2021 has undoubtedly been an amazing year for anime. From plenty of high-profile sequels to so many long-awaited new anime adaptations and some really spectacular anime originals, this year has indeed been a blessing for the anime community.
It seems so surreal that at one point, we got to watch the new episodes of Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Part 2 of Re:ZERO Season 2, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2, and the third season of Non-Non Biyori all within the same week.
And throughout the year, we also saw some very exciting and noteworthy new titles such as WIT Studio’s Ranking of Kings and Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, Bones’ SK8: The Infinity, A-1 Pictures’ 86–Eighty-Six, Tokyo Revengers, Odd Taxi, and Mushoku Tensei.
Today we will be going through the Oricon charts for this fiscal year to find out the Top 20 Most Popular Anime of 2021 based on the sales and performances of their home releases.
Uma Musume is the All-Time Best-Seller for TV Anime.
Uma Musume: Pretty Derby has been blessed by the gacha gods and has broken so many sales records establishing itself as the Best-Selling TV Anime of all time based on average sales per volume. The second season of the anime left behind the likes of the classic and well-established franchises such as Evangelion, Love Live, and Monogatari.
The first volume of the second season of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby has sold 203,817 copies and is by far the Best-Selling Volume of any TV anime ever.
This record was previously held by the 10th disc of Evangelion, which sold over 131,000 copies.
Jujutsu Kaisen is the Most Popular Anime Franchise of 2021.
However, Jujutsu Kaisen remains the Most Popular Anime franchise of 2021 in Japan as it has completely dominated every medium it has turned to.
Jujutsu Kaisen was not only the Most Popular Manga of 2021, selling over 30 million copies but is also the second best-selling anime of the year with its first DVD/BD disc selling 35,040 copies.
This series is truly a shonen powerhouse, and throughout its eight volumes, the series has sold over 210,000 copies.
The next five consecutive spots are taken by the popular Idol franchises with IDOLiSH7: Third Beat and the recent entry in the Love Live franchise, Love Live! Superstar!! being the latest entry among them. Volume 2 of IDOLiSH7: Third Beat is its best-selling volume so far, selling over 17,000 copies, while Volume 1 of Love Live! Superstar!! has sold over 15,000 copies in a little over a month after its release.
Zombieland Saga: Revenge, the return of the beloved anime from 2018, continues the trend as it also proves to be a huge hit, with the first volume of this sequel selling close to 10,000 copies. The first volume for the first season of Zombieland Saga sold over 24,000 copies.
Tokyo Revengers is one of the most popular Anime and Manga franchises of 2021 around the world and is an even bigger phenomenon in Japan. The manga is the third best-selling manga series of 2021, with almost 25 million copies sold, and its home media release also continues to see outpouring love with time.
The anime’s fifth disc sold over 9,000 copies in just over a month and is almost certainly going to cross the 10,000 mark soon.
Tokyo Revengers’ first volume debuted with less than 3,000 copies in its initial month, but as the anime’s popularity grew, it has sold over 6,000 copies since then. Truly remarkable as the series has also sold more than 40,000 copies in cumulative total.
The second volume of Yuru Camp Season 2 takes the final spot in the first half selling over 7,800 copies.
Meanwhile, aside from Uma Musume, the list has two more sports anime. Studio Bones’ anime original series, SK8 the Infinity, took the ninth spot as its first volume sold around 8,900 copies.
Whereas, the first volume for Haikyuu!! To the Top: Second Season also did incredibly well, with the anime taking the spot next to Mahouka in the bottom half of the list, selling over 7,200 copies.
Several big sequels and new titles from the mindblowing Winter anime season of this year also managed to rank in the Top 20.
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song ranked 16th as its Volume 1 sold over 4,700 copies. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ranked 17th as the anime sold 4,594 copies with its first volume. While Mushoku Tensei took the 19th place with 4,385 copies sold.
It should be noted that we are including one volume per series, with the anime’s best-selling individual disc representing its best chances to be on the list. Furthermore, Oricon’s fiscal year starts in December. Thus, the list has also included titles that had their first volume released in December 2020. The majority of these Blurays cost over $100 and usually consist of 3-4 episodes.
Oricon’s Top 20 Best-Selling Anime of 2021 in Japan:
- Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2 Volume 1; 203,817
- Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 1; 35,040
- Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai Volume 1; 27,076
- IDOLiSH7: Third Beat! Volume 2; 17,610
- Love Live! Superstar!! Volume 1; 15,871
- Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima Volume 1; 10,598
- Zombieland Saga: Revenge Volume 1; 9,876
- Tokyo Revengers Volume 5; 9,673
- SK8 the Infinity Volume 1; 8,928
- Yuru Camp Season 2 Volume 2; 7,816
- The Irregular at Magic High School Volume 1; 7,674
- Haikyuu!! To The Top 2nd Season Volume 1; 7,252
- Assault Lily: Bouquet Volume 1; 6,276
- Strike Witches: Road to Berlin Volume 1; 5,233
- Re:ZERO Starting Life in Another World 2nd Season Part 2 Volume 1; 5081
- Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song Volume 1; 4,729
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime 2nd Season Volume 1; 4,594
- Azur Lane: Bisoku Zenshin Volume 2!; 4,490.
- Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Volume 1; 4,385
- Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Volume 1; 4,373.
There are also several notable anime that have had a very successful year around the world but could not make the Top 20.
Attack on Titan is arguably the Most Popular Anime of 2021 globally, but in Japan, its first disc only sold 3,108 copies. The Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2 Final Volume sold 3,986 copies. Horimiya‘s first volume sold 3,740 copies, and the first volume of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S sold 3,625 copies.
Elsewhere, Redo of Healer had a starry first run selling 3,015 copies, while the first volume of Higehiro sold 1,977 copies.
And additionally, The first volume of My Hero Academia Season 5 sold 1,912 copies and Fruits Basket: The Final Volume 2 sold 1,902 copies. 86–Eighty-Six sold 2,186, its fourth volume being its best-seller, while Bungo Stray Dogs: Wan sold 1,289 copies.
What a triumphant year it has been for anime as the medium keeps on thriving.
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