Being the third edition of Anime Focus, I thought it appropriate to discuss a topic many anime fans have pondered and debated upon – What will be the next Big 3 anime? Throughout this edition of Anime Focus I will discuss what series have a chance  at being a part of the next Big 3 and whether there will necessarily be another Big 3.

Now for those wonder what I am referring to when I say “Big 3”, I’ll give you a brief explaination. The Big 3 is the collective name of the 3 anime series that completely took the world by storm over the past decade and in case you have been living under a rock you probably know all 3 of them. They are One Piece, Naruto and Bleach. Each series is still-ongoing so you may be thinking it’s premature to discuss the next Big 3 but let me tell you, this discussion has been going since as early as 2005.

Before we move onto what could possibly be the next Big 3, let’s discuss what made One Piece, Naruto and Bleach so successful.

Each series is very different yet they all had something that made them successful. That thing was timing. When I say that I do not mean to say that they couldn’t have become successful when placed into another time. But during the time they came out, there was little competition. They had tapped into a genre and target audience just growing up like those who grew up during the era of Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho in the early 90’s. The audience was young teens, particularly males growing up in the late 90’s and early 00’s. At the time, no other series had come along for this generation to call their own. Until the Big 3 came along. The timing was perfect and the moment was right, the stories were relevent and spoke to the viewers more than any other long running series at the time. That is why they became such major successes, the market was dry and the Big 3 rose from obscurity to a fanbase the genre had forgotten it even had.

What we now need to examine is whether a new generation of anime has come along to nurture the next generation of anime fans. With such great new long running shonen series having been produced in the back end of the 00’s and the early going of 10’s it’s easy to imagine that a new Big 3 could have risen. But what series can we really classify as being a part of this?

A few recent series pop to mind, such as Reborn!, Fairy Tail and perhaps even Beelzebub or Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. But is there a definitive new Big 3? I honestly think it’s too early to say. But that raises the further question, should their be another Big 3?

An important thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, the past should stay the past. Repetition is not always a good thing and perhaps a new Big 3 is likewise not a good thing. Perhaps, with the old Big 3 still up and kicking in the current anime landscape it’s not possible or necessary for a new 3 to rise. However that doesn’t mean series won’t come by that will gain the same level of fandom as some of the big 3. Take Reborn! for example, while not nearly as big worldwide is often on par with Bleach or even surpasses it in sales. Whilst the series is on break it may have lost a lot of heat to Fairy Tail which also regularly strikes it high and hangs with the Big 3.

I believe that after years of the market being completely dominated by the Big 3, it seems that there is finally a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel. There are finally other series competing regularly with the Big 3 (excluding One Piece, that is a whole other story altogethor). I think it is conclusive that another Big 3 won’t be coming any time soon, nor should it. With such great series hanging with the big boys, there no longer is any classifications, theres no real Big 3 anymore, just a bunch of great anime series duking it out side by side.

With that, I conclude Anime Focus #3. What are you thoughts on the potential of another Big 3? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment below letting us know what you think.

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Senior Editor & Anime Specialist

  • p

    i like information, im reading your little articles trying to gather information and learn a little, problem is there is something about you which annoys me.

    lets do a quick count of how many times you typed “big 3” in this article
    lets also take a look at the flow of the article… (ie none.)

    worst of all, you seem to think the reason that 3 popular anime are so big is because of timing. you really think, that theyve gotten this far because of timing. really.

    id love to hear about the timing of gundamn, of dragon ball z, of sailor moon, of doraemon … want me to continue? and how about the timing of all the other hundreds of anime which simply wernt as successful?

    next time back your articles up with a bit of research or some sort of… sound and grounded information, rather than just a speculation based on nothing for me to read and think about.

    • Luke Halliday

      It’s funny, opinion, everyone has one, yet people are so often shocked when their own doesn’t match with others.

      Mate if you have only come here to whine, then just leave. As this is an opinion piece, it is obviously going to have my opinion. You clearly do not understand the nature of the industry or it’s history. Next time you come to troll, have something interesting to say other than “YOUR OPINION IS WRONG BECAUSE ITS NOT MINE!”

    • Luke Halliday

      By the way mate, it’s clear to me you haven’t even read my article in it’s entirety. I mention that timing had a place in the success of Dragon Ball Z, which you seem to think I neglected to mention.

      Fact of the matter is this, you are uneducated in this subject and are trying to pass yourself off as being intelligent, when in fact you are coming across as an empty-minded dolt. But, I’ll resist the temptation of publicly humiliating you any further. I think you’ve had enough schooling for today “P” if that is your real name.

      • p

        yes “p” is actually my real name =) because people are really named “p”…. brilliant.

        stop taking my comments so personally and grow up a bit, youre getting too emotional over nothing, i never said anything about your opinion being wrong because its not mine.. matter of fact.. i never even implied it

        • Luke Halliday

          You do not understand what it means to be a writer. You work is precious to you and having pathetic troll’s spamming the comments on your article is very irritating.

  • Tom

    Opinion pieces are like onions there layered and you have to read them and peel back the layers to get to the point the author is aiming to express.

    Constructive criticism is fine and critics do it a lot. Saying that critics named P and Ha! are generally poor critics since you cant even care enough to use the names you were given to spew some awful sentence structure and vocabulary.

    I will disagree slightly to the article though as I believe their popularity stems from many, many factors and of which timing is one. Though the author never stated timing was the sole reason as far as I can see.

    “theres no real Big 3 anymore, just a bunch of great anime series duking it out side by side”

    The above is something I personally, one hundred percent, agree with and to be fair it should be said that each anime should be taken on its own merits and comparisons while unavoidable should at least try to be open minded.

    (Sorry for length)


    • Luke Halliday

      Thank you for your response. Yes, I have come to realize that with opinion pieces such as this, there will be trolls waiting to pounce on them.

      I do believe there is other factors. That is for sure. However as I pointed out in my article I believe the timing above all else was key. But that’s just my opinion 🙂

      Exactly the point I was trying to convey. I’m glad someone could pick that up. Thanks again for your response Tom.

  • indyano

    Thanks for the article, kinda have the same thoughts all along. oh…..I think you should take criticism a little bit better next time ;P

    • Luke Halliday

      I can take criticism what “p” provided me was not criticism it was trolling, so I just made a point of correcting “p”.

      • Ju

        I got legitimately annoyed after finishing your ‘article.’ Don’t bite off the head of constructive criticism or you will stop receiving any.

        “p” is right and this article has no substance. Research next time. Throw some facts into the mix. This is because nobody cares for anyone’s opinion when there is no evidence given for support.

        • Luke Halliday

          I gave evidence, if you had read the article in it’s entirety you’d realise that. Read the article before posting Ju, that is all.

  • Tim

    It’s not hard to find what’s the next Big 3 as u say it’s the 3 big shounen anime after Naruto, Bleach, One Piece and that’s Fairy Tail, Ao no Exorcist, Toriko.
    Easy eh? 🙂 btw Bleach have die for me after Aizen arc finish fillers is all what we see and the manga is not interesting either that’s it.

  • Megaman X9

    Reborn was cancelled so forget it. I believe the next Big 3 are gonna be Fairy Tail, Blue Exorcist and the 3rd one? I don’t know… I say Blue Exorcist because even though it’s new its sales are through the roof!

    To be honest? I’m bored of shonens because all of them are more or less the same boring shit: useless guy becomes the hero in times of need otherwise he’s just a wimp with no girls and a few friends that think he is amazing for no reason. Then he trains only to protect his friends (that’s the only way to truly become strong!) but he becomes so powerful he can kill god and the series has to end because it makes no sense anymore.

    And Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is just poors man Inuyasha but even more boring and uninteresting.

    • Luke Halliday

      Let me correct you on a two things Megaman.
      Reborn is on hiatus for one.
      Nura is not even the slightest bit like Inuyasha.
      Also, I can understand growing tired of shonen series, but you should know that not all of them are the same. Try out Hunter x Hunter.

  • Personally I don’t even like One Piece, Naruto and Bleach. Like Megaman X9, Im also getting a bit bored with Shonens’ stuff.

    That being said, you can’t really argue those 3 are probably some of the biggest and most mainstream anime at the moment, just like Pokemon, Digimon and Dragon Ball Z were about 5-10 years ago. You can throw Sailor Moon into that mix too if you’d like. Most of those anime have still continued on however, but are less popular, and I imagine One Piece, Naruto and Bleach will follow a similar path.

    I do agree that One Piece, Naruto and Bleach are the big 3 right now, but as for the reasons why It’s hard to say. I think they share success because they’re all similar in the way that MegamanX9 mentioned, but as to why people seem to love it so much is a mystery to me. Maybe it is timing like Luke said, who knows? It’s only an opinion piece, and he did ask for our thoughts!


    As for this extra added bonus trolling topic:

    -I agree with Tom 100%.

    -I think P misunderstood the point of Luke’s repetition of the phrase ‘Big 3’. ‘Big 3’ is a term Luke has coined up himself, to collectively refer to what he considers to be the biggest 3 anime at the moment. This isn’t a problem with flow.

    -Luke’s article has done nothing wrong here. He’s sharing opinions and asked for input. It’s also structured well. P on the other hand, doesn’t use apostrophes or capital letters, so he can’t really talk. Luke’s only problem is that he’s broke rule #14 of the internet-do not argue with trolls. It means they win.

    • Luke Halliday

      I know I broke the rule haha. Just need to grow more ignorant of trolls. Thanks for the comment Matt 🙂

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