Elex 2009 Bestselling Manga: Still Naruto, did you expect anything else?

Before 2009 closed, I figured I should come up with a couple year in review lists; I like to think this Elex bestsellers one (and the Level Comics version following shortly) helps to place the hundreds of manga whose release schedules I cranked out during the year in perspective.

Elex Bestselling Manga of 2009: Naruto, Conan, and One Piece banner

Naruto © Kishimoto Masashi/Shueisha · Meitantei Conan © Aoyama Gosho/Shogakukan ·
One Piece © Oda Eiichiro/Shueisha
Published in Indonesia by PT Elex Media Komputindo

Naruto grabs the top spot for the second year in a row — second only in that rankings for 2007 and earlier weren't reported. (Although I'm inclined to think it was Number One before, too.) Year 2008 second and third placed Detektif Conan and One Piece jockey for the next two positions along with Kungfu Boy Legends but generally remain, with Naruto, the most consistent of Elex's manga performers.

Elex Media bestselling manga and manhwa (2009)

# Trimester I II III
1 Naruto Naruto Naruto
2 One Piece Detektif Conan Detektif Conan
3 Kungfu Boy Legends One Piece One Piece
4 Detektif Conan Kungfu Boy Legends Kungfu Boy Legends
5 New Legenda Naga Yu-Gi-Oh! R Yu-Gi-Oh! R
6 Doraemon Comic Quiz Eyeshield 21 Eyeshield 21
7 Doraemon New Legenda Naga New Legenda Naga
8 Yakitate!! Japan Nakayoshi Lovely ~Peach Nakayoshi Lovely ~Grapes
9 Eyeshield 21 Dorabase Dorabase
10 Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Ruler of The Land Ruler of The Land
11 InuYasha Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Yakitate!! Japan
12 Dear Boys Act II Yakitate!! Japan Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
13 Ruler of the Land InuYasha Kitchen Princess
14 Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Alchemist InuYasha
15 MÄR Kitchen Princess Fullmetal Alchemist
16 YuYu Hakusho - Ghost Files Doraemon Comic Quiz Doraemon Comic Quiz
17 Tale of the Sea King Dear Boys Act II Dear Boys Act II
18 Kitchen Princess Dragon Drive Sentaro
19 Dragon Drive Sentaro Fairy Tail
20 Midori's Days YuYu Hakusho - Ghost Files Yotsuba&!

Based on total quantity sold and net sales
Source: Highly Acclaimed Manga of Elex; figures from Elex Media Research and Development; updated 23 November 2009

a shot at an analysis by huamulan03

I would've repeated that Naruto, Conan, and One Piece doing well anywhere, on any given day, was the one thing you could count on, had it not been for Kungfu Boy Legends' slightly better showing this 2009, which qualifies that triumverate absolute. No, it looks like only Naruto retained the distinction of unshakeable, which makes me curious to see how another uber-brand such as Bleach would fare against it. But as Bleach is published in Indonesia by another imprint (m&c!) that doesn't disseminate rankings, that comparison would just have to go unrealized.

The titles occupying the lower 16 slots also proved relatively stable, making ID'ing so-called gainers and losers an academic exercise. As for those that dropped out of the list, the series concluding in 2008 might explain their disappearances (as in the cases of The Law of Ueki Plus and Parfait Tic!), but this simplification doesn't explain why still ongoing series such as the Demon King manhwa slid from a Top 20 berth to... (current rank unknown). An irregular schedule could account for drops in rank but considering the level, new volumes released four times in the year playing field that even the bestselling manga follow, that excuse can only go so far. In any case, as Elex didn't specify which tankou/volume numbers made up the sales figures, we can't rule out the back issues contributions, especially from series reissued in box sets.

Predictably, however, for Elex Media, shounen manga (again) dominate. The only shoujo titles to do well in sales were Nakayoshi manga: Kitchen Princess and the apparently always bankable Nakayoshi Lovely special anthology — which makes it two less shoujo manga as compared with the 2008 list. Although in its defense, Kitchen Princess posted a strong showing by debuting in this chart at 18 in the first trimester, climbing up to 15 in the second, and finishing at 13 in the third.

Speaking of other upwardly mobiles, how the 2K9 newcomer New Legenda Naga debuted at rank 4 literally jumps out to grab your attention; however, if we assume that the prequel Legenda Naga had done its job of accumulating fans, then the surprise tones down a notch. Also unsurprising was Eyeshield 21's rank 6 finish, climbing up from #20 the previous year. (I thought it was about time ES 21 made it into the Top 10.)

huamulan03's predictions for 2010

Based on the manga consitution which is very similar to last year's, I think the more conservative retail strategy of selling large volumes of select popular titles will continue to prevail, instead of the more niched manga in smaller quantities or long tail strategy. Depending on manga licensing issues, we also might see more manhua, especially fan favorites (as shown by the recent premieres of Steel Rose, Fantastic Tales, and The Real Fake Princess). Licensing issues will also control whether or not we see the manga box trend waxing or waning.

I expect to see Black Butler, The Ruler of Nabari, and Pandora Hearts somewhere in the 2010 Top 20. (Or is that more of a wish than a forecast?)


Level Comics Top 20 Bestselling Manga for 2009

~niki DBA huamulan03 (花木蘭03) whose shoujo Elex favorites (notably Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat!, and Otomen) are nowhere in these charts

P.S. Who also wishes everyone holidays that are merry and bright and Christmases that are... any color you choose.


Cover images used here are © their respective intellectual rights holders. No infringement intended.

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♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

oh..i see..well of course..naruto..haha..but im glad Detective Conan is the second..and Midori days is included..most of the animes included in the list are in the adventure and shonen genre but that's normal.. :3

huamulan03 said...

@♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ -san,
I know! After all my manga babbling, to find out that it's still Naruto just produces...

a GIGANTIC sweatdrop! ^^ *gigantic sweatdrop*

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