While Japan is found on the other side of the globe, the impact of anime and manga is felt very strongly across the United States. Manga and anime are completely different styles to the style of comics and cartoons that are made in the United States, however, most people have watched an anime in their lifetime if not still watching animes nowadays. Many of us grew up with or are growing up with an anime that has hit the United States market and then captured our imaginations.

There are many classic animes and mangas that were put on TV around the time children came home from school in the mid-afternoon and therefore we all have the memory of watching some of the most popular animes in Japan and in the United States together with friends or at home alone. There are animes based on manga, as well as video games and stand-alone films that have had amazing success in the United States thanks to legendary artists and directors.

If you are just starting to learn about how to draw mangas or wondering about illustrating animes then it would be best to learn about the different mangas and animes that have had huge impacts in the United States. If you are American and unfamiliar with Japanese manga but love the style or want to know about some other mangas and animes to draw influence from there is quite a long list of mangas and animes to choose from.

So what exactly are the most popular animes and mangas that have hit the American market over the years? Which are popular today?

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Some of The Most Watched Animes In the United States

Sailor Moon doll
Sailor Moon had a lot of success in the United States. Source: Unsplash

Sailor Moon

This anime was created based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi. This is an anime that was certainly created more for the female audience but plenty of guys ended up liking the anime as well. Sailor moon is considered a Shoujo anime, meaning it was written and illustrated with the purpose of telling a story more about relationships and personal feelings. That's not to say there was no action.

The story follows the story of a young girl named Usagi who is actually a superheroine. She has superpowers to used to fight off evil villains and has a boyfriend named Tuxedo Mask. As a Shoujo manga, the story and development of her relationships are just as important if not more so than the actual fighting and battles.

Her relationship with her friends, who are also superheroines, and her relationship with Tuxedo Mask are arguably the most important parts of the story. Her friends and allies are all called by different names of the planets of the solar system with the word "Sailor" in front, for example, Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, etc.

Sailor Moon had huge success particularly with teenage girls who were anime fans, and plenty of video games and new animes have been created based on the Sailor Moon manga.

Dragonball and Dragonball Z

Nothing has quite captured the imagination of young and teenage boys quite as much as Dragonball and Dragonball Z have. Both anime series are based on manga of the same name (Dragonball). This anime is probably the most popular manga/anime series in the United States, ever. Dragonball Z is especially famous and known for its intense (and very long) fighting scenes and villains, as well as its protagonists.

Dragonball is about a young boy named Goku who seems to possess superhuman strength as well as having a tail and wants to become the best martial artist in the world. He is also on the quest with friends to find seven magical dragon balls that if gathered together spawns a dragon that grants any wish. It is later found out (spoilers) that he is actually from an alien species, and from this point is where the anime Dragonball Z starts and Dragonball Z was super popular in its day.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dragonball and Dragonball Z had a huge following in the United States and as a possible future illustrator, Dragonball is a fantastic anime to gather some inspiration from.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

While many animes are meant to be funny and not so sad, anime does have the potential to be kind of creepy and dramatic. While Sailor Moon and Dragonball are more lighthearted and packed with action, Neon Genesis Evangelion has dark undertones, and it makes the story very dramatic and touches the human soul.

The story is about a world that is living in a post-cataclysmic event where monsters called Angels to attack the Earth trying to eliminate humanity. The greatest hope mankind has is a handful of children who pilot giant robots capable of destroying the Angels. There are a lot of moments of suspense and general discomfort, if you want to create an anime someday that is more dark or dramatic then watching Evangelion can be a great influence for you.

One Piece

One Piece is arguably the greatest manga of all time, of course, that's an opinion that is subjective, however in terms of sales One Piece is the most successful manga of all time. One Piece in its run (over twenty years!!) has sold around 500 million copies. One Piece has also influenced countless manga artists.

The story of Monkey D. Luffy a pirate who dreams of being the Pirate King sets off on an adventure to find the ultimate treasure called "One Piece" is one of the greatest manga stories ever created, if not THE best manga story ever created. As mentioned, it has lasted over twenty years since its first issue which says a lot about how successful it has been. Eiichiro Oda the mangaka has done an amazing job of keeping his audience interested as well as creating an amazing story and evolving his art form.

If you want to be influenced by an amazing story look no further than One Piece.

Naruto

Another famous manga that has had huge success in the United States is Naruto. This manga has had huge success in the United States. Naruto follows the story of a ninja called Naruto who lives in a village called the Hidden Leaf Village and is cursed with a demon living inside of him.

Thanks to the demon living within him he is outcasted by many in the village and it is his dream of winning over the people of the Hidden Leaf Village and become the leader of the village or "Hokage". A typical shonen manga that is very influential can also be of great help to wannabe manga artists by sparking some creativity.

Character from spirited away
Spirited Away is one of the most successful anime films ever. Source: Pexels

Apart from anime series and manga comics, anime films have also had some huge success in the United States. Apart from films spawned from animes and mangas, the director Hayao Miyazaki has created a culture of successful and highly acclaimed anime films, that has seen him be honored in the United States by the Oscars as well as winning the award.

Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro

If you want to be an illustrator of any type, Hayao Miyazaki's films are must watch, they are that good and illustrations that are unique and beautiful. If you want to illustrate anime or manga, even more so. Possibly no film is better than Spirited Away.

The quality in all aspects of this film has created a huge following in the United States, not only among anime fans but of any category of filmgoers.

My Neighbor Totoro is another film that was hugely successful by Miyazaki as both films follow young children with mystical friends and stunning animation.

How to Get Started Drawing

While watching anime and reading manga is all well and good, now that you are inspired the best thing is to go out and try to create your own work. It may take a lot of practice, however with a lot of help you can become a better illustrator and storyteller. Using the website Superprof you can find a tutor to help you learn how to start drawing and become a better illustrator. Any great artist can use a little help to start with, while coming up with a story can be a unique experience, learning how to draw with a teacher can help you greatly speed up the process.

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