The Reasons Anime Fans Should Be Happy For Dubbed Anime

Dubbed Feature 2

To sub or dub… Whichever you prefer. But dubbed anime has brought benefits to all fans whether we like it or not.

Before we get started I’m going to make it clear that this is not another debate about whether subbed or dubbed anime is superior. I looked at the pointlessness of the argument around dubbed anime a few years ago and I’ve already made it clear that I primarily watch subbed anime. That said I also have a top 5 list celebrating my favourite English dubbed anime and the reasons why those particular dubs caught my attention.

My answer hasn’t changed on this one: watch what you like.

However, as a long time anime viewer and having gone through the dark ages (pre-streaming services) I actually have to appreciate what an increase in both quantity and quality of dubbed anime has done for the anime fandom in general. There’s an undeniable benefit of dubs that even those who only watch subs have actually benefitted from.

Mars Red Ep2 3
You may not like it but it does have benefits – image from Mars Red.

Wider Audience

This might seem obvious but anime is an incredibly niche hobby. While it is more widely accepted as a hobby than when I was a teenager I still encounter people who don’t even know what anime is when I tell them that I enjoy it. I can’t imagine someone who watches football having the issue of having to explain to a non-fan what football actually is (even if the non-fan doesn’t know the nuances of the game or the rules they know it exists).

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Streaming services, conventions, and social media have all played a role in broadening the exposure of anime to the general public outside of Japan (for better or worse) but even for the curious there are plenty of people who would never have dabbled their toes in the anime pool while there was a language barrier and reading subs didn’t appeal.

Why is a wider audience a benefit to all in the fandom?

Without demand you don’t get new services or expanded services. By making anime more appealing to more people in your home country (usually through providing anime in the language people in that country speak) demand is increased and you see more shops with anime DVD sections, more streaming services that licence in your region and a general access increase – which in turn leads to yet more potential fans and so on.

Even breaking down the language barrier, anime is probably going to remain relatively niche market, particularly for the non-action titles out there. But it does open up the market to more people which ultimately provides benefits to all.

Demon Lord S2 Ep2 8
Always look on the bright side – image from How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Season 2.

Recently, AnimeLab released the first episode of the final season of Fruits Basket early – definitely just to build up excitement for the upcoming final season and to send fans crazy waiting for episode 2 to finally drop – however it was dubbed rather than subbed. In fact, all of the new Fruits Basket (so not the 2001 series) are only available dubbed on AnimeLab. Crunchroll is releasing it subbed.

Why is this relevant?


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Largely, because even though I don’t watch a lot of dubbed anime, when given the choice between waiting for that first episode and watching it dubbed, I jumped on watching it dubbed. The Fruits Basket English dub is actually pretty amazing and most of the characters actually come across really well. Admittedly, it was slightly jarring when I watched episode 2 on Crunchyroll with subs but if I’d waited just an hour or two the episode would have been released on AnimeLab and I could have watched it dubbed.

But again, the English dub was amazing. The voice actors put their heart and souls into portraying these characters and providing a viable alternative viewing experience for an English speaking audience.

Fruits S3 E1 9
Yes, these characters are awesome whether you hear them in English or Japanese – image from Fruits Basket Final Season.

This is something that even ten years ago wouldn’t have even been a possibility. Those who watched subbed anime were starting to get simulcasts but simuldubbing didn’t really start until around 2015 (probably could find the exact date if I searched a bit longer) and even then there was a delay of at least a week. That kind of meant that subbed anime fans and dubbed anime fans were pretty much perpetually out of sync in their conversation around current anime.

Those who watch seasonal anime know that if you are behind on a show you are unlikely to read content about that show until you catch up for the simple reason that you don’t want to know every single detail of what you are about to watch. While the bigger spoilers are almost unavoidable, unless you decide to detach from the internet, you can avoid seeing an endless parade of screen-caps and commentary prior to viewing an episode.

That kind of cut off conversation between those watching subbed or dubbed anime.

300 Slime Ep1 6
For instance if I was waiting for a dub of Slime 300 I wouldn’t get to discuss it this season.

While not every anime gets a dub and not every anime gets a simuldub, there’s certainly a lot more available which means there are more people able to join in the conversation around the latest shows and they are bringing their own perspectives and voices into the community. Some of these are people who used to watch subs because it was all they could access but now they are watching dubs, but some are people who never even considered anime before.

As much as anime fans love their subbed or dubbed anime debate, I need to acknowledge that dubbed anime has given the opportunity for more people to fall in love with anime and I can only see that as a good thing.

Of course, we could look at the negative of people discovering anime and then wanting to change it but let’s save that topic for a different blog post.

Images in this article from:

  • Mars Red. Dir. S Sadamitsu. Signal.MD. 2021
  • Fruits Basket: The Final. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2021.
  • How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. Dir. Y Murano. Ajia-Do. 2018
  • I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level. Dir. N Kimura. Revoroot. 2021.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


How Anime Fans Know They’ve Just Become An Isekai Protagonist

Isekai Feature

With so many isekai stories out there you would assume people disappeared from Japan on an almost daily basis.

If light novels and anime are to be believed – and of course they are such an incredibly factual source of information about how the world works – there’s a genuine danger that one day you might get sent to another world and find yourself as an isekai protagonist. This risk is increased if you fit any of the categories below:

  • Reader of fantasy fiction.
  • Player of RPG’s.
  • Player of otome games.
  • Otaku shut-in.
  • Male who has never had sex.
  • Victim of bullying.
  • Someone who has failed to achieve their dreams.
  • Someone who works ridiculous hours in a hostile corporate environment.
  • A genius at one particular thing.
  • Are a ridiculously bland human.
Klein - Sword Art Online: Aincrad Artc
Sorry Klein.

The risk definitely increases if you happen to meet more than one of those criteria. Honestly, if you meet at least three of those (you are probably a normal human being) you really need to be on the lookout for the methods through which you might be sent to another world.

Check the risk: Are you likely to become an isekai protagonist?



Naturally there is the stock standard truck encounter. This one has been used so many times it has now become the go-to for comedy versions of the trope. Even Zombie-Land Saga, which didn’t actually become an isekai, used a close encounter with truck-kun as the means of knocking off our optimistic protagonist and having her reawaken as a zombie. Winter 2021 has brought us Jobless Reincarnation with yet another truck related isekai incident. Honestly, if you are at risk of being isekai’d you may as well just stay away from traffic. It isn’t going to end well.

Because let’s be real: even if these characters are in fact reincarnating in another world they have to go through the messy process of dying first. Whether it is a truck or some other equally tragic or comedic demise, their death scenes don’t exactly look great to live through. Then they wake up in the other world and have the messy process of growing up and learning about the world they are in, or realise they aren’t even human anymore.

I’ll admit, Rimuru didn’t get hit by a truck. He was stabbed. But he still died and then got to find out he was a translucent blue slimeball in a dark-cave (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime). Like, harsh.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Slime gives the dragon a name.
I hear you Rimuru.

Moving away from that, we have the less painful version of logging into a game that through reasons that will never make actual sense you can’t log out of. Maybe some evil psycho designed the game that way (Sword Art Online) or maybe someone shut-down the server and for whatever reason that didn’t just throw you out of the system. Either way, you are now in video-game land and you really better hope you don’t get the buggy version of Aincrad that appeared in the SAO Abridged series.

SAO Abridged - Bugs happen.
Ouch.

There’s also summoning. So you don’t become a different person, usually, but you either go through some sort of glowing portal or are somehow yanked out of your reality and end up somewhere else. In some cases the summoner has grand plans for you but the usual trope these days is that you won’t be the one they were after anyway and you’ll end up cut loose to make your own way in the world.

Of course Cautious Hero and The Familiar of Zero (why have I not yet review this) are both cases where the summoned her did in fact end up being led around by the summoner though in both cases I don’t think either of them really minded by the end.

Then we have the utterly random transportation methods. One of my personal favourites came from Kyou Kara Maou where they flushed the character down the toilet. Though that series does a few things differently with the character bouncing back and forth between the two worlds for the duration of the series using water as a portal between the two and with time running at different speeds.

All things considered, of all the options, this one would be my preferred iskeai option because you kind of end up with the best of both worlds (provided you don’t drown through transportation or get killed in fantasy land).

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So we’ve covered transportation to the other world, but how do we know we haven’t just hit our head or we’re having a bad dream?

Well, whatever the set-up starts as, sooner or later you are going to get an opportunity to do something you had never done before or fulfil some kind of dream. Whether your goal was the simple life of a farmer, or whether you wanted to protect someone, or even if you just wanted to see new places and try new foods, your new life will somehow provide this for you.

In the rare cases where it doesn’t, you’ll be given an opportunity to become a hero who saves the world from some ridiculously over-the-top force. At first you will seem like an unlikely hero but rest assured you will have exactly the power or skill required to succeed in either the second last or final episode of your story.

demonlord11g
Yes, because you are Diablo.

And whether you start out as an unpopular character or not, you can be pretty optimistic that sooner or later someone will recognise your innate talents and follow you around for the rest of forever. Then another character will. And so on until you’ve acquired quite the crew of followers who all completely adore you and think you are the best thing since whatever their equivalent of sliced bread is.

Seriously, you’ll have a best friend, a frenemy, a love interest (possibly multiple), the mentor figure, and all other kinds of hanger-ons who are just amazed and inspired by your ‘original’ ideas and thoughts. The downside of course being that someone is going to end up insanely jealous of your good fortune and will set themselves up a rival character who may or may-not end up being a serious threat (to themselves).

There are a couple to watch out for though.

The world you are sent to will almost definitely look like a more sanitary version of medieval Europe. While some exceptions exist, it is almost positive that you will either end up learning to use a sword, a bow and arrow, or magic (or maybe all 3). If you are worried you are at risk of being isekai’d you might want to start practicing now as characters who are good at kendo or similar seem to fare reasonably well on arrival. Not sure how you would prepare learning magic in this world. Maybe just practice posing?

Kenja no Mago - Shin
Yeah, like that.

Also, just be aware that you are unlikely to find soy sauce or miso in this fantasy land. But don’t worry, apparently anyone who can manage to obtain ingredients of any sort can eventually create an equivalent flavour.

Basically, if you watch isekai stories, you know what to watch out for to know if you have been isekai’d. You will also know what to do and what to avoid.

So how about it – how would you know you were in an isekai? And if you were, what would your first steps be?

Images in this article from:

  • Sword Art Online. Dir. A Iwakami. A-1 Pictures. 2012
  • How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. Dir. Y Murano. Ajia-Do. 2018
  • Kenja no Mago. Dir. M Tamura. Silver Link. 2019
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. Dir. Y Kikuchi. 8bit. 2019.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged – Unknown


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


This Is The Anime You HAD To Watch

Watch Feature

Regardless of the anime you’ve seen, there’s always something you’ve missed that someone else feels is pivotal to being an anime fan – or they just really want to share the love.

I’ve been an anime fan for a fair while now and watched a lot of anime – like a lot of it. Yet when meeting another fan there is one comment that seems to come up again and again when discussion the shows we’ve watched: “You HAVE to watch …” Seriously, I should get a dollar for every anime I was told was the “anime you had to watch” and I’d be a very happy anime fan.

Naturally I asked my Twitter followers what anime they had been told was THE ANIME you HAD to watch and the responses were by and large the expected ones:

Sometimes this is definitely in the spirit of someone who just passionately wants to share a love for an anime with a fellow fan and sometimes they just want someone else they can talk to about the anime. Other-times however it can be delivered in the tone of someone who seems to feel a smug certainty that someone who didn’t even complete the first arc of Naruto can’t possibly call themselves an anime fan.

The first of these types can actually open up a great friendship and depending on the anime being recommended might lead to some really interesting conversations about a shared love. The second of these types is the kind that new-comers to the hobby might find a little off-putting and like there’s some secret club that you get to join once you’ve watched whatever anime they deem to be the seminal works within anime.

Naruto
Yeah, I just don’t get it.

Naturally you will meet a whole bunch of people in-between these two extremes and both types can actually be pretty great people. The Naruto example above wasn’t just thrown out there. It was a specific case where someone I knew IRL genuinely believed Naruto was the pinnacle of anime and while other works could be fun and all, any true anime fan would watch Naruto. They weren’t actually obnoxious about it, however any anime conversation would quickly have a Naruto reference thrown in which generally speaking would sail clean over my head.

Irina – This is the anime you had to watch – your thoughts?

Irina 2020 4

Although I rarely talk about it, I actually really like Naruto. A lot!

I’m just cutting in here out of the blue. It’s Irina, hi everyone. When Karandi first came up with this idea, I thought it was wonderful. Most anime fans will get unsolicited recommendations at some point but when you have an anime blog, you get them all the time. It can be a bit exhausting, especially when you feel like you should consider all these recommendations, they were given with earnestness after all. So how do you deal with it?

Rather than be annoyed by this, I countered with Bleach references. I don’t actually think Bleach is a high point for anime, but I know I have a lot of fun watching it, and I also know that referencing Bleach would usually hijack the conversation back away from Naruto. Incidentally, I still haven’t watched Naruto nor do I have any real intentions to.

Oh you really should ;P



Over a number of years I had a lot of fun conversing with this person and we talked about a lot of other new release anime and some of the older works that they have seen.

On the other hand I’ve had encounters with fans who at first recommend an anime to me politely, and then seem to hound me over and over again about whether I’d watched it or not (regardless of the fact that I had already pointed out to them I was overcommitted on my watch list already at the time) to the point that I just didn’t want to hear it again and at one point deliberately crossed the anime off my watch list just because I was sick of hearing about it (it got added back on but definitely a case where even being well-meaning isn’t exactly great).

What’s your experience been like, Irina?

Ash Lynx - Banana Fish
What do you mean you still haven’t watched it?

I am open about my preferences and dislikes in anime and I find that people who have different tastes will often try to convince me to change mine. More specifically, I have many times said that I tend to not enjoy traditional romance stories and yet I get romance anime suggested to me all the time. More than once I have already watched and reviewed poorly. I’ll be honest, I sort of gave up explaining my preferences and now just give a vague noncommittal answer.

Even though most people intellectually understand that disliking an anime isn’t the same as calling it bad, I think there’s still a lot of folks that have emotional attachments to particular anime that make it difficult for them to accept someone could dislike it. Especially someone who they otherwise agree with on shows. And they don’t always take in the other person’s tastes into account.

As anime fans we do get quite attached to our anime.

It isn’t as though I don’t also use the phrase, “you should watch…” or even, “you need to see…”. It almost comes naturally when discussing shows and realising someone hasn’t seen something you hold dear or think might be something the other person will enjoy.

After starting the blog Haikyuu was the anime that came up all the time as one I needed to see (that and Cowboy Bebop). When I finally bit the bullet and decided to watch the volleyball themed anime – and let us all remember we have Yuri on Ice to thank for thawing my natural aversion to sports anime – I really enjoyed it. All those comments and reminders from people about Haikyuu seemed validated and I was excited to share my thoughts on it as I watched.

Haikyuu - Hinata and Kageyama
Significantly better than expected – there’s some real emotion in this volleyball story.

Bebop on the other hand is one that so many times people insisted I NEEDED to have seen that it became an anime I unconsciously avoided even when I had the opportunity to watch it. 2020 was finally the year that I got on board and watched Spike and friends poorly hunt bounties across space. I haven’t yet written my review of the series but I did order the blu-ray so that probably tells you the verdict.

Even within seasonal viewing, within a few weeks of an anime making a splash there are people who ‘encourage’ you to jump on board the latest hype train, because sometimes it isn’t just all hype. My Hero Academia was one such an anime for me. The first season of it I didn’t start when it aired and it was five episodes in before the clamouring voices on social media and blog posts singing its praises got me curious enough to dive into it. Again, I’m pretty glad about that.

That isn’t to say there hasn’t been anime people have insisted on that have fallen flat for me. Generally I don’t remember them after the fact because they don’t leave much of an impression.

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This is an interesting post for Karandi and I to share. We both watch a lot of anime and we talk about it together. We also generally have very different tastes. Almost opposite. A few notable exceptions of course (cough Natsume cough).

I love comedies, and Sports! anime and a certain sarcasm to my series. I have little to no patience for drama, romance and like my fantasy on the urban side. 

As such, over the years, I think we both developed a vague sense for what the other person would like but neither of us ever really ventured into aggressively recommending anything to the other. Because that would likely not work out. It’s an odd position to be in. On the one hand if I come across a weird anime that I absolutely fall in love with, of course my instinct is to tell Karandi to watch it, and watch it now! I want her to experience the same joy I did after all. That’s what friends are for. But on the other hand, I don’t want her to be saddled with the chore of trying to get through a show that does nothing for her. 

Given - big hugs for Haruki
Where our interests overlap.

But I think one thing that helps us, is that we don’t feel too uncomfortable with admitting we aren’t enjoying something the other is. Because recommendations can feel like impositions and come with all sorts of unspoken expectations, sometimes you just feel bad telling someone you didn’t enjoy their pick. And it’s no fun hearing it either. But I’m always ok hearing it from Karandi since we’ve already established we just like different things. We’re complimentary that way! 🙂

And then there’s people like Dawnstorm who regularly makes me discover my new favourite series and at this point I will blindly trust their recommendation on anything.

This is very true. And even series we like, we frequently like for different reasons or have different favourite moments. Black Butler would be one such series where Irina and I both like the series but for me season one is true brilliance and season 2 was a bit of a train wreck which of course ended up with Irina and I doing a two part debate on the merits of season 2 (where she tries to convince me that somehow it is the better series). In one particular exchange Irina actually tried to argue Ciel was a bit of a flat character, a point which I wholly disagree with and yet this is an argument where both of us basically just accept we’re coming at it from two different places. 

Black Butler Season 2 - Alois attacks Ciel.
Alois? Really?

That said, because we’ve kind of worked out each other’s preferences and where our interests overlap, I mostly know when something I’m watching is going to be something Irina would like, and she very much has my tastes figured out so I can usually trust a recommendation from her to be at least on paper something that’s going to catch my interest.

Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about your hobby and your favourite anime. That’s why most of us chose to be bloggers, to share our love of anime with everyone else and to find people who want to talk with us about our favourite characters and shows. Those who know what it is like to cry when a character falls or to cheer when they overcome challenges. Recommending shows, using language like ‘have to’ and ‘need’ is a part of being a fan.

However, there are probably a few things to keep in mind:

  • Are you pushing an anime because you genuinely think the person you are speaking to will like it (based on other anime or shows they’ve watched) or are you pushing it because you like it?
  • How many times have you already pushed your preference? Are you starting to be a bit of a broken record?
  • Have you accepted any of their anime recommendations?

Alright, time to share your experience. When was a time someone recommended an anime to you and you loved it? When was a time someone recommended an anime and you ended up wondering what on earth they were thinking? And finally, when was a time you recommended an anime to someone else and they took you up on it? How did that work out?

Images in this article from:

  • Naruto: Shippuden. Dir. H Yamashita. Studio Pierrot. 2007 – 2017.
  • Banana Fish. Dir. H. Utsumi. MAPPA. 2018.
  • Haikyuu. Dir. S. Mitsunaka. Production. I. G. 2014.
  • Given. Dir. H. Yamaguchi. Lerche. 2019.
  • Black Butler 2. Dir. H. Ogura. A-1 Pictures. 2010.

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

karandi avatar no background

The Reason Anime Fans Should Care About Banned Shows

Censorship Anime

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak because a baby can’t chew it.” – Mark Twain

I really should have learned during 2020 that spending any length of time on news feeds was just going to have me stumble across something that would just really make me feel annoyed in general. There’s no actual target for my annoyance. It is more an irritation at the fact that despite things forever being in a state of change, a lot of that change isn’t necessarily for the better. Today, let’s discuss banned shows.

At the start of 2021 I read a whole bunch of articles where people were calling to ban ‘Grease’ (the movie with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John) over its sexism and homophobia. While I’m not going to deny either of those issues exist with the movie, if we start banning all media from former eras that doesn’t necessarily align with our current values, we’re right back to the catholic church plastering fig leaves over naked statues just because they didn’t necessarily agree with depicting the naked human body.

Now, if people choose not to watch Grease because of its outdated mentality (or just the fact that it is a boppy musical in which a clear bunch of adults pretend to be teenagers and the overall resolution seems to come about after both main characters discard their whole identity to appease the other) I have no issue with that. People certainly do have the right to not engage with a movie with high pitched wailing and 50’s fashion should it offend them.

They also have the right not to have their kids watch it. What they shouldn’t be able to do is remove something from history or retcon it so that it no longer has any resemblance to its former self, thus making it impossible to actually discuss how movies and their messages have changed over time (or not depending on which modern movie you look at). Or even just to stop other people getting some enjoyment out of it, should they choose to.

Should we care about banned shows?

Amazingly enough, in high school I was in a school production of Grease and somehow still manage to not actually believe in the roles and attitudes that are inherent within it and also don’t feel that non-consensual sex is okay. Who would have thought that exposure to an idea doesn’t necessarily indelibly imprint it upon a person when they are surrounded by other media and family, friends, educators and a whole bunch of other things that provide alternative view points.



Which brings me to the recent news headline about Russia banning Death Note and other ‘violent’ anime (link below).

Now, on reading the article it seems more that the court has ruled to block steaming of the shows on particular sites rather than actively seeking out and destroying copies of the works and there’s potentially a whole bunch of other things going on that I know nothing about. Let’s be real: I’m not an expert in the Russian legal system nor on the nuances of censorship in that country, nor do I really want to jump into an extended conversation on Russian politics.

However one quote provided in the article as a reason for the ban stuck with me as worrying with Death Note being apparently described as, “potentially dangerous for a modern child”.

And here is where I just have to shake my head.

The anime named in the article, Death Note, Inuyashiki, Tokyo Ghoul, Elfen Lied and Interspecies Reviewers, could ‘potentially’ be ‘dangerous’ to a child but are children actually the target market for any of these anime? And if we flow to the next step does that mean all modern media needs to have zero chance of ‘potentially’ causing harm in all potential viewers? What would that do to modern movies and TV shows in general even outside of anime.

While this article is about one decision from Russia and expanding it to a global ban on adult media is kind of a ridiculous over-exaggeration, anime fans do need to at least perk up and pay attention. What anime are restricted in their countries and what laws have been discussed and proposed that might effect anime distribution?

Just last year Australia (prior to the whole global pandemic thing that more or less stole all the attention) had a senator wanting a child abuse anime review citing Eromanga Sensei as a key example of anime that essentially should be illegal. The implications of that for which anime could be released in Australia would have been huge had the discussion gone any further and it isn’t as if these attitudes have disappeared in Australia, there’s just been other things going on that have dominated headlines in the last year.

And the really important question to ask: Does banning an anime actually protect children?

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I’ve discussed censorship on the blog before and Irina and I posted a discussion around Censorship in Fireforce a while back. My view hasn’t changed on this issue. 100% there should be warning labels on media so that people can make informed choices. That’s why classification boards exist.

Children do need some protection so that they aren’t exposed to ideas they aren’t ready to process and that protection needs to come from families making those informed choices and basic age-restrictions on the purchasing of certain things, though admittedly with digital media it is getting harder to age restrict things when you ultimately rely on the consumer ticking a box that claims they are old enough to access it.

Banning something in its entirety doesn’t actually make it go away but it does take away opportunities for actual regulation. And if simply banning a few TV shows and movies could stop people being violent, sexist, homophobic or anything else the world would be a much simpler place.

I would genuinely like to believe that the world will eventually move on from the current prevailing idea that silencing ideas and removing certain themes somehow enriches us. I personally wouldn’t show a child Death Note nor would I recommend it to a parent who asked me if their child should watch it. However that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any value in Death Note. It genuinely asks the viewer to evaluate their own concept of ‘justice’. It demands that we consider the implications of receiving a god-like power. It also makes some harsh commentary on the bystanders in society who don’t stand up and take action.

Anime fans, fans of free artistic expression, should care when any work is banned. And they should know why it was banned and what else has been brushed neatly under the rug because the current people in power don’t believe it gels with their moral compass.

Now, after I drafted this article, I had a quick chat with Irina and discovered that she was also working on a post around censorship within anime. That’s now available on her blog and you can find it here: Is Censored Anime Better Than None At All?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


What Crunchyroll’s Most Popular Anime List Reveals About Fans

Crunchyroll reveal

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.

Dissecting Crunchyroll’s Most Popular Anime List

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.

Observation: Despite anime fans being seemingly fickle, their is some fierce loyalty to well known franchises.



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).

Observation: Despite the sheer range of anime genres and the apparent increase in diversity amongst anime fans, the mainstream anime watcher is still into shounen.

Crunchyroll's most popular anime list

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Go anime!

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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Karandi James