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Top 10 Most Popular Anime On The Planet

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Guess it does pay to be popular. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Popular Anime on the Planet. For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that are both commercially successful the world over and ranking them on both their sales figures as well as just how beloved they are within fan communities.
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Top 10 Most Popular Anime On The Planet

Guess it does pay to be popular. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Popular Anime on the Planet.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that are both commercially successful the world over and ranking them on both their sales figures as well as just how beloved they are within fan communities.

#10: “Sword Art Online” (2012-)


You can hate on it all you want, but the original works still stands as of the highest selling light novels of all time, something that seemed to translate to the first season of the anime upon release. Trapped inside a virtual video game world, players Kirito and Asuna have to traverse a gauntlet filled with enemy players, monsters and the occasional awkward love scene. Its immense polarization has only served to earn it more attention, which might explain how it’s landed itself a spin off and an upcoming third season.

#9: “Fullmetal Alchemist” franchise (2003-04; 2009-10)


You don’t get recognised as one of the greatest anime of all time without doing something right. When the original series exploded onto the scene, it captivated fans everywhere with the Elric brothers’ tale of redemption, the artistic portrayal of alchemy, as well as the characterization of the fearsome Homonculi. Then along came Brotherhood and ramped everything up to eleven with a narrative much more akin to creator Hiromu Arakawa’s original work. It’s philosophical views and amazing action scenes have cemented It as a top-tier series that many anime lovers consider sacred.

#8: “Sailor Moon” franchise (1992-97; 2016)


It was the first successful shojo anime to hit the western mainstream, the titular character is considered to be one of the greatest female superheroes of all time, and has since acted as a benchmark for numerous other series that have followed in her footsteps. So yeah, Sailor Moon is a big deal! Her empowering example to young girls remains was nothing short of inspirational, while the fight scenes and romantic elements could still be enjoyed by plenty of other demographics. It’s little surprise she and the rest of the Senshi came back for an encore twenty years later via Sailor Moon Crystal.

#7: “Attack on Titan” (2013; 2017)


Like a bat out of hell, this series exploded onto the screen and almost instantly got itself a following of hardcore fans. Blending together visceral action, dark fantasy and mature elements that have continued to rattle us over the years, humanity’s ongoing battle against the Titans has managed to carve itself a spot as a modern classic among anime lovers. The manga has sold over 71 million copies the world over, and has a third season is just around the corner. If it keeps up the pace, then it’s fair to say a lot of golden oldies are going to get dethroned.

#6: “Detective Conan” (1996-)


Nearly a thousand episodes under its belt, over twenty movies, and zero signs of slowing down. There is only one truth, and it’s that Conan’s crime-solving exploits are likely going to outlive us all. Something of a national treasure, it’s maintained its place as the fourth highest-selling manga of all time for a fair while now with over 200 million copies sold. We’re not sure how many more crimes that the pint-sized detective can solve by this point, but given how there’s still no end in sight, the anime is bound to continue its steady stream of success.

#5: “Death Note” (2006-07)


The anime that struck gold. With but a single series, this now legendary title managed to establish itself as one of the smartest and most beautifully crafted examples of the occult detective genre ever put to both screen and paper. After finding himself in possession of a notebook capable of taking lives, genius sociopathic student Light Yagami vows to fix the world but cutting away those he views as rotten, only to find himself brought into conflict with an intellectual equal known as L. Both lead characters have had such a profound impact that there are still some who sees Light’s murderous actions as justified, while others still insist L is still the sexiest man alive. Go figure.

#4: “Naruto” series (2002-17)


It was saturated with filler episodes, gained infamy for a few narrative decisions, and had a hero who was likable around fifty percent of time. Yet through it all the knuckle-headed ninja persisted to give us a series that despite its flaws created a world filled with so many brilliant moments that fans were more than happy to push past its hurdles. Its manga remains a best seller, it managed to dish out a whole slew of original movies, and even got itself a sequel series that has surprisingly managed to capture some of the best parts of the original. Who would have guessed?

#3: “Pokemon” (1997-)


What started out as an innovative video game managed to turn itself into a miniature empire, one that spawned an anime series that somehow has found a way to keep going even to this day. Hoping to be the best like no one ever was, Ash Ketchum took the place of the player as he set out to become a Pokemon Master. While he hasn’t quite managed to achieve that title yet (or escape puberty for that matter) his adventures have still managed to earn him hundreds upon hundreds of episodes, numerous female sidekicks and pretty much the guarantee that sometimes quantity over quality can win the day. That, and a catchy rap.

#2: “One Piece” (1999-)


It’s the best-selling manga of all time, only just entered the last third of its epic narrative saga, and somehow managed to blend insane fight scenes with political poignant commentary. To say that this property is a masterpiece would be an understatement. Thankfully, the crazy quality of the work hasn’t only earned it a diehard set of loyalist fans who wait on each new chapter and episode like hungry wolves, but the way it bypassed all manner of shonen conventions has made it the gold standard for all adventure anime that have come after. It will be a truly sad day when Luffy has to hang up his hat.

#1: “Dragon Ball” franchise (1989-)


Redefining the west’s perspectives on how action and animation can go hand in hand, it’s fair to say that this series, especially in the case of Dragon Ball Z, was something of a revolution for many, opening the gateway to the wacky, wild and wonderful stories that could be found in anime. It’s impact certainly hasn’t been forgotten, which might explain why its sequel series, Dragon Ball Super, has managed to recapture the populace’s adoration of Goku and his friends as they take on the might of intergalactic combatants. Plus, we’re pretty sure that the Kamehameha is now ingrained into the human race’s psyche. How’s that for popular.
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