bob’s Burgers stays as delightfully light on its feet as ever. Now that it’s been rescheduled after two years of COVID-related delays, we can expect this feature on Memorial Day weekend, the perfect time to flip a burger and sniff out your little sister’s rude jokes. No word yet on plot details, but considering the show is renewed through 2023, the film looks like a standalone outing from the Belcher family. The cast of the series are all back in their respective roles, while creator Loren Bouchard will direct and is sworn the film will hit theaters. He also said this in the long lead-up to the release: “It has to fill every inch of the screen with the colors and sounds and ever so slightly greasy texture of the world of Bob’s.” Make sure you have nachos before it starts. —EVB

Masaaki Yuasa, arguably the most visually inventive anime director of the 21st century, return to the silver screen for the first time since 2019 Ride your wave with Inu-Oh, a story of disfigurement, disability, creativity and camaraderie. Yuasa’s first musical, based on a book by Hideo Furukawahas a ring of Samurai Champloo to him, swapping the Edo period for the beginning of the Muromachi period (14th century) and hip-hop for glam rock. The film was released on the festival circuit last fall but will be distributed in the United States by GKIDS this year. — JHM

Fans of the French animated series Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir have reason to rejoice, because the saga of the magical super-duo of Parisian teenagers will continue. Directed by series producer and composer Jeremy Zag, The awakening of the ladybug and the black cat is billed as a romantic musical, and Zag described it as an origin story for the universe the heroes inhabit as well as “the end of the fifth season.” A few points to note: Miraculous just wrapped up its fourth season, and series creator Thomas Astruc apparently isn’t involved in the production – which may seem odd to some fans for an origin story. Still, we can’t wait to see what Zag comes out with. —EVB

Keeping up with one of the most thrilling animated movies in recent memory isn’t something we’d wish on a creative team, but the folks behind the sequel. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will try. At the helm of production this time, a trio of animation veterans with varied skills: Joaquim Dos Santos (director of action cartoons such as Justice League Unlimited and Avatar: The Last Airbender), Kemp Powers (co-director of Soul), and Justin K. Thompson (production designer of Into the Spider-Verse). The hype is already through the roof after a first look with Spider-Man 2099 discontinued fall 2021. —EVB

This four-part adaptation of Junji Ito’s lauded horror manga looks deservedly mesmerizing based on the clips released so far. Directed by Hiroshi Nagahama (his anime Mushi-Shi remains a masterclass in mythic storytelling), it’s an unusual co-production between Japanese animation house Production IG and Adult Swim, and it promises to be the first of several major international collaborations to come as Adult Swim strengthens its ties with animation studios. To start this with an animated rendering of such a weird and surreal series is a flex. —EVB

Yes, Disney is remaking one of the most important works of animation of all time, but who’s surprised? What is more surprising is that there are of them New Pinocchio movies this year, and the one crossed out by Who Framed Roger Rabbit director Robert Zemeckis (to stream on Disney+) is not fully animated. That would be Netflix’s take on Carlo Collodi’s classic tale, a stop motion work by Guillermo del Toro. Both movies have absurd casts, but del Toro has the advantage of (1) being animated (and therefore inherently superior), (2) Jim Henson Company involvement, and (3) Over the garden wall the hand of creator Patrick McHale in writing the screenplay. — JHM

With the vast Andean mountainous landscapes of the Inca Trail and a cuy — an adorable Peruvian guinea pig — featured in the trailer, Kayara Already promises to be a visually stunning 3D CGI coming of age story. At its center is a teenage Inca girl in training to become the first woman each, one of the messengers of the Inca Empire. In the film, directed by César Zelada, Kayara will encounter Spanish conquistadors, fight for the survival of her people, and at least attempt a gender swap as she tries to prove her mettle to enemies. It will be produced by Tunche Films, creator of Ainbo: the spirit of the Amazonwhich also featured a brave heroine trying to protect her home: the rainforest. —EVB

There are knights on dinosaurs. Elliot Page and David Tennant are among them. The same goes for Vin Diesel, Jeffrey Wright, Michelle Yeoh and Malcolm McDowell. It’s no dinotopia, but you can’t have it all. Have been sold. — JHM

Hayao Miyazaki goes end his retirement once again for one last movie. Will it be this year? Who knows! What we do know is this: He’ll adapt the Studio Ghibli master director’s film favorite childhood novelby Genzaburō Yoshino How do you live?a book for young readers first translated into English last year (with a foreword by Neil Gaiman, who wrote the English dub of Miyazaki’s 1997 classic Princess Mononoke). It will also, without a doubt, perfectevery time we get to see it. — JHM

Boldly designed by artists who at one time, according to the BBCintended for “kick disney ass“, this afrofuturistic animated series is a collaboration between Walt Disney Animation Studios and Kugali Media, a pan-African entertainment company. Set in a stunning sci-fi version of Lagos, Nigeria, the series from writer-director Ziki Nelson, production designer Hamid Ibrahim and other collaborators will blend Disney production values ​​with artistic styles from across the continent and to Kugali’s comic book aesthetic. . If you can’t beat them, join them – and show them, in the words of Nelsonyour “inspiration, or aspiration and desire, to try to design society to live in a more positive way”. —EVB

There’s not much to know yet about this Hail Mary of geek IP, which will turn pioneering trading card game Wizards of the Coast into a Netflix animated series starring cinematic Superman and Arrowverse Atom Brandon Routh. But it will surely prompt at least one good tweet from Mountain Goats singer John Darniellewhich is reason enough to include it in this list. — JHM