Fun With Numbers: A Good Summer for Hot Cocoa

This past week was a pretty unambiguously good one for Square Enix’s publishing division, featuring sales of over 95,000 for previously-unranked Isshukan Friends, a boost for the old volumes of Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun, and the final volume of Cocoa Fujiwara’s Inu x Boku SS topping the list with over 250,000 copies sold. That last part might not even be the most impressive thing Fujiwara did this week, either. While the 250,000 in IxB sales is, in large part, in keeping with previous volumes of the series, Fujiwara also saw her brand new manga, Katsute Mahou Shoujo to Aku wa Tekitai shite Ita, notch first week sales of over 80,000. While not unprecedented by any means, that level of early sales puts her on a pretty exclusive list.

An 80,000 copy figure might not be super-impressive compared to manga as a whole, but it’s actually quite sexy because of just how rare these types of numbers are for a new series. From, 2009-2013, excluding “volume ones” of spinoffs tied to already-running manga or franchises,* only 10 truly new series managed to sell 60,000 or more in their first week of solicitation (data here). And that’s a pretty star-heavy list, packed with a combination of well-established artists and WSJ young guns:

87 Clockers (Tomoko Ninomiya)
Amanchu (Amano Kozue)
Ansatsu Kyoshitsu (Matsui Yusei) [Weekly Shonen Jump]
Ao Haru Ride (Io Sakisaka)
Bakuman (Takeshi Obata/Tsugumi Ohba) [Weekly Shonen Jump]
Billy Bat (Naoki Urasawa)
Drifters (Kouta Hirano)
Gate7 (Clamp)
Gin no Saji (Hiromu Arakawa)
Shokugeki no Souma (Yuto Tsukuda/Shun Saeki) [Weekly Shonen Jump]

What’s more, series on that list have gone on to post 2 week totals by volume 5** that, with some spread, average around 250,000 Oricon-counted copies per volume, even before the anime boosts for the ones that got one. Given how early in the serialization it is, it’s hard to tell exactly how the series will turn out, but she’s doing extremely well right now, which is worth recognizing.

*Incidentally, Crows Zero II: Suzuran x Houen Vol.1 is kind of an obnoxious mouthful. Takahashi Hiroshi has built an impressive 20-year career around the franchise, though, so it’s not like he has to care what I think.

**This means using volume 4 data for Gate7 and 87 Clockers and volume 3 data for Drifters.

6 thoughts on “Fun With Numbers: A Good Summer for Hot Cocoa

  1. Funny how, in the list you mentioned, only a handful of them have since gotten anime adaptations. It’s like these days, the *less* you sell, the more likely it will get an anime adaptation, since it’s the series that the publisher wants to get a boost more.

    • Dunno about that. It’s a fairly small sample, and of the 10, 3 have adaptations already, 1 more is getting one, and 3 more are less than 5 volumes long (Gate7, 87 Clockers, Drifters) and are thus too young to realistically think about sqeezing more than 1 cour out of them before waiting another year or two.

      Shokugeki (also kinda young for a WSJ series at 8 volumes, they might be waiting until there’s enough material for a 2-cour), Amanchu, and Billy Bat are the only ones on the list with sufficient material but no adaptation. In the latter two cases, it may simply be that the lack of growth since the first volume (Billy Bat grew barely at all from v1 totals, Amanchu has dipped a bit since v5) scared the publishers off from going for an anime. Adaptations of series on the downhill don’t typically have as good a record of boosting things.

      • > Adaptations of series on the downhill don’t typically have as good a record of boosting things.

        Is that quantifiable?

        • If you defined it as series falling off by a certain percentage of their total from a previous multi-volume peak (in equal-week spans of time) for multiple volumes, you could probably get exact figures. There are plenty of examples of it as a phenomenon for series with sharper dropoffs (Coppelion, Golden Time, C3, Gifu Dodo, Yushibu, and a few others), though series like Tokyo Ravens and StB have plateaued after 5-6 volumes and still gotten good boosts. TWGOK/Shiki/Hyougemono would seem like counterexamples at first glance, but those curves are noisy and shaped by split releases and release dates that only allowed a series to rank for one week (so it can’t be confirmed that they were dropping off).

          It’s hard to find a ton of examples where a series was in verifiable decline before the anime aired; those adaptations are fairly uncommon. The majority of series are on the uptick pre-anime.

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