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What will the next big anime be? Our top 6 picks for the hit anime of the future

Plus one title we desperately want to see happen.

Sakamoto Days anime promotional image
Image credit: TMS Entertainment

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It can seem like the Next Big Thing in anime often comes out of nowhere. Who could have guessed that something like Delicious in Dungeon would be one of the best anime of 2024? Or that Kaiju No. 8 would have its English dub up on Crunchyroll within an hour of the Japanese broadcast? These things might seem unpredictable, but sometimes you can look at a manga or light novel and just know it is going to get a hit anime adaptation one day.

Sure, we can – and will – consult sales figures for manga and other entertainment properties to get a sense of what the next big anime is going to be, but these kinds of predictions are more an art than a science. Part gauging the current environment, what properties have plenty of buzz around them, and, of course, what we’ve personally read that screams out to be animated. We’ve consulted the tea leaves and gazed deeply into our crystal ball and these are the new anime we see being big in the next year.

What will the next big anime be? Our predictions

Sakamoto Days

Sakamoto Days anime screenshot
Image credit: TMS Entertainment

The Sakamoto Days manga enjoyed the dubious honor of being the best-selling series that hadn’t gotten an anime adaption yet. However, that is due to change in January 2025 with the recent announcement of the Sakamoto Days anime from TMS Entertainment. The manga follows a retired hitman who goes on a rampage after his family is threatened, but the years of inactivity have made him a bit heavier than he had been. Think John Wick with some Spy x Family humor. Not only does it have a massive following from the manga, but there are rumors that Sakamoto Days will be a Netflix Original anime, which will only help it reach a massive audience next year.

Fire Punch

Fire Punch cover
Image credit: Viz Media

From the strange mind that brought us Chainsaw Man, we have the story of a man constantly on fire. Fire Punch takes place on a frozen Earth where individuals with strange powers known as Blessed have been born. After Agni, whose power of regeneration makes him effectively immortal, is lit on fire for eight years, he vows revenge against the Blessed who killed his sister. If you’ve read or seen Chainsaw Man, it won’t surprise you to know that Fire Punch goes to some strange places, but the fact it has eight volumes from a well-known mangaka makes it the perfect size for a single-season anime.

Honey Lemon Soda

Honey Lemon Soda anime image
Image credit: J.C.Staff

It took a long time for Honey Lemon Soda to get an anime adaptation, but the wait will finally end in January 2025. The romance story about a shy girl who is pulled out of her shell by her relationship with a boy who reminds her of a special soda has a massive following thanks to the fact it has been running for nearly a decade. A live-action film premiered in Japan in July 2021, which only grew the potential audience for the upcoming anime. It only got an official English release in early 2023, so we expect the fanbase to only grow over the remainder of the year.

20th Century Boys

20th Century Boys manga cover
Image credit: Viz Media

We are legitimately shocked that there hasn’t been an anime adaptation of 20th Century Boys. It is very similar to Tokyo Revengers, following a group of friends who may have accidentally scripted out the end of the world as kids and need to figure out how to stop it. The story takes place over multiple time periods, with flashbacks drawing out everyone’s backstory. There are three excellent live-action film adaptations of 20th Century Boys, so it feels like the perfect time to add an anime adaptation of this fantastic manga.

The Summer Hikaru Died

The Summer Hikaru Died manga panel
Image credit: Yen Press

“What do you do when an eldritch horror from beyond the stars replaces your best friend?” is the kind of question you only get asked in anime. The Summer Hikaru Died is the only horror manga on this list but it mixes that tension with a touch of wholesome friendship. The mix clearly works – both the manga and its author Mokumokuren have been nominated for 2024 Eisner Awards. Mokumokuren announced that an anime adaptation was in the works in May 2024 but without any details such as a release window or what studio is involved.

Sweat and Soap

Sweat and Soap cover
Image credit: Kodansha

We love a good romance manga, but the one we’re most looking forward to seeing animated is Sweat and Soap, the story of a young woman with an… intense personal aroma and her relationship with a co-worker who finds her scent "inspirational". Don't look at us like that. Sure, the whole story can be summed up with "she smells bad and he's into it" but there is such a sweetness under the surface. Plus, the entire manga is only 11 volumes and has already been adapted into a live-action series in Japan, meaning there is definitely an audience for this one. There isn’t any word on an anime adaptation in the works but this feels like exactly the kind of niche romance story that would find a rabid following if it were given the chance.

Honorable Mention: My Dad is the Queen of All VTubers

My Dad is the Queen of All VTubers manga screenshot
Image credit: Kaiten Books LLC

Okay, we know there is almost no chance that My Dad is the Queen of All VTubers is going to get an anime adaptation, but it desperately needs one. It is about a young man who finds out the VTuber he’s been pining over is actually his own father in disguise, having turned to content creation to pay the bills after he lost his job. It is a silly concept that is wonderfully executed. In a just world, we’d all be settling in for My Dad is the Queen of All VTubers anime debut. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it will ever come to pass.

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