Anime & Manga News

The Ebb of the Manga Boom in France and the US

by dtshyk
Feb 16, 2011 7:16 AM | 53 Comments
The Asahi Shinbun Globe reported that manga publishers in France and the US have a pessimistic view of the market. According to Asahi and ICv2's report, the manga industry in 2010 suffered 3.6% and more than 20% year-on-year decreases in France and the US, respectively.

Yves Schleef, the chief editor of French major manga publisher Kana, admitted that the sales of manga in France have reached a plateau and they cannot find big hit titles other than Naruto. Both in France and the US, only a small number of titles makes up a large proportion of the whole market. In France, the top five titles; Naruto (15%), One Piece (7%), Dragon Ball (6%), Death Note (5%) and Bleach (3%) hold 36% of the whole manga sales.

Kondo Hiroshi, the chief rights manager of Shueisha, said, "The sophistication of manga culture in Japan is the fruit of decades of research on the readers, but people in Europe and the US encountered the big hit titles from the beginning. It created a large number of readers who have a biased taste toward known-to-be-delicious titles." Schleef said it's hard to judge which titles to sell. Nodame Cantabile is undoubtedly a nationwide hit title in Japan. Its French edition was released in 2009 by Pika, but the sales were "too small to make public", said the President of Pika, Alain Kahn. Glenat, another French manga publisher, released the French edition of Detroit Metal City, but only 5,000 copies were sold.

The CEO of Tokyopop, Stuart J. Levy, said, "The popularity of manga in the US has passed a peak. We have already published all the top-selling titles in Japan. It's no use bringing minor titles to the US." Translator Frederik L.Schodt criticized that Levy's "authentic manga" (printed right-to-left) policy has isolated manga from the general public, but does appeal to core manga fans.

Sources: Asahi Shinbun Globe, Anime!Anime!, JETRO

20 of 53 Comments Recent Comments

...I buy a lot of lesser known manga. This saddens me.

Feb 18, 2011 6:20 AM by holypoop

My heart says yes, but my wallet says no...

Feb 17, 2011 7:16 PM by BlackPanels

The thing that stuns me is that they seem to not understand how these manga titles are successful or why there was a boom. The 90's raised an anime loving generation. Thanks to shows like Pokemon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, and Power Rangers. Stations have been showing less and less anime recently thus not creating new fans. Sales would obviously decrease if you stop the inflow of potential customers. If they want more sales put more anime on channels kids and teenagers watch. The Manga that are popular now are only ones that have been on T.V.

Feb 17, 2011 11:25 AM by RecycledDoom

xXC64Xx said:
It definitely is a shame. A lot of the series I want to buy are not available, and due to low sales, it's even less likely that they will become available in the future.


My thoughts exactly. A lot of the manga I enjoy aren't licensed in English and I'd buy them at the drop of a hat if they were.

Feb 16, 2011 11:18 PM by arhazivory

dtshyk said:
We have already published all the top-selling titles in Japan. It's no use bringing minor titles to the US." ]



thats a laugh, instead of saying US they should say certain states, becuase you can hardly find any manga at all in my state, so if they want to make more money they should try actualy selling them >.>

Feb 16, 2011 9:10 PM by Neverarine

Osianilist said:
Oh Please people,I hear everyone saying all sets of bull Sshit but you so blissfully left out what may be the strongest reason in this digital age why the "BOOm" is over.Piracy.

I my self am guilty of it aswell.Besides the Naruto and Bleach boxset and a few other mangas laying around somewhere,I own nor make no effort to buy anything else,"what's the point when i can read or watch it for free at the click of a finger..".I know you guys think it too..

And I laugh at the fools that say it's cost "too much"...Please,I don't know if you guys are sitting by a outlet under a bridge eating garbage or some shit,but comics in America cost is next to nothing,dirt cheap...are you guys nuts or something? You can't forgo one or 5 hamburgers or beers or weed (cause you guys are clearly stoned),to afford $7+$2 tax? If you buy online you can find even cheaper.Or mabe you guys don't even live in the states...which if that's the case you guys need to stfu cause you have no idea how cheap Anime/Manga,even american comics and animations are.


Sorry i I offended anyone..but seriously people just don't get it.

You're the one who doesn't get it.

You're blindly listening to the propaganda that piracy is a heavy damaging factor. It aint.
Most people who pirate are people who can't afford the shit anyways. I would gladly buy all my anime and manga if it was possible. But sadly I can't because I have a lot more important things to do with my money. Thus I buy what I can and support the industry as much as possible. Watching legal steams whenever possible, buying the shows I really enjoy, and buying the manga I feel is top notch.

Just because the download counter says eight million people downloaded something doesn't mean thats eight million lost sales.

Feb 16, 2011 8:14 PM by Sabinlerose

Osianilist said:
Oh Please people,I hear everyone saying all sets of bull Sshit but you so blissfully left out what may be the strongest reason in this digital age why the "BOOm" is over.Piracy.

I my self am guilty of it aswell.Besides the Naruto and Bleach boxset and a few other mangas laying around somewhere,I own nor make no effort to buy anything else,"what's the point when i can read or watch it for free at the click of a finger..".I know you guys think it too..

And I laugh at the fools that say it's cost "too much"...Please,I don't know if you guys are sitting by a outlet under a bridge eating garbage or some shit,but comics in America cost is next to nothing,dirt cheap...are you guys nuts or something? You can't forgo one or 5 hamburgers or beers or weed (cause you guys are clearly stoned),to afford $7+$2 tax? If you buy online you can find even cheaper.Or mabe you guys don't even live in the states...which if that's the case you guys need to stfu cause you have no idea how cheap Anime/Manga,even american comics and animations are.


Sorry i I offended anyone..but seriously people just don't get it.


It may have escaped your notice but there's currently a global recession going on, so those of us who have to pay our own way instead of living vicariously off mummy and daddy have more important things to spend our hard earned cash on (like bills, taxes, food, transport, etc).

You can talk about piracy all you want, but the simple fact is that it counts for much less than you think when compared to the exorbitant fees paid to publish and distribute manga in the West, and instead of reducing as manga has grown in popularity, the fees have increased. Don't forget that companies like Viz don't actually own the rights to specific manga, only the license to translate, republish and distribute in certain territories.

There are plenty of people who rightly complain about the cost of manga, but will still buy them when they can afford them. I'll happily support the industry just like I always have, and so will many others.

But if the industry isn't going to support us, then why the hell should we give a shit?

Oh, and before you start mouthing off about pirates again, consider this - second hand manga don't contribute to the industry, but you can find them all over Ebay. I don't see anyone claiming sales of those should be stopped.

Feb 16, 2011 8:06 PM by Archaeon

Stop buying stupid anime DVD's and go buy manga.

Feb 16, 2011 7:22 PM by Detective

Oh Please people,I hear everyone saying all sets of bull Sshit but you so blissfully left out what may be the strongest reason in this digital age why the "BOOm" is over.Piracy.

I my self am guilty of it aswell.Besides the Naruto and Bleach boxset and a few other mangas laying around somewhere,I own nor make no effort to buy anything else,"what's the point when i can read or watch it for free at the click of a finger..".I know you guys think it too..

And I laugh at the fools that say it's cost "too much"...Please,I don't know if you guys are sitting by a outlet under a bridge eating garbage or some shit,but comics in America cost is next to nothing,dirt cheap...are you guys nuts or something? You can't forgo one or 5 hamburgers or beers or weed (cause you guys are clearly stoned),to afford $7+$2 tax? If you buy online you can find even cheaper.Or mabe you guys don't even live in the states...which if that's the case you guys need to stfu cause you have no idea how cheap Anime/Manga,even american comics and animations are.


Sorry i I offended anyone..but seriously people just don't get it.

Feb 16, 2011 6:53 PM by Angra-Mainyu

Well, no duh. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that trying to sell something to a market it wasn't originally intended for (a foreign country) is more or less a crapshoot.

Feb 16, 2011 5:07 PM by MadDogV2

With that kind of attitude, no wonder the industry is going down in other countries. Sounds like they're not giving other lesser known titles a chance.

Feb 16, 2011 4:15 PM by MoonLite88

I'm not the least bit surprised by this, for two reasons.

1. As several people have pointed out, the cost of manga is prohibitive in the West, especially with it being a niche market in the first place. The main reason for this isn't the cost of printing and distribution though. It's actually the cost of the license fee from the Japanese side, which they try to blame on scanlators but is actually rooted in their habitual pandering to the minority Japanese markets that have supported the industry for years.

2. The content of the manga being sold, which is in no way reflective of the quality of the manga being sold in the West. In comparitive terms we only get the proverbial drop in the bucket, and many manga that should be released will never see the light of day because the "popular" (and I use that term very loosely), franchises are always pushed to the fore.

But they're only "popular" in Japan, so deserving titles like YKK get left in the lurch.

There's plenty of manga out there that would appeal to a Western audience in a big way, but they won't get a look in until the Japanese publishers and distributors start realising that the industry isn't their "baby" anymore. If they want to stay ahead of the game then they need to start looking at their markets carefully, and catering to them instead of foisting on us the things they think we'd like.

We're not Japanese after all.

Feb 16, 2011 4:14 PM by Archaeon

dtshyk said:
Naruto (15%), One Piece (7%), Dragon Ball (6%), Death Note (5%) and Bleach (3%) hold 36% of the whole manga sales.


i own probably around 50 volumes of manga but i dont own any of these =/
well i do own the 1st volume of Naruto but i wont buy any more cuz i dnt want to spend that much money on just 1 series

Feb 16, 2011 3:48 PM by CrystalLake

I'm really not sure what you mean by shipping though. What shipping? The manga we buy in stores doesn't come from Japan. It comes from wherever it's printed in the U.S / Canada.
There shouldn't be any shipping larger then a few hundred kilometers from where the book was printed.

As far as I see it. The companies can keep saying they know best. That they are the expects and that their methods are working despite profits, and interest dropping like rocks. Right up until they go the way of ADV.

Feb 16, 2011 3:41 PM by Sabinlerose

Not surprised by this at all. Everybody I know tries to buy used books, first.

Feb 16, 2011 3:39 PM by MagicWookie

Well, that's just too bad then, since there are many other good and great manga.

Feb 16, 2011 3:36 PM by AlexSadist-sama

not surprising at all after seeing crappy mangas released not to mention the loss of intrest from slow releases

Feb 16, 2011 2:48 PM by Corpse69

There's something inherently wrong with their business model. They take the most popular manga in Japan and export it overseas in hopes that it will do well there. No room for cultural differences or an in-depth analysis why it did well in Japan

And of course you have the problem of bad translations, high prices etc

Feb 16, 2011 1:57 PM by mikhailn

Akamitsu said:
Another reason I don't like Naruto. Most readers in the US are ignorant to anything but that.


I don't think it's fair to judge an anime/manga based on his fanbase. The readers/viewers don't make the manga/anime =/

And of course Naruto is always going to sell, it's the most popular in america. And from what I see, here in the west, most people can't even differenciate anime and cartoons and a good number of those fans that read/watch those mainstream series are part of that portion of the population...thus it is not surprising that most people aren't willing to watch/read less known manga/anime because the're only interested in one or two series, unlike anime fans who go berserk when a new series comes out. (Figuratively speaking of course :D)

Feb 16, 2011 1:38 PM by LavitzSlambert

Manga is stupidly cheap in Japan compared to America. It makes sense, what with it having to be translated and everything, but still. If it was as cheap here as it is there, I'd actually read the stuff.

Feb 16, 2011 1:27 PM by TaquishaJohnson