Anime, or Japanese animation, is not only a source of entertainment but also a large market whose value is often underplayed in the West, mostly because Western fans don’t really pay much attention to the numbers related to various anime works. Still, the market is not only large but extremely lucrative! In this article, we have decided to introduce you to the world of great anime, as we are going to bring you a list of the 15 highest-grossing anime franchises in history.
You’re going to find out the exact numbers of their earnings, as well as some additional information about each of the anime series that ended up on our list. Enjoy!
15. Astro Boy
Total Revenue: $3 billion
Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a futuristic world in which robots coexist with humans. It is based on the adventures of Astro Boy (often and simply referred to as “Astro”), a powerful robot created in 2003 (in the original manga) by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma to replace his son Tobio, who died in a car accident.
Dr. Tenma builds Astro in Tobio’s image and raises him out of love as he would have with his real son Tobio. But he soon realizes that the robot cannot fill the void left by his son, as Astro could neither express the character traits of a human, nor age as any human does. In the original 1960 edition, Tenma rejects Astro and sells him to a cruel circus manager, Hamegg.
Total revenue: $3.02 billion
The series tells the story of Hamtaro, a hamster, owned by a 10-year-old girl named Hiroko Haruna (Hamtaro’s young owner). Curious by nature, he ventures out every day in search of new friends and new adventures with his group of friends. Named the Ham-Ham, including Hamiral (the leader), Hamidou (Hamtaro’s neighbor), a hamster, belonging to a best friend of Hiroko Haruna named Kana Iwata (Hamidou’s young owner), Bijou (Hamtaro’s romantic interest) belonging to a young girl named Maria (the owner mistress of Bijou) Chapo, Topla, Pashmina, Penelope, the twins Tigris and Tigrette (brother and sister), Ronpschit, Librius, Babos, Panda, Ernest, Manitou, Paprika, etc.
13. Neon Genesis Evangrelion
Total revenue: $3.315 billion
The story of Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place in the year 2000, a gigantic explosion occurred in Antarctica. This cataclysm, officially caused by the fall of an asteroid, causes the waters to rise several tens of meters and devastates a large part of the planet, causing the death of two billion people as well as a new world war.
Fifteen years later, mankind has overcome this dramatic event referred to as the “Second Impact” but mysterious giant creatures, the Angels, appear and attempt to destroy Tokyo-3, the new capital fortress of Japan.
To combat them, the secret organization NERV has developed the “Evangelion” (or “EVA”), humanoid giants of mechanical appearance. Shinji Ikari, a 14-year-old boy, goes to Tokyo-3 at the invitation of his father, the director of NERV, whom he has not seen for ten years. Little did he know that he was called to pilot an EVA and take part in the fight against the “Third Angel”.
Total revenue: $5.1 billion
The story of Gundam takes place in the year 323 “Post Disaster” (323PD), a little over 300 years after a great conflict – known as the “War of Calamities” – between the Earth and the space colonies of the sphere outside the Earth, including Mars which was terraformed and successfully colonized by humans.
Earth is now governed by four economic blocs: the African Union, the Federation of Oceania, SAU (Strategic Alliance-Union), and Arbrau, and its security is ensured by a military organization, the Gjallarhorn, which is responsible for maintaining the peace.
Mars, for its part, was divided into distributed regions and placed under the economic control of the four earth blocks. If since then, most of the four economic blocks have ceded autonomy to their Martian territory, the economy of Mars remains very strongly dependent on that of Earth, which leads to extreme poverty and misery for the vast majority. of the inhabitants of the red planet.
Total revenue: $5.39 billion
The Digimon series initially tells the story of seven protagonists, more precisely Digidestined, named Taichi “Tai” Kamiya, Sora Takenouchi, Yamato “Matt” Ishida, Takeru “T.K.” Takaishi, Koushiro “Izzy” Izumi, Mimi Tachikawa and Joe Kido. As they pass the time in their summer camp, snow accompanied by mysterious small objects falls from the sky.
Each child having respectively acquired his object, they are sucked by surprise into a dimensional portal and subsequently lands in a world composed entirely of digital data, known as the “digital world”, parallel to the “real world”.
As soon as they land, the children discover their respective Digimon dedicated to protecting them and dedicated to fighting different and powerful antagonists threatening the Digital World.
Total revenue: $7.29 billion
The robot Doraemon is sent from the 22nd century to the present. Nobita’s great-great-grandson tries to save the clumsy Nobita from his biggest mistakes, lead a carefree life and not get into trouble that will affect the future. In particular, Doraemon should make sure that Nobita doesn’t get into trouble unnecessarily and marries Shizuka as planned. The stories follow predetermined patterns. Nobita comes home crying and calls loudly for Doraemon: “Doraemon, help me!”.
Together they go through many adventures and deal with Nobita’s problems, which range from school problems to trouble with classmates to insecurities in dealing with girls. To help Nobita, Doraemon keeps conjuring up new imaginative gadgets from the future from his pocket. However, their use often gets Nobita even deeper into the mess.
9. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Total revenue: $8.74 billion
Demon Slayer is set in Taishō era Japan, Tanjirō is the eldest son of a family of coal merchants whose father has passed away. To meet his needs, he left to sell charcoal in town. Despite the difficulties of life, they manage to find little happiness in their daily life.
One day, due to rumors circulating about a man-eating demon hanging around after dark, he is unable to return home and ends up spending the night with a Good Samaritan in the city. Only, everything changes on his return when he finds his family massacred by a demon.
Nezuko, one of his younger sisters, is the only survivor but she has been transformed into a demon. She initially attacks Tanjirō, but she continues to show signs of human emotions and thoughts, which is when a demon slayer named Giyū Tomioka steps in.
While trying to eliminate Nezuko, Giyū realizes the bond between brother and sister and decides to leave them by sheathing his sword. On Giyū’s advice, Tanjirō goes to his master Sakonji Urokodaki to train to become a demon slayer, in order to begin his journey to find an antidote that can make his little sister human again.
8. Pretty Cure
Total revenue: $8.78 billion
The first story revolves around two girls, Misumi Nagisa and Yukishiro Honoka, who meet Mipple and Mepple, two fairies from the Garden of Light. These fairies empower them to fight against the forces of Dark Zone: a dimension of evil that has invaded the Garden of Light and where the Earth is now doing the same in Rainbow Garden.
The series’ initial quest was for Cure Black and Cure White to seek out the Prism Stones, and place them in the Prisl Hopish. The Hopish is protected by the Guardian, Wisdom. Once they discover all of the Prism Stones, their powers lead them to the Garden of Light, where the damage done by the Dark Zone is erased by the power of the Prism Stones. Later in the series, Porun, the Prince of the Garden of Light gives the Pretty Cures a new power, Rainbow Bracelets to defeat Dark King.
7. One Piece
Total revenue: $11.80 billion
Twenty-two years after Gol D. Roger’s execution, the interest in the One Piece treasure is waning. Many have given up on it, some even wonder if it really exists. Although pirates are still a threat to the locals, the Navy has become more effective in countering their attacks on all four seas: East Blue, North Blue, West Blue, and South Blue.
However, this change did not deter Monkey D. Luffy, a young boy, from wanting to become the successor to the legendary Roger. He will thus set off on an adventure, giving himself the first objective of creating a crew in order to reach the Grand Line sea, where the fever of the “great wave of piracy” continues to rage, and where many big names in the piracy are in pursuit of the One Piece, supposed to be on the last island of this great sea, Laugh Tale.
6. Sailor Moon
Total revenue: $13 billion
Sailor Moon revolves around Usagi Tsukino a normal fourteen-year-old, a little inclined to study and sports, a little careless, and a crybaby. Her life changes when she one day saves a black kitten from a group of kids. That same evening, the cat introduces herself to her as she enters from her bedroom window, tells her name is Luna, and gives her a pin.
This item gives Usagi the power to transform into Sailor Moon, the warrior of love and justice, dressed in a sailor suit and protected by the Moon. Her task, explains the cat, will be to defend the inhabitants of the Earth from the continuous attacks of the Dark Kingdom, as well as to find her companions to track down the mysterious Princess of the Moon.
The girl will be joined, one by one, by the shy and studious Ami Mizuno, who transforms into Sailor Mercury, the surly priestess Rei Hino, aka Sailor Mars, the strong and lonely Makoto Kino, who becomes Sailor Jupiter, and the sweet and beautiful Minako Aino, i.e. Sailor Venus. To help the Sailor warriors will also be added the mysterious hero in a tuxedo, Tuxedo Kamen under whose mask is hiding Mamoru Chiba, a boy with whom Usagi will fall in love.
Total revenue: $16.3 billion
Yugi Mutō is a fifteen-year-old who attends the first year at the high school in the city of Domino. His father is always on a business trip, so he lives with his mother and grandfather Sugoroku Mutō, owner of the games store Turtle Game, above which their apartment is also located. Eight years earlier, his grandfather had given him a gold casket, stolen from an Egyptian tomb, which contained the pieces of a gold puzzle inside.
Only now does Yugi manage to reassemble it, after years of hard work; he gets a pendant in the shape of an inverted pyramid (in Egyptian mythology a symbol of doom) called the Millennium Puzzle (in the manga it is also the translation of the original Japanese name, Sennen Puzzle, in English the name is Millennium Puzzle).
On the golden casket that kept it, a text is engraved, according to which whoever completes the Puzzle will become the champion of justice and will have access to the occult knowledge of the Games of Shadows (Yami no Game in original and Shadow Games in English). However, Yugi does not know the whole truth: inside the Puzzle, a spirit is locked up (a pharaoh of 3,000 years ago, as it turns out in the next series Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters).
When an abuse or a wrong is committed in front of the boy’s eyes, the spirit takes possession of his body, challenging the villain on duty to a game of shadows, which, generally, is a strange and dangerous game of his own invention, or readjustments of other games, in some cases, even Duel Monsters.
4. Dragon Ball
Total revenue: $17.2 billion
Dragon Ball anime tells the story of Son Goku, a little boy who is very good at martial arts, and who has a mysterious monkey tail. He meets a young woman named Bulma, and the two go together in search of the Dragon Balls (seven magic crystal balls which allow, if they are united, to invoke the dragon Shenron, then offering to grant the wish of the one who pronounces a specific formula in front of him), meeting many adversaries along the way (most of them being competitors in the quest for the famous balls, often with selfish or even evil intentions), some of whom later become allies, such as Yamcha or Ten Chin Han.
3. Hello Kitty
Total revenue: $18.2 billion
Kitty follows Mimmy into the Apple Forest and falls into a hole that leads into a parallel world identical in appearance to the world where Kitty lives. Once she returns home, Kitty discovers that this world is inhabited by humans with transparent wings and befriends Emily: a popular supermodel. Together, they set off in search of Mimmy, but are hindered by Akuro: an evil cat.
Total revenue: $44.9 billion
In each episode, Anpanman helps the people of his village, especially the hungry, and fights against Baikinman. Over the course of all the episodes broadcast to date, more than 1m700 characters have been presented.
Total revenue: $71 billion
The Pokémon animated series follows the adventures of a young boy named Ash and his faithful Pokémon Pikachu. Ash travels the Pokémon world to obtain the supreme rank of “Pokémon Master”; to achieve this, he captures and trains Pokémon, in order to earn eight badges. The duo is often accompanied by a pair made up of another young boy and a young girl.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Ash will no longer have a “travel” companion at all since he must pass the various trials on each island and therefore has no “companions” strictly speaking but rather a classmate. During the episodes, the group is confronted with a criminal organization calling itself Team Rocket. This organization attempts to steal and capture other Trainers’ Pokémon or Legendary Pokémon.