There are only two months left before 2021 ends. We cannot deny that there were a lot of anime that were released that made anime fans cry, laugh, and even fall in-love. Throughout the year, there were anime that made its premiere, and those who came back with a new season that made viewers anticipate more. There are also those, that even if there were no new seasons or episodes, were still popular among anime fans.
There were anime that fans talked about for days to months. There were even those who brought fans worldwide together. With the great number of amazing anime, we decided to compile the 12 most popular anime of 2021 based on Ranker.
1. Demon Slayer
Commonly known as Kimetsu no Yaiba, Demon Slayer was originally a manga that follows Tanjiro Kamado who becomes a demon slayer to avenge his massacred family and cure his sister, Nezuko, who turned into a demon. In February 2021, the manga sold more than 150 million copies, which makes it the eighth best-selling manga of all time. Its franchise generated a total of $8.75 billion in Japan as of December 2020. The series recently started its second season in October 2021.
2. Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump and can be collected in 17 tankobon volumes as of October 2021. It centers on Yuji Itadori who joins a secret organization of sorcerers to eliminate Ryomen Sukuna, a powerful curse who made Itadori his vessel. The manga was able to sell over 55 million copies as of October 2021. Its first 15 volumes were included in Oricon’s weekly manga ranking, and it won the Anime of the Year award at the 2021 5th Crunchyroll Anime Awards.
3. Attack on Titan
The manga was illustrated and written by Hajime Isayama that was eventually adapted into an anime with its popularity. It is about Eren Yeager, who promised himself that he would exterminate all Titans after his hometown was attacked by the said creatures. What he did not know is that he is a Titan himself. In 2019, the manga sold more than 100 million tankobon copies. The series was not only popular in Japan, but in different countries too like Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. Attack on Titan was also represented in different pop cultures via advertisements like Wondo Coffee, Snickers, and Subaru.
4. My Hero Academia
My Hero Academia is a superhero series that follows Izuku Midoriya who was born without powers. He was then scouted by All Might, Japan’s no. 1 hero, and made him the successor of his power. The manga sold over 50 million copies as of April 2021. It was part of the top 40 anime of all time by Paste, and Polygon ranked it one of the best anime in 2010. What is interesting is that the popularity of the series did not stop in 2010. It continued until 2021, especially after season 5 of the series was released.
5. Black Clover
Black Clover centers on Asta, a young boy who was born without magic powers. He was considered different as everyone in their world has magic. The manga sold more than 16 million copies in circulation as of July 2021. In January 2021, Crunchyroll revealed that the series was the most-watched anime in 2020. It was watched by fans from Asia, North America, and Africa, among others. The series also received praise from different publications, including Anime News Network.
6. One Punch Man
Another superhero-themed anime on the list is One Punch Man. It talked about a superhero, named Saitama, who can beat any enemy with a single punch. He plans to find a worthy opponent after being bored due to a lack of challenge. The webcomic reached 7.9 million hits as of June 2012 and the manga remake sold over 30 million copies in circulation. The first season of the series received a 100% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
7. Tokyo Revengers
Tokyo Revengers is a Japanese manga series that was adapted into an anime in April 2021. It also got a live-action film that was released in July 2021. Its manga sold over 40 million copies in circulation and even won the 44th Kodansha Manga Award in the shonen category in 2020. It tells the story of Takemichi Hanagaki who was teleported 12 years in the past to save his ex-girlfriend and her brother. The anime was part of the Top 20 most-streamed TV series in Japan during the first half of 2021.
8. Dr. Stone
Dr. Stone is about a genius named Senku Ishigami who wanted to rebuild the current civilization. The said civilization was mysteriously petrified a thousand years ago. The manga sold over 10 million copies as of April 2021. With this success, an anime was made, increasing the popularity of the series. Crunchyroll added Dr. Stone in its Top 25 Best Anime of 2010 in 2019. It was also one of the most-watched series in Netflix Japan.
Those who are into sports anime will be fond of Haikyuu. It follows the journey of Hinata Shoyo who is a small stature volleyball player with the goal of being the best. It is a Japanese manga series that won the 61st Shogakakunan Manga Award in 2017 for best shonen manga. It was able to sell more than 50 million copies in circulation as of November 2020. It was considered one of the best anime of 2010 by Polygon, Crunchyroll, and IGN. During the 2020 anime winter season, Haikyuu was one of the most-streamed anime in Brazil, the US, Canada, and Oceania.
10. The Rising of Shield Hero
Also known as Tate no Yusha no Nariagari, The Rising of the Shield Hero is a dark fantasy light novel that was adapted into anime and manga. It centers on Naofumi Iwatani who was transported into a parallel world to become one of the Cardinal Heroes destined to fight hordes of monsters. Although the series experienced some controversies in North America, the series remained one of the most-watched series by fans worldwide. One of its characters, named Raphtalia, won the Best Girl category at Crunchyroll Anime Awards in 2020.
11. One Piece
The manga received the Guinness World Record in 2015 for the title, “the most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author”. It is about Monkey D. Luffy who had the ability to have the properties of rubber after he ate a Devil Fruit. He and his gang set on a journey to find One Piece, an ultimate weapon for him to be crowned the King of Pirates. The manga sold over 490 million copies as of July 2021. Like Demon Slayer, One Piece is considered one of the highest-grossing media franchises. In the recent TV Asahi 2021 poll, One Piece ranked the top spot.
12. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Slime Isekai or That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime follows Satory Mikami, a salaryman who was murdered. He was reincarnated into a different world as a slime where he discovers that he has unique powers for him to build his nation of monsters. The light novel sold more than 4.5 million volumes. The manga, on the other hand, received the 2018 BookWalker Award. The anime adaptation also received a great response with high views rating.