Top 10 most popular anime (based on manga sales)

In the last 10 years, anime has become a giant in the cultural landscape. People all over the world are familiar with the most popular anime and a significant portion of them have one or two favorite shows. But anime has been around for many decades before its migration to the West and the medium has a long history of great success in Japan.

RELATED: 10 Best Written Anime Of All Time

While many fans feel like they know which anime franchises are the most popular, a look at the list of the best-selling manga of all time indicates more than a couple of series that may surprise people. Many of these series are loved by people all over the world, but some are unknown to the global audience despite their dominance in the Japanese market.

10 Crayon Shin-Chan is a children’s story for adults

Crayon Shin Chan

Crayon Shin-chan it may seem like a children’s cartoon at first glance, but its publication history in Weekly Manga Action magazine (which later dropped “Weekly” from its name) indicates that its target audience is Seinen. Seinen stories target a demographic of people between the ages of 18 and 40.

With 148 million manga sales, Crayon Shin-chan follows a boy and his adventures with his parents, sister, friends, and neighbors in Japan’s Saitama prefecture. The series is known for its raw humor, which explains how, despite its accessibility for children, it is still primarily a story for adults.

9 Demon Slayer is a rising star

Murderer of demons

Murderer of demons is the latest addition to the best-selling manga list, but has quickly risen to the top with the highest average volume sales of any manga franchise in history. With 150 million manga sales in just 23 volumes, Murderer of demons it has shown how wide a fan base it has.

RELATED: 10 Ongoing Manga That Are Starting To Get Better

While the manga was completed in 2020, the anime is still ongoing. Its most recent film adaptation broke many anime film records and solidified Murderer of demons‘s place in anime history.

8 KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops is the hidden gem of Shonen Jump

Kochi Kame Tokyo Beat Cops

When fans in the West think of popular manga, they think of Weekly Shonen Jump. Shonen Jump has produced some of the most popular stories in the entire anime/manga industry with titans like The Big Three. While many of Shonen Jump’s most popular titles could be named by fans, Kochi Kame: Tokyo Beat Cops it is one that has slipped under the western radar.

With more than 156 million manga sales, Kochi Kame: Tokyo Beat Cops it is the eighth best-selling franchise in the entire history of manga. Also, the series ran from 1976 to 2016, making it one of the longest running manga series of all time.

7 Slam Dunk popularized basketball in Japan


dunk is one of the all-time classic manga that is recommended by many when first introduced to the medium. Following Hanamichi Sakuragi, dunk is the story of Shohoku High School’s basketball journey to become one of the best teams in Japan.

RELATED: 10 Longest-Running Shonen Manga, Ranked

With over 170 million manga sales, dunk he is often credited with revitalizing interest in the sport of basketball throughout Japan. Many modern athletes in the country list the dunk manga as his main inspiration to get into the sport as a child.

6 Doraemon is a Japanese icon


Doraemon is a franchise many western fans are unfamiliar with. Being one of the most popular children’s shows in Japan, anime doesn’t have much of a following in the West due to the slightly older demographic. Regardless, Doraemon it is a giant itself with only the youth of Japan.

With 250 million manga sold, Doraemon is one of the most popular franchises in the world. Follow a cat who travels through time with his companion Nobita Nobi. DoraemonThe success of led to the titular cat being designated as Japan’s first “anime ambassador”.

5 Naruto is one of the big three


For many western fans, naruto It was one of the first anime they knew. naruto aired on the Toonami block of cartoon network and changed the way many young viewers viewed the medium of animation. Its grungy aesthetic and intense battles were a breath of fresh air compared to the kid cartoons these fans were used to.

Throughout its 15 years of publication, naruto became one of the biggest franchises in the world and continues to hold its place in the cultural zeitgeist with its sequel series, Boruto: Naruto Next Generation.

4 Detective Conan is a murder mystery for children

Detective Conan

Detective Conan is one of the oldest franchises in Japanese entertainment. With over 100 collected volumes, it is more than twice the length of Dragon Ball and just under One piece. Detective Conan follows teenager Shinichi Kudo as he transforms into a young boy and is forced to attend elementary school and live his life as a young detective.

The series has become a classic for Japanese audiences, with each new episode focusing on a new case for Shinichi Kudo to solve. While the story isn’t massive in the West, it has managed to tap into a small section of the global market despite children being the intended demographic for anime/manga.

3 Dragon Ball Defines Modern Shonen

Dragon Ball

When people think of modern Shonen anime, they think of narrative tropes that were introduced and defined by the Dragon Ball franchise. Dragon Ball It started out as a simple joke manga with occasional fights, but over time the story evolved into a more battle-focused Shonen.

Its sequel series, Dragon Ball Z, became one of the most popular anime in the West and was a cultural reference for many adults since childhood. With only 42 collected volumes, Dragon Ball has yet managed to rack up an impressive 250 million in manga sales.

two Golgo 13 is the second best selling manga of all time

Golgus 13

Golgus 13 it has over 200 collected volumes, making it one of the largest series in manga history. Having premiered in 1968, Golgus 13 continues to publish in Seinen magazine, Big Comic. With over 300 million manga sales, it is one of the most popular manga of all time.

RELATED: 10 Manga That Work Better As Anime

The series follows a professional assassin who goes by the code name Golgo 13. Despite his enormous popularity in the Japanese market and his numerous manga awards, Golgus 13 it has somehow managed to evade the interest of the Western public.

1 One Piece is the shonen king

One piece

Premiered in 1997, One piece is the most popular manga of all time. With over 101 volumes and 490 million manga sales, One piece it is a cultural giant of indescribable proportions. While the series didn’t take off massively in the West compared to naruto or Dragon Ballthe sheer scope of One pieceThe appeal of remains a household name among Western audiences.

One piece continues to post to this day with very little sign of an end in sight. Following the adventures of Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates, One piece is a manga that has captivated fans of all demographics.

NEXT: 10 Anime Art Styles That Looked Better In The Manga

Tanjiro in front of a vibrant wisteria (left);  Tanjiro, Nezuko, Inosuke, and Zenitsu have a group hug after fighting Daki and Gyutaro (right)

8 Times Tanjiro Acted Selfishly In Demon Slayer (And Paid The Price)