What makes an anime/manga popular? How does it get into the mainstream?

With so many different anime and manga available in the world, there are bound to be many that grow in popularity much more than others. For instance, series like Demon Slayer/Kimetsu no Yaiba absolutely blew up in popularity in late 2019. Other series like One Piece and Naruto have stayed relevant ever since they began in the late 1990s, and it seems just about everyone knows what Attack on Titan is even if they never watched/read anime/manga. But what is it that makes these series so popular? The characters, themes, accessibility, plot, or something else completely?

  • A degree of familiarity within innovation and a high-quality storyline tend to be the two main variables. – J.D. Jankowski 3 years ago
  • I feel like it'd be good to note that all of the ones you've mentioned here are generally classed as shonen (marketed at young/teen boys), and I believe they all (or most) were originally featured in the very popular Shonen Jump magazine in Japan. I'd imagine that having such a big audience as teen boys, and coming from such an established publisher, would help the ones you've mentioned. – AnnieEM 2 years ago
  • It will be very important do differentiate between what makes a manga popular in the Japan, the west, and globally. – LukePatitsas 2 years ago
  • The anime/manga could be recommended by someone and then it could get reviews if the person likes it. – Khrista 2 years ago
  • With regards to manga popularity, there's something to be said about a successful anime adaptation skyrocketing it to mainstream notoriety; particularly in the west, the average person who doesn't consider themselves an animanga fan has still likely seen a handful of anime episodes at some point, but is far less likely to have read manga casually. Subsequently, there's a definite trend in shonen and seinen manga getting full-length, multi-season anime adaptations; for shoujo and josei series, if they are adapted into anime series at all, they often are left incomplete after only 1-2 seasons, which prevents them from becoming household names or becoming truly mainstream (notable exceptions would be Fruits Basket and Sailor Moon, which were fully animated). A series like Naruto stays relevant even today in part due to sequel material like Shippuden and Boruto. One Piece is still currently running and has had nearly 1000 manga chapters to build such an active fanbase and sense of recognition. Many series that don't run that long, and therefore don't have such continued advertising, never have much of a chance to break into the mainstream. – Zoe L 1 year ago

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