The Next Big Three


Dragon Ball was one of Weekly Shounen Jump’s central release, until it’s final chapter on the 90s. It’s fame on the shounen action genre carried on, in the form of the current big three of weekly shounen jump, Naruto, Bleach and One Piece. However, even these three may perhaps be reaching their respective conclusion soon. At first, there were just rumors speculating that these three memorable medias will end soon, a little after that, the rumors became a coming reality, Bleach’s last arc had already been confirmed for the manga (incidentally, the anime ended recently too) and Naruto’s author, Kishimoto Masashi himself had revealed that the manga might be reaching it’s climax soon.

Regardless, I think it’s time we think of the next big three. Back then, shounen action were all the hype, perhaps with Naruto, Bleach and One Piece; The Big Three acting as the foundation of all these fame. One way or the other, anime had changed quite a lot too, and there’s no denying that shounen anime and manga had changed considerably too, both in content and atmosphere. Interestingly, the new big three might also be effected by that change. Here’s a few I think that might possibly become the next big three.



This is a no brainer. Gintama is perhaps one of the most hilarious media in terms of anime and manga. They always go crazy: bringing out references, using parodies and breaking down the fourth wall, they will do anything just to get it’s readers a few good laughs, and what they achieved, had certainly surpassed most expectations. Of cause, Gintama’s actions are good too; simplistic but powerful. In the end, I still think Gintama is better in anime, due to the excellent voice acting (some jokes are brought out better via visuals and sound) but in the end, the manga is still one of the best and it will definitely succeed one of the big three in the coming future.

Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail may be one of the rare gems that is still a reminiscence of old shounen manga; the feeling of friends and family, the feeling of bonds, the way how all the characters work together to defeat a common foe. Fairy Tail’s actions may pale a bit in comparison but the display of friendship and teamwork is beautiful, almost comparable to the chemistry displayed by the One Piece strawhat pirates. Given time, I think Fairy Tail might become the next best thing yet.

Medaka Box

An unusual choice I would say. While the success of the anime is questionable at best, the success of the manga is top notch in comparison. Set in a ordinary high school settings, Medaka Box uniquely blends in bizarre abilities and techniques which old school shounen types are accustomed to, while blending in other themes as well.


Other Possible Candidates



I did not watch the anime nor read the manga yet, so i can’t judge this, but I think with the success and positive reception it was receiving, it might perhaps become one of the successor of the big three as well. From what I can see, Toriko is also another rare gem that is like a reminiscence of old shounen manga, perhaps even more so then Fairy Tail. Since shounen wasn’t as popular as it was back then, whether or not this is good remains debatable.


While the anime ended on an unsatisfying note, the manga is still going strong. If there’s another manga which could be a close match (somewhat) to Gintama’s humors, it’s Beelzebub. It has ridiculous and wacky plots, something Gintama specialized in as well, though the latter is still several times better in my opinion.

This entry was posted by Kai.

21 thoughts on “The Next Big Three

  1. In so far as you’re looking for shonen manga popularity, I think some of your picks are off the radar. Some (Medaka Box & Beelzebub) have completed stalled and been unable to crack the top 10 while others (Gintama) are old and fading. The first two in particular are cruising in the lower tier of Shonen Jump with just enough fans to avoid being canceled as the newer manga are culled first.

    I would agree with Toriko (3M volumes sold in 2012, 11th best selling series & already displacing the fading Bleach as among the Big 3 of Shonen Jump) and possibly Fairy Tail (4.1M volumes sold in 2012, 5th best selling series). In Medaka’s place, I would suggest Kuroko no Basket (an astonishing 8M volumes sold in 2012, 2nd only to One Piece [at 23.5M]). Considering that Fairy Tail is listed on Shonen Magazine (a distant 2nd to Shonen Jump) and already a long-runner, it likely won’t be remembered as being one among the Top 3. The most likely candidate among the newcomers is then likely Assassination Classroom (by the author of Neuro) whose 1st volume is selling at a recordbreaking pace (it sold more in its first 10 days than the 1st volume of Bakuman did in its first 2 weeks) outselling all the other new Jump manga.

    • That’s quite an.. objective view. I admit I may be a bit biased with my choices. I didn’t check their sales statistics that much and a major of them are picked (like Gintama) because of my own favoritism. As you can see, the way I talked about them is more of a subjective opinion rather then objective. Thanks for all the information, anyway, there are still good to know. Will check out assassination classroom soon, anyhow

      • Medaka is this weird series which supposedly sells tankoubon reasonably well but barely survives on the weekly rankings, like Merctrack said.

        Another note would be that shinya = not top 3 material. Not the type of audience you need.

  2. As far as Japanese popularity, I feel like Toriko may have actually surpassed Bleach already. Most people in Japan don’t seem to care that much about Bleach anymore, and with the story going the way it is I can kind of see why.

    In America, it might be hard for anything to surpass the current Big Three without getting on some popular TV station. Lets hope Toonami is feeling generous enough to pick up something good.

    • Indeed, not sure how it do in the States though. True enough for Bleach, it’s questionable if I even want to read the manga myself, lol.

      Indeed, let’s hope so.

  3. It’s always hard to determine what will be the next big thing. I remember when Naruto and Bleach first aired, I thought they were good but I didn’t think they’d reach the level of popularity that they did.

  4. naruto is about end: most think .
    bleach; near end : most think
    one piece: no one can presdict when it gonna finish
    toriko = popular in japan and all over the world
    beelzebub == more popular among english audience
    gintama = equally popular among japanese/english fans .

    • Yea, but both Naruto and Bleach already had “somewhat” of an official announcement, though even though they say last arc, not sure how long will they drag it out. I heard nothing about One Piece as of yet and indeed, I still can’t see it ending anytime soon. So Toriko and Gintama has a higher chance in your opinion? lol.

  5. I expected you would mention Hunter x hunter. Medaka Box is going the X-Men route I reckon. The first 2 seasons have been good (Contrary to popular opinion.).

    Beelzebub…I wouldn’t be surprised if that show were to continue.

    Gintama…isn’t that already a big thing? I wouldn’t know. I haven’t seen a single episode.

    Fairy Tail is an obvious choice.

    Toriko can go eat lead.

    I don’t know squat about Shounen and what the “otaku hive mind” labels a favorite. I honestly never thought of a big three before The Otaku Triforce of Doom brainwashed the minds of many children worldwide.

    • *facepalm* I completely forgot. I think I ditched the manga for too long, lol. It was on a long hiatus last I read. Yea, X-Men with high school settings, that’s cool. I’m also one of the rare doods who actually think it’s good, though I think they took a much longer time then expected to introduce Kumagawa, probably the best character in Medaka Box yet.

      Seriously? Last I heard, I think the sells for the anime aren’t doing good, guess we’ll see, if not, manga for me.

      It is, having positive reception both in the east and west, so I expected it would have great sells, though Merctrack says otherwise.



      True enough, when children says anime, they always think of Naruto first >_> I guess that’s what influences do to kids.

  6. Remember when Steel Ball Run was in Shounen Jump?
    I’m pretty sure if Jojo stuck with Jump, he’d be in the Big 3 already, hell, not even
    Jojo is just its own category

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