Kodansha Comics’ Debut Titles Hit No. 1


As reported earlier, Kodansha Comics debuted in America with seven manga volumes released in May, the first of which came out on May 10. Ten days later, four titles hit shelves and three made the New York Times Graphic Books Best Sellers Top 10 Manga List. The fourth title, Arisa, climbed to a spot on the next week’s list. Four for four – not a bad start at all.

The numbers, reported June 5 (for the sales week ending May 21), show Negima! volume 29 at no. 1, beating out several titles that had been on the list for 3 or more weeks. Shugo Chara! volume 10, a title for girls, and Fairy Tail volume 13, a comedy-based fantasy adventure, also debuted in the Top-10 list at the 6 and 7 spots, respectively. On the June 12 list (for the sales week ending May 28), Arisa volume 2 premiered at the no. 9 spot, Shugo and Fairy Tail moved up one rank each, and Negima! held its champion spot for the second week.

So what does this mean? The other slots are filled by books published by Viz and Yen Press, including Maximum Ride by James Patterson and NaRae Lu. Viz puts out hundreds of books a year, and its Shonen Jump line often creates manga bestsellers that stay in prime selling position for several weeks at a time, so its appearance on the June 5 list with titles that have been on for several weeks seems representative. The Patterson book is American and the rest are translated titles from Japan, so the purchasing of Japanese manga continue to dominate over American works. Four are titles aimed at girls; they are in solidly alternating spots with the ones aimed at boys, claiming spots 2, 4, 6, and 9 – so, without knowing from the list actual volumes sold, titles aimed at girls and boys seem fairly even.

Here’s the big one, though: All but one graphic novel on the list – Blue Exorcist – is a volume that continues an existing series. Just as Harry Potter 4 or Steven King’s newest book in a series would be considered an individual book for selling and categorizing, so are graphic novel series’ volumes – they just happen to have many volumes, because pictures take up more space than words alone. So, the fact that consumers are buying latter-volumes tells us two things: First, for the moment, people are sticking with titles they know, rather than new. Second, fans are willing to wait for the return of their beloved series – and with enough fury to propel those titles to no. 1 for two weeks running.

It says something about the quality of all the titles on the list that fans would wait so long and, in the case of Negima!, buy so powerfully – it had only a partial week of sales upon hitting no. 1. No doubt this was a good day for the Kodansha Comics’ team, but the June 5 and June 12 lists are also good news for all manga publishers: They prove that fans can come back with force after extended absences. And it’s good news for fans, of course – you’re finally getting that next volume.

Disclaimer: The writer of this article is an intern at KUP. She tried to think of a witty statement to reassure you all that she’s being as neutral as possible, but couldn’t. The lawyers would like to let you know, however, that she is writing this article as a manga fan, wholly aside from the position in the company. (Though working there did give a +1 to her research skills.) No kittens were harmed in the making of this article.

  • Joe Blow

    Speaking of readers purchasing volumes from continuing existing series, I sure would like to see the remaining volumes of School Rumble. Considering that the last 3 volumes were released in an omnibus format, and there are 6 volumes left, wouldn’t it be great to make plans to translate and publish another 2 omnibus printings to round out the series? Or maybe even have the second of these two hypothetical omnibus printings to include that School Rumble Z dealie.

  • jane

    I am really glad to hear this good news . I also bought some of the Kodansha releases including Air Gear and The Wallflower. I purchase tons of manga and will continue to do so. I really hope they release Code:Breaker volume 3 and the rest of the series by Akimine Kamijyo mangaka of previous series Samurai Deeper Kyo. Code;Breaker’s art and story are fantastic and a must read .

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  • Genshiken

    Hi Thalia,
    I really liked the series Pastel that was published by DelRey. Can you tell us if this title will be continued at Kodansha Comics? I’ve “looked” at the Japanese version of KC, and it seems that the series goes to volumn 29. It’s only been published in english up to volumn 14. That’s a whole lot of story that’s missing. I really hope the folks at Kodansha Comics consider finishing this series as well.
    — Genshiken in North Carolina, USA.

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  • hi!i am a fan of negima!the story is just superb especialy in vol.28 i never thougth negi come up with that kinda plan.

  • ithink of negoma all the time thinking what will fate do next and who will negi choose in all of his student ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….oooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! icant wait

  • iknow right

  • Denise Mikaela Jao

    I love the Volume 29 of Negima! I would love to read the Volume 30!! When it will be sold here in the Philippines?? Would it be sold in National Bookstore?? I love the part where Chachamaru-san(Volume 29) have gotten a card just doing a pactio with Negi-sensei….I really love that part…Again, will it be sold here in the Philippines, in the National Bookstore?? I’ll be waiting Negima! Volume 30!! ^_^

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