Luck and timing can make or break a anime success and popularity. No matter how well made it was or how popular its source material was, some anime felt like flops based purely on first impressions. Fortunately, these negative assumptions have proven to be unfounded and wrong in the case of these anime.
Despite low expectations and a general lack of audience interest, these anime have proven to be worth watching. Moreover, these cartoons were so successful and loved that they became massive blockbusters. Some anime that people expected to fail even became cultural trendsetters and industry legends.
10/10 Zombie Land Saga Was Too Weird To Believe
The Zombie Land Saga The zombie idol premise seemed too bizarre to be taken seriously, let alone succeed. In addition to debuting in fall 2018 against hit adaptations like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind and Sword Art Online: Alicization, The Zombie Country Saga looked like a disposable, generic original anime about cute zombies.
The Zombie Land Saga darkly hilarious pilot the episode changed everything. The Zombie Country Saga gained momentum and was even declared The dark horse of winter 2018 by Rolling Stone Japan. Given its success, The Zombie Country Saga was renewed for a consecutive season. The series has also expanded with an anime movie, play, manga, and more.
9/10 Yuri!!! On ICE was an original anime about a niche sport
Since this was an original anime about the niche interest of figure skating, Yuri!!! On the ice seemed to have all the odds against him. Worse, Yuri!!! On the ice debuted in the fall of 2016, when Haikyu!! was probably at its peak. Most people expected Yuri!!! On the ice to be buried by bigger shows, only for it to become the biggest anime of 2016.
Yuri!!! On the ice slowly gained momentum and viewers with each new episode. Anime’s popularity skyrocketed after quitting teasing Yuri and Victor’s romance and confirmed it in episode 7. Since then, Yuri!!! On the ice dominated the ratings and popularity polls in the West, as he became a juggernaut of merchandising in Japan.
8/10 My Dress-Up Darling Faced The Biggest Shonen Anime Of Winter 2022
Everyone expected either Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc Where Attack on Titan: The Final Season to be the best show of winter 2022. Instead, that honor went to the steamy romantic comedy My darling dressing. Besides the fact that it was a slice-of-life series clashing with blockbusters, My darling dressing barely had any promotions.
Not even an episode in, My darling dressing stole the show through tremendous word-of-mouth. My darling dressing dominated the popularity polls, especially those on AniTrendz. Portion My beloved disguises cases were its strong romantic writing, fun characters, cute animation, and well-received soundtrack.
7/10 BOFURI looked like another gamified Isekai anime
BOFURI: I don’t want to hurt myself, so I’m going to maximize my defense airing in 2020 with little to no hype. Besides being another addition to the oversaturated gamified isekai anime, The BOFURIs the original web novels and manga only had decent sales numbers at best. To everyone’s surprise, The BOFURIs the anime has taken the isekai fandom by storm.
BOFURI was such a hit with fans that a second season was announced by studio SILVER LINK just as its first finale wrapped. BOFURI owed its success to its impressive animation and wholesome characters. In a genre awash with power fantasies and smug parodies, BOFURI was a heartfelt and fun breath of fresh air.
6/10 A Place Further Than The Universe Looked Like Moe Fashion Laggard
Before its release, A place beyond the universe was fired for being a holdover from the moé wave of the early 2000s. An anime about young girls doing cute stuff felt out of place in 2018. Instead of the usual cliche moé anime, A place beyond the universe was one of the most heartfelt and heartbreaking dramas of the 2010s.
A place further than the universe Blu ray often at the top of local video sales in Japan. The anime even entered the New York Times Best International TV Shows list of 2018. A place further than the universe the success was due in part to its impressive animation, well-developed characters, and compelling drama.
5/10 Beastars was initially dismissed as an edgy zootopia
When Netflix first came out beastars’ trailers, it quickly became the subject of mockery online. Some comments expressed doubts or even distaste for Orange studio’s digital animation, while most comments jokingly rated Beastars as the anime’s edgy response to zootopia. When Beastars aired, it became one of Netflix’s biggest anime.
Despite its niche appeal, Beastars enjoyed high ratings and praise. Beastars Season 2 even aired less than a year after the first finale. Beastars was such a runaway success that it has become the gold standard for anthropomorphized anime. In reality, beastars’ success accidentally dampened the hype for his spiritual successor and sleeping companion, weird taxi.
4/10 Haruhi Suzumiya’s Melancholy Was Based On An Obscure Light Novel
The melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya started life as a collection of decent light novels with decent sales. Not helping things was by Haruhi notoriously bad adaptation of the 2004 manga, which Kadokawa Shoten effectively buried. No one had much interest or hope in the Kyoto Animation adaptation, only to Haruhi to become the greatest anime of 2006.
Haruhi was one of (if not) the most lucrative and beloved anime of the 2000s. Haruhi codified nearly every trope of the modern slice-of-life genre. by Haruhi the influence and impact are still felt today. Most important, Haruhi established KyoAni as the premier anime studio. KyoAni has done more cutting-edge anime, including the sleeper hit K-On!
3/10 Osomatsu-san was the sequel to an almost forgotten anime
Part of what made Osomatsu-san runaway success so impressive and surprising was that it’s the sequel to a 1966 children’s anime that few people even remember. What else, Osomatsu-Kun was the steamy reboot from a children’s anime. Osomatsu-Kun was one of the greatest children’s anime of its time, but it fell into obscurity afterward.
When Osomatsu-san was first announced, many people assumed it would just be a Japan-exclusive nostalgic hit. In place, Osomatsu-san became the biggest comedy of fall 2015 and a global favorite. Osomatsu-san the first season sold so many Blu-Rays and merchandise that more seasons and even movies have been greenlit.
2/10 Kemono Friends was the biggest hit of a failed franchise
It’s not hyperbolic to say that Friends of Kemono the anime saved the franchise. Friends of Kemono was a struggling mobile game that was actually discontinued a few months before the anime aired. Worse, Friends of Kemono had no merchandise and his manga sold almost no copies. Same Yaoyorozu studio expected their anime to fail.
To Yaoyorozu’s surprise, Friends of Kemono It was a success. The anime launched the franchise into the mainstream, and demand for additional material such as soundtracks and tie-in manga skyrocketed. Audiences and critics acclaimed Friends of Kemono for its fun characters, wholesome entertainment and welcoming atmosphere.
1/10 Mobile Suit Gundam was canceled early due to poor ratings
Before Mobile Suit Gundam become the juggernaut it is today, it was a colossal flop. Gundam garnered a low viewership in 1979 due to fierce competition. Gundam was canceled after its episode count was reduced. Everyone involved in by Gundam creation believed their anime was over, but then Bandai saved the Gundam franchise.
Despite by Gundam initial failure, Bandai bought his copyrights to sell official Gunpla model kits. There was nothing like Gunpla before in Japan, and they quickly sold out. The sudden demand for more Gundam networks convinced to broadcast Gundam reruns. This established by Gundam classic status in 1980 and beyond.