After a decline in sales in the recent decade, manga is starting to see some resurgence in the number of sales. The reason for this uptick, as this Publisher's Weekly article explains, is a new wave of hit series gathering an audience, generating more interest in readers to purchase volumes of these popular manga and see what else the medium has to offer.
The three biggest hits right now are Kodansha’s Attack on Titan and Viz Media’s One-Punch Man and Tokyo Ghoul. The popularity of these three series, along with a renewed interest in older popular manga, such as Fairy Tail, Death Note, and Dragon Ball, have been the secret behind the increase in sales and readers of manga worldwide. The bulk of these sales are in these aforementioned bestsellers, but with these manga becoming more popular, readers have begun to show interest in giving other titles similar to their new favorite series a chance. At their best, hit manga have been favorably compared by aficionados to hit Western graphic novels and hit manga have been topping charts on bestselling graphic novels in recent years, showing a return of what was once a declining fanbase.
What makes these manga so popular? The key seems to lie in overall quality and appeal to reader sensibilities, but another major contributor is the cross media tie-ins. Manga that have an accompanying anime series gather more attention than stand-alone works. One-Punch Man, a parody of the superhero genre, has been a particularly unique example, starting as an indie webcomic, which was adapted into a professionally-produced manga illustrated by Eyeshield 21 creator Yusuke Murata, licensed by Viz Media, and produced as an anime series by Madhouse Inc. By the time the anime surfaced, the series already had a following, pushing it into mainstream reading. Other bestsellers on the list show a similar boost into the mainstream thanks to anime adaptations and licensing, bringing quality English translations to the Western market.
The audience for popular manga has also seen recent shifts. Prior hits have been more popular with a predominantly younger female readership, but works such as Attack on Titan, One-Punch Man, and Tokyo Ghoul show a readership consisting mainly of adult men. An older fanbase may translate to more volume sales than a fanbase consisting mostly of teens. Ultimately, it seems a combination of factors led to this renewed manga readership, and bestsellers are the driving force behind this success.
With new potential hits starting to emerge out of obscurity, manga sales are expected to see a continuing rise in interest and sales.
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