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The Strengths and Weaknesses of Each 'Big Four' Anime Series

Bleach, One Piece, Naruto and Fairy Tail are often referred to as the anime ‘Big Four’. They are often seen as gateway titles. Many anime fans discovered the medium by watching one of these series. As much as humanely possible, compare and contrast each series. Look at the history, production, manga, movies and common themes. What makes each series different or unique – are there animation, music, character or story elements that set them apart? It is highly recommended to look at ‘filler guides’ for each series and research significant episodes or story arcs. Inuyasha and Dragon Ball/Z/Kai may be useful to add to the list, but they are often not grouped together in this way. The ultimate goal is to try and decipher which series may appeal to what audience and the best way to approach the material.

  • Why aren't "Pokemon" and "Yu-gi-oh" part of this bunch. One Piece is slightly older than the others and would have been enjoyed around the same time as Pokemon and "Yu-gi-oh," while "Bleach" and "Naruto" are contemporaries of each other, and Fairy Tale came out after all of them. I'm also pretty sure "Dragonball-Z" is still a big part of most anime fans around the 20-25 year old range. I'm not really very versed in the trends of late, so maybe the four you state are the current highest ranking shows in the West. But it'd be a shame to leave off the two card-trading shows which likely got as popular as they were "because" of the card trading and card battling/gaming aspect. – Jonathan Leiter 9 years ago
  • I think because Pokemon is aimed toward children and so it hasn't caught on in the same way the others have. Yu gi oh has it's dedicated fans, but I wouldn't say it's popular enough to be part of the "Big Four". I think this 'list' is derived of what got teens into anime in the early 2000s rather than the 90s, which is why I think Inuyasha should still be part of the list. I hope this answers your question. – Jordan 9 years ago
  • Yeah, I would kind of argue about those being the big four. But then again, it might be an age difference in my case. I would maybe change it to compare and contrast and also why those are good introductory animes. As far as I'm concerned my intros were Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball. I'd also point out that I think most people just get one intro. I think once you've dedicated your time to something as big as Naruto or One Piece, you are well on your way to researching "intermediate" animes. – Tatijana 9 years ago
  • I see what you mean, but at least in the anime community the "Big four" is a key buzzword which is why I put it in the title. Maybe the person can explore the points you mentioned as part of the article? – Jordan 9 years ago