There’s no denying that 2016 has been an excellent year for anime. Shows like Yuri!!! on Ice and Haikyu!! capture the attention of fans worldwide thanks to their engaging characters and prolific use of exclamation points. Sites like Funimation and Crunchyroll were instrumental in bringing Japan’s best anime projects abroad, and one of those sites has released a list of its most popular series of 2016. Just be warned; The results may surprise you.
Over on Crunchyroll, the popular streaming site has revealed the breakdown of its most popular anime for 2016. The global breakdown shows fans which countries were watching what anime during the year, and the results may shock some. While shows like Yuri on Ice were quick to dominate social media platform like Twitter, it was Re:Zero who dominated Crunchyroll’s user base.
“A casual glance at the map reveals what is an undeniable truth in the world of anime — Re:Zero is a big deal,” Crunchyroll wrote. “In Japan, in North and South America, in Europe, in the world over, Re:Zero was met with incredible excitement and chatter.”
Looking at the map, it is impossible overlook how popular Re:Zero was around the globe. All of North American fell to the fantasy anime while most of South America bowed a well. Countries like Russia, Australia, Spain, and many others also streamed Re:Zero in an abundance during 2016. In second, Yuri on Ice did well with a passionate following in Africa.
If you are not familiar with Re:Zero, then you can catch up on the franchise. The anime debuted in April 2016 after its novel debuted back in 2012. The series follows a young boy named Subaru Natsuki after he is mysteriously summoned to a new world. The RPG-esque world is like one sourced straight from Subaru’s favorite game. The teenager meets up with an beautiful half-elf named Emilia who hails from the country’s royal line. However, when the two are suddenly killed, Subaru revives and discovers he has a rare power known as “Return by Death.”
This year, Crunchyroll rolled out 165 new anime series, and the site told Polygon how Re:Zero managed to usurp Yuri on Ice to become the year’s biggest franchise.
“It's mainly a timing thing because the show came out later in the year,” a Crunchyroll representative said. However, the site did have plenty of praise to give Yuri on Ice.
“We see the larger obsession with [Yuri on Ice] as an example of anime’s continued infiltration into mainstream culture ... it’s another example of people who haven’t been traditional fans of anime getting excited about the content,” Crunchyroll said. “At its core, Yuri on Ice is an amazing show that speaks to its audience in an honest way about complicated issues like depression and anxiety and that has helped support its huge fan base.”