AF Overview: The "Big 3" Anime of this Generation

Tagged under Naruto

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The Cranky Anime Critic


To anime fans both new and old, This is Animefreak114 clocking in with an "Overview" of basically any topic I have in mind that relates to the subject of Anime and Manga. For today I've decided to speak on the subject of The "Big 3" Anime to gain the most popularity and the most massive of Fanbases over here in the western market of anime.

WARNING: This Overview is meant to create discussion and debate! I'm not here to start flame wars, only to bring in a topic that deserves some serious consideration in the anime community. You can agree or disagree with my opinions as you like, but there's this rule in argumentation or mature discussion in general about how you're supposed to attack the ARGUMENT not the PERSON. Any flames directed at me or any one else participating in this thread, will be removed. I'm talking to you guys Naruto, Bleach, One Piece fanboys: if you're out there, please try to keep an open mind on my views before ripping me to shreds.

Now let's crack on shall we?

For those of you who haven't caught on yet, when I'm talking about the "Big 3" I'm referring to the three most popular anime in the western market: Naruto Bleach and One Piece. These are the anime that dominate online forums, the bulk of many anime rage wars, and also the animes that always seem to dominate or at least make up a good chunk of cosplayers at anime conventions.

As I mentioned in my SAO review, from time to time you'll find an anime that fences people into one of two sides: Side one consists of the die hard fanbase who will love the show to DEATH (considering how much death they wish on non-fans, you'd think that'd be the case). Despite its flaws they will proclaim this anime to be the greatest anime show EVAR and senselessly flame anyone who doesn't agree with them. In particular the non-fans of these shows who will sound the clarion call of overrated-ness and will further fuel the flames of this senseless fire by bashing on the fandom and any one who doesn't agree with THEM that the shows in question are complete-utter-shit.

And there you have Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece in a nutshell. It's reception and it's fanbase.

Now onto the question of the hour: Which side of the fence am I on?

Like I said in my SAO review, I tend to be one of the middle-men in controversial anime like these three. With that said, these three shows are not bad. Not by any means. They've got impressive amounts of lore with a diverse cast of characters, interesting story-lines, and some truly incredible moments. Still they're not the best thing in the world since fucking bread either. I can only assume this belief stems from a lack of knowledge and experience with anime as a whole.

Allow me to explain:

Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, to me, are like the Dragon Ball Z, the Pokemon, and the Yu-Gi-Oh (Or Digimon if you prefer) of this generation of anime fans. Personally since I grew up with the former shows rather than the latter, I already had a good feel for the shounen cliches, which is why these three anime weren't that new of an experience for me. I can't say the same for people who either saw one of these three first before watching Dragon Ball Z and company. Neither can I speak for those who've grown up in this generation and who've never even seen these olden nineties shows.

That's the thing about cliches. You don't really know you're watching them until you've seen enough shows to realize that everyone else is using these same plot twists, and character archetypes. Even then, the first show you've seen with these elements, is going to ring in your mind as the more original of the other shows because that was your introduction. Therein lies the popularity most of the Big 3 shows have garnered: They're great for drawing in people who're new to the medium of anime and manga as a whole.

This type of appeal puts Naruto Bleach and One Piece under a term I call "Gateway Anime." This is the one thing I truly have to give the Big 3 credit for: their abilities for attracting new people for anime and manga, and EVERYONE here should agree with me about how we could always use more people in the community!

So this is a shout out to any newbies reading this thread: Watch more anime! If you can watch a multitude of shows and then come back to me saying you're still madly in love with one of these shows, all the more power to you.

Additionally here's an extra shout out to people with some moderate experience with anime and especially to the Old timers like myself: Leave your recommendations of any anime you think our new fans would like to see in this thread!

Now before I bow out there's an additional aspect of this issue that needs to come to light:

The fandoms for all three of these anime.

One of my fellow anime nuts insisted he won't touch any of these three anime with a ten foot pole and that was because of their fanbases. Don't get me wrong. Most of any anime with some semblance of popularity is going to have that group of people who're going to obsess unhealthily over the show for one reason or another and are also going to take to bashing the crap out of anyone who doesn't like it the way they do. But THAT is for an entirely different discussion.

Difference between those anime and these three is well...most of them have probably ended and even then, there's not a lot of shows that make it to the three digits in terms of episodes. Even then they don't come close to touching Naruto, Bleach, and One piece. With that said, there's always something new for the fandom to fawn over at the end of each episode. There's always a new fight, a new character, or a new plot twist to talk about which is why the fanbase for these shows is so vast.

But all things end, and you can believe it when these three finally bow over and out that they'll be a new set of "Big 3" shows to take their place.

So here's a shout-out to the non-fans who're simply avoiding these shows due to the fandom: All anime have a crazy fandom hidden somewhere in the depths of the internet (or Tumblr -__-). Yes these shows happen to have a bigger fanbase than most other shows do but if you want to know of a crazy fanbase pertaining to short series that've already ended, look at Madoka Magicka, or Sword Art Online, or Death Note (Yes Yaoi Fangirls I'm looking at you that one scene with Light and L was a freaking biblical reference, get your heads out of their respective gutters). Any how, don't let a hellish fandom scare you out of some good entertainment!

Additionally here's a (probably futile by what the hell) shout out to the Fadoms of these three anime: People are like assholes, they've all got their own opinions. Yes not everyone is going to like the show you like, or a fight scene you like, or the freaking character that you like. Well fuck-a-doodle-do! No need to go ape-shit on them just because they don't love the anime the same way you guys do. Yes you love these anime. Good for you! Now just kindly tone down your crazy so you can give other people the same chance to grow to love (maybe) these anime as well, instead of scaring them off with your immaturity.

So now I turn to you guys: What do you think of the Big 3? Like em hate em you can't ignore them! Also feel free to bring up any other aspects likable or not likable about the Big 3 that I may have missed.

So let the discussions begin!

((....I'm going to get my ass handed to me by the fanboys now aren't I?

*Throws on Kamina's cape and funky looking glasses*


"I despise common sense. I've seen the world from every possible angle. This cruel, this ridiculous, this beautiful world..."

  • May 05, 2013

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