When we tell you that One Piece is now bigger than Star Trek and Harry Potter, we know what you’re thinking: that Luffy finally mastered Gear 5th and managed to put both the redshirts and the wizards in their place with his rubbery abilities. While that killer crossover hasn’t happened yet (a nerd can dream, right?), everyone’s favorite straw-hatted pirate beat these other franchises on a different battleground.
Coming in over major franchises, including Harry Potter, Star Trek, and DC Comics, One Piece is now the third most popular franchise.
As Deadline reports, a survey of “gaming and entertainment fans” given to US and UK participants revealed that One Piece was the third most popular franchise in the world.
While Luffy might not think One Piece being such a popular franchise is a big deal (he’s much more focused on becoming the greatest pirate in the world), fans of this venerable franchise have plenty of reasons to be excited. According to the survey, the only franchises ahead of One Piece were Marvel in the number two spot and Star Wars in the number one spot.
Those are two Western franchises with the full weight of Disney marketing behind them, and it’s damn impressive that an anime franchise that originated back in 1997 is nearly as popular in the court of public opinion.
And while it’s impressive to see One Piece so hot on the heels of rival franchises like Marvel and Star Wars, it might be even more impressive to consider which franchises it managed to beat outright. As we noted before, One Piece managed to rank higher than Harry Potter and Star Trek, two franchises with some of the most loyal legions of fans in the world.
In addition to being fiercely adored by critics and fans, One Piece has produced a staggering 1,075 episodes and counting…
The anime beat out Disney (often considered the most popular cartoon company in the world) and Barbie (a hugely recognizable toy brand whose Margot Robbie film quickly became the most popular and profitable movie of the year).
While cynics might say that One Piece is simply as lucky as Gold Roger, its high place on this survey makes sense once you consider the criteria that were used. Specifically, the survey assessed the various franchise’s “world-building; high ratings [from critics and fans]; fierce fanbases; cultural relevance; and consistency.”
In addition to being fiercely adored by critics and fans, One Piece has produced a staggering 1,075 episodes and counting, giving it more time than other franchises to maintain relevance and consistency while world-building on an ambitious level that we may never see again.
One Piece may be the most popular anime on the planet, but if five-year-olds could vote in the survey, Bluey would be number one.
Only time will tell if One Piece loses its prominent placement among all these popular franchises (seriously, Luffy’s beating the hell out of Harry Potter and Captain Kirk…how crazy is that?!), but if anything, we think this Gum-Gum-Fruit-powered franchise is only going to get more popular over time. Perhaps the greatest sign of this is the fact that the One Piece live-action show recently premiered on Netflix, and it won over the most skeptical fans so quickly that Netflix almost immediately ordered a second season.
Whether you go with the manga, anime, or live-action, it’s not too late to get on the boat with this popular franchise. And if, like Luffy, you need a crew, it’s never too late to connect with the growing fanbase of Straw Hats worldwide. Just don’t ask us to be your navigator.