Watching anime has remained a popular pastime in countries all over the world since the late 90s. Its influence continues to grow each year and now dominates a huge area of mainstream culture and entertainment that has never been delved into before.
Nowadays, anime is the third most in-demand subgenre on a global scale, with a total 5.5% demand share. And according to Ampere Consumer Data, over 36% of viewers worldwide enjoyed watching anime in 2021.
As Japan is the home of anime, we can expect the concentration of anime watchers to be considerably higher. In fact, this data also reveals that around 33% of Japanese people often watch anime or read the manga.
All that aside, anime is finally beginning to get the recognition it deserves for its characterization, brilliant plotlines, and immersive visuals.
So much so that, under 2022 Brandessence research, the anime market is predicted to hit a value of around $43.73 billion by 2027 if it continues to grow at a similar rate!
As a result of this, there is a lot of amazing anime series out there. If you’re new to anime or simply don’t know where to turn, here are the 10 most popular anime around the world.
Let’s dive straight in!
The 10 Most Popular Anime Around The World
We’re going to kick off this list with the most searched-for and highly influential anime series around the world. Unsurprisingly, this award goes to Naruto.
This addictive anime follows the titular character, Naruto, a kid ninja with a demon fox sealed inside of him, as he navigates through his life to become the leader of his village.
Since its 2002 debut, Naruto has soared to new heights, becoming one of the world’s most beloved anime just in time for the 20th anniversary of the franchise.
According to a Diamond Lobby report, Naruto has a world domination percentage of 43.3%, which is way ahead of the second-most popular anime, Pokémon (18.2%). Incredibly, Naruto also receives an approximate share of 16.2% of anime searches on Google.
According to the same June 2021 report by Diamond Lobby, the anime had high viewership percentages in the following parts of the world:
- 48.5% in North and South America
- 41.8% in Europe
- 28% in Asia
- 18.18% in Oceania
- 58% in Africa
These statistics reveal that Naruto is clearly the most viewed anime in Africa, with North and South American viewership following close behind. However, its European database also dominated that of other anime, as you will see later in this article.
However, while Naruto’s adventures have built a fanbase all around the world, the most prominent enthusiasm for the franchise is undoubtedly in the USA. Specifically, according to a 2022 study, America had 0.96 demand expressions per 100 capita for anime.
Additionally, around 30% of American adults have a favorable impression of anime and can relate the plot back to different experiences from their younger years.
This, coupled with the anime’s focus on the American Dream, is a huge reason why Naruto performs exceptionally well there.
As a result of its popularity in many different countries, Naruto has seen several spin-offs and movies, including a spin-off about the titular character’s son, Boruto.
Although this is nowhere near as popular as the original, it highlights the impressive legacy that Naruto has weaved for itself.
The nine Naruto movies have earned a combined box office gross of $35,094,962. And, as a whole franchise, including video games and merchandise based on the anime, Naruto has brought in over $10 billion in revenue since its 1999 release.
While this is extremely impressive, the Naruto anime series has high production costs – with each episode of the anime series costing the creators anywhere from $90,000 to $100,000 to make!
Pokémon is arguably the world’s most widely recognized Japanese anime, thanks to its classic gaming spin-offs and loveable characters.
Yet the true beauty of the Pokémon franchise is that it encompasses much more than just video games.
Since first airing in 1997, this anime has become a huge mainstream series – to the point where almost everyone has encountered the franchise at least once in their lifetime, even if they don’t realize it!
The anime storyline follows Ash and his Pokémon partner, Pikachu, as he journeys to become a “Pokémon Master” by competing in the Pokémon League and traveling to many amazing locations.
Simply saying that these lovable characters have captured the hearts of millions of fans is a gross understatement!
Web searches for Pokémon reached an all-time peak in the summer of 2016 when Pokémon Go was initially released in the US. In 2022, the game still has an estimated 80 million monthly players. However, this detracts nothing from the success of the anime itself.
The highly successful ongoing anime series has also recorded 8.8% of all-time web searches, showing how much it has saturated the anime market. This is supported by the statistics below.
In 2021, the anime had varying percentages of popularity in the following countries:
- 63.63% in Oceania
- 31.4% in North and South America
- 23% in Europe
- 4% in Asia
- 7% in Africa
More specifically, and according to recent data, the Pokémon franchise has managed to maintain extreme popularity in Canada. And for a good reason!
Since its introduction to Canada in 1998, many Canadians have developed a deep-rooted affection for all of the adventures that Ash and his friends find themselves tangled up in.
While the anime may not be nearly as popular as it was a couple of years ago, it is still going strong today, with over 1000 episodes that remain some of the most popular episodes on Netflix.
In addition to its exceptional levels of popularity, the Pokémon franchise remains at the top of the earnings table with an all-time estimated gross revenue of $118.5 billion.
This impressive revenue is mainly from huge sales of licensed merchandise ($82 billion) and exciting video games ($27 billion).
In fact, Pokémon is number one on the highest-grossing franchise list, beating the likes of Star Wars and Hello Kitty to the position.
3. Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba
Despite being one of the newer anime franchises on this list, with a 2019 debut, it’s impossible to ignore the power and popularity of Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba!
The series is centered on Tanjiro Kamado, a teenager who becomes a demon slayer after the murder of his family and after his sister, Nezuko, is turned into a demon. Along his journey to find a cure, he encounters like-minded friends, treacherous demons, and even a couple of misunderstood enemies.
This anime series was already a best-selling manga with an estimated sales total exceeding 150 million copies worldwide before it became the popular anime that we know today.
Demon Slayer is so well-known that it also accounts for approximately 7.8% of the total volume of Google searches worldwide!
Throughout 2021, Demon Slayer was one of the most-watched anime in many countries, including North and South America (8.5%), Europe (2%), and also in Asia (6.5%).
In addition, Demon Slayer was revealed to be the most successful and popular anime of 2021. This figure comes about thanks to a summer 2022 report which shows a revenue gross of more than $232 million in a single year.
This was achieved through multiple avenues, including manga, video streaming, and the box office.
Additional recent data about the anime also shows that over 19% of Japanese households tune in every week to watch the show on cable TV, establishing it as the third most-watched show in Japan.
We can safely say that, as of 2022, Demon Slayer is the most popular anime in Japan, the proclaimed “home” of anime.
The success of the anime series saw a 2020 direct sequel in the form of a film, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train, which, after making over $500 million, has become the highest-grossing Japanese and anime movie of all time.
Alongside breaking box office records, the Demon Slayer franchise has an estimated annual sales revenue of $9.5 billion. This figure includes all of its movie and merchandise revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
4. Attack on Titan
This particular anime is one of the most well-loved dark fantasy anime franchises ever created. It’s the gold standard for everything an anime should stand for and is not afraid to send you on an emotional rollercoaster!
Since debuting in 2013, the anime has quickly gained traction for its storytelling. The series follows Eren Yeager, a victim of a Titan attack, as he and his loved ones attempt to uncover the secrets surrounding the mysterious creatures.
Attack on Titan is a brutal post-apocalyptic anime that never shies away from showcasing the more complex topics like the realities of war, including the general conditions and the damage that it causes.
This is perhaps the most significant reason why such a portrayal has made Attack on Titan so popular in war-stricken countries like Iraq.
In early 2022, Attack on Titan was also deemed as the most sought-after show on streaming platforms in the US, with a demanding rating that was over 110.5x the market average. And according to a recent research project, it also accounted for 5.2% of online searches.
Attack on Titan also had its fair share of global viewers in North and South America (11%), Europe (18%), Asia (4%), and Africa (11%), respectively.
In a 2022 Filmarks poll (a top Japanese review service), fans were tasked with voting for the best anime, film, and drama in the first half of 2022. Fortunately, Attack on Titan came out on top, achieving a score of 4.43 out of 5.
Simply put, no anime can hold a candle to the type of media success that Attack on Titan found in mainstream entertainment, especially in the west.
This means it’s going to be very difficult to replicate the success of this anime any time soon, although there are some great contenders already in the mix.
5. Dragon Ball
It wouldn’t be a proper list without mentioning anime royalty, Dragon Ball. This is one of those anime that has been around since many of us were kids and is one that truly set the ball rolling for many modern anime works.
Debuting in 1984, the Dragon Ball anime follows Son Goku’s life as he grows from a young alien boy known as a Saiyan and then crashlands on earth to become one of the most powerful fighters in all of the galaxy.
According to a 2022 report, Dragon Ball ranked number 2 in the top 5 most popular anime of all time. This highlights its popularity and showcases the total influence that it has had over the world since it debuted.
Unlike the previous anime, Dragon Ball represents only a 2.6% volume of the searches made on Google. However, this does not take anything away from its general popularity.
Dragon Ball also has a 1.96% volume of popularity throughout the whole of Africa. Although it may not be the most-watched anime on the continent, it’s still pretty popular there.
Dragon Ball is also a hugely popular anime in 18 out of the 48 countries in Asia, representing an estimated percentage of around 39.1% of the anime scene. Recent statistics show that almost 33% of the Japanese population watch anime, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
However, no country loves Goku as much as Mexico. Even today, you can find Dragon Ball merchandise all over Mexico despite being released over three decades ago!
Merchandise is a huge contributor to the anime landscape, which explains why anime remains so popular. By the end of 2021, merchandising represented an astonishing 30% of total sales within the anime industry!
As a whole franchise, Dragon Ball is worth approximately $30 billion in terms of its revenue.
While a lot of this overall value is concerned with other factors, including manga and different elements of merchandise, it doesn’t take away the fact that the Dragon Ball series is one of — if not the — highest-grossing piece of media in the entirety of the anime industry.
6. One Piece
First published in 1997 in Shonen Jump, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga became an instant cult favorite. Cut to August 2022, over two decades later, and One Piece now has over 516.5 million copies in circulation, spanning 61 regions and countries worldwide.
But it was One Piece anime that truly put the genre of Japanese cartoons on the map.
Produced by the renowned company Toei Animation, One Piece anime began broadcasting in Japan in October 1999 and kick-started the story’s popularity.
The anime resonates best with Japanese people as it centers on many of the core values that their society holds dear, including having a good relationship with friends and family and putting others before you.
Since the anime debuted in 1999, Monkey D. Luffy’s adventures in One Piece have gained millions of dedicated fans all around the world. As a result, you can find members of the dedicated fan club just about anywhere.
However, the franchise is more popular in its home country of Japan than anywhere else in the world.
According to the same 2021 Diamond Lobby study we have mentioned before, One Piece was shown to be the most popular anime series in 7 out of 48 countries in Asia, representing 15.21% of the Asian anime scene. This places it third behind Attack on Titan and Naruto, respectively.
Additionally, One Piece has recently been uncovered as the top anime in 25 of the 50 American states, demonstrating its importance to American citizens and highlighting its global cultural significance.
However, this hasn’t reduced its global impact or popularity, as the anime has recently received a respective volume of online Google searches (approximately 7.2% total.)
The media franchise for One Piece also includes several movies, including one original video animation, fourteen animated feature films, and thirteen TV specials.
One Piece is so popular in both the east and the west that it continues to dominate polls that ask the general public, “what is your favorite anime?”
As an entire franchise (manga and anime included), One Piece is worth around $20.9 billion thanks in large part to the merchandise and video games that were spun off from the anime.
However, this figure could be slightly higher if you factor in additional One Piece franchise elements, including merchandise or video games developed by different creators.
7. One Punch Man
According to a report by Review Moose, it is estimated that anywhere from 40% to 60% of the entire global population consumes anime content either actively or casually via anime content and streaming platforms alone. This shows that there is a demand for this genre.
As of 2022, there are thousands of anime produced, with over half of those being aired on television. Each storyline offers something completely different. But none more so than One Punch Man.
The original version of One-Punch Man was a webcomic created by the mysterious figure known as ONE. Its global popularity — pushed by the anonymity of its creator — led to it being remade as a manga and eventually adapted into an anime series in 2015.
As the title implies, the anime One-Punch Man is centered on a single hero, Saitama, who is so powerful that he can defeat an opponent with a single punch.
The final result is a comedy masterpiece posing as a satirization of the over-the-top fight scenes typical of the shonen genre.
One-Punch Man is one of the most popular Japanese manga and anime series among fans living everywhere in the present day.
The superhero-themed content of this anime is cleverly mixed with elements of both American and Japanese pop cultures, giving it a distinctive edge over other anime.
Not only is it super fun to watch, but American comic book lovers and fans of Japanese anime everywhere adore it!
Despite only representing 2.17% of the anime scene in Asia, the influence that this anime has on many of the people living in these countries simply cannot be denied. It also makes up 9.09% of the Oceania anime scene, which is a pretty impressive statistic.
The anime’s first season holds an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 12 reviews and is often referred to as a knock-out in the anime world. On the other hand, the second season didn’t live up to expectations and had a mixed bag of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
In print, the One-Punch Man manga has sold over 30 million copies and has been nominated for several awards. The animated series has also been hailed as an excellent encapsulation of the greatest aspects of the shounen genre.
The popularity of the anime, along with its loveable characters, has recently inspired an officially licensed video game adaptation for mobile and console devices. This highlights the overall global reach of the anime.
8. Death Note
According to statistics from The Association of Japanese Animations, the Japanese anime industry has generated almost 1.19 trillion yen. This is approximately half of all total revenue, showing that Japanese anime is quickly becoming popular worldwide.
Now that we have established this, another key Japanese anime that we feel deserves a spot on this list is Death Note.
The classic horror manga debuted in 2003 and was turned into a 37-episode series, later airing in 2006.
The series follows Light Yagami, an intelligent student who stumbles upon the power to kill people with a simple notebook. Spurred on by the idea of playing God, Light aims to dish out justice by killing criminals.
The show is a dynamic mix of mystery, suspense, and the supernatural, with extremely complex characters and themes that revolve around themes of justice, obsession, and power.
The popular Japanese anime accounts for 2.8% of searches on Google. The fact that Death Note still dominates Google searches despite being a standalone installment that ended over a decade ago is a testament to just how brilliant it is.
There are also no sequels or long-running narratives, which is great if you are trying to ease someone into the world of anime.
In terms of statistics, Death Note is considered a relatively popular anime in Europe (2.3%) and Asia (2.17%), respectively, although it still has quite a varied global viewership.
Despite ending in 2007, Death Note has obtained a near-perfect 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only does this say a lot about the show’s quality, but it also demonstrates the overall global impact over a decade later.
The classic cult series ended up being such a massive hit that the studio was granted an impressive $40 million budget to create the anime we are all familiar with today.
9. Jujutsu Kaisen
Written and illustrated by the talented Gege Akutami, Jujutsu Kaisen is the newest series to completely take the anime industry by storm.
Since its anime debut in 2020, Jujutsu Kaisen has come a very long way! It’s arguably the most popular new-generation anime, averaging an impressive volume (7.3%) of searches on Google since it first aired.
The self-aware story follows a high school-age student called Yuji Itadori as he joins a hidden organization of Jujutsu Sorcerers to remove a powerful Curse, which Yuji later becomes the host of.
Per a report by the Anime News Network, Jujutsu Kaisen is noted as being the second most-watched anime on Crunchyroll, directly after Black Clover. It was watched in over 71 territories and countries and took over nearly ¾ of some continents.
Many viewers wonder how the story continues, which means a higher percentage of its audience consumes Gege Akutami’s writing. This has resulted in the Jujutsu Kaisen manga series selling over 8.8 million copies and securing that coveted number-one spot for 2022.
This beloved anime will return in 2023 after an immense run at the worldwide box office for its prequel, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, which generated an impressive global total of over 24.25 billion yen (around $180 million).
Jujutsu Kaisen won three awards at the 2021 Crunchyroll Anime Awards, including the “Anime of the Year” nod. It was also awarded the Tokyo Anime Award in the 2022 television category for “Animation of the Year.”
As of August 2022, Jujutsu Kaisen has over 70 million copies in circulation (including digital and print), making it one of the best-selling manga series ever created.
With the global anime market predicted to grow to multimillion USD within the next decade, new anime like Jujutsu Kaisen will pave the way for more key players.
10. Hunter x Hunter
And finally, we come to Toshihiro Togashi’s Hunter x Hunter, one of the most recent (and most popular) anime on this list.
As more intriguing new anime graces our screens, the number of loyal anime viewers continues to grow. For example, around 18% of the US population actively watches anime regularly. However, this figure is said to hover somewhere between 90 and 100 million on a global scale.
But there’s something quite special about ‘older’ series like Hunter x Hunter that audiences simply cannot resist revisiting.
It follows a young boy named Gon Freecs who wants to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a pro hunter. The series is a magnificent journey packed with wonder, hardship, and friendship as Gon learns what it takes to achieve his goals.
Hunter x Hunter has never quite reached the level of popularity of other anime like Dragon Ball or Naruto, for example, but it stands out in its own right thanks to a hoard of dedicated fans who simply cannot get enough of the characters.
This is especially true for the fans who live in Egypt, a place where Hunter x Hunter is easily the most popular anime of all time.
The series highlights a high level of respect and dedication to correctly honoring Egyptian culture, which is another huge reason why it is so popular in the country.
As FlixPatrol has reported, October 2022 has seen a resurgence of interest in Hunter x Hunter on Netflix Egypt. At the time of writing, the anime ranks number seven in the top 10 list.
This anime also accounts for a volume search of 1.9% in terms of overall searches on Google.
The anime first aired between 1999-2001 (62 episodes), and then a second series, which was essentially a reboot, was broadcast between 2011-2014 (148 episodes). Both received relatively positive reviews from critics and fans alike.
To put it simply, Hunter × Hunter has remained a huge critical and financial success since it originally aired. It has also become one of the best-selling manga series of all time. As of July 2022, the manga has over 84 million copies in circulation.
That concludes our article about the 10 most popular anime around the world!
After combing through his information, it’s abundantly clear that anime is a hugely profitable industry in countries all around the world with an incredibly rich past and an even more promising future.
With the legacy of classic anime and manga cemented by huge cult followings in even the most remote locations — alongside incredibly stunning visuals — the longevity of anime in modern society truly comes as no surprise.
It’s safe to assume that all 10 of these anime will continue to leave their legacy on the anime world for many years to come!