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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Did You Know #2: Manga Sales

Did you know that in Japan, more paper is used to produce manga, aka comic books, than was used to produce toilet paper?

It’s not surprising.

in Japan, comic books are not just for kids - they are for adults and kids, and it is perfectly acceptable for adults to be seen reading them in public.

It’s not like here in Canada where I can pull a comic book out on the subway - here in Toronto - and I’ll have people stare at me wondering if they should talk to me to ensure if I know what stop I should get off at.

It’s strange how much of a bad rap comic books get in the West.

And yet… a quick perusal of the movies will show that Hollywood is plundering comic books for entertainment:

Here’s a brief list of some recent movies, and those that are coming up: Ghost in the Shell, Batman v Superman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Iron Man, Ant Man, Fantastic Four… let’s just say that Marvel Comics is doing very well with their comics being made into movies.

On the television side, recent, currently (and soon to be on), we have Marvel’s Agent’s of Shield, and then a plethora of DC Comics’ shows: Constantine, The Flash, Arrow, Legends Of the DC Universe, Gotham, Lucifer, Preacher… there’s probably way more… but you get the idea… and yet… still comic books are considered the milieu of the nerdy or the slow. 

Yeah… they are, but there are far more people like myself who are not slow or nerdy. I’m fast and geeky and a semi-jock who can talk to women and doesn’t care which Star Trek captain was the best.

It’s Kirk - both Shatner and Pine, but that's not the point! Japan loves its comic books/manga.

Here's a couple of lists denoting best-selling manga, artist/writer and how many copies were sold.  

  Top-Selling Manga Series Of 2015

(surname first)
  1. One Piece, by Oda Eiichiro (see image at top): 14,102, 521; 
  2. The Seven Deadly Sins, by Suzuki Nakaba: 10,304,112; 
  3. Attack On Titan, by Isayama Hajime: 8,778,048; 
  4. Assassination Classroom, by Matsui Yusei: 8,605,861; 
  5. Kingdom, by Hara Yasuhisa: 8,569,215; 
  6. Haikyu!, by Furudate Hauichi: 6,531,508; 
  7. Food Wars! Shokugeki No Somam, story by Tsukuda Yuto, art by Saeki Shun with Morisaki Yuki: 4,321,830; 
  8. Terra Formars, story by Sasuga Yu, art by Tachibana Kenichi: 4,188,158; 
  9. Prison School, by Hiramoto Akira: 4058,119; 
  10. Tokyo Ghoul: Re, by Ishida Sui: 3,758,541; 
  11. One Punch-man: 3,689,013; 
  12. Ao Haru Ride: 3,638,637; 
  13. Tokyo Ghoul: 3,576,177; 
  14. Naruto: 3,498,177; 
  15. Fairy Tail: 3,472,121; 
  16. Yowamushi Pedal: 3,355,844; 
  17. Nisekoi: 3,199,971; 
  18. Daiya no Ace: 2,940,024; 
  19. Owari no Seraph: 2,850,718; 
  20. Magi: 2,820,526; 
  21. Bleach: 2,818,926; 
  22. World Trigger: 2,735,269; 
  23. Gintama: 2,642,690; 
  24. Orange: 2,321,095; 
  25. Metantei Conan: 2,308,421; 
  26. Ore Monogatari!!: 2,304,674; 
  27. Boku no Hero Academia: 2,190,845; 
  28. Hoozuki no Reitetsu: 2,148,504; 
  29. 3-Gatsu no Lion: 1,979,421; 
  30. Kuroshitsuji: 1,957,229.

  Top-Selling Manga Volumes (collections) 2015

  1. One Piece 76: 3,185,018 copies; 
  2. One Piece 77: 3,020,137 copies; 
  3. One Piece 78: 2,977,466 copies; 
  4. One Piece 79: 2,810,583 copies; 
  5. Attack on Titan 15: 2,000,137 copies; 
  6. Attack on Titan 16: 1,920,780 copies; 
  7. Attack on Titan 17: 1,807,155 copies; 
  8. Naruto 72: 1,324,693 copies; 
  9. Tokyo Ghoul: Re 01: 1,017,871 copies; 
  10. Assassination Classroom 12: 1,012,500 copies.
It still doesn’t explain why toilet paper manufacturing is less than manga… but I would assume that one could always use manga pages to wipe up.

I also still find it curious at how many of the Japanese manga utilize what seems to pass for English in their comic book titles: One Piece, Attack on Titan, Assassination Classroom, Bleach, Orange, Tokyo Ghoul: Re, to name but a few.

In that list is Tokyo Ghoul: Re and Tokyo Ghoul... FYI, Tokyo Ghoul: Re is the sequel to Tokyo Ghoul.   

Personally, I hate the Japanese style of drawing that utilizes the large eyes. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

I understand it’s a style… and a uniquely Japanese style… but I like a bit of realism in my drawings.

If the manga is about a Japanese character, make the character look Japanese. Give them Japanese eyes, and breasts… okay… maybe not the breasts… keep those so anatomically incorrect, that there is no way in heck that a woman could ever walk upright unless they used an exo-skeleton. And even then, make sure the exo-skeleton doesn’t obscure the boobs.

Anyhow… for reference (I only have partial numbers), the:

Top-Selling North American Comic Books 2015

  1. Star Wars #1, with approx. 985,976 sold;
  2. Secret Wars #1, 527,678;
  3. Bravest Warriors: Tales From Holo John;
  4. Orphan Black #1;
  5. Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1, 440,234;
  6. Star Wars: Vader Down #1
  7. Star Wars: Darth Vader #1;
  8. Spider-Gwen #1;
  9. Invincible Iron Man #1;
  10. Star Wars: Princess Leia #1.
People are buying Spider-Gwen? As in Spidey's first girlfriend Gwen Stacy becoming a superhero in tights? Pretty to look at, but this is hardly anything that's destined to be a real comic book classic. It will become valuable ONLY because there will be some stupid variant cover that is ultra rare, and someone will artificially inflate its value.

What’s sad, is that the top-selling books are all #1 issues, meaning that the high-purchase rate was not sustained, as the consumers are only looking to make money, rather than actually enjoy the comic book.

Seriously… if nearly one-million copies of Star Wars #1 were sold, then surely one would expect a similar number for issue #2… but no… Issue #2 did not even make the Top10… which is somewhere under 440,000 copies sold.


And I’m actually talking about all the speculators out there playing the short game of comic book investing. 

Try enjoying the comic book first.

The Japanese do.

Somewhere Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman are gnashing their teeth.

Andrew Joseph


  1. I have to go with Picard because it was what I grew up on and my dad looks like him.

    1. Hey, Patrick Stewart is a handsome man - but aside from Vash, and the Doctor, Kirk got waaaay more alien booty.