Image from Naruto

What’s the Most Popular Anime in 2022 in Every Country?

The answers may surprise you

Anime is an ever-changing landscape that fosters incredibly strong opinions. When someone has landed on a “favorite anime,” passion border-lining on obsession is often a next step (trust me, I’m a One Piece person, I know). But what can we learn from the anime tastes of each country in the world, writ large? Well, a team of researchers meticulously looked at Google search data in 146 countries in April 2022. The results give us a picture of the most popular anime in the world overall, as well as a shortlist of what intrigues each country.

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The most popular anime in the world is … Naruto. By a lot, actually. According to the study, Naruto was the top anime in 93 of the 146 countries surveyed. The next spot went to Pokémon, which gained the top spot in merely 16 countries. Attack on Titan followed with 11. So… kind of a major difference. Naruto dominates when you just look at general search trends as well, comprising 16.2% of anime-related Google searches around the globe — at least of the 100 series that the researchers looked into. For comparison, in second place is Pokémon with almost half that amount (8.8%). Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen, and One Piece then follow in the 7% margins.

What’s the USA’s most-searched anime? You guessed it: it’s Naruto! Naruto also dominates the entire continent of South America. What the actual hell is going on?! I’ve actually never watched or read Naruto — am missing something? According to this survey, the answer is apparently “yes.” I’m completely aghast. In Japan, the home of anime, the most popular search is Demon Slayer. Which tracks — my Japanese friends have regaled me with tales of how popular the series got during quarantine. It was so intense, a custom word was created to describe the social trend of vibing people who had not seen or read Demon Slayer yet.

I’d also like to direct your attention to the incredibly grim trends behind the countries whose favorite anime is Attack On Titan. Attack On Titan is basically an anime about how much war sucks, because it radicalizes people and makes wanton enemies and claims countless lives needlessly and creates needless suffering, and in general everyone loses. It’s also about governments controlling false narratives. The countries where Attack On Titan ranked number one reads like a very sobering list of places that know these things from first-hand experience: Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka (which had a 25-year civil war) … Just … oof.

You can check out the results of the survey yourself for more specifics. I’ve been idly scrolling through search results and having a grand old time.

Image credit: Pierrot

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Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.