A whole ten years of anime, huh... I can't believe it's been that long. Though, to be fair, I can't quite relate as much since I was still in primary school when this decade began, barely a fledgling anime fan.
I'm sure most of you have seen numerous top 10 and top 100 lists for the best anime of the decade, so to set this apart, I'm going to take it to the next level. In this special edition of In Numbers, I'll be breaking down the best TV anime of the last decade using 2,142 entries on MAL, plus a closer look at the top 250 in score and popularity.
Grab a coffee and buckle up, because this is the ultimate compendium to end a packed decade of outstanding anime, a long journey paved with nostalgia and new discoveries.
There are four main sections to this article: By the Years, Everything: By the Numbers, Top 250: By the Numbers (Score), and Top 250: By the Numbers (Popularity).
By measuring the top 250 TV anime in score, entry scores range from 9.11 to 7.88 (Gakuen Babysitters just missed out at rank #251), which I think succinctly captures the best of the decade while also allowing for an effective sample size.
Of course, I need to mention a commonly recognised issue. Attempts at score manipulation will certainly make up some portion of the data, but since most of these entries have a massive viewerbase, the effect is minimal. That being said, I have chosen to exclude Pingu in the City since most of its data is blatantly disingenuous, but feel free to PM me if you'd like the stats for that (or any other show, for that matter). Chihayafuru 3 is absent due to a recent tsunami of troll accounts when it otherwise would've been in the top 250, but that can't be helped until the solution currently in development is implemented.
Naturally, a number of these shows are still ongoing (e.g. Beastars and Vinland Saga) at the time of writing. This means that the top 250 list will certainly be different between when this article was written and when it's published.
I haven't included movies in this for two key reasons: 1. many top movies are just compilation films of popular series, and 2. user behaviours greatly differ from TV anime, particularly with favorites, which would throw off rankings.
All data was recorded on December 22nd, 2019.
How do scores work?
On the user side of things, it's as simple as rating an anime from 1-10. Unless the show is ongoing, scores are only counted if the user has watched at least 1/5 of the series. A certain number of user scores are required for a valid overall score, so a few very minor entries aren't included.
- Score + overall rank for TV anime (2010-2019)
- Average score for the top 10 highest-rated TV anime of the season / Average score for all TV anime that aired with a valid score
- Average score for the top 10 highest-rated TV anime of the year / Average score for all TV anime that aired with a valid score
- Number of anime in the top 250 TV anime of the decade (by score) / Total number of TV anime that aired
- Number of anime in the top 250 TV anime of the decade (by score) / Total number of TV anime that aired
What are favorites?
On every MyAnimeList profile, there's a configurable list of 10 favorite anime, manga, characters, and people. If you're subscribed as a MAL Supporter, that number goes up to 20. When you get to hundreds of completed anime, as I have, that limited selection becomes all the more precious and significant as an indicator of value. Perhaps it's an anime that effectively targets a niche audience, or it's not the highest in quality but something enjoyable. For that, it's an excellent metric for weighing both quality and enjoyability. Plus, it's not manipulated by troll accounts.
Since measuring by pure numbers would heavily favour popular anime, I calculate a percentage based on the number of favorites and users who have the anime listed as Watching or Completed. I think it's safe to assume that very few users have a favorited anime on their Dropped or Plan to Watch lists. The oft-cited "sequel effect" in comparing scores (i.e. sequels are rated higher because people who liked the series are more likely to continue it) doesn't actually occur in favorites. Users tend to keep favorites to one per series due to limited space (unless they're massive fans of it), and this is usually just the first installment. This cuts down on the prevalence of larger franchises, and sequels with high favorites are more notable as a result.
- Favorites % + overall rank for TV anime (2010-2019)
- Average favorites % for all valid TV anime that season
- Average favorites % for the top 10 highest-rated TV anime of the year / Average favorites % for all valid TV anime that aired
- Number of anime in the top 250 TV anime of the decade (by favorites %) / Total number of valid TV anime that aired
- Number of anime in the top 250 TV anime of the decade (by favorites %) / Total number of valid TV anime that aired
What makes an anime "popular"?
Popularity on MAL is measured by the total number of members (i.e. users with the anime in one of their lists) across 5 different categories: Watching, Completed, On-Hold, Dropped, and Plan to Watch. I did consider using just the number of Completed members but chose total members because 1. it wouldn't work for currently airing shows, and 2. it encompasses every user that directly engaged with an anime, either by watching it or expressing interest in doing so.
Of course, overall rankings will be somewhat in favour of anime that were released earlier, but many recent releases have still overtaken popular older ones.
- Total number of members + overall rank for TV anime (2010-2019)
- Total number of members for the top 10 most popular TV anime that season / Total number of members for all TV anime that aired
- Total number of members for the top 10 most popular TV anime of the year / Total number of members for all TV anime that aired
- Number of anime in the top 250 TV anime of the decade (by members) / Total number of valid TV anime that aired
- Number of anime in the top 250 TV anime of the decade (by members) / Total number of valid TV anime that aired
I've provided the links to each season under every heading so you can see the full list of everything that aired in the past decade. Now, let's send a text to the past and go back in time to ten years ago...
Background: K-On!! (8.15), Ookiku Furikabutte: Natsu no Taikai-hen (8.09), Hidamari Sketch x ☆☆☆ (7.96), Heartcatch Precure! (7.87), Saraiya Goyou (7.86), Shiki (7.86), Tegamibachi Reverse (7.83), Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (7.82)
The 2010s were a revolutionary period for anime, but it started off rather slowly before exploding in 2011. Due to the more limited selection of anime compared to now, 2010's top 10 in score goes to the lowest point of any year with Kaichou wa Maid-sama! at rank #157. By a margin of seven anime, it also has the fewest TV anime in the top 250. However, the year did fare better than others in the favorites category.
Since Spring and Fall typically feature bigger and more shows, you'll be seeing them at the top for most of this article, but it isn't always the case. For 2010, Spring certainly reigned supreme with Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei and Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, not to mention Angel Beats!.
It's quite a shame to see Summer 2010 as the only season out of 40 this decade to not have a single series in the top 250. The highest-rated anime of the season was Shiki at rank #259, so it wasn't too far off. But where it missed the mark there, it did mildly better in favorites.
Background: Shiki (2.71%), Saraiya Goyou (2.57%), Hakuouki (2.51%), Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru (2.40%), Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2.30%), So Ra No Wo To (2.28%), Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (1.61%), Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (1.57%)
Up from rank #16 in score, Shiki took #11 for the year as the only Summer 2010 anime in the top 250 in favorites. You also have to give kudos to studio Madhouse for producing #1 and #2 of 2010 in both score and favorites. They also released Highschool of the Dead in the same year, which is the 19th-most completed TV anime of the decade.
The first season of K-On!, which aired just outside the decade in 2009, has a higher percentage of favorites than K-On!! with 3.60%, but 3.04% is a relatively low drop-off for a sequel. Compare that to, as a random example, Mushishi with 8.32% and just 1.08% for Mushishi Zoku Shou, despite similar scores.
Right off the bat, there's a pattern that's going to persist throughout the years: anime that appeal to the otome and BL fanbases coming up out of the woodwork to not let their favorites be forgotten, even if their scores aren't close to the top.
On a semi-related note, shout-out to Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen (2018) for having 2,010 favorites on the dot.
Background: Katanagatari (354,702), Kiss x Sis (TV) (353,135), Kuroshitsuji II (352,670), Seitokai Yakuindomo (334,180), Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou (330,697), Working!! (302,379), Toaru Majutsu no Index II (297,563), Yosuga no Sora: In Solitude, Where We Are Least Alone. (288,048)
And just like that, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (238,549) and Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichnin (247,177) completely vanish from the charts altogether. So if you're looking for classic anime that are criminally underwatched, you've got some options here.
Rank #7 in score for the year out of 99 TV anime is a very respectable achievement for Angel Beats!, but it did even better at #1 for the year and #7 in popularity across the entire decade. Although it's true that it's had more time to gather users than most anime, it ranks below some recent releases like One Punch Man at #3 (2015) and Boku no Hero Academia at #6 (2016).
The Bakuman. trilogy was incredibly successful in the first three years of the 2010's, going up in score every season and appearing in the top 10 every year. But after placing 8th in popularity for its first season, it doesn't even make the top 20 for either of its sequels.
Despite being the oldest year of the decade, 2010 has the fewest anime in the top 250 in popularity and second-fewest top 10/overall members, only behind this year, which has only had, well, a year.
Background: SKET Dance (8.29), Chihayafuru (8.27), Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen (8.26), Gosick (8.16), Sekaiichi Hatsukoi 2 (8.14), Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season (8.08), Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou (8.06), Hyouge Mono (8.03)
In many ways, 2011 is when the decade found its footing. Steins;Gate would go on to become the #1 TV anime of the decade in score and favorites, while Hunter x Hunter (2011) took #2 in both. Hunter x Hunter (2011) comes in at #25 for Completed members (669,370), even with an imposing 150 episodes. To put that in perspective, the next highest anime with more than two cours is Fairy Tail (2014) with less than half the members at #116.
With an average top 10 score of 8.37, 2011 had the best Spring season of the entire decade with Steins;Gate, Gintama', Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai., Nichijou, and more. For the top 10 average of the entire year, it came in 2nd behind 2017 (8.72).
Although they both made their debuts outside the decade, the Gintama and Natsume Yuujinchou franchises continued to top score charts throughout.
Background: Gosick (3.23%), Gintama' (3.13%), Tiger & Bunny (3.01%), Guilty Crown (2.99%), Mirai Nikki (2.75%), Sekaiichi Hatsukoi (2.71%), Yuru Yuri (2.71%), The iDOLM@STER (2.60%)
2011 may have just missed pole position in the top 10 average for score, but it takes home an effortless gold medal in top 10 average for favorites—the next highest is 2012 with 4.81%, a whole 1.23% less.
Kyoto Animation has many beloved works from the 2010s that perform better in favorites than score, including Hyouka (2012), Hibike! Euphonium (2015), and Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (2017). Meanwhile, Nichijou achieved high results for both in 2011 as KyoAni's most favorited TV anime this decade by percentage. In raw numbers, it takes third place behind Violet Evergarden (2018) and Hyouka.
Director Kunihiko Ikuhara is quite the legendary figure for creating provocative anime with controversial themes, but strong appreciation for his work comes out in favorites for Mawaru Penguindrum, along with Yuri Kuma Arashi (2015) and Sarazanmai (2019).
Background: Nichijou (494,030), Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? (453,640), IS: Infinite Stratos (410,658), Beelzebub (374,113), Gosick (365,644), Usagi Drop (329,053), Mayo Chiki! (321,931), Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II (281,351)
On top of being the best Spring season in score and favorites for the decade, it's also #1 in popularity. However, it's not quite the #1 season overall...
Meanwhile, Summer was a particularly disappointing season for viewership, with its most popular anime being Usagi Drop (#16) and Mayo Chiki! (#17). If you exclude 2019 for its disadvantageous recency, Summer 2011 has the lowest top 10 total in popularity despite having eight years to build up members. Being around for longer certainly helps boost numbers, but this goes to show that it's not an absolute.
Despite a bronze medal in popularity for the year, Ao no Exorcist failed to chart in score (7.75) and favorites (1.66%). Considering its status as a common starter anime, I would've expected it to be there for favorites at the very least, but I guess it hasn't stood the test of time as well as its popular 2011 counterparts. It tied with Mirai Nikki, another common starter anime, in score but fell well behind in favorites (2.75%).
Background: Kuroko no Basket (8.29), Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo (8.27), Nisemonogatari (8.20), Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (8.16), Hyouka (8.15), Initial D Fifth Stage (8.14), Kamisama Hajimemashita (8.11), Kingdom (8.10)
With Fate/Zero 2nd Season and Bakuman. 3rd Season in the top five, 2012 was certainly a great year for finales. Fall deserves similar praise, taking up half of the top 10 for the year and 13 shows in the top 250.
Psycho-Pass made a big debut with a top 10 finish in every category, but you certainly won't be seeing season two anywhere in this article.
Although Fall and Spring usually are at the top for the number of anime in the top 250, there's a much steeper divide between them and the other seasons in 2012 for score. Winter only had Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, and Nisemonogatari; Summer barely scraped in with three lower-scoring shows: Kingdom (#172), Yuru Yuri♪♪ (#242), and Kokoro Connect (#244).
Background: Kuroko no Basket (3.40%), Tsuritama (3.35%), Kamisama Hajimemashita (3.24%), Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (3.04%), Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (2.79%), Girls & Panzer (2.76%), Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (2.73%), Fate/Zero 2nd Season (2.58%)
Poor Kuroko no Basket, just missing out at #11 again.
The difference between the best in score and favorites is less drastic here than in other years. The "reverse sequel effect" takes out the top four and replaces them with both decade-defining series and cult favorites. Aikatsu! only just cleared the 400 favorites criterion with 671 favorites, so the fact that it took #3 may feel somewhat illegitimate. However, the franchise has a dedicated, albeit small, fanbase that warrants recognition.
That being said, half the series in the background of the image don't appear for score or popularity, but are certainly all iconic series in their own right. Meanwhile, the uber-popular Sword Art Online franchise has been the punching bag of the anime community since its debut seven years ago, but the first installment still places in the top 50 for favorites across the entire decade.
However, biggest of all, 2012 has the most anime in the top 250 for favorites %, with more than half of its eligible anime making the cut. For reference, the top 250 for favorites % ranges from Steins;Gate with 12.32% to Natsume Yuujinchou Shi with 1.53%.
Background: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (589,890), JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (TV) (574,747), Btooom! (564,753), Accel World (514,066), Shinsekai yori (512,447), Kokoro Connect (496,863), K (483,569), Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (469,101)
At last, Kuroko no Basket just sneaks in at #9.
Even though it finished high in score and favorites, I'm not surprised that Uchuu Kyoudai is completely absent from popularity—99 episodes is certainly a daunting amount. However, I am surprised that the first season of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken didn't even make the top 10, considering its rapidly expanding presence in Western pop culture spheres. I guess that just goes to show how much of a powerhouse year 2012 was.
2012 takes the silver medal for both overall popularity and most popular season of the decade for its Fall lineup; 13 of its shows are in the top 250. It doesn't contain a single anime with a million members, but the spread of its members is much, much higher than other seasons. For example, the 10th most popular anime of Winter 2012 is Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! with 143,556 members—for Fall 2012, the lowest is Zetsuen no Tempest with 410,365 members.
Background: Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (8.16), Kill la Kill (8.16), Gin no Saji (8.14), Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (8.10), Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (8.10), Yowamushi Pedal (8.06), Log Horizon (8.05), Non Non Biyori (7.99)
Poor Winter 2013. Only Chihayafuru 2 was good enough to make it into the top 250, and by a wide margin—the next highest in score was AKB0048: Next Stage with 7.74. Meanwhile, Fall had another very successful season, taking up 6/10 of the top spots. But overall, 2013 has the second-fewest TV anime in the top 250 for score, only ahead of 2010, which had a mere 13.
Half of the top 10 are sequels, all of which have higher scores than their predecessors; Little Busters!: Refrain is the biggest improvement of them all, going from a score of 7.59 to 8.29 between seasons. Hajime no Ippo is an old classic, with its last anime airing in 2013 to critical acclaim, even defeating Shingeki no Kyojin in the ring.
Background: Non Non Biyori (2.83%), Free! (2.49%), Little Busters!: Refrain (2.38%), Uchouten Kazoku (2.22%), Golden Time (2.19%), Kyoukai no Kanata (2.02%), Choujigen Game Neptune The Animation (1.95%), Yowamushi Pedal (1.92%)
Even with the reverse sequel effect, Monogatari Series: Second Season still managed to beat out Shingeki no Kyojin, arguably the biggest anime of the entire decade. They aired in Spring and Summer, respectively, but it's Fall 2013 that was not only the best season that year, but also the best of the entire decade for anime in the top 250 in favorites. Aside from the incredible 11/18 series in the above graphic, Fall 2013 had Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (1.72%), Samurai Flamenco (1.63%), and Gundam Build Fighters (1.53%).
Winter 2013 once again only has a single anime in the top 250, except it's Love Live! School Idol Project instead of Chihayafuru 2. Spanning multiple sequels and a wide variety of media types, the Love Live! franchise defined the decade for music anime and idols as a whole, albeit not as strongly in the West than it did in Japan.
Aku no Hana is one of the lowest-scoring anime to appear in the top 10 for favorites (7.17), but not quite the lowest. That honour goes to 2014's Yu☆Gi☆Oh! Arc-V (7.04), at #5 for the year and #17 for the decade.
Background: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (487,850), Kuroko no Basket 2nd Season (448,951), Free! (432,934), Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (429,080), Blood Lad (424,149), Strike the Blood (404,307), Monogatari Series: Second Season (395,701), Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? (384,074)
Hataraku Maou-sama! was the third-most popular anime of the year 2013 and #34 for the entire decade. It's also one of the most common answers to the oft-asked "what needs a second season" question, yet it surprisingly doesn't rank for score (7.92) or favorites (1.23%).
Shingeki no Kyojin, Log Horizon, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru., Date A Live, and High School DxD New all have future sequels throughout the rest of decade, but only Shingeki no Kyojin and Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. manage to appear again for popularity. In fact, they'll both be wrapping up their anime adaptations in 2020 to break in the new decade.
Although it still came last overall, Winter 2013 managed to muster up five anime for the top 250 in popularity.
Background: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (8.29), Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus (8.26), Initial D Final Stage (8.26), Space☆Dandy 2nd Season (8.25), JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 3: Stardust Crusaders (8.23), Tsukimonogatari (8.17), Zankyou no Terror (8.17), Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road (8.16)
The JoJo franchise almost has a perfect record of getting higher in score with every new installment, but JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 3: Stardust Crusaders breaks the pattern by being 0.08 points below the first season. That also makes it the only Part to not be in the top 100 for score, since the first season only just made it in at #100.
Tied with 2011, 2014's top 10 in score has the fewest number of sequels in it, a mere three in total. To put that in perspective, the very next year has that ratio flipped the other way.
The first season of Mushishi from 2005 ranks in the top 50 of all time on MAL, so naturally, its sequels are also rated highly. However, as I pointed out in an earlier example, it doesn't even come close in favorites.
Background: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (2.84%), Space☆Dandy (2.79%), Fairy Tail (2014) (2.72%), Noragami (2.58%), JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 3: Stardust Crusaders (2.56%), Nanatsu no Taizai (2.36%), Nisekoi (2.27%), Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (2.20%)
Although Fall was dominant in score, Spring came out way on top in favorites while Fall slipped to #3.
Considering the significant cultural impact of Tokyo Ghoul and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works in particular, I'm surprised to see them so low in favorites. With 2.20% vs. 3.96% in favorites and 8.29 vs. 8.40 in score, Fate/Zero is definitively the best of this Fate-filled decade of TV anime. Well... it's a win either way for studio ufotable.
As the director of Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei and Ping Pong the Animation, #3 and #4 in favorites overall, Masaaki Yuasa has clearly established himself as one of the industry's best this decade.
2014 was great in many ways, but always just shy of the best: it won the coveted silver medal for top 250 in favorites, score, and popularity.
Background: Zankyou no Terror (640,888), Black Bullet (576,866), Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (565,391), Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (552,246), Fairy Tail (2014) (535,904), Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (518,338), Trinity Seven (456,886), Akatsuki no Yona (440,223)
A stunning one half of 2014's top shows in popularity are millionaires; Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso isn't far behind, just missing out on a top-five finish in all categories. Even more impressively, three of these shows aired in Summer 2014 (Tokyo Ghoul, Sword Art Online II, and Akame ga Kill!), cementing the season as the most popular of the year and the entire decade. Truly an underdog victory for the oft-neglected season. The year as a whole also obliterates all others with 32,645,136 total members, 2,968,315 more than the next highest (2015).
Haikyuu!! is the quintessential sports anime—the most popular of all time, and its sequels hold the top two spots in score for the genre—but not even that could put it at the top of the crazy year for anime that was 2014, ranking way down at #9 despite #50 overall.
Hmm... #9 in score, #6 in favorites, #2 in popularity... yet still no second season for No Game No Life. As we head into the new decade, perhaps it's finally time to lay it to rest...
Background: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku (8.28), Kamisama Hajimemashita◎ (8.23), Death Parade (8.22), Non Non Biyori Repeat (8.21), Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (8.19), Baby Steps 2nd Season (8.13), Osomatsu-san (8.10), Working!!! (8.09)
2015 was the year of better (or best) sequels.
The Gintama franchise appears multiple times throughout this article, but 2015's Gintama° ranks the highest in both score and favorites; like Fate/Zero and its second season, albeit less impressively, the conclusion to Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works rated several points higher; after the series' most disappointing season, the Joestars bounced back with JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 3: Stardust Crusaders 2nd Season (which is a real mouthful), and so forth.
Shokugeki no Souma, on the other hand, went in the opposite direction with a strong debut and declining scores across the rest of its installments. The latest season, Shokugeki no Souma: Shin no Sara, suffered such a steep drop in score that it's the only plate to not appear on the top score table.
Background: Plastic Memories (2.26%), Charlotte (2.24%), Dragon Ball Super (2.13%), Haikyuu!! Second Season (2.11%), Gakkougurashi! (1.98%), Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (1.92%), Yuri Kuma Arashi (1.87%), Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (1.86%)
Ah yes, the classic Osomatsu-san—#1 in favorites for 2015 and #2 for the highest percentage of Dropped users in the top 250 for score. The series' unique brand of comedy isn't for everyone, but it certainly succeeded in satisfying a niche.
As mentioned previously, favorites tend to have a reverse sequel effect, so it's impressive that Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku only went down by 0.25% and Gintama° went up by nearly 2.00%. They'll continue to appear for score, but this is the only time you'll see Shokugeki no Souma for favorites since every other season has below 1.00%.
Death Parade is the only standalone entry in the top 10 for score in 2015, receiving a respectable 2.49% at rank #125 overall.
Background: Prison School (512,538), Haikyuu!! Second Season (486,599), Kekkai Sensen (485,793), Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (480,553), Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku (477,568), Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (464,498), Plastic Memories (463,742), Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season (447,288)
One Punch Man? More like #1 Popularity Man. In just four short years, One Punch Man took home the bronze medal in total members for the entire decade. Many other major series also debuted alongside it, including Overlord, DanMachi, and Shokugeki no Souma, all of which rest in the top 50 for the decade. With all these influential franchises, no wonder 2015 mopped the floor with every other year for top 250 in popularity.
Despite coming last in top 10 total members in every single category, Summer somehow has the highest number of anime in the top 250 for 2015 while Fall, well, fell. It seems like One Punch Man sucked up all the members in Fall 2015, because the range in the season's top 10 goes from 1,468,304 all the way down to 160,487 for Ore ga Ojousama Gakkou ni "Shomin Sample" Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken.
Background: Boku no Hero Academia (8.35), Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (8.34), Hibike! Euphonium 2 (8.30), Bungou Stray Dogs 2nd Season (8.27), Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2nd Season (8.27), Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (8.18), Durarara!!x2 Ketsu (8.16), ReLIFE (8.10)
2016 is the beginning of an impressive streak that goes all the way to 2019, which doesn't occur in any previous year this decade: every season's top 10 average score is above 8.00. Either users are more generous towards recent shows, or anime is just getting better and better.
We were blessed with three seasons of Haikyuu!! in the 2010's that made leaps and bounds in score with every new installment. If the pattern of spikes continues, Haikyuu!!: To the Top will surely do as its name suggests and kill it at the start of a whole new decade of anime.
Background: Mob Psycho 100 (2.71%), Bungou Stray Dogs (2.49%), Flip Flappers (2.46%), Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season (2.12%), Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou (2.09%), Hibike! Euphonium 2 (2.06%), Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (1.93%), Pokemon Sun & Moon (1.84%)
Yuri!!! on Ice just missed out on appearing in the score graphic by two places, but makes up for it by snagging a stunning third place in favorites. There's a strong division of opinion over the series, but its fanbase shines through. I'll admit that I am unhappy about it getting third... but only because another silver medal would've been poetic.
I honestly expected Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! to rank a lot higher in favorites—3.07% and #82 overall is nothing to scoff at, but for a franchise that's widely beloved in the online anime community, its rankings are pretty underwhelming. I guess Aqua really is useless...
Meanwhile, it's mobs, dogs, and 'mons in the best of the leftovers. Mob Psycho 100 was another series I expected to be higher, but that may just be because users switched it out of their favorites list for the superior second season that aired earlier this year.
Background: Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (440,709), Kiznaiver (412,847), Sakamoto Desu ga? (398,625), Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou (392,262), Yuri!!! on Ice (381,707), Orange (378,121), Ajin (354,306), JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 4: Diamond wa Kudakenai (348,597)
JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 4: Diamond wa Kudakenai may have only just slipped in at #18, but it's better than both seasons of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 3: Stardust Crusaders, which didn't make the cut in popularity in their respective years.
Like One Punch Man's, the pace of Boku no Hero Academia's popularity growth in such a short time is unprecedented. The performance of its future installments is also incredible, even up to its currently-airing fourth season. In fact, Boku no Hero Academia 4th Season had the biggest debut of any TV anime in 2019 with over 100,000 Watching members in just its first week, beating out the previous record held by Dr. Stone.
As Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu is the 15th most popular TV anime of the decade, it's no surprise that its second season has been the #1 upcoming anime on MAL by a wide margin for a while. Only four more months to go...
Background: Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara (8.37), Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (8.35), Ballroom e Youkoso (8.27), Tsuki ga Kirei (8.27), Uchouten Kazoku 2 (8.20), Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (8.18), Mahoutsukai no Yome (8.18), Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (8.13)
Hanamonogatari, Tsukimonogatari, Nisemonogatari, etc... every entry in the Monogatari franchise aside from Bakemonogatari aired in the 2010s, making it a defining feature of the decade. Although Monogatari Series: Second Season ultimately takes the crown for favorites, Owarimonogatari 2nd Season takes it in score, along with a bronze medal for 2017. Gintama is also very fragmented, which resulted in the series appearing twice in the top 10 for score in the same year... more than once.
Aided by three anime in the overall top 10 like 2011, 2017 has the highest average score for its top 10 out of the entire decade. Most of it is made up of prominent sequels, but we can't forget about two memorable debuts. Almost buried by second and sixth seasons, Made in Abyss and Houseki no Kuni (TV) are the only new anime in the top 10 for 2017. However, it's in favorites where they really shine.
Background: Mahoutsukai no Yome (2.31%), Little Witch Academia (TV) (2.30%), Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (2.26%), Youjo Senki (2.03%), Hitorijime My Hero (1.91%), Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? (1.87%), Gintama. (1.86%), Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (TV) (1.83%)
Tsuki ga Kirei was a common talking point when it first aired, but I feel it's faded into obscurity since. That being said, it's still a favorite for many people, coming in at rank #87 overall. The same thing can be said for Mahoutsukai no Yome, that it faded into obscurity over time, but it did so to an even greater extent. At the time, it was easily the biggest new show of Fall 2017, and it had a lot of hype around it. However, its score eventually dropped like a rock, and it didn't even place in the top 10 for score, and the same goes for favorites.
On the other side of the same coin, Black Clover was quickly ridiculed when it first debuted in Fall, and it plummeted in score. However, slowly but surely, Black Clover's score went on the rise as more positive discourse grew up around it, and it eventually secured its place at #9 for favorites in 2017. That number may very well make a jump when the show finishes, since many users don't add an anime to their favorites list until it's completed.
Although the first season didn't rank as highly as Love Live! School Idol Project, the Aqours group in Love Live! Sunshine!! managed to get both of its seasons in the top 10 for favorites when the original series did not.
Background: Masamune-kun no Revenge (396,696), Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen (371,073), Eromanga-sensei (366,431), Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records (345,860), Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (TV) (342,521), Tsurezure Children (340,582), Little Witch Academia (TV) (339,042), Boruto: Naruto Next Generations (337,084)
Bigger numbers aren't everything. Despite having 33 fewer new anime than Spring, Winter was the winner for most popular entries in the top 250 while Fall won the rare wooden spoon.
In contrast to the highest-scoring, the most popular anime of 2017 were high-profile new anime, ranging from dark and adventurous to sweet and humorous. Shingeki no Kyojin is the most popular anime of the decade and has been around for three years longer, yet Boku no Hero Academia's second season beat Shingeki no Kyojin's in total and Completed members. Meanwhile, the return of Ao no Exorcist (#11 overall) after six years was far more lackluster, not even placing in the top 10 of 2017.
Eromanga-sensei appears in the background as the 13th-most popular anime of 2017, but to be fair, 7.26% of its members did drop it.
Background: Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai (8.43), Grand Blue (8.40), Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara - Tootsuki Ressha-hen (8.31), Yuru Camp△ (8.31), Banana Fish (8.31), Hinamatsuri (8.29), Asobi Asobase (8.22), Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu (8.18)
Winter and Summer have frequently been the butt of the joke throughout this article, especially in the early years of the decade. However—and you might've missed it—in the previous couple of years, they've actually been getting better and better in every category. Then, in the final years of the decade, they both peaked and smashed Spring and Fall right out of the park.
Each had a season of Gintama in 2018, while Winter debuted the highest-rated original TV anime (Sora yori mo Tooi Basho) and Kyoto Animation's highest-rated TV anime of the decade (Violet Evergarden), and Summer featured the precursor to the best season of Shingeki no Kyojin and the #1 anime for favorites that year.
Background: Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (3.00%), Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight (2.98%), Grand Blue (2.84%), Fairy Tail: Final Series (2.76%), Steins;Gate 0 (2.72%), Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu. (2.48%), High Score Girl (2.12%), Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken (2.12%)
Fall had just one more anime in the top 250 for favorites, but more than half of the top 10 aired in Winter, giving it the highest average percentage for the year. Meanwhile, Spring had just three anime in the top 250, most of which ranked closer to the bottom: Steins;Gate 0 (#112), Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season (#224), and Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (#233).
Darling in the FranXX is one of the most controversial anime in recent years, and it sparked fierce arguments in the forums while it was airing. The story ultimately collapsed in the end, granting detractors some vindication. Yet, it still succeeded in favorites, beating out several highly rated shows like Grand Blue and Steins;Gate 0.
Rebooting a classic franchise is a risky move, but they must've done something right with Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen since the percentage of favorites isn't far off from that of the original series (5.61%).
While I may have a wealth of information about statistics on MAL, there are some things I sadly can't know. For example, I would love to see just how many users have multiple seasons of JoJo in their favorites list, because JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze being just 0.11% below Part 4 intrigues me. Still, it just goes to show the continued longevity of the franchise and its very dedicated fanbase.
Background: Steins;Gate 0 (417,944), Sword Art Online: Alicization (385,310), Overlord III (346,289), Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii (305,375), Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara - Tootsuki Ressha-hen (303,056), Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (288,246), Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (275,219), Hataraku Saibou (TV) (257,004)
Once again, Boku no Hero Academia takes the top pop spot with ease. Although Summer fared relatively well in score and favorites in 2017, it was only able to offer Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 and two isekai series in the background for the top 250 in popularity.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, a near-unrelated spin-off of Sword Art Online, wasn't far off from the latest installment in the main series that released in the same year. There's still a 97,064 member different between them, but it's a few popularity ranks behind for the year.
It's also amusing that, even though they premiered in the same year, 20% of users who have completed Overlord II have yet to complete Overlord III. Well, perhaps it's only funny to me because I just happen to be one of those users.
Background: Boku no Hero Academia 4th Season (8.28), Kanata no Astra (8.26), Beastars (8.25), Dororo (8.23), Given (8.23), Diamond no Ace: Act II (8.23), Bungou Stray Dogs 3rd Season (8.17), Kono Oto Tomare! 2nd Season (8.17)
Naturally, in the short (but also very long) week and a half that I've been working on this, these rankings have already shifted significantly and will continue to do so in its most volatile period. As of December 31st, Vinland Saga is in 4th, Kono Oto Tomare! 2nd Season is in 8th, and Beastars is in 9th. That's just how it will be—scores and members are always in motion as the site grows.
But looking at what we have here, we see that 2019 brought ten years of spectacular anime to an equally spectacular end. I would fairly label Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Part 2 as the pinnacle of the series if it weren't for the final installment premiering in October next year. Even though it's going to wrap up in a separate decade, I think most anime fans would classify the franchise as their definitive Anime of the Decade. And, of course, Kimetsu no Yaiba managed to break into the mainstream to a level not seen in years.
Unlike previous years, the top 10 in score for 2019 is divided almost evenly between seasons... if you ignore Fall with 0 at the time, which has since changed. Yet despite that, it still has the most anime in the top 250. Seems like Fall 2019 was a full season for "great, but not amazing" anime.
Thanks to 2019, we already have some great sequels lined up for the first year of the new decade. New seasons of Dr. Stone, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen, Yakusoku no Neverland, and Fruits Basket are on the way, not to mention the Kimetsu no Yaiba movie.
Background: Dororo (2.07%), Dr. Stone (1.98%), Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2 (1.85%), 5-toubun no Hanayome (1.85%), Vinland Saga (1.82%), Azur Lane (1.73%), Beastars (1.73%), Carole & Tuesday (1.71%)
After Winter's grand victory in 2018, 2019 was Summer's time to shine with a clear win in favorites with seven anime in the top 250.
It wouldn't be anyone's first guess, but the fifth season of Senki Zesshou Symphogear is the #1 anime of the year in favorites and #16 for the whole decade. Much like Aikatsu!, the franchise has a relatively small, but very dedicated following, so it definitely deserves that recognition—it also completely dominates all four of its previous seasons despite the reverse sequel effect, so it really must've been an incredible season. I actually ended up checking out the first season for myself because of how well-received the latest one was. In another article, I label it, along with Given, as the most under-watched anime of Summer 2019, and these numbers only prove my point even further. I'm proud to say that I am one of the 1,956 users that have Given on their favorites list.
I was quite surprised to see Vinland Saga not make the top 10, even if it is still airing. So, I checked to see where it was at a few days after it finished. As of December 31st, it's already gone from 1.82% to 2.23%, placing it well into the top 10. And it may very well climb further as more users complete it.
Background: Enen no Shouboutai (303,125), Vinland Saga (275,714), Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka II (273,930), Domestic na Kanojo (211,809), 5-toubun no Hanayome (211,034), Kakegurui×× (208,566), Kenja no Mago (195,626), Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (189,895)
One Punch Man takes the top spot in popularity once more, but under very different circumstances. Unlike the bronze medals the first season won for score and favorites in 2015, One Punch Man 2nd Season was #52 in score and #31 in favorites for the year. Didn't quite stick the hero landing there.
I'm sure Boku no Hero Academia 4th Season, the only anime from Fall in the current list of most popular anime of 2019, won't be down there for much longer since all three of its previous installments have taken #1 in their respective years. But even if it didn't have the time disadvantage, I think One Punch Man 2nd Season would've still come out on top.
It's been a year or less for all of these anime, and four of them have already entered the most popular TV anime of the decade in that short time. Oh, and Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen was #8 in every category for 2019? How cute...
And that's it, ten whole years of outstanding anime in a numerical nutshell~
I'll now be going into the more nitty-gritty stuff, so I don't blame you if you decide to stop reading here. However, I promise you some fascinating tidbits if you continue. In this first section, I'll be going over general statistics for everything. And by everything, I mean all 2,142 TV anime from 2010-2019 that are listed on MAL. So just how much data is at play here?
In the list of scores ranging from 1-10, 5 is labelled as "Average", but it's a bit of an awkward term to use since the idea of average is malleable. The overall average score for every TV anime this decade, from a grand total of 118,684,572 scores, is actually 6.70 (between Fine and Good). This grand total means that there's an average of 55,408 scores per entry.
Just in case it causes confusion, Total Members refers to the total number of times TV anime from this decade appear on a user's list, not total individual users. Still, it's a significant figure. If each of these were an individual person, it'd almost be as many people as the entire population of Japan!
Looking at the numbers, we see that MAL users completed a TV anime from this decade 144,544,860 times and have 50,541,879 in mind for later. Damn, I wonder just how many of these "Plan to Watch" anime were added back in 2010 and still remain there... maybe they'll finally have their time in the new decade.
If we use the wild hypothetical that every user has a full 10 favorites and they're all TV anime from this decade, that's 300,000 users worth of favorites in use here. Even if we pretend every user had MAL Supporter with 20 total favorites, that's still at least 150,000 different users. Of course, the variety of user opinion being incorporated into this article is much larger.
I don't have to do an overcomplicated statistical analysis to tell you that four seasons a year for a decade equals 40 seasons of anime in total. After a few more seconds of math, I can tell you that this article incorporates approximately 46,254 episodes of anime in total. Imagine watching all of One Piece (which is currently at 915 episodes, yikes) more than 50 times. It's that many.
Assuming you reserve a full eight hours for sleep or any other break, it would take you just 2.5 years to watch through every TV anime that premiered between 2010 and 2019. Easy peasy.
Over the course of this decade, the number of new TV anime releases has increased exponentially to more than double the amount at the beginning. I can't say for sure that fewer TV anime were released this year since there may be several super obscure anime currently resting in the submissions queue, but the difference between this year and the last is notably high. If it means quality over quantity, then I'm all for it.
As stated earlier in the By the Years section, it's routine for Fall and Spring to air more TV anime each year, but I was surprised to find that there was such a large margin between them, especially when Winter and Summer are only 10 anime apart.
Was this one really necessary? Absolutely not, but I like it as a fun inclusion to complete the set. You'll also get to see how the highest-scored and most popular anime are divided across the week further down.
Anyone could've told you that manga is the most abundant source material for anime, and I don't think that's going to change any time soon. I assume the large number of originals comes from mostly obscure TV anime, especially since the source distributions for score and popularity tell a very different story (in more ways than one).
Seven, Seven Arcs, Seven Arcs Pictures... six sub-divisions of AIC... it would be completely impractical to list the number of anime every studio produced this decade since there are more than 250 of them listed. Instead, here are the 25 anime studios that produced the most in ten years (or less).
I don't know much about the inner workings of specific studios, but considering the fact that J.C.Staff had four TV anime airing simultaneously in Summer 2019, I really have to wonder if J.C. actually stands for Just Crunch.
On MAL, anime can have as few as one genre attached it or even as many as eight; an average of 3.6 genres across the board. It's just anime's style to have comedy injected into a multitude of genres, hand-in-hand with slice of life and even action, so these genres are naturally at the top.
This article specifically targets TV anime, so yuri, yaoi, and hentai aren't going to be making any appearances aside from the one particular instance that is Papa datte, Shitai.
And finally, for a little bit of fun, the most and least common starting letters for TV anime titles!
Q coming last, with single digits representation, is no surprise, but I didn't realise just how few anime started with E until writing this article. Despite being the most common letter in the English language, only 14 TV anime from the last decade start with the letter E. On top of that, there isn't a single anime in the top 250 in score that starts with it—the closest is this year's Enen no Shouboutai at rank #363, followed by Endro~! at #857.
Before last year, there wasn't a single TV anime starting with V that had a score above 7.5, but then Violet Evergarden and Vinland Saga swooped in to save the
day decade at the last minute.
2,142 TV anime is certainly a lot, but many of them are low-scoring or unpopular series that only hold back the greats. So... how do the top 250 in score compare to every other anime, and what does that say about users' tastes?
Aside from an upward skew, the balance of score usage is roughly the same as before. However, I do have to point out something quite amusing: unlike Score Distribution for all TV anime, 1s are used significantly more than 2s for the top 250 TV anime in score. Naturally, there's an incentive to rate lower to bring the score down when you don't like something that is highly-rated or widely beloved. Well, there is for some people, it seems, and the same does also happen in reverse. They tend to mostly balance each other out on popular entries.
One of my favorite discoveries (of many) from researching and writing this article is that Noragami is seemingly the least "controversial" anime in the top 250, so to speak. Not only does Noragami Aragoto have the lowest percentage of 1s, but the first season also has the 6th-lowest overall and the 2nd-lowest for a non-sequel after Hinamatsuri. Sadly, the same can't be said for Mob Psycho 100 II. Astonishingly, it has the least 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s, but it comes in at #58 for least 1s with 0.17%.
Differences in member count between "every TV anime" and both "top 250s" are minimal, but there are two things worth noting: 1. the member difference between the top 250 in score and popularity is 40,259,681 (a whole 45.2%), and 2. the top 250 in score have a higher overall percentage of Watching and Plan to Watch members than the top 250 in popularity.
Of the top 250 in score, Hyouge Mono has the highest percentage of Plan to Watch members with a whopping 63.72%, followed by High Score Girl II with 61.96%. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei takes #4 in that regard with 49.23%, so plenty of users certainly do have it in mind.
Now, the big question: which of these so-called "best anime of the decade" has most Dropped and On-Hold members? Well, I can tell you that it's just the one anime for both: 10.45% of users dropped Shirokuma Cafe (rank #217) and 13.04% have it on hold, both of which are several points higher than any other series. It's a sad thing to see for such a comfy series, but it does have a rather niche appeal and 50 whole episodes.
Some users put anime they view as masterpieces in their favorites, some put in the anime they simply enjoyed the most, and for others like myself, it's a variant mix of the two. An anime with a higher score will naturally have a broader appeal, but there is a solid 289,564-favorite difference between the two.
The top 250 TV anime of the decade is definitely a good place to look for recommendations. So if you forget about the outside world and sit down to watch all of them without ever taking a break, you would emerge from your mother's basement after approximately two and a half months.
Just in case you've skimmed through to the bottom, the number of seasons in the top 250 is 39/40 because Summer 2010 didn't make the cut with any of its anime.
After a flat start, the 2010s picked up speed, pumping out great anime at an ever-increasing rate... until it seemingly tripped in 2013. However, it quickly recovered right after to deliver some of the best years for anime this decade. Of course, this was all broken down earlier.
From the "Broadcast: Season chart" for Everything, we already know that Fall/Spring have more anime than Summer/Winter and Summer/Winter have around the same amount as each other. However, 123 more anime aired in Spring than in Fall, yet Fall came out on top with five more anime in the top 250.
Anime broadcasts mostly occur on the weekend overall, and it seems that's also the case for highly-rated anime series. Despite the already strong division between them, an even higher percentage went to top anime that aired on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday while every other day's shares decreased.
As expected, the number of original anime goes down when you cut out all the fluff. Sora yori mo Tooi Basho tops the list for highest-rated original TV anime of the decade with a score of 8.62 (rank #31); further down the list, there's a fun clump of four original anime in a row at the 8.00 mark: Megalo Box, Mawaru Penguindrum, Plastic Memories, and Tiger & Bunny.
It's a shame that we don't have more novel adaptations, since Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (#3 in favorites) and Shinsekai yori (#5 in favorites) are both adapted from novels. Yet, sadly, Shinsekai yori and both seasons of Log Horizon are the only novel adaptations in the top 250 for popularity.
It seems like good anime adaptations of books were left behind in the previous decade. The 2000s gave us classics like Romeo x Juliet and Arashi no Yoru ni—the highest-rated book adaptation of the 2010s was Sanzoku no Musume Ronja with a meek 7.20.
And alas, despite there being 158 Game adaptations across the entire decade (games were the fourth-most frequent source type), only two very recent series made it into the top 250 in score: IDOLiSH7 and the currently airing Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia.
Many would say that the glory days of studio Madhouse are over, but they definitely made enough quality anime in their time to top the charts for score this decade. Some studios have an advantage by being able to produce more anime than others, but Madhouse, Shaft, Bones, and Wit Studio managed to rank high by getting half of the anime they made this decade in the top 250, while mass-producers like OLM and DLE got nothing.
David Production's five anime in the top 250 is every season of JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken, so you really have to admire their consistency and increasing level of quality across the entire series. Now we just need a Stone Ocean adaptation to get them up there again in the new decade.
Comedy still comes out way on top, but the distribution is far more even. Ecchi, on the other hand, falls by eight places while Shounen and Drama overtake Romance, Fantasy, Slice of Life, School, Supernatural, and Adventure all the way up to third and fourth place, respectively.
Although it has the most anime in total, it's still quite fitting for S to take the top spot. The two most popular anime of the decade and the #1 in score start with it, and it's defined by some of the biggest anime franchises this decade: Shingeki no Kyojin, Sword Art Online, and Shokugeki no Souma.
K, just one anime below the top spot, is special in a different way. It isn't made up of large, decade-defining franchises, but instead many individual series that established robust followings over the last ten years: Kill la Kill, Kimetsu no Yaiba, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, and more.
But as Shymander, I am very proud to declare S as the "Starting Letter of the Decade."
Anime in the top 250 for score are more likely to be in the top 250 for popularity since higher scores would attract more interested users, but when it comes to the actual numbers, fewer than half of the top 250 in score are also present in the top 250 in popularity (119/250). For anime in the top 250 for score, popularity, and favorites, that number goes down to exactly 99. The considerable differences between score and popularity don't end there though.
More than half of all scores on TV anime this decade are for the top 250 in popularity.
Similarly, more than half of all members on TV anime this decade are from the top 250 in popularity.
With more members comes more favorites, but the actual difference is rather minimal.
It's only a week's difference, but you would be able to watch the top 250 TV anime in popularity faster than the top 250 in score.
Obviously, recent years have a much smaller piece of the pie since there's a fairly high bar to clear to enter the top 250 in popularity (269,793 members, to be exact). Still, 2015 once again clears out the competition for the best in popularity as well as score. Although every year around it has more anime in popularity than in score, 2011 actually has fewer (25 > 21). On the other side of the decade pond, 2017 has the same number in both.
250 can't be evenly divided by four, so one season ultimately had to come out on top, which goes to Spring with 15 more than every other season—Fall is more for quality anime while Spring is for popular anime, it seems. I'm pleased every other season decided to share the silver medal by having the exact same number of popular anime, even though Fall has a bigger market share.
The weekend still takes a larger chunk of the week for popularity, but not as much as the top 250 in score. Wednesday sunk even lower to just 5.20%, but Thursday rose to its highest point across all Broadcast: Day charts (12.80% vs. 8.42% and 10.51%).
I won't lie, I physically laughed when I finished counting this and found that there are 51 more light novel adaptations in the top 250 for popularity than for score, taking a big bite out of Manga (-46) and Original (-3). I know what you're thinking, but don't worry: only 20 or so are some form of isekai. If light novel expert Kim Morrissy's predictions are correct, we should see more school romcom light novel adaptations in the new decade (which I eagerly await).
Web manga and 4-koma manga have the exact same amount in both score and popularity, but there's actually minimal crossover for 4-koma manga while it's almost all the same for web manga. The first season of Working!! appears in popularity, while seasons two and three appear in score; K-On!! and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun are the only series to appear in both. For web manga, Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! is the only outlier in popularity while Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou is the only outlier for score.
Once again, despite the large numbers of shows falling under its banner, "Game" was only able to put up two worthy anime, albeit different ones than the ones that made it into the top 250 for score: Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation and God Eater, the first of which is actually in the top 100 for popularity.
A-1 Pictures is one of those studios that pumps out a lot of shows, but it seems they have a better grasp on making more popular shows than J.C.Staff, boasting nearly double the amount of shows in the top 250 for popularity. They've produced some of the biggest franchises of the decade, like Sword Art Online and Nanatsu no Taizai, but also critically acclaimed hits like Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso and Shinsekai yori.
Kyoto Animation's works take a big step-up over score, with five more anime in the top 250 for popularity, while Bones managed to only lose four anime between charts.
Comedy had a massive lead in previous charts, but action runs up to meet it for popularity, so users clearly favour watching action shows more than other genres. That being said, disparate genres like Romance also went up by several ranks... along with Ecchi, which went from having 11 shows for score to 39 for popularity, and Harem, which went from 3 shows to 32. Purely a coincidence, definitely nothing to see here.
Q and X take a big fat 0 again, but E managed to snag two for popularity: Enen no Shouboutai and the modern classic Eromanga-sensei. Unlike score, only the first season of 3-gatsu no Lion made it for # in popularity, joined by 91 Days instead. On the other hand, U goes 5 down from the middle of the pack to the bottom, with just 1. An Usagi Drop, if you will.
Although S has the same number of shows in both top 250 score and popularity, only a little over half are present in both lists. Sadly, some spectacular shows are somehow still seldom seem.
Whether you've made it here by skimming to the bottom or reading the entire thing, I hope you found at least one interesting thing (or a hundred) to take away from this one-of-a-kind article. If anything, it's a handy collection of conversation starters for when you're meeting other anime fans: "Hey, did you know that __?"
It's hard to pick a single best anime or season of the decade since all of them had their own strong suits across numerous categories. 2017 was the best for scores, 2011 was the best for favorites, and 2014 was the best for popularity; Spring and Fall corner the market on high-quality anime, but recent years have shown that Winter and Summer are bouncing back. There's one thing I can say for sure: the next era of anime will be as monumental as this last one.