Original Article By Nerdigans Inc. At BoundingIntoComics.com
In a sales feat that stands in stark contrast to the current state of their Western rivals, the newest volumes of Jujutsu Kaisen and One Piece have officially sold over a million copies within one week of being released in their native country.
In Japan, media sales tracking company Oricon release weekly sales charts for a number of industries, including music, video games, and manga.
According to their most recent weekly sales chart for the week of April 04-13, the top four best-selling titles among Japanese readers were Gege Akutami’s Jutjutsu Kaisen, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece – both of which sold over a million individual copies – Tatsuya Endo’s SPY X FAMILY, and Taizan 5’s The Original Sin of Takopi.
Taking the top title from last week’s champion One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 19 has took the top spot on the Oricon chart thanks to both its regular and standard editions.
In it’s debut week, before including pre-street date sales, Jujutsu Kaisen volume 19’s regular edition sold 1,093,519 copies and the limited edition 66,711. Including pre-street date copies, the combined totals of both editions’ sold copies mount up to 1,232,116.
With the success of not only the core anime series and the recent Jujutsu Kaisen 0 film – not to mention the fact that the previous volume sold 667,857 copies in just two days – it should come as little surprise that Volume 19 has sold like hot cakes.
Outside of the popularity from the Jujutsu Kaisen anime offerings, it’s no surprise why this volume sold so well. Not only does it contain the showdown between Itadori and Higuruma, but also part of the insane fight between Megumi and Reggie Star’s squad that fans have come to refer to as ‘Megumi’s Bizarre Adventure’.
Itadori vs Higuruma’s fight is an especially powerful, as struggling with guilt from a mass murder Sukuna committed using his body during a previous fight, Itadori finds himself up against a former defense attorney who completely snapped when the court of public opinion pressured the courts to wrongfully convict his most recent client.
Under the sway of Higuruma’s Judgeman Cursed Technique, whose power morphs the battle field into a courtroom trial, both sides have only one chance to lay their claims with the options being silence, denial or confession. What ensues is a battle of wits and arguments, with their lives and cursed energy technique hanging in the balance.
As for the latter antagonist, his appearance remains memorable thanks to his ability to manifest anything that is on a receipt or a document.
In one moment, Reggie can be seen using a receipt to a fancy hot spring as a means to recover. He can even summon a house – yes, a literal house – if he has the receipt for it.
Last week, One Piece Volume 102 was at number one from pre-street date sales alone, outselling all individual manga volumes for the week with 211,922 copies.
Though dethroned from its seat atop the charts, One Piece Volume 102 sold a total of 1,050,333 copies in its debut week, landing it in the second place spot and bringing its total sales to 1,262,255 total copies.
Why is Japan going nuts over this latest volume of One Piece? Well aside from the series being one of the most popular in Japanese history, its current Wano Arc is pretty fire, and this volume contains a major turning point in the ongoing raid of Onagishima.
It also contains a number of epic showdowns, including those between Zoro and King, Sanji and Queen, and the boss battle of Kid and Law against Big Mom.
During these battles, Zoro learns the origins of his three blades and is tested by his newly-acquired Enma, Sanji discovers his family modified Queen into a near-literal-Decepticon and is pushed to choose between embracing or rejecting his heritage after his own Germa modifications manifest mid-fight, and in the middle of the volume, Law and Kid are party to an epic reveal amidst their fight with Big Mom.
Between these fights and the collected chapters’ upcoming adaptation for the anime, it’s easy to see why One Piece Volume 102 is selling the way it is.
Coming in at third was SPY x Family Volume 9, which added to its meager 2,975 pre-street date sales numbers to debut to a total of 609, 256 copies sold, almost doubling the roughly 350,000 copies moved by the series’ previous top-0f-the-chart placing Volume 8
Prior to the debut of its new anime, the SPY x FAMILY manga was already relatively popular in Japan, and its apparent in comparison to its previous volume that the hype for the animation is doing wonders for the series’ ability to move books.
Will this volume of SPY x FAMILY top Jujutsu Kaisen or One Piece? Even with an anime behind it, it’s highly unlikely. However, thanks to the aforementioned anime adapatation, the series has a realistic chance of selling a million copies.
In fourth place came relatively-new manga Takopi’s Original Sin with its second and final volume, which opened with 2,414 pre-street date sales before ultimately pulling in a total of 200,919 copies sold.
Easily the least known series among the top four, Takopi’s Original Sin follows the story of the eponymous Takopi, an innocent alien that comes to earth to using his happy tools to spread happiness. Unfortunately, Takopi sees the ugliest side of humanity when he comes across the bullied and abused Shizuka.
While Takopi’s Original Sin is an all-around great series, it should be noted that the manga is not for the faint of heart. Through Takopi’s journey, the manga discusses a number of serious topics, including child abuse, bullying, depression, suicide, and murder in such a way that readers may be forced to face some of their own childhood trauma (I know I did).
However, it’s these discussions – especially from such an innocent perspective as Takopi’s – which seem to have made the series as popular as it is.
With how well both volumes of Takopi’s Original Sin are selling, it’s possible that this series might change the landscape of stories introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump.
As noted above, while these sales numbers are entirely impressive in and of themselves, they also reveal just how well the most mainstream Japanese comic book publisher is faring compared to its Western equivalents- and it really paints a depressing picture for the current state of the Big Two.
According to the U.S. NPD Bookscan Top 20 Superheroes Graphic Novels data for March (via comicbookrevolution.com), popular Batman stories continue to lead the pack, wth the number one seller for the month being 1987’s Batman: Year One with 9,870 units sold.
Number two was Batman: The Long Halloween with 4,952 units sold, while Batman: The Court of Owls took fourth with 3,172 total sales and a new edition of Batman: Hush ranked fifth after 2,931 units.
The only non-Batman entry in the top five was the third-place Complete Collection of Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, and Jordie Bellaire’s run on Moon Knight – undoubtedly due to the then-upcoming premiere of the character’s Disney Plus series – which moved 4,222 units for Marvel. Not even a new title or volume in a series, but a collection.
The number one selling graphic novel in the US for March 2022 is a graphic novel older than both myself and many of you reading this?
That’s baffling to think, especially as manga series like Detective Conan and Hajime no Ippo have been in serialization for as long as I’ve been alive – much like the Dark Knight – and their newer volumes still consistently sell really well in Japan.
It also doesn’t help that instead of learning from the successes of Japan, such as their easy entry points and events having actual consqeuences for the overarching plot, Marvel and DC creators would rather spend their days attacking the manga medium as well as disappointed fans.
This is really sad and pathetic. DC, hopefully Discovery’s overhaul can save you from the bowels of Apokolips with new stories and characters that are more than just cheap attempts at virtue signaling. Marvel, well, there’s little to hope for in regard to their future under Disney.