I’m still shocked that My Hero Academia is no longer the global darling.
If you haven’t yet checked out the article on Crunchyroll or seen the infographics on about a dozen other blogs, here’s the link. Now assuming everyone has had a scroll through it let’s take a look at what this tells us about the most popular (or at least the most watched on Crunchyroll) anime from 2020.
Firstly, just from looking at the colours, it became clear that My Hero Academia’s strangle hold on the community has finally left after four seasons. That isn’t to say people aren’t still watching it, and given it is still the most watched show in a number of regions it is still pretty popular, but really the universal shine it used to have has kind of come down a bit. I would suggest that this demonstrates some fickleness in the community, but really Boruto, Black Clover, Attack on Titan, and Re:Zero are all either returning or long running anime.
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Now the summation of how many countries each anime topped is available at the end of Cruncyroll’s article. However, it should be noted that Black Clover (87 countries) and Jujutsu Kaisen (71 countries) very much eclipsed even their next closest rival which was Boruto (only topping 32 countries). Colour me surprises given I dumped Black Clover early on and to be honest, even seeing this massive popular support isn’t enough to convince me it is worth going back and listening to Asta screeching. However, Black Clover has a hold on quite a selection of Europe and shares popularity with Jujutsu Kaisen in the Middle East and Africa.
Full disclosure, I haven’t watched any of Jujutsu Kaisen yet. It’s been firmly recommended to me as an anime I need to catch from 2020, but as it hasn’t finished airing yet, I’m leaving it on hold for the time being. So all I really have to go on is the genre tags and surprise-surprise both Jujutsu Kaisen and Black Clover are tagged as shounen and action anime. Black Clover has an additional fantasy and magic tag whereas Jujutsu Kaisen has the supernatural and school tags associated with it.
Looking at all the anime that made the list, the only one that didn’t get tagged as action is Re:Zero with shounen turning up in 5 of 9 titles and fantasy/supernatural/superpower turning up in 8 of the 9 (no idea about Onyx Equinox).
This shouldn’t really be surprising given shounen anime is a prolific genre giving a range of titles, the anime tend of be based on popular source material so have a pre-existing fan-base, there’s often tie-in games movies and a range of merchandise associated with them, and let’s not leave out the fact that even viewers like myself who wouldn’t list shounen in my top anime genres occasionally enjoys a good power fantasy. Despite the jokes people might make about it as a genre, there’s a real wide ranging appeal for a lot of these titles as they have large casts, epic plots, tend to blend high powered action sequences with some occasionally solid emotional nuances and provide ongoing character development through series of progressive arcs in which the audience grows more and more attached to the cast. While someone might objectively point out there are ‘better’ stories or anime that display the range of possibilities with animation better, often the examples they will use have a very niche appeal which makes them unlikely to top a most popular in any country list.
There are some differences globally though. The Asian market being dominated by Boruto with Black Clover getting almost no love at all. Unfortunately without information such as how many viewers there are in each region or knowing what second or even third preferences were, it is hard to draw any conclusions about distinct differences with the western and eastern anime market.
Realistically, what the 2020 most popular anime information Crunchyroll has released told me was:
- The ‘average’ anime fan is probably still male aged 16 to early 20’s. While there are definitely more female and older anime fans making their voices heard online, the market majority seems fairly clear.
- Long running anime is definitely not dead. While there are plenty of anime that only run for a season or two, the long running shounen format still has a large fan following and so this format of anime is going to continue to be made.
- Whether it was because it was 2020 or whether this is an ongoing trend I do not know, but clearly anime fans were after an escape or power fantasy. And who can blame them? 2020 seems like the perfect time to escape reality.
- Despite vast cultural differences, ultimately the most popular anime were the most popular across multiple countries with only Re Zero and Onyx Equinox taking top in 1 country each. Seems anime fandom has some universals which should make us feel all nicely connected in a year where so many of us have been alone.
Original Article on Crunchyroll: Feature: Explore 2020’s Most Popular Anime on Crunchyroll Around the World!. Author M Thomas. Available from: https://www.crunchyroll.com/en-gb/anime-feature/2021/01/14-1/explore-2020s-most-popular-anime-on-crunchyroll-around-the-world. 2020
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