A Statistical Ranking of Every New Anime of 2024

Anime is mainstream in 2024. It’s hardly news when an A-lister attends an anime premiere wearing Tanjiro’s iconic colors or when Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards are being hosted by one of the biggest musical talents in the States. But as anime moves into the center of popular culture, the divide between the biggest franchises in the space — crossover hits whose audiences far exceed self-identified anime fans like JUJUTSU KAISEN, One Piece, and Demon Slayer — and the rest of Japanese-born animation continues to widen. 

Anime is not only huge by audience, but by volume as well. Approximately 200 new anime are produced each year, not counting the dozens of long-running titles like One Piece — a series now old enough to rent a car — or the more family-oriented Sazae-san, which boasts more than double the episode count of The Simpsons. Every three months, a new season of anime emerges across late-night airwaves in Japan. Timed with fiscal periods rather than the changing of the leaves, these seasons have become intertwined with financial backers in the Anglosphere who simulcast them to their streaming audiences, with companies like Crunchyroll and Netflix listed alongside the domestic producers just as often as not.

 

Compare this to the numbers from Hollywood: according to data from Ampere Analysis on Variety, only 481 US scripted shows were released in 2023. Going one step further, more new anime released last year than English-language scripted “Originals” on Netflix, Peacock, Hulu, Max, Paramount+, Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+ combined. But not all anime are created equally.

I’ve always found an exploration of the numbers to be the most helpful starting place for understanding a niche. For the last 15 years, I’ve diligently collected as many data points as I could related to anime to guide my experience as a fan and professional. While I no longer have access to the internal numbers from working under an anime publisher, I’ve found quite a few metrics that are just begging to be trawled on the Internet that, combined, show a fairly clear picture of the seasonal anime landscape, and I’d like to share the highlights of that effort with you today.

What you’ll find below is a comparison of all 49 anime to have premiered in the 2024 winter season with sufficient data across 11 metrics, taken between February 1st and 2nd, to determine a relative popularity ranking. Using a weighted formula of publicly available metrics for the English-speaking audience such as viewership on various bootleg sites, search traffic, the volume of ratings across different websites, engagement on Meta, and chatter on X (formerly known as Twitter), I derived a total “popularity” score for each anime. Since this number is simply relative and not meaningful on its own, I then used the median anime to serve a point of comparison: in this case, The Foolish Angel Dances with the Devil.

Solo Leveling +15.0x
Classroom of the Elite Season 3 +5.0x
MASHLE: MAGIC AND MUSCLES Season 2 +4.8x
TSUKIMICHI -Moonlit Fantasy- Season 2 +3.5x
The Dangers in My Heart Season 2 +3.2x
The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic +3.1x
Delicious in Dungeon +2.6x
7th Time Loop: The Villainess Enjoys a Carefree Life
Married to Her Worst Enemy!
+2.6x
A Sign of Affection +2.4x
Gushing over Magical Girls +2.1x
Chained Soldier +2.1x
My Instant Death Ability is So Overpowered,
No One in This Other World Stands a Chance Against Me!
+2.1x
Banished From The Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet
Life in the Countryside Season 2
+2.0x
The Unwanted Undead Adventurer +1.9x
Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss But I’m
Not the Demon Lord
+1.7x
Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable! +1.7x
Blue Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Saga +1.6x
Ishura +1.4x
Fluffy Paradise +1.4x
The Strongest Tank’s Labyrinth Raids -A Tank with a Rare 9999
Resistance Skill Got Kicked from the Hero’s Party-
+1.4x
Tales of Wedding Rings +1.3x
Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki 2nd Stage +1.1x
BUCCHIGIRI?! +1.0x
The Witch and the Beast +1.0x
The Foolish Angel Dances with the Devil Median
Sasaki and Peeps -1.0x
The Weakest Tamer Began a Journey to Pick Up Trash -1.1x
Metallic Rouge -1.2x
Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with the Lamp -1.2x
Mr. Villain’s Day Off -1.3x
Tis Time for “Torture,” Princess -1.5x
Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! -1.5x
The Demon Prince of Momochi House -1.8x
Kingdom Season 5 -2.0x
Sengoku Youko -2.0x
High Card Season 2 -2.6x
The Way of Pon -2.8x
Isekai Onsen Paradise -2.9x
Shaman King: Flowers -3.0x
Urusei Yatsura (2022) 2nd Season -3.3x
Brave Bang Bravern! -3.4x
SYNDUALITY Noir Part 2 -4.1x
Meiji Gekken: 1874 -5.0x
Delusional Monthly Magazine -7.5x
The Fire Hunter Season 2 -8.8x
Snack Basue -10.5x
The Legend of Super normal Pref. CHIBA -11.1x
Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai Season 12 -14.8x
CARDFIGHT!! VANGUARD Divinez -25.5x

Solo Winner of the Season

Solo Leveling, the A-1 Pictures adaptation of the Korean webtoon of the same name, is far and away the biggest new anime of the season, standing as the clear leader. To the outside observer, this may be obvious, but I don’t think it’s quite understood the extent to which Solo Leveling has dominated the attention of anime fans in the English-speaking world.

ⒸSolo Leveling Animation Partners

As I mentioned before, I’ve been conducting a similar analysis to this over the years, with my first rudimentary attempt inspired by a particularly rousing linear algebra lecture in undergrad. Never before have I seen such a disparity between first and second place, even in the throes of the most popular anime of the decade. Solo Leveling has three times the popularity as runner-up Classroom of the Elite Season 3, and a massive 15x multiplier over the median winter 2024 anime. It’s not strange for an order of magnitude to be the difference between the top and bottom 10% of a season, but by this analysis, Solo Leveling is more than 100x more popular than several new titles. 

Why is this? While the data themselves don’t suggest a cause, the popularity of the source material can sometimes be a strong indicator for an anime’s success. Solo Leveling has been one of the top web comics for nearly a decade in the English-speaking community according to metrics I’ve been tracking. Co-producer Crunchyroll seems to have promoted the title in more high-profile avenues than any other in this season’s lineup. Critically, word-of-mouth for Solo Leveling was strong from the start, owing in part to its built-in fanbase quickly jumping onto the adaptation and its reasonably well-received premiere. Korean IP don’t necessarily have an edge with English-speaking audiences, but this particular title seems to have struck a chord. 

The title is also popular in Japan but not nearly to the same extent. Streaming numbers, volume of discussion on social media, and search traffic indicate it’s roughly a top five title, but Solo Leveling’s presence in Japan does not indicate an impact in the community of the same scale. A survey conducted in Japan by Animate Times ranked the series as the third-most anticipated of the season – notable, but not the runaway hit it was all but guaranteed to be in the West – and its level of interest has only decreased. The ways in which Solo Leveling over-indexes with Western fans is a topic for producers keen on expanding their overseas audience to keep in mind.

Seasonal Anime is Feast or Famine

During anime’s first major period of growth in the United States, the primary way that large audiences engaged with the medium was on dedicated blocks on linear television such as Cartoon Network’s Toonami and Sci-Fi Channel’s Anime Saturdays. With fans starving for as much anime as they could find, and without easy avenues to discover other series on their own, the difference in viewership between back-to-back titles like Dragon Ball Z and Tenchi in Tokyo was a matter of degrees. Levels of fandom or excitement certainly differed, but a view was a view for these television channels. From their perspective, my viewership of Sailor Moon and Pokémon counted as individual views and contributed to the overall picture, even though I was not a particularly fervent Sailor Moon fan and only watched it to catch every moment of Pokémon.

 

That’s not the case with anime in the streaming era. Based on  the relative popularity above, the difference between the top few anime and the rest is profound. To state the obvious: an anime with a 4x multiplier on this chart has double the popularity of a series listed at 2x, which itself looms over the titles tightly banded around the median. This gap between a popular series and “the rest” can often be the difference in success for an anime’s stakeholders, among other implications. This distribution of viewer interest is found across the industry and was illuminated by Netflix’s data dump shared last year, which I covered on Anime News Network

It’s true that if an anime is not one of the top 20% or so, it can be very challenging to find an audience of a meaningful size, regardless of the degree of passionate fans. To put this in perspective, when exclusively using the viewership numbers scraped from some of the biggest bootleg anime streaming sites and apps, roughly two-thirds of total seasonal viewership was concentrated in the season’s top 10 series, which translates to about 20% of that season’s total anime series

With this lens, I have seen many arguments that the bottom half of the list isn’t worth making, that too much anime is being produced, and that interests are spread too thin. However, this is a bit reductive. No matter the volume of anime being made, the concentration problem will continue to exist thanks to the distribution model. 

Anime is a medium, not a genre, so theoretically, the more anime produced, the better each individual niche within the larger community is able to be served. The volume is not without massive challenges — to say the anime industry in Japan is spread too thin would be an egregious understatement. But if the quantity produced can help continue broadening anime’s addressable market and gives more producers a roll of the dice to make the Next Big Thing, the logic behind the  volume of anime production becomes easier to grok.

(As a quick aside: although I used piracy data as part of this analysis, I want to state clearly that this is in no way a validation of these practices. Thankfully, the share of anime watched via piracy has become a minority in English-speaking territories thanks to the efforts made by legitimate streaming services in increasing accessibility and awareness, and I am hopeful this trend will continue.)

The Isekai Boom is Complicated

Isekai is a Japanese term that’s typically used in English to refer to the genre of “modern character is transported to a fantasy world,” à la Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. After a handful of popular anime employing the trope in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, the storytelling trend subsequently picked up in the Japanese light novel industry and became a major force in anime after the thunderous success of Sword Art Online in 2012.

 

Over 20% of 2024’s new or renewed anime seasons can easily be cataloged as isekai, from the subversive Sasaki and Peeps to those that make a full sales pitch in their title like My Instant Death Ability is So Overpowered, No One in This Other World Stands a Chance Against Me! Many of these titles take full advantage of the ubiquity of their genre, toying with tropes and expectations to find novel ways to stand out in a crowded field.

Setting an anime in a video game-inspired world with a self-aware protagonist may not be an express train to success, but the data demonstrates that the isekai boom won’t end anytime soon. For every poor performer in the genre, a contender, viewership-wise, for anime of the season steps up to the plate. This has been the case for nearly every season of the last few years, and this Winter 2024 lineup shows no difference. Audiences may complain about the genre’s massive presence online, but a large enough contingency of fans still eagerly watch each new take on the genre, and those new to the world of anime aren’t tired of the genre’s characteristics yet.

Final Thoughts

I’d like to share a few more thoughts from this analysis that can mostly be summarized in bullet point form:

  • • Quality ≠ Success: Outside of the extremes on each end, there is little correlation between critical reception of a title and its performance. This dissonance becomes even more pronounced when looking at long-form reviews from major outlets.
  •  
  • • Sequels have priors built-in: Since the data was collected just one-third of the way into the season, much of a title’s popularity can be viewed as a function of how popular its previous season was. As a result, four of the top five anime by popularity are sequels, but so are a significant number of the bottom ten. 
  •  
  • • Japanese and English-speaking fans diverge plenty: This is worthy of an article of its own as it’s interesting to explore the biggest deltas between audiences. On the Japanese-speaking side, titles like the excellent Brave Bang Bravern! and Sasaki and Peeps have considerable interest, while the Anglosphere has a disproportionate appetite for titles like A Sign of Affection and 7th Time Loop.
  •  
  • • Netflix titles have an interesting relationship with piracy: Based on its other metrics, the data suggests Delicious in Dungeon is missing a noticeable amount of its viewership because of bootleg streaming sites. The opposite is true for Shaman King: Flowers, a title without any legal English-speaking avenue for viewership. Netflix had exclusive rights to the previous Shaman King series and was assumed to acquire this one as well, but nothing has been announced.

If you’d like to see more analysis on this ranking, my friend Tristan (Glass Reflection) recently shared a video on the topic!


The methodology used for this analysis is not perfect. I ruled out several variables for their high correlations or overlaps with other data sources, but fundamentally, public data is never going to get you to a complete understanding of popularity, and some metrics are going to fundamentally be biased in ways that can’t be untangled. However, as an approximation to study trends and relationships, I was happy with the results, and I hope you find them useful as well. Let me know what you think in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Author’s Note: Ninja Kamui is excluded from this analysis due to the timing of its release. The series premiered in the United States in mid-February, while the data collected for this analysis were pulled on February 1st and 2nd.

Miles Thomas Atherton is the CEO of White Box Entertainment, a new marketing and insights consultancy in the entertainment industry focused on Japanese media. You can contact him with questions and comments at miles@whiteboxentertainment.com.


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