A few weeks ago, I asked a simple question: What is YOUR anime? Not necessarily the best show ever, or even your favorite, but the show that first hooked you and got you to start watching anime in general.
Turns out, a lot of people were waiting for a chance to be heard since almost 8,000 of you responded in a week!
So with no further preamble, what’s the data look like?
Oh. Right. I probably should’ve expected that, given the sheer number of answers! Over a dozen shows with over 100 votes and over 200 shows with one vote each…
OK, to make the data a bit more readable, let’s start with the top of the heap. Which shows got over 100 votes and exactly how many did they get?
Unsurprisingly, the Big Three have pretty strong representation, along with Shonen classics like Dragon Ball and My Hero Academia. Part of me wonders if I accidentally skewed the data when I mentioned that Naruto was my own personal pick, but it’s also one of the most well-known anime ever, so probably not.
I was honestly surprised to see how well Yu Yu Hakusho did. I knew the show had a following and that a lot of people, myself included, enjoyed watching it when it was on TV, but I didn’t think it was “ranking above My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan” levels of influential.
Franchises like Naruto, Dragon Ball, and Fullmetal Alchemist do have somewhat inflated numbers, as I opted to combine the votes for each of the franchises’ shows together. So Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, and BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATION are all combined into the Naruto slice of the chart.
What happens when we break those out?
So what about the other side of the spectrum, the shows that were life-changing to a single person? Well, unfortunately, that data is difficult to show in a chart since by definition every show has one vote, so here’s a list of all 200-ish of them:
As a quick game if you’re bored: randomly scroll through that chart and pick a show to watch. It means the world to someone, so there’s a decent chance there’s something you’ll love in there.
In my opinion, this is much more interesting data to look at. There’s stuff ranging from this past season or two (hello, new anime fan!), likely joke entries that I’m taking completely seriously (yes I’m including Tom and Jerry, it’s animated and I’m not discriminating here), and stuff that’s either so old or obscure I had to look it up to even know for certain that it wasn’t a joke (like the Muskehounds one or B’t X, yes that is seriously the title of a show).
That takes care of the high and low ends of the spectrum, let’s take a look at the middle. After stripping out the massive shows everyone knows about and the small shows that are dear to a single person, what are we left with?
Please note that this isn’t every show between 2 and 99 votes. In order to make the chart understandable, it’s restricted to just 20 votes and up. Apologies if your pick didn’t make the cut.
As a result of stripping out so many shows, we can at least see the top 20 or so next most popular shows, including the likes of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Gundam (also with all of its various incarnations combined into one entry). Most of the Digimon votes either just said Digimon or Digimon Adventure with no clarification for the 1999 or 2020 versions, but go watch Digimon Tamers. Other seasons have their highs, but Digimon Tamers is the best iteration, hands down.
As a final bit of data manipulation, let’s look at a timeline. How many shows did people vote for that started airing in the 2000s versus the 1970s or 2020s?
The 2000s had an upswing of shows people voted for, but the real peaks were the lead-up to 2010 and the first half of the 2010s, with a weird dip on 2010 itself, for some reason.
Honestly, the thing that surprised me the most when going through this data was how broad the range was. Everything from super popular titles that even non-anime fans would know to niche titles I’d never heard of, and everything from the early 1960s to last season had at least some kind of representation.
As one final call to action for everyone: Explain in two sentences WHY the show you chose made you become an anime fan. For anyone who wants to pick up something new in the future, scroll through the comments to see what catches your eye!
Kevin Matyi is a freelance features writer for Crunchyroll. He’s been watching anime for as long as he can remember, and his favorite shows tend to be shonen and other action series.