Stranger things have happened.

Amidst much fanfare, the highly anticipated fourth season of Stranger Things has begun streaming on Netflix around the world. Stranger Things is of course the story of a group of youngsters who go around…in a van and, like, chase monsters with a talking Great Dane.

▼ I guess they didn’t reveal the dog in this trailer…

All right, I haven’t seen it, because I, like many others in Japan, have been streaming into the hit anime Spy x Family instead. The anime adaptation of a manga by the same name follows the exploits of a delightfully difunctional family made up of a spy, killer, and psychic, in which no one knows the other’s particular skills et…except for the psychic daughter of course.

The first season of the anime has enjoyed the top spot on Netflix in Japan for the past five weeks and even the debut of Stranger Things 4 failed to dethrone it. This is especially impressive because the dark sci-fi series topped charts in 83 of the 93 countries that rankings were measured. Everywhere, from Bahrain to Latvia and from Chile to Egypt, people couldn’t seem to get enough of those plucky ’80s kids.

This is hardly the first time Japan has gone a different way from global trends either. It remains one of the very few countries in the world that prefers Twitter to Facebook, and when the hugely-anticipated Star Wars: Force Awakens set a global box-office record on its debut in 2015, it was narrowly defeated by Yo-Kai Watch the Movie: King Enma and the Five Stories, Nyan! in Japan. The year 2015 also saw the release of the blockbuster Jurassic World, which had held the opening weekend record shortly before losing it to Star Wars… except in Japan where it was behind Love Live! The School Idol Movie for the weekend, as the following tweet points out.

A few years later when Avengers: Endgame would become the second highest grossing movie of all time, even Earth’s mightiest heroes failed to defeat the pint-sized Detective Conan in Japan.

It’s certainly a trend that’s been going on for years but going by online comments, no one is quite sure why.

“Figures, Japan never really got into Game of Thrones either.”
“Japan is like the TV Tokyo of the world.”
“I remember when we denied Endgame too.”
“I’m worried it makes us look childish that animated movies and shows are always number one.”

“I think it’s stranger for the whole world to be into the same thing.”
“Japan isn’t isolated from the rest of the world. The rest of the world is isolated from Japan.”

“I liked Stranger Things better when it was called Persona.”
“We’re like the Galapagos Islands of Netflix.”

It should be noted that Japan isn’t completely alone this time. Stranger Things also didn’t get the number-one spot in the following nine other countries, along with their own choices.

Guadeloupe – Wrong Side of the Tracks
Jamaica – Wrong Side of the Tracks
Martinique – Wrong Side of the Tracks
Uruguay – Wrong Side of the Tracks
Kenya – The Lincoln Lawyer
Indonesia – My Liberation Notes
South Korea – My Liberation Notes
Taiwan – Who Rules the World
Turkey – The Life and Movies of Ersan Kuneri

Still, in all countries Stranger Things was in the top 10 and in most cases was second place, so it’s probably worth checking out. I probably will when I can find the time, but I’ve never been much of a binge watcher. In fact, I’m still making my way through Lost, and am almost near the end. Don’t tell me what happens though! It looks like it’s going to be an amazing finale, and I’m looking forward to being pleasantly surprised.

Source: Netflix Top 10, My Game News Flash
Top image: Netflix Top 10
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