Over in Japan, the top-selling manga series for 2014 has been published by Oricon. The list includes the top 30 titles and their sales numbers covering the dates from November 18, 2013 to November 16, 2014. Looking the list over, it’s pretty amazing how many of them have been licensed and are currently being released. Seventeen titles are current available, with the eighteenth, Tokyo Ghoul having just been announced by Viz Media at New York Comic Con in October:
|2||11,728,368||Attack on Titan||Kodansha|
|9||4,633,246||The Seven Deadly Sins||Kodansha|
|19||2,644,122||Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma||Viz|
|23||2,397,887||Kimi ni Todoke||Viz|
|26||2,289,738||Black Butler||Yen Press|
We will then have three of the top five titles and, and seven out of the top ten. That’s really not too bad. Should be surprising that Viz has most of the titles as well? Almost half of the top titles come from Shueisha/Shogakukan, that Viz gets first choice/exclusive rights to. Kodansha only have four, but they are all NYT Bestseller charts. And Viz and Kodansha are in a race for the top title with only ~157,000 between One Piece and Attack on Titan. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them switch places in 2015.
Yen Press has only one title, Black Butler, which is also one of its strongest sellers here. Gintama, continues to do well in Japan, but was dropped by Viz here. One-Punch Man continues to be a digital only title. It hasn’t converted like Nisekoi did, so it may not do well enough to warrant a print run, even though it usually ranks on Vizmanga.com‘s top ten with every new volume. Almost the entire licensed list is shonen, with only one shojo, Kimi ni Todoke, charting.
|7||4,681,031||Ace of Diamond||Kodansha|
|11||4,385,701||Hozuki no Reitetsu||Kodansha|
|13||4,166,875||Blue Spring Ride||Shueisha|
|14||4,098,510||Yowamushi Pedal (Yowapeda)||Akita Shoten|
|22||2,472,101||Kyō wa Kaisha Yasumimasu.||Shueisha|
|29||1,967,675||Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun||Square Enix|
Of the titles that haven’t been licensed yet, there are several that make you wonder why. Silver Spoon, by the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, Himoru Arakawa, remains unlicensed, leaving many fans scratching their heads. Yokai Watch, which has the potential to rival Pokèmon, hasn’t found a home in the west either. Sports titles Haikyu!!, Kuroko’s Basketball, Ace of Diamond and Yowamushi Pedal has the curse of not sports titles doing well in the west, despite Haikyu!! and Yowamushi Pedal having strong potential to attract female readers. Hozuki no Reitetsu should be a strong contender with a supernatural theme and bishonen lead, but it’s got the high volume count working against it.
Blue Spring Ride is by Io Sakisaka, the creator of Strobe Edge. Strobe Edge was an earlier work of Sakisaka’s, and a really good on at that. Viz shouldn’t wait time on this one. It’s just over the 10-volume limit, but should be still close enough to warrant a lookover. Yen Press needs to get on Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun, and get that title licensed here! It’s a shojo that is also about creating manga. It’s anime was streamed here by Crunchyroll, and it was well received (at least it was in my Twitter TL). In fact, most of these titles have had anime that was streamed here. Popular anime does seem to play a role in manga being released. I do hope the streams will help some of these.
Chihayafuru is the last title on the list, and one that I’ve seen fans ask for, but no one seems to want to touch. It’s a card game style manga, which shouldn’t be strike against it, except for its subject; Japanese poetry. I’m sure a lot of publishers look at that and think it would be a hard sell, but the same was probably thought about Hikaru no Go. Then again, that title probably only didi okay for Viz. Chihayafuru has an anime too, streaming on Crunchyroll, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to entice publishers. Add to the high volume count of 26, and it being a josei, and there’s the strikeout for this series. It sounds like a good candidate for a digital-only release, if only Kodansha did that.
Do you have a title on the list not licensed that you wish was? Drop me a note in the comments.