The 7 Most Popular Anime Series

Everyone always wants to be in the know, to know what's popular and topping the charts. With literally hundreds of anime series airing all around the world on free-to-air TV, cable channels, and on-demand streaming services it can be hard to work out what is generally the hottest series around. Using a combination of Google search trends, online store sales rankings, official streaming service lists, as well as looking at the most read and shared articles by our awesome readers, This is a fairly accurate list of which anime series are currently the most watched and most talked about worldwide.

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Naruto Shippuden

scene from Naruto Shippuden

Masashi Kishimoto/Shippuden/NMP

Starting way back in 2002, this juggernaut of an anime franchise has recently begun to wind down with an epic finale to its second series, Naruto Shippuden in the movie, The Last: Naruto the Movie. Just because there's no regular Naruto anime series now, doesn't mean its completely finished though. A special movie focusing on several characters' future children called, Boruto: Naruto the Movie, came out in 2015 and there's a good possibility that more films and specials may be on the way.

If martial arts, magic, and demons are your thing, this humorous, dramatic and action-packed series may be for you.

of 07

One Piece

One Piece

Funimation Productions

Similar to Naruto, One Piece features a blend of action and story with a slightly more generous helping of comedy. Running continuously since its launch in 1999 and now with well over 600 anime episodes and several One Piece movies, this anime about a crazy group of pirates has attracted a loyal fan base that has continued to grow more and more every year.

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Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess

Hiro Mashima/Funimation Productions

Ever wondered what would happen if J.K. Rowling or Enid Blyton ever wrote an anime? The result would be something like Fairy Tail (not Fairy Tale) which follows an eclectic band of magic-wielding guild members on mystical adventures full of monsters, evil wizards and revelations both world-shaking and personal.

The animation may not be the best Japanese animation has to offer but Fairy Tail more than makes up for it with its contagious positive energy and a massive supporting cast of original characters.

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Ash and Pikachu with series characters
The Pokemon Company

While designed for the younger anime fan, the Pokemon anime continues to be popular with Pokemon fans of all ages, many of whom have been watching since its launch in the late 90s and others who are just discovering it for the first time. 

Due to the soft reboot the series performs every few years where all but the main characters of Ash and Pikachu are replaced as they move to a new region, the Pokemon anime is very easy to jump into and enjoy from almost any episode and the numerous Pokemon movies require very little knowledge before diving in.

of 07

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z Season One

Shueisha, Inc./Funimation Productions

Even though this long-running classic series had finished several years ago, Dragon Ball Z continues to be one of the most popular anime series regardless of generation.

Featuring a mix of martial arts, Chinese culture, comedy, and science fiction, Dragon Ball Z is a great series for almost any age group and with the recent re-release of the series on Blu-ray and a brand new anime series called, Dragon Ball Super, now is a great time to dive in.

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Sailor Moon Crystal

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal!

Toei Animation/PNP

Definitely one of the most famous Japanese animated series that has affected popular culture all over the world, Sailor Moon is back with a completely new anime series that follows the original Sailor Moon manga a lot more closely than the 90s anime which took quite a few creative liberties with the source material.
The new series, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal (or Sailor Moon Crystal for short) is constantly one of the most watched TV shows on online streaming services such as Hulu and Crunchyroll where it streams for free and old and new fans are experiencing the classic characters as never before.

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Ichigo in Bleach

Tite Kubo/Shueisha/Pierrot

While this long-running anime series has since been canceled in Japan due to its rapid decrease in viewership, Bleach continues to remain popular abroad with episodes of the series and the Bleach movies constantly ranking high on both streaming sites and DVD sales charts.

Set in modern-day Tokyo, Bleach follows the story of high school student Ichigo (which means strawberry in Japanese) who becomes a Soul Reaper and must battle demons while protecting those he loves. While the show can suffer from a lot of filler episodes, what it lacks in pace it more than makes up for in style with some great characters designs, hot music tracks, and some impressive racial diversity among the series' main cast.

The graphic violence makes Bleach inappropriate for younger viewers but older teens onwards should check this out.