The results of both Anime! Anime!’s polls certainly revealed some surprises, with unexpected male and female characters reigning supreme in 2022. Some fans were elated to see their favorites dominate the list due to the amazing stories that surrounded their arcs and how they made viewers feel with each twist and turn. Meanwhile, some of the more peculiar entries challenged viewers preconception of what they believed makes a beloved character while still managing to endear themselves in remarkable ways. It goes to show that it takes more than being lazy eye-candy or tonally consistent filler content in order for one to reach the pedestal of popularity in the anime world. Though who were these protagonists that had so many people all around Japan entranced? perhaps you, too, can experience something new and amazing if you find out for yourself.
In December 2022, a nationwide survey asked participants to name a male and female character of their choice. An impressive 56.3% of participants chose a female character, making them the most popular characters in Japan that year. Moreover, 40.3% voted for a male character. Surveys such as this one reveal trends in the country’s culture and provide interesting insights into its collective values and opinions. The top 10 most popular female characters of 2022 are sure to reflect the preferences of many of those surveyed, providing a glimpse into what was captivating the hearts and minds of the Japanese people in that year.
1. Ran Mouri – Detective Conan
Ran Mouri is the beloved, supportive childhood friend of Shinichi Kudo in the animated world of Detective Conan. She is rapidly becoming a fan favorite with her unwavering loyalty and intelligence – two traits that are often underestimated in cartoons but both end up providing invaluable assistance to Shinichi on his cases. Ran has been depicted in both cartoon episodes from Funimation, with her English name being Rachel Moore, as well as popular comics. Not only does she have a heartwarming relationship with Shinichi, she is also the daughter of Kogoro Mouri who leads an ensemble cast of characters throughout their detective adventures. Her vibrant personality and captivating story arc will no doubt lead to even more fans to follow in her footsteps.
The fans of Detective Conan remained loyal to Ran Mouri, beloved sidekick to the main character, despite many new faces appearing in the past few years. It certainly came as a surprise when Ran was voted No. 1 as the most popular female character of 2022 with an impressive 43.5% vote rate. Clearly her on-screen presence is still felt strongly among viewers! She will make another appearance in 2023 and we are all eager to see what exciting mysteries she will be solving then.
2. Anya Forger – SPY x FAMILY
Anya Forger from SPY x FAMILY made a remarkable showing in the recent vote, experiencing an unprecedented shift from last place to second place! She was only 0.2% away from attaining first place with 4.5% of the vote, a feat many thought impossible considering she wasn’t even in the running just one week prior! Anya’s growing support is indicative of how quickly political tides can turn; with persistent effort, anything is possible. It’s inspiring to see that even a character who was initially unrecognized has managed to capture the attention and admiration of so many people.
3. Chisato Nishikigi – Lycoris Recoil
Congratulations to Chisato Nishikigi from Lycoris Recoil for finishing in third place in the recent election! With a vote share of 3.3%, she managed to break into the top three finishers and has made her mark on the political scene.
4. Hinata Uzumaki – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
5. Power – Chainsaw Man
6. Hitori Gotou – Bocchi the Rock!
7. Lum – Urusei Yatsura
8. Marin Kitagawa – Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru
9. Yotsuba Nakano – Gotoubun no Hanayome
10. Takina Inoue – Lycoris Recoil
Next, let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular male characters of 2022 in Japan:
1. Shinichi Kudo
2022 promises to be an exciting year for anime fans everywhere. At the top of the rankings for female characters is Ran Mouri, while her longtime-boyfriend Shinichi Kudo takes the lead in the men’s division. The couple have long been admired by anime fans all over the world and it’s no surprise that they have now achieved such high rankings. For years fans have praised both Ran and Shinichi for their quick wit, bravery, and loyalty to each other they exhibit through out their canon stories. It’s even more impressive that they have both achieved excellent scores on the same list! 2022 will be a year of validation for both their characters as they take the top spots in the rankings.
2. Aki Hayakawa – Chainsaw Man
3. Loid Forger – SPY x FAMILY
4. Denji – Chainsaw Man
5. Meguru Bachira – Blue Lock
6. Angel Devil – Chainsaw Man
7. Katsuki Bakugo – Boku no Hero Academia
8. Naruto Uzumaki – Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
9. Ataru Moroboshi – Urusei Yatsura
10. Hyouma Chigiri – Blue Lock