One of the biggest differences between manga and western comics is the format in which it runs. While both are eventually released as collected volumes, most western comics will be first distributed in single-chapter releases, whereas manga will be first distributed in various magazines together a number of different series. The magazine model works out nicely for publishers – people pick up a magazine to read a series they’re massively into, and all of a sudden tens to hundreds of thousands of people have a chance to get a look at whatever new artist you’ve just debuted. Occasionally, that young artist ends up becoming a smash hit themselves, and you’ve got more people reading your magazine and more chances to develop more hits (while at the same time hopefully being nice to the rest of your authors).
In order for this model to work, though, you need to have people buy your magazine, and in order to buy your magazine, you need a hit series. This was a problem for manga industry mainstay and Weekly Shonen Sunday publisher Shogakukan. In 2010, they were shut out of Oricon’s top 10 manga series, and had only one series (Detective Conan, 3 times) even make the top 50 volumes that same year.
Flash forward to 2013, and they had 2 of the top 6, Magi and Silver Spoon. It’s a really impressive turnaround, even given that simple top-whatever lists fail to capture the beautiful breadth of the manga industry. How it happened is worth taking a look at, not in the least because parts of how it happened are fairly intriguing in and of themselves.
Update 2 (July 15, 2014): New, more accurate data is here.
Update (Jul 1, 2014): This post doesn’t measure releases in 2-week totals, which turns out to be a huge deal in many, many cases. I’m currently working on an updated version of both this and the 2011 data. Just be aware of that before citing the data from here regarding any one show.
By all rights, a 30-series sample like the one I had for 2011 was enough to get most of the relevant information regarding how anime boosted manga sales. However, during that analysis, I bumped into an incidental correlation, myanimelist ranking versus gain in manga sales, that was far too juicy to ignore. If that correlation is real, it points to a very tangible link between the Japanese mainstream community (who have enough disposable income for manga but not for anime) and the English-speaking online community (who generally pay a comparable pittance, if anything, for the anime they watch). But I couldn’t be sure from just the 2011 data, since that was the sample that gave rise to the theory. So I did what any good researcher would do, and pulled another year worth of data to see how things would match up. The results can be found on this spreadsheet, and are sorted in order of descending myanimelist rank below.
It’s that time of quarter again! We’ve got a very interesting Fall season that’s coming out swinging this week, and there’s no better way to pay our respects to a season with potential deep sleepers like Tokyo Ravens and Gingitsune than to cavalierly turn them into race horses. We’re making mad bets on the Fall 2013 Season, Vegas-style!
I’ve mentioned before how I often I see misconceptions about shojo manga in my group of anime-fan friends. The most common misconception that pops up is that shojo is a one-note genre (rather than a demographic, which it is by definition), but a close second is the assumption that female fans are a small minority among those that follow anime. While that’s somewhat true in Japan, it couldn’t be further from the truth in America. Indeed, female fans may make up the majority of manga buyers in the United States. So why so few shojo anime? I’ve got a take on that.
If you know anything at all about manga, you’ve probably heard the name Weekly Shonen Jump before. Armed to the teeth with megahits like One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, and Toriko, it stands undisputed atop the manga industry. But did you ever wonder how that dominance came to be, or why it’s been largely unchallenged for upwards of 20 years? Here’s a hint: it’s no accident.