Anime and manga are not only popular in Japan, most of us grew up watching classics like Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Naruto or Dragon Ball. Many of these classic anime are still popular nowadays and merchandise is sold both in Japan and internationally. However, when you visit Japan you will notice that there are other anime that you have never seen before but are somehow really popular in Japan. Here's a small introduction to anime that are (only) popular in Japan!
Chances are that you have seen a few Doraemon items at anime conventions and wondered what this blue creature is. Doraemon first aired in the 1960's and is one of the most popular anime that Japanese people grew up with. The story revolves around Doraemon, a blue robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to help a boy named Nobita Nobi who suffers from bad grades and is often bullied by his classmates. In many Asian countries, especially in India the blue cat also was popular but somehow he never made it to most places in Europe or America. The reason for this was that the series were too long and too specific for Japanese culture.
2. Pripara (Prism Paradise)
Pripara is an anime that is based on a Japanese arcade game and is about a group of girls who want to become idols. In Japan Pripara is super popular, there are even stores that sell exclusively Pripara goods. Most people would say that this anime is more targeted towards young girls but actually it's really popular among middle aged people!
Sazae-san is another anime that is considered a classic among Japanese people and first aired in 1969. You may think Naruto has many episodes but did you know that Sazae-san has over 2700? It's the longest running anime in history! The story revolves around a typical Japanese family and their daily lives. Even though the anime is so old, it is interesting to see how liberated the protagonist Sazae was. Rather than dressing up for her husband she was occupied with her hobby's like her horse and even after getting married she is far from obedient! Sazae-san is also an anime very specific for Japanese culture just like Doraemon and therefore never gained popularity abroad. But if you want to learn more about Japanese culture and the daily lives of Japanese people this would be a good anime to watch!
Osomatsu-kun appeared around the same time as Doraemon in the 1960's. It's a comedy about a group of trouble-making sextuplet brothers who constantly fight with each other. The manga as well as the anime were very successful, there were video games released as well. In 2015 new Osomatsu-kun series were aired on Crunchyroll which made it also accessible to people from other countries, still I feel like it isn't half as popular as in Japan.
Anpanman is an anime geared towards young children. In fact, the superhero is the most popular character among Japanese children! The story is about a superhero named Anpanman. Anpan is a bread filled with red beans so the superhero rescues those who are starving by offering them a piece of his own head! After 28 years the series is still running, that's how popular it is! There is even an Anpanman museum for the real fans. Why isn't it popular internationally? Perhaps anime that target a slightly older crowd are more popular such as Pokemon, which is loved by kids as well as by grownups.
Do you know any of these anime? Did you watch them? Let us know in the comments below!
If you like anime be sure to check out this post about the top 5 shojo anime! If you like Japanese snacks and food AND anime check out the top 5 foodie anime!
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