Fun With Numbers: A Numbers-Based Way of Picking Out the Best Anime of the Past 8 Years

You know the old saying; “Stats don’t lie, except when they do.” Using stats to argue point son anime is kind of tough, as any individual figure, be it Japanese sales, TV Ratings, merchandising fees paid, or online ranking site figures, only reveals a small part of the overall picture. Since I compiled a rather large database containing multiple stat lines for 95% of the anime to air over the past 8 years, I might as well use it to numerically classify true-blue-chippers.

Allow me to introduce a very exclusive society, the Hit-L-Double-Double (HLDD) Club. It’s the list of anime that have accomplished 4 feats, 3 of which are very difficult individually. Specifically, it’s the list of anime that have sold 10,000+ units per volume in Japan (megahit sales territory), been licensed overseas (international sales viability), and have myanimelist rankings and popularities in the top 100/double digits (esteem and popularity overseas).

This is a list of the unequivocal successes, the things that have amassed not only megahit status in Japan, but also a significant English-speaking fanbase and critical praise. These are numerically irrefutable successes, at least in theory. You could call it the “talk to anyone” list, because you could talk to anyone in the industry and they would agree with you that it was a rock-solid commodity. From 2005-2012, anyway (that’s the era I have all the data for). All the members from that period are listed below, along with their statlines. Sequels are excluded to keep it tidy, and because they’re rarely much different from s1 stats-wise.

This list is not meant to be very surprising. It’s just a slightly different way of thinking about blue-chip anime.

Stats: [Unit Sales Per Volume, MAL Rank, MAL Popularity] (Season of Airing)
-All below series are licensed in the U.S., so that stat line is excluded. Not that it excludes anything, anyway.

Mushishi [10049, 22, 90] (Fall 2005)
Gintama [15447, 6, 75] (Spring 2006)
Death Note [15021, 18, 1] (Fall 2006)
Code Geass [45366, 12, 3] (Fall 2006)
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann [20051, 15, 16] (Spring 2007)
Clannad [24808, 66, 10] (Fall 2007)
Toradora [10749, 69, 13] (Fall 2008)
FMA Brotherhood [12327, 2, 7] (Spring 2009)
Durarara [18310, 65, 17] (Winter 2010)
Angel Beats [34116, 63, 12] (Spring 2010)
Madoka Magica [71057, 38, 50] (Winter 2011)
Ano Hana [31523, 34, 62] (Spring 2011)
Steins Gate [16620, 3, 39] (Spring 2011)
Fate Zero [52133, 45, 93] (Fall 2011)

Some Observations:
-Most of these 14 HLDD blue-chippers come out Fall or Spring, with only 2 (Durarara and Madoka) coming out in Winter seasons.
-As of right now, nothing from 2012 has made it into the HLDD club. You can check for yourself why any particular show didn’t make it in.
-Fall 2006 and Spring 2011 were great seasons to be a casual anime fan, as each carried multiple HLDD elites.
-Attack on Titan is going to make this list, and will be the only Spring 2013 one to do so.

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