What Are The Big Three Anime? Exploring the legacy of big 3 anime

What Are The Big Three Anime

Are you looking out what are the big three anime? Then read this article entirely till the end. In short, the big three anime are the top and immensely popular shonen/shounen anime of the 2000s. So let’s explore more about the big three anime and what are they?

What are the big three anime?

What are the big three anime

When Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece are grouped together, they are known as the big three anime. These three anime are highly popular in their golden age of the 2000s and became the Jump’s cover image for a longer time.

If you look back to the era of the 2000s, you can find Ichigo, Naruto, and Luffy, the main protagonists of Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece, on almost every cover page of shounen jump’s magazine.

Some people argue that why only these three anime are the big 3, why not AOT or DBZ are the big three?  Though this is the most generous question that is frequently asked by anime fans, I will answer it in the next section.

The big three was not only popular in Japan; its success rage over the European countries and USA, and Canada. All three are shonen dramas, which typically concentrate on narratives like adventure, advancement, and combat.

Another feature of Big 3 is their length; they are among the longest anime series (but not near the highest episodes). Bleach has 366 episodes, Naruto + Shippuden has 720 episodes, and One Piece has 1000+ episodes to date.

Why not other anime are Big 3

what are the big three anime

After getting to know what are the big three anime, you might be surprised why Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach are the big three. Why Dragon Ball Z is not big three anime despite its immense popularity?

I agree that popularity is measured in big 3 anime but it’s not the only parameter. What makes Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach the big three is their publication and premiered timing. Yes, this is the game of timing.

The following are the publication dates for the Big Three manga series in Japan: One Piece debuted in 1997, Naruto debuted in 1999, and Bleach debuted in 2001.

Nevertheless, there was frequently a gap between the start of a series and its appearance in the American edition of Shonen Jump.

In North America, One Piece premiered in 2002, Naruto premiered in 2003, and Bleach premiered in 2007, putting all three series in the public spotlight at just about the same moment.

As we already discussed, big three is the term used for popular anime premiering in the 2000s, and this is the reason why Dragon ball is not a big 3. There is a generation gap between Dragon ball and Naruto’s allies of the big 3.

what is big three anime mean

The initial Dragon Ball manga was published in Japan in 1984 and ended in 1995, years before the subsequent releases. In 1998, it made its debut in North America and became very popular even more than the big 3.

But, you can see, the Dragon Ball anime series was finished much earlier than the “big three” term became a concept in the public consciousness. This timing difference didn’t include Dragon Ball Z and other popular anime in the big 3.

It should be noted that the phrase “big three” is not an official term; rather, it is a way to describe the most popular series of a certain decade.

What are the Big Three anime in modern anime? New big three anime

Till now we discussed what are the big three anime but these three are contemporary big three anime. But what is the current big 3 anime? Let me remind you again, big three is not an official term but just a way to express popularity.

Earlier, the big three concepts were highly supported and backed by the weekly shonen jump magazine that placed Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece on its cover page. But this type of support doesn’t see anywhere in modern anime.

what are the big three anime

It doesn’t mean modern anime is not popular or making sales; there are anime that can supersede the big three. CBR, the popular anime website, closely covers the modern big three synonymous with Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. Click here to read the article.

The popular anime that can replace the big three are My Hero Academia, Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer in place of Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece respectively. But yes, there is no big three anime in new anime or new big three anime.

More about Big three anime

Want to know more about what are the big three anime? Keep reading. Now we will know a little brief about these big three anime including when they were produced, how many copies they sold, and what makes the big three popular.

what are the big three anime


Naruto is among the most popular manga series in the world, as well as one of the most popular comic books. It has sold over 250 million copies worldwide. During September 1999 and November 2014, Naruto was featured in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

There were 72 volumes in the collection. Pierrot and Aniplex studios produced an anime version of the manga, which premiered on TV Tokyo on October 3, 2002, confirming its popularity in manga form.

One Piece

As of June 2022, there were 490 million copies of One Piece editions in circulation worldwide, with 400 million in Japan and 90 million internationally. Each Sunday since 1999, the anime has been screened in Japan.

As of June 2022, the series had surpassed 1,000 episodes. There are 15 films, 11 special episodes, and 1 OVA episode in the license, and also four novels, a cookbook, over 50 video games, and over 5,000 miniatures.


Tite Kubo’s Bleach is a shonen manga created and produced by him. From August 7, 2001, until August 22, 2016, it was featured in Shueisha’s Weekly Shounen Jump magazine. As of June 2022, Bleach has a total of 74 volumes.

It is among the best-selling manga series of all time, with 120 million copies sold. The anime stopped abruptly without completing the manga adaptation; however, Bleach last arc will be produced and premiered in October 2022.

Closing Words

In this article, we have learned what are the big three anime and why they popular. You might understand that Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece are immensely popular and have sold millions of manga copies. They are actually mega-successful anime.

But only popularity and sales did not make them the big three otherwise we could see Dragon Ball Z instead of Bleach. Popularity, sales, and the timing make them big 3. All these three anime were published and premiered almost at the same time in the era of the 2000s.

I hope you got my points and understand what are the big three anime. You can share your views or opinions too in the comment box below.

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