During its earlier days, getting people to give One Piece a decent chance was no easy task; yet it could be done. You simply needed to make your case about the story and hilarious characters.
Not so with One Punch-man which, even now, I would struggle to explain to someone why they should bother with the series. It is that random a manga, and which I am surprised is receiving so much interest.
For a manga about a bald guy defeating over the top villains with one punch, 2 million copies is a powerful achievement, which makes you think that people are more or less ready to take a chance on anything today so long as they are appropriately entertained.
You could possibly blame that trend on One Piece.
Last year, One Punch-Man was no where near the top 30; come January 2016 I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the top ten. It is worth mentioning that One Punch-Man actually comes out ahead of Nanatsu No Taizai and even Fairy Tail when it comes to Sales by Volume.
There is an overwhelming number of people today who are always complaining about popular shonen manga like Naruto and One Piece running too long, but who have never really made any mention of Detective Conan. Seriously, Detective Conan has been in serialization since 1994; how the hell does a manga like that still manage to sell over 2 million copies today.
Having never read it, I am hardly qualified to complain about the quality of the manga; yet if common comments about anime and manga are to be believed, the longer a series runs, the worse it gets, often losing readers rather than gaining in popularity.
Berserk has been around even longer than Detective Conan and it stands almost no chance of entering the top 30, at least with regards to sales.
You have to wonder what Detective Conan offers that other longer running series do not.
Whatever the case anyone that has spent 2014 preaching about how the trend of long running manga series is coming to a definite end is being proved wrong by the strength of Detective Conan.
A pair of manga that couldn’t be more different from another and which I didn’t think would be so closely matched; more or less neck to neck in 2013, Kingdom seems to have come out head by 200,00 copies in 2014 in comparison to Gintama.
Yet both series are not fairing particularly well on a whole, not just regarding the 12 or so steps they have fallen in less than 15 months, but their declining dominance over 2014. Keep in mind that titles like Tokyo Ghoul and Haikyuu, near the bottom and barely keeping up not so long ago, now stand at the very top of 2014’s top selling manga list, even as Kingdom and Gintama continue to slip further down.
Hell, 15 months ago Kingdom and Gintama were both starting to pull away from Bleach, Kubo’s manga following behind even as the pair approached the top 10. Even taking into account differences in tastes, that a manga as celebrated as Kingdom would fall below Bleach during one of its worst years in terms of ranking, is surprising.
It makes you wonder exactly what people like.
Kingdom’s fame comes from the fact that it doesn’t exactly follow the typical formula; and yet, when you look at many of the titles ranked higher than Kingdom, one might argue that the key to success in Japan in terms of manga sales comes down to attaching the same old formula to new plots and faces.
+Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma
It might have been my lack of attention but I don’t think I have ever seen so many non-action oriented manga series littering the top 20; sure, there is always that odd slice of life manga that somehow manages to break through the barrier, but even those exceptions are rarely as strong and popular as the food based Shokugeki no Soma.
Along with Blue Spring Ride and Hozuki no Reitetsu, it is possible that we have reached that age of manga where a story doesn’t have to create super-powered heroes fighting to save the day in order to appeal to the masses.
You couldn’t easily dismiss Shokugeki no Soma as a fluke; while making no appearance on the 2013 list, the manga currently enjoys strong support among manga readers, so much so that it might actually survive in the top 20 for several years to come, possibly even rise higher, even with so many action fueled series emerging every year.
+Hozuki no Reitetsu
Urgh, No. Simply No. How the hell did a manga that was barely a bleep on the map in 2013 manage to sell 4.3 million copies? Four episodes in and this story of a serious minded demon ogre working to manage the demon king’s realm in the underworld has to be one of the worst anime i watched in 2014.
And that might be the key to the manga’s success; the anime adaptation is clearly working wonders for the manga. Yet considering what I encountered in the anime, it will take a hell of a lot to convince me that the manga is actually better.
Seriously though, how the hell did this mediocre series come out so far ahead of Bleach, Yowamushi Pedal or even Terra Formars? My brain just can’t make sense of that logic.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Sure it’s position wasn’t all that unexpected, and the series hasn’t been in the top 10 for quite a while now. Yet, even with all the complaints I am always ready to launch towards the manga, 18th was a shockingly lower rank than I expected.
At this rate, we have to wonder if Bleach can even maintain its place in the top 20; which won’t actually mean much. It might have dropped three positions down but Bleach actually sold 200,000 copies more in 2014 than it did in the previous year. And even if it disappeared from the top 30, it’s unlikely that the manga would be any less popular among fans.
Simply put, if this was a matter of the number of people actually reading the manga, then Bleach would probably find a position in the Top 5; as things stand, manga readers are still reading Bleach, however I don’t think they believe it to be worthy of actually spending money to purchase the volumes.
Wow. Two years ago Fairy Tail was hanging out in the top 10; two years ago Fairy Tail was laughing its head off while Bleach continued to fall further down the list. Hell, three years ago, when it was at its best, Fairy Tail was preparing to take its place among the big three.
I am not particularly happy about its descent, yet I do feel somewhat vindicated in my thoughts about the dropping quality of Fairy Tail. It wouldn’t be an over exaggeration to say that Fairy Tail might have reached the peak of its fame a while back, and now it can only look forward to a slow steady fall. 500,000 copies isn’t that drastic a decline, yet the considerable drop in rank suggests that the manga’s quality simply isn’t on par with new stars in the industry.
And this was in a year when the Fairy Tail Manga should have been complimented by the return of its anime.
The power of anime adaptations; how else can you explain this manga’s sudden leap above veterans like Bleach and even Kingdom. When it first emerged, terra formers was hailed as Attack on Titan 2.0, the same sentiment almost immediately applied to Tokyo Ghoul.
Which makes you wonder whether blood, gore and the death of major characters hasn’t become the secret ticket to stardom. We want to see people die; not just die, but perish terribly.
+Yowamushi Pedal/Haikyuu/Kuroko no Basket
‘YES!’ is all I can say every time sports manga receive the recognition they deserve. It’s almost like there are a select few people out there that have always known and understood the secret that was sports manga, specifically the fact that they were superior to almost every other title on the market today, and only now is that secret finally coming out.
Yowamushi’s current success is an even bigger surprise that Haikyuu! Granted Haikyuu’s leap to number 3, bounding completely over Kuroko, Magi, Fairy Tail and even Kingdom might seem almost unnatural.
But think about it; Kuroko’s Basket is ending, and Haikyuu is the only manga (and anime) on the market today that seems to share the spirit of Kuroko. It is hardly surprising that Kuroko fans would immediately jump to the next best thing- and I most definitely believe Haikyuu to be the better series.
Yowamushi Pedal, a manga about cycling came almost out of nowhere; the idea that manga readers would be willing to throw their weight behind a concept such as that says volumes about the changes in trends in the manga industry. Forget ninjas, pirates and samurai, a time is coming when it will be the soccer players, cycling champions and baseball stars that rule the Top 10.
+Nanatsu no Taizai/Magi/Assassination Classroom
Nanatsu no Taizai is the only winner among these three; considering its rapidly rising fame last year, Magi took a beating in 2014. Forget Bleach, Kingdom or even Fairy Tail. Those manga didn’t as much drop in sales as they did simply lose out to drastically more successful series. We are talking about declines of a few hundred thousand.
Magi declined by a whopping 3 million copies; which is odd, considering the fact that the manga is only getting better. This as opposed to assassination classroom which barely shifted in number of copies sold, despite the change in rank.
Nanatsu no Taizai is milking the popularity of an anime of fairly acceptable quality, jumping into the top 10 at a time where many previous manga stars are experiencing noteworthy declines.
You could also blame the quality of the Deadly Sins manga, whose first 100 chapters maintained a surprisingly rapid pace, with each arc raising the stakes and produced even more thrills. And it is because it is still so young and yet performs so well that it is difficult to believe those voices suggesting that shonen, specifically long running shonen manga, might have lost its market.
The end of Naruto and Bleach, even One Piece isn’t something to be feared, not in the manner of those people who suggested that the end of the Big Three would end the domination of shonen manga told in that particular formula. Along with Magi and Tokyo Ghoul, we have every reason to expect the shonen formula to maintain its strength for years to come.
Two Years ago, Tokyo ghoul was averaging one million copies every year, this as opposed to SIX MILLION COPIES this year; that is an increment of 5 million. How the hell does a manga do that?
Are we really going to say that the Tokyo Ghoul anime is solely responsible for the success of its manga counterpart? Because, personally, while entertained, my mind wasn’t exactly blown by the anime-and the mediocre finale didn’t help.
The Tokyo Ghoul anime gets points for gorgeous animation but that is hardly enough to make it a masterpiece; which means Tokyo Ghoul is one of those few manga that seem to succeed using hype, where the idea of the anime is so appealing that it forces readers towards the manga immediately after the anime ends just so they can continue the progress of their favorite story.
The question is whether Tokyo Ghoul is worth all the Hype afforded to it. That is a question that will be answered at the end of 2015. If the manga is as good as they say, then Tokyo Ghoul’s numbers could even double next time. Otherwise, there is a chance that it might drop out of the top 20.
I thought this manga was on the way to the top. It is curious that Toriko would fall out of the top 30, even considering the number of people out there that cannot stop singing its praises.
There is so much to be said about Naruto, One Piece and Attack on Titan that it will require it’s own separate post.
Taking this list into account, some undeniable factors emerge.
- Sports manga are the future, and it makes sense.
There is simply no shortage of thrill inducing moments, or even episodes; after all every arc is just a new tournament or match, and just as sports fans still flood into stadiums every week for sports they have been watching for decades, there is no end to the level of entertainment one can elicit from sports manga.
-Shonen action manga are not the dying breed people keep saying they are; people still want to see unwavering heroes with special powers fight to protect their friends from evil; yet the shonen action formula isn’t exactly a necessity for success in this regard either.
Maybe tastes among manga readers have always been this diversified, yet the numbers of manga readers willing to venture beyond the action arena is growing to a point where it can begin impacting sales.
-It all comes down to anime; if you do not have an anime in the works, then do not expect your manga make any headway, especially within the top ten.
Magi rose to its peak at a time where its second anime season was attracting attention and converting anime fans into Magi Manga readers; following the end of The Kingdom of Magic, one need only look at Magi’s decline to appreciate the impact of the absence of its anime.
The same thing goes for Tokyo Ghoul, Nanatsu no Taizai and Terra Formars, whose anime adaptations have had a clear impact upon their success.