Chances are, you’ve seen at least one anime series in your childhood. Although anime is huge in Japan it took some time for the art to be seen around the world. Many anime franchises today are household names and are worth billions of dollars.
We decided to compile a list of the top-grossing anime franchises in order to celebrate all things ambitious and all the many journeys we’ve made while watching them. These anime franchises are guaranteed to inspire at least 20 cosplayers at your local convention.
Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba – $2.6 BillioPerhaps Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba is one of the most impressive entries to this list. Although it has only made $2.8 billion, this is despite the fact that it was launched in 2016 and the growth rate is one of our fastest.
The story is about Tanjiro Kamodo who is a wannabe demon-slayer and is motivated to fight for his sister after she becomes a demon. KoyoharuGotouge, who has published more than 20 volumes at the time of writing, created it.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba stats
Hamtaro – $3 Billion
Hamtaro is one of the most successful anime ever. Ritsuko Kawi created the series in 1997. It was then made into an anime series in 1999.
Hamtaro is a hamster that goes on wild adventures while his owner’s at school. The series was well received by viewers from both within and outside its target audience, leading to a total gross of $3Billion for the franchise.
Astro Boy $3.13 Billion
Astro Boy is the oldest entry on the list and also one of the most famous. His first appearance was in 1952. He was last seen in 2009 in a modern film adaptation. Osamu Tezuka, a manga legend, created Astro Boy.
Astro Boy is a robot child that Dr. Tenma created. It sounds innocent and child-friendly. The story has serious undertones that aren’t obvious at first glance. Astro Boy was created by Dr. Tenma in response to the loss of his son. He even adopted Astro Boy as his son. Astro Boy’s outstanding writing and art have earned him great respect over the years.
Astro Boy stats
Beyblade $4.6 Billion
Takara created the first top-down competitive game for this anime franchise. It was originally released under the name Beyblade in 1999, as if Battle Tops wasn’t cool enough. Although Beyblade sounds like an evil right of passage from the far East, it was actually a competitive top.
The anime aired 51 episodes and was first released in 2001. The anime gave players a glimpse into a world centred entirely on Beyblades. This fascination led to a massive franchise that was big enough to be included on the $4.6 billion list.
Stats about Beyblade
Digimon $6 Billion
If you remember Tamagotchi, you might remember Digimon. The original idea for this anime was to create a small game that players could carry around and care for digital monsters. A one-time video was made to promote Digimon.
This anime series was so well received that it became a full-blown anime series. Despite the many comparisons, Digimon was not like Pokemon. They were a bit alike, but it wasn’t a Pepsi vs Coca-Cola affair. This was more like RC Cola vs Coca-Cola. Digimon were digital, and Pokemon could be found in your pocket. How could parents have jumbled this up? Digimon has now grossed more than $6 billion since its initial debut.
Bleach – $7.24 Billion
Bleach is an action-fantasy series that was created and illustrated in the 2000s by Tite Kubo. In 2004, the original manga had gone from Shonen Jump to serialised anime. The anime ran for 366 episodes, and it inspired several video games.
The story is about Ichigo, a 15 year old who has just become a Soul Reaper. Trust me when I say that it’s not a small deal. Along the way, he learns how to harness his new strength and makes new friends. Studio Pierrot produced the anime from 2006 to 2012. The franchise has made a total of $7.4 billion from manga, anime and merchandise.
Doraemon $7.29 Billion
Doraemon was first published in 1969. It was created and illustrated by Fujiko Fujio (the pen name of Motoo Abiko & Hiroshi Fujimoto). In 1973, the first attempt was made to serialise the manga into anime. Shin-Ei Animation was responsible for the largest Doraemon anime series. It aired over 1700 episodes until 2005.
Doraemon, a robot cat without ears, was sent from the future by Nobita Nobi to assist protagonist Nobita Nobi. The franchise has been thriving for decades thanks to toys, games, and other merchandise. The Doraemon franchise has earned over $7.2 billion since its inception.
Stats for Doraemon
Pretty Cure: $7.59 Billion
Izumi Todo created the Pretty Cure franchise, a magical fairy tale for girls. You’ll find cute characters, fights and hundreds of episodes. Although this series was inspired by magical girls shows like Sailor Moon it wasn’t the first. Pretty Cure was first seen in 2004.
Tropical-Rouge is the latest series. Pretty Cure has episodes that were released as recently as April 2021. Production delays due to coronavirus lockdowns only hampered production. Pretty Cure fans can purchase books, toys and apparel as well as video games.
Pretty Cure statistics
JoJo’s BIZARRE Adventure – $9.8 billion
Hirohiko Araki, the creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, released it for the first time in 1987. The story is divided into eight stories that each feature JoJo, a protagonist. Although multiple attempts were made to serialise the manga into anime, each release was usually limited to one story.
JoJo continues to be popular with new episodes being produced every year. New merchandise has been released in response to the growing interest. This helped JoJo reach the top of the anime’s sales at $9.8billion.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure stats
Naruto $10.3 Billion
Masashi Kishimoto is responsible for the Naruto franchise. Naruto Uzumaki is a ninja-in-training from leaf village. His ultimate goal is becoming the next village leader, also known as the Hokage.
The series was followed by several sequels and even video games. Fans could purchase merchandise online, in malls and at conventions when the series first premiered. You can still find figurines, costumes, posters, and other merchandise featuring the orange-clad, plucky protagonist. Since its inception, Naruto has made more than $10 Billion.
Stats for Naruto
Sailor Moon $14.3 Billion
Sailor Moon is the reason that I believe magical girl anime has exploded in popularity. Don’t be mad at me, I’m not being rude! I recognize the importance that classics such as Cutie Honey and Sally the Witch have had on anime culture and will continue to hold them in high regard. Sailor Moon’s Toonami slot, which was released in the 1990s, brought magical girl anime to the forefront of the global scene. This list is a testament to this popularity.
Naoko Takeuchi created the manga series in 1991. By 1992, it had become a fully-fledged anime series. Sailor Moon continues to thrive and it’s easy to find merch. Sailor Moon has made more than $14 billion through the sales of toys and video games, as well as everything else.
Stats about Sailor Moon
KochiKame $16.3 Billion
KochiKame, a comedy franchise that was created in 1976 as a manga by Osamu Aikimoto, is known for its funny characters. The story centres around Kankichi Ryotsu who is a Tokyo-based, local cop. Modern times are the setting for the series, which first aired in the 1970s.
Studio Gallop produced a few animations here and there, as well as commercial appearances. But it wasn’t until 1996 when a serious anime was ordered and produced. The anime aired for more than 380 episodes, and was rerun until 2004. The franchise earned $16.3 billion in total.
Neon Genesis Evangelion – $16.6 Billion
This series is Gainax’s most popular. This anime story, directed by Hideaki Anno, follows teenage Shinji through a mecha-filled anime adventure. He pilots the Evangelion, a huge robotic suit, and discovers about himself and his relationships.
The series is extremely popular and has seen the creation of many video games, merchandise, figurines, etc. over the years. Neon Genesis Evangelion’s first appearance was in 1995. It has been a success with $16.6 billion.
Neon Genesis Evangelion stats
Yu-Gi-Oh! – $20.3 Billion
Contrary to popular belief this show wasn’t created to sell cards. It was created as a passion project by Kazuki Takahashi, who is passionate about puzzles and card games. The show was viewed so many times that viewers wanted to play it at home. This created a demand for a game to be made. Some of the rules and the corresponding moves are not compatible between the show and the actual card game.
Yu-Gi-Oh! It first appeared in Shonen Jump in 1996, but was not serialised into anime until 1998 by Toei. Studio Gallop animated Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. Combining anime, merchandise, card games, and duel beasts led to a franchise that is worth more than $20 billion.
One Piece – $20.9 Billion
The series was illustrated by Eiichiro Oda and written by him. It was inspired by classic monster-of-the-week stories like Dragon Ball. It first appeared in Shonen Jump’s 1997 edition. By 1997, it was serialised into anime. One Piece gained popularity quickly and continues to be popular today with the regular release of new mangas.
Monkey D. Luffy is a charming and affectionate protagonist who sets out to become the king of pirates. After eating a devil fruit, he has super stretching abilities. Luffy and his crew travel the globe meeting tons of people with renownedly inventive designs, while Eiichiro Oda meets even more creative ways to make money.
One Piece Stats
Fist Of The North Star – $22.5 Billillion
In 1980’s anime, muscles were huge. These guys, from Dragon Ball to Kinnikuman, were big and bulky. However, Fist of the North Star was Buronson’s most notable series. Tetsuo Hara created the 1983 manga artwork, which was used as inspiration for the look of the 1986 anime.
The story is about Kenshiro’s journey in a post-apocalyptic world. He does his best to live a normal life and bring justice in a world that is rife with criminals and bandits. This franchise has been a huge success, with $22.5 billion in the last two decades.
Stats of the North Star, First
Gundam – $26 Billion
Yoshiyuki Tomino created this mecha franchise in 1979. It is one of the most popular mecha franchises and has inspired many other creators. Gundam is a fictional universe where humans fly giant robot suits called Gundam.
Toys, sequel series, merchandise, and figurines for building pieces of furniture were added to the franchise. This anime is worth watching if you like serious anime with big robot fights. It’s clear why it deserves a spot on this list.
Dragon Ball – $27 Billion
You’ve probably seen Toonami’s Dragon Ball and its sequel series Dragon Ball Z at least once. This franchise was huge, and it is still huge. Akira Toriyama continues to release new content. In 1984, the manga appeared for the first time in Shonen Jump Magazine.
The franchise’s value has risen to $27 billion by 2021. Dragon Ball manga, anime and video games are available. You will also find figurines, toys as well as clothing and snacks bearing the image of Prince Vegeta.
Stats about Dragon Ball
Anpanman: $60 Billion
Anpanman is a Japanese children’s superhero. Anapanman is easily identifiable by his red bean paste pastry head, called an “anpan”. Anpanman fights bad guys led by Baikinman from Baikin Planet.
This franchise is worth around $60 billion, thanks to all the books, snacks, clothes and toys it sells.
Pokemon – $99 Billion
The largest is, of course.
Pokemon is the most popular anime franchise. It was inevitable. Pokemon is a well-known marketing juggernaut. Pikachu’s visage has been sold on nearly everything you can imagine!
The Pokemon video game was released for Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld console in 1996. This began the franchise. It was serialised into anime by 1997. Numerous sequel shows were created, many featuring the same protagonist, Ash Ketchum. Pikachu, Ash’s main friend in battle, was also popularised by this series. The Pokemon franchise is worth an incredible $99 billion. This includes video games, anime and merch.
Statistics about Pokemon