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Top 10 Anime That Are Way More Popular in Japan

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Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Even if we all love the medium, it’s clear that we still have different tastes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten anime that are way more popular in Japan. For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that are far more successful and have more of a following in their home country of Japan. That’s not to say other audiences can’t enjoy these shows just as much, but as a collective the Japanese seem to value them much more than the likes of North America. Special thanks to our users AlexCrilly-Mckean and Ashjbow for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Anime That Are Way More Popular in Japan


Even if we all love the medium, it’s clear that we still have different tastes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten anime that are way more popular in Japan.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that are far more successful and have more of a following in their home country of Japan. That’s not to say other audiences can’t enjoy these shows just as much, but as a collective the Japanese seem to value them much more than the likes of North America.

#10: “Girls und Panzer” (2012-13)

High school anime girls can make anything seem cute…even giant death machines. In a world where tank warfare has become quite the popular sport in modern Japan, we’re introduced to a group of your usual leads who vow to help their school win an upcoming competition. Because nothing screams out friendship and sportsmanship quite like tanks. As it happened, the series was so popular that one Japanese town hosted a similar event involve tank merchandise in celebration.

#9: “PreCure” Franchise (2004-)

While over here we primarily know it as Glitter Force, in truth this series has been letting loose sparkles of over a decade now. As you might have guessed, this sugary sweet show focuses on the likes of several school girls who are blessed with the power to transform into magical girls and save the world from a great evil. So how popular is it in Japan? Well aside from the anime franchise that is still going strong, the PreCure girls have also got dozens of movies, crossovers, video games and educational vids to their name.

#8: “Yo-kai Watch” (2014)

Jeez, when a video game makes the jump to anime, there really doesn’t tend to be any middle ground. It’s either an abomination or becomes the next big craze. Guess where Yo-kai Watch stands. Thanks to the legacy of its highly successful game counterpart, the story of a young protagonist encountering, battling and ultimately befriending various ghostly creatures called Yo-kai has exploded in Japan. With the series still ongoing, from this distance it looks like it could slowly drift towards becoming the next Pokemon. Now that’s a spooky thought.

#7: “Macross” franchise (1982-2016)

For those of you not in the know, what we call Robotech over here in the west was made up of three entries in the hugely successful, expansive and influential franchise of sci-fi gems known as Macross. While the latest entry, Macross Delta has managed to garner a lot of attention for itself, it’s the classics such as Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Macross 7 and Macross Frontier that are remembered the most fondly. And what’s not to love? Mecha and music idols go hand in hand!

#6: “Doraemon” (1973-)

It’s easy to forget sometimes that Japanese animation also caters to a much younger audience, and none have been more successful in that regard than this robotic cat. For decades this mechanical feline has been helping pre-teens through troubled times, teaching good morals along with all other kinds of outrageous sci-fi comedy. Its legacy is undeniable; the fact that it is still airing new episodes to this day speaks volumes. Even master filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro called it the greatest kid series ever created.

#5: “Uta no Prince-sama” series (2011-16)

Ah, the reverse harem genre. Bringing you more handsome gentlemen than you’ll know what to do with. Though out of all of them none have made quite the splash like this little number. With her dream of one day serving as a composer, Haruka finds herself at a prestigious arts academy. And wouldn’t you know it, she soon finds herself surrounded by a slew of perfect men totally enraptured by her talents. Aside from its ‘gorgeous’ ensemble, the music is the real winner here. So much so that it inspired more than a few concerts!

#4: “Crayon Shin-chan” (1992-)

He may not look it, but this kid is a legend in Japan. He’s one of the highest grossing animated series of all time, he continues to dish out episode after episode, and the public just can’t get enough of him. And what’s not to love? In spite of his age and adorable art style, Shin-chan is well known for getting into all kinds of mature situations, lending itself to some brilliant black comedy. While he’s still the king in his home country, it should be noted that his adventures (over nine hundred of them, including twenty-five movies) have been dubbed into thirty languages.

#3: “Mr Osomatsu” (2015-)

Ever wanted to see what Japan’s interpretation of South Park would look like? Well, chances are it would resemble these sextuplets and their every day, vulgar antics. Based on the more heartfelt series Osomatsu-kun, these older yet far more immature iterations have managed to win over Japanese audiences left, right and centre. That’s not to say the we can’t appreciate Osomatsu’s, Karamatsu’s, Choromatsu’s, Ichimatsu’s, Jyushimatsu’s, and Todomatsu’s crude sense of humour, it’s just Japanese audiences ([whispering] especially the fujoshi) gravitate to the filthy NEETs more than the rest of us.

#2: “Kemono Friends” (2017)

This…this is a phenomenon. Many a western fan and critic alike have called this series pretty mediocre. And yet the otaku of Japan absolutely love it. It’s a series about endangered species being turned into anthropomorphic little girls with some pretty subpar CGI compared to others you’ve see in an anime, and yet it singlehandedly topped charts and resulted in a huge increase in visits to local zoos. What…is this show?!

#1: “Detective Conan” (1996-)

While the English adaptation, Case Closed, has certainly won more than a few western fans over, there’s just no denying that Japanese audiences can’t get enough of this pint-sized problem solver. Given how many episodes and movies he had under his belt, with several more on the way, is it really any surprise? The likes of Shinichi, Kaitou Kid and the rest of the cast have ascended to become legendary figures in Japan’s anime culture, with the series showing no signs of slowly down even as it reaches the one thousand episode threshold. After all, there is only one truth.
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