While all my fellow Japanator writers are busy picking and choosing the best anime, music, and games of the year, I'll be bringing in a look at which anime inspired the most merchandise based on what I've seen in the way of figures and more.
Needless to say, it was kind of a hard list to compile. There are some anime that simply didn't make the cut because they didn't air this year or have a movie premier in 2012 -- in the end, I had to make that a criteria or my list would have been a JapanaTen. In case anyone is wondering, I also excluded model kits and shonen from the list because those are consistent releases.
Check out my five big picks below the jump!
Fifth place: Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online is one of those anime that I didn't expect to get too popular, but it sort of did, and now figure companies are churning out merchandise like nobody's business. Asuna and Kirito are all the buzz recently, and Kirito especially is lucky to be one of the few, the proud male Nendoroids to stand alongside their leading female counterparts.
SAO barely made it into this list, but only because even while the show was airing, the merchandise made it all the way up to a scaled figure iteration of Asuna.
Fourth place: Dog Days
The basic way to gauge whether a show is popular in the world of figures is to see if the main female character has been iterated as a Nendoroid, figma, and a scaled figure. The way you know that a show transcends basic popularity is if more than one character from the same anime gets figure status, garage kits, and more.
Dog Days, though completely off my radar as an anime, has been getting some figure love this year in the way of some truly adorable Millhiores, Leonmitchellis, and more. Besides regular figures, the characters are even seeing official doll releases! And they're all absolutely adorable.
Third place: Evangelion 3.0
You know that saying, friends come and go, but Evangelion is forever? That's kind of the story of figure collecting, right up there with endless iterations of Hatsune Miku merchandise.
With the popularity of the most recent Evangelion animation we've seen all kinds of merchandise, ranging from old or alternate out-of-character designs to new characters, which obviously include Asuka and Rei, but now also Makinami Mari and Kaworu. There are even Evangelion-themed rocking horses for toddlers. The possibilities are endless.
Second place: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Whether you're a fan of Haganai or not, it looks like enough people loved it enough to support several Nendoroid releases of the characters. Now most of the cast has made it to swimsuit figure status while Sena and Yozora enjoy figures by no less than seven different manufacturers.
As if that weren't enough, now you can get all kinds of merchandise: iPhone covers, key chains, file folders, albums, plushies, and much more. Yozora and Sena are a hit.
First place: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Do I really need to explain myself with this one? With the immense popularity of the anime, Madoka has inspired several different figures for all of the main girls, and even figure extension kits of the various little spirits, along with plenty of Kyubei plushies and more. The Nendoroid and figma iterations have all had multiple releases and the demand is still there for more.
And that isn't even the start of it.
This concludes my quick list! Do you agree with it, or think I left something out? Be sure to agree or disagree with me in the comments in the most articulate way possible!