The Japanese love their manga and anime, but that doesn’t mean the amazing world of fantastical beings, superheroes, and love-smitten protagonists is restricted to the Asian region. Crunchyroll recently published its list for the “most popular anime of 2016.” The list was compiled by considering the viewing habits of viewers spread across the world.
Japanese anime and manga are not just loved in the “land of the rising sun.” Sites like Funimation and Crunchyroll are instrumental in ensuring Japan’s best anime projects are accessible to fans across the world. One of the leading distributors of anime, American video streaming website Crunchyroll, published its list for the “most popular anime of 2016.” The list was topped by Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World, and was followed by Yuri on Ice, indicating the wide diversity within the contenders.
Crunchyroll didn’t ask its members and fans of Japanese anime to choose their favorite from hundreds of series that aired last year, but studied their consumption and online discussions. Interestingly, 2016 witnessed a wide variety of anime, ranging from new season of classic action anime Berserk to the Brotherhood Final Fantasy 15 prologue series. However, the viewer’s choice reflects how wide ranging the topics are that the anime creators were willing to experiment with.
The year 2016 witnessed anime creators experimenting with topics that were considered quite sensitive in the region. Hence Yuri on Ice, the ice skating romantic comedy that took audiences by storm, was expected to be the most popular anime of 2016. Although Yuri on Ice did manage to claim the title of “most popular” in a number of countries, Crunchyroll’s audience actively watched Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World, indicated the streaming platform’s metrics. Re:Zero is about a rather mundane looking Japanese boy who gets pulled into another world, where his only power or ability is dying repeatedly, only to resurrect at a preset point in the past. Despite the anime’s oftentimes confusing storyline, fans appreciated the complexity. Additionally, the anime’s creators packed in a lot of emotion, drama, and even innocent romance, which kept the series intriguing and entertaining.
Crunchyroll gathered data from individual countries, but collated the information to decide the winner, explained the platform,
“A casual glance at the map reveals what is an undeniable truth in the world of anime — Re:Zero is a big deal. In Japan, in North and South America, in Europe, in the world over, Re:Zero was met with incredible excitement and chatter.”
Even a simple glance at the metrics is enough to indicate the immense popularity of Re:Zero. Viewers across all of North as well as South America and countries like Russia, Australia, Spain, and many others actively streamed Re:Zero throughout 2016. In comparison, Yuri on Ice had passionate viewers in Africa.
The casual anime fan might not be familiar with Re:Zero or Yuri on Ice. While the anime about Subaru Natsuki ran for 26 episodes from April to September, Yuri on Ice was even shorter with just 12 episodes. Re:Zero managed to capture the imagination of every video game player because the protagonist’s love for video games helps him power through the role-playing game-esque land, and some “game saves” help him make a little progress despite dying, reported Polygon.
Re:Zero is actively discussed in online forums dedicated to the anime that was developed from the manga of the same name. In fact, a visual novel, named Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World – Death Or Kiss, is in the works, and scheduled to be launched in this year. While Re:Zero dominated the forums, Yuri on Ice ruled the social media platforms, indicated Crunchyroll. Anime News Network recently named Yuri on Ice as the most-tweeted-about anime of fall 2016. The anime managed to generate almost 1.5 million posts between November 24 and December 14.
Yuri on Ice breaks the typical Japanese anime mold. The anime’s highly unique and unorthodox storyline is about a passionate young ice skater and his even more impassioned coach. The anime bears heavy sexual overtones, without directly labeling the relation between the aged-out coach and his pupil who is low on self-esteem.
[Featured Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]