The 2022 Golden Issue Award for Best Anime Movie

2022 has been one of the biggest years for anime in recent memory, not just when it comes to television, but on the silver screen to boot. With the medium's continuing rise in popularity, North America is getting in on the anime action, with films such as Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and One Piece Film: Red netting millions of dollars at the Western box office. There were plenty of options to choose from for this year's Golden Issue Awards For Best Anime Movie and each entry differs substantially from one another.

On the Shonen front, as mentioned earlier, both One Piece and Dragon Ball Super hit the big screen, introducing both the Straw Hats and the Z-Fighters to some unique challenges that saw the introduction of Shanks' daughter Uta in the former and the return of the Red Ribbon Army in the latter. The other three nominees weren't focused on battles that determined the fate of the world but had original premises that helped them to stand out from the competition. Drifting Home focused on a group of children sailing across the sea on the top of an entire housing complex, Suzume is the latest from legendary anime director Makoto Shinkai and focuses on doors that spell disaster for a young teenager, and Fruits Basket – Prelude took the opportunity to explore the lives of the protagonist's parents in a bittersweet tale. 

And the winner for the 2022 Golden Issue Award for Best Anime Movie is...  

(Photo: Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero!

This was an exceptionally difficult decision but the latest from Akira Toriyama injected new life into the Shonen series, taking a major risk by focusing the story on Gohan and Piccolo rather than Goku and Vegeta. Featuring the return of the Red Ribbon Army, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero had a perfect combination of slice-of-life comedy with the trademark action that has made the Shonen series a success for decades. 

One of the biggest changes that this movie saw from the anime movies and series that came before it was the decision to use more of a computer-generated animation style, marking a major departure for the anime adaptation. Luckily, the new style was able to capture not just the spirit of the characters but also did well at following the fast and frantic fights that have become a trademark of the Dragon Ball series to date. The fight against the Gammas and Cell Max took up the latter half of the film and was able to perfectly set the stakes while introducing some new elements not yet seen in Dragon Ball Super battle to date.

Of course, what would a Dragon Ball Super entry be without flashy character transformations, and boy does Super Hero have these in spades. With Piccolo finally getting power-ups that put him on the same level as the strongest of the Z-Fighters, both "Piccolo – Potential Unleashed" and "Orange Piccolo" seem like perfect additions to the Namekian's roster of upgrades. The clear winner of the movie might be Gohan's new ultimate form, which gives him a menacing new form in "Gohan Beast", which we can't wait to see make an appearance in the manga and television series' future. Putting Goku and Vegeta in the background was most assuredly the right decision to make for the film, as giving the stars of Super Hero energy boosts was long past due.

From the get-go, you can see Akira Toriyama's involvement in the film, capturing the spirit of the original Dragon Ball series in its comedic timing while also giving us some of the biggest battles of the sequel series to date. 

The Nominees for Best Anime Movie are:

  • Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero – WINNER
  • Drifting Home
  • Fruits Basket: Prelude
  • One Piece Film: Red
  • Suzume no Tojimari