Popular Anime of AnimeUSA 2013 (By Convention Poll)

In September I attended AnimeUSA 2013 and I went around asking people about their current top 5 favorite anime shows (not counting movies). Most people stared at me for a moment before their expression turned sheepish and confused, responding with something along the lines of “U-um, uh- well, that’s really hard! Only 5? Wow, I’ll need a moment to think about it.”

Mashup of Characters from Different Anime

Mashup of Characters from Different Anime

I tried to ask as many people as I could while still being able to enjoy the convention myself and wound up with 40 lists of 5 anime shows. As a notable part of my methodology, I did mostly approach cosplayers, since some people in a hotel on an anime convention weekend are just bystanders that wouldn’t be able to answer my question.

There were 99 titles mentioned out of the 200 collected total show answers, which I think really shows the diversity of the Anime community from such a small sampling. A lot of the shows only had one mention, and a number of those shows I had never heard of before, like Patlabor (which makes sense since it seems to be a Mecha series). But other shows only mentioned once surprised me because I thought they would have more people talking about them, like Guilty Crown.

Guilty Crown

I intended to make a chart containing only the shows that had more than one mention, since I thought that there would probably be only about 60 shows total with only about 50 or so repeated, but there turned out to be 43 shows and 143 results, which still seemed like a bit much. But even with 28 shows and 118 results the chart still looked… not very visually helpful.

Huge Anime Chart, 28 Shows, 115 Results

Huge Anime Chart, 28 Shows, 115 Results

Once I narrowed it down to 5+ mentions, there were 8 anime shows left, which seemed to be the most popular.

Top 8 Most Popular Anime Chart

First, as a side note, I want to point out that the listing of “Full Metal Alchemist” contains both the original series and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and that the listing of “Gundam” contains all answers that were a Gundam series, G Gundamn, Gundam Wing, and a few others. These are both shows are classics that probably got people into anime, as are Sailor Moon, and Pokemon.

Soul Eater

Of the more recent shows, Soul Eater is one that I consider to be a ‘modern classic’ which has joined the others on the above list as being a well-known show that most people in the community like or are at least well aware of. The other two, Free Iwatobi High School Swim Club and Attack on Titian, were the most popular new anime at the time of the convention, hence how they both made this Top 8 Answers list.

Attack on Titian

Attack on Titian

Attack on Titian had the most mentions with 7 total. You might be thinking that with only 7 out of 40 people surveyed saying that Attack on Titian is one of their top 5 favorite anime show that it wasn’t that popular, but I asked them about their top 5 shows, so I’m sure that many of them considered Attack on Titian, even if they didn’t put it down.

Overall I found this polling process fun and interesting! I think that I’d like to do it again at a future convention but ask more people… and write the post within a month of the convention, which I failed to do this time. Oops. Ah well, I hope that you all enjoyed this!

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Gory vs Cute: Attack on Iwatobi Swim Club

Gore and Cuteness have always been at odds in the Anime Community at large. Recently there have been examples of a trend of splitting off gore and cute into separate shows, such as Attack on Titian and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. Shows like Death Note (2006-2007) showed a trend away from a balance of cute and gory, replacing cuteness a mystery aspect. But, Death Note still had the cute female character Misa Amane, as well as maintaining humor with creepy-cute male character L that kept the show from getting way too depressing. Follow in the footsteps of Death Note, came shows like Code Geass, Future Diary, Guilty Crown (to a lesser extent for gore than the others though still violent) and more recently Btooom! and Dangan Ronpa (which uses pink for blood, earning mixed reactions among fans).

All those shows had increasing strategic/psychological aspect, increasing levels of violence and less arbitrarily cute things surrounding the characters, though the female characters remained adorable as ever. This all brings me to Attack on Titian, where nothing is cute. I mean it. Nothing is cute at all in this show. I’ve tired really hard to look for anything cute. Settings? NOPE. Animal sidekick? NOPE. Pretty, well-drawn foods like cakes? NOPE. Cute outfits for the girls? A billion times NOPE. It sticks with realistic hair colors (contrary to the trends set in Code Geass, Future Diary, Guilty Crown and Dangan Ronpa) going back to the standards set in Death Note for a more realistic feel (which Btooom! also did). And in Attack on Titian, since all the characters are in the military they wear the same uniform with the same uniform coat, and PANTS (unlike in Code Geass which also has military aspects but the girls all have skimpier outfits, even outside of the school uniform).

attack-on-titan-4

But I’m getting ahead of myself. What IS this show, Attack on Titian? Well, Attack on Titian is set in a post-apocalyptic world where all of humanity is confined within the layered walls of a huge settlement, cowering in fear of the huge humanoid monsters (called Titians) that wish to violently devour humans. Gore is an everyday reality for the forces of the Survey Corps, a branch of the military meant to gather intelligence reports on the Titans. Honestly, I didn’t watch it the first few times I heard about it. The Titians just looked so darn UGLY, and the characters all looked like plain regular human beings (by anime standards), so I couldn’t find anything cute to draw my initial attention. I now understand from watching Attack on Titian that things don’t have to be cute, or even beautiful, to be aesthetically pleasing, something that I had apparently forgotten upon joining the fandom of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which is populated mostly by colorful ponies. Regardless, the art of Attack on Titian is tight while still feeling very raw. I have come to appreciate from it that not all things need cuteness, which might very well have been by design of the artists.

free-anime-kyoani-wallpaper-690x866

What about that other show, Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, that was mentioned earlier? Ah yes, that. It is commonly referred to as Free. It revolves around a group of male friends who are in a High School Swim Club, mostly focusing on their friendships, social issues, and swimming races. The stories hinge on social drama or swim races, which is just fine since the guys take off their shirts to swim quite often. Finally, an entirely cute-but-not-pink-and-tageted-for-children anime to fill the void left by a market overly saturated with bloodshed! The typical accent-color-to-personality stereotypes persist in a standard anime fashion, Rin (red) being the fiery passionateone, Haru (blue) being the cool collected one, Makoto (green) as ‘that third main-main character’, then the more easily molded ones- yellow and purple, Nagisa (yellow) as the naive one and Rei (purple) as the wise or glasses character. The animation style is beautiful and the abundant amount of water in the show is all animated wonderfully. But, mainly, when watched along side violent shows (mainly Attack on Titian since they share a hugely overlapping fanbase) it provides a great break from gore and violence.

Generally, there is a swing towards a gore/violence/suspense/mystery genre, but Free proves that other anime genres are still alive and kicking… lol.