The Big 3. I didn’t know the meaning of that term until I was in highschool with my new friends, about to become what today is known as a weeb, at that time an “otaku”. “Man, you should totally watch these anime: One Piece, Bleach and Naruto. Those are The Big 3!”
That was my introduction to wanting to look into anime. I remember it clearly. I had an idea about Naruto because at that time it was released dubbed in spanish. And I kinda hated it, honestly. Then Bleach was an unknown franchise for me but I fell in love with it anyway. And One Piece, my favorite anime that I started watching as a kid, suddenly stopped being screened in my country and years later I found out that the kid in a barrel has still yet to become the Pirate King.
According to my friends and a few opinions online, those were the Big 3. The manga/anime that you should totally watch. And I thought so too…for a while. Because when you open yourself to new experiences, life can really surprise you. For example, Fullmetal Alchemist. What an amazing series! Full of stakes, twists and a heartwarming story about the bond between two brothers. And a question came to my mind:
Why is FMA not a Big 3?
Then more and more series appeared. Tengen Toppa: Gurren Lagann, Attack On Titan!, Fairy Tail, Shokugeki no Soma, Hunter X Hunter, SAO. So many amazing stories, some more emotional and epic than the so-called Big 3. Then, why are some anime that could be even better than the more famous ones not in that category? Could be that the Big 3 are more “commercial” than others.
The Big 3 are usually stories fueled with action scenes and barely cause controversies in the real world. They follow an aesthetic that can appeal to many audiences and are rarely trying to really have adventures that divide the followers. Maybe the closest they’ve been to causing a stir among fans was the ending of Bleach, the death of Neiji and how One Piece has been recilying the same story line a few times already (do not try to deny it).
And if they are easily successful, what moments do other manga/anime have? The HXH’s Chimera Arc, Kamina, the Elric Brothers adventures, Eren’s journey into…reason? These are very well known sagas among anime fans. Easily able to compete with anyone! So maybe the Big 3 concept is broken? Can we really define the most amazing stories and experiences in just 3 spots?
Don’t get me wrong, One Piece, Naturo and Bleach are superb series. I’ve watched two of them until the very end (I really liked Yhwach) and I still watch One Piece until this day. A. God. Damn. Dragon! Hell yes! But maybe there are no more Big 3. From watching some comments and opinions across several blogs, people usually categorize Boku no Hero Academia and Black Clover as the new Big 3 members with One Piece. And maybe they are awesome, but the best? I don’t know.
Does One Piece, Naruto and Bleach deserve the spots? They are good, yes, but maybe the concept of Big 3 is already over. Heck, maybe it wasn’t even a thing in the first place. The only thing I know is that there are more stories out there than just those. I invite you to discover them!
Anyway, what are your favorite anime/manga? And what would your Big 3 be? Leave your opinion down below and feel free to check out other articles here at FictionTalk. Until the next time!