Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge © Hayakawa Tomoko/Kodansha
Published in Indonesia as Perfect Girl Evolution by Elex Media/Level Comics
Perfect Girl Evolution staged a coup d'etat and ousted AirGear's Ikki from his top spot on the Level manga bestsellers list. Sunako and the fair bishounen of PGE reigned supreme across three trimesters this year, leaving Team Kogarasumaru's founder duking it out with and losing any shot for a second or third place to boxer Ippo (Fight!! Ippo) and mage Negi (Magister Negi Magi).unako of
AirGear really had its work cut out for it during 2009. In the first trimester, it didn't even make the Top 10, having had to contend with (aside from the top three) eight other manga, two of which were chart newbies Love Affair and Tokyo Juliet, both shoujo titles. In the second trime, AirGear dropped two more notches (once more losing to (among others) another shoujo newcomer, Little Devil Café) to bag a rank 14. It only managed to redeem itself in the third trimester by finishing fourth.
|1||Perfect Girl Evolution||Perfect Girl Evolution||Perfect Girl Evolution|
|2||Fight!! Ippo||Fight!! Ippo||Fight!! Ippo|
|3||Love Affair||Magister Negi Magi||Magister Negi Magi|
|4||For You in Full Blossom||Rainbow||AirGear|
|5||Magister Negi Magi||Vagabond||Rainbow|
|6||Vagabond||For You in Full Blossom||Vagabond|
|7||Rainbow||Love Affair||For You in Full Blossom|
|8||Team Medical Dragon||Love & Collage||Love & Collage|
|9||Love & Collage||Team Medical Dragon||21st Century Boys|
|10||Yugo The Negotiator||Little Devil Café||Love Affair|
|11||Tokyo Juliet||Yugo The Negotiator||Team Medical Dragon|
|12||AirGear||The Black Swindler||Little Devil Café|
|13||Hotaru's Light||Tokyo Juliet||xxxHOLiC|
|14||LIFE||AirGear||Yugo The Negotiator|
|15||If You Were Here||Red Eyes||The Black Swindler|
|16||X||If You Were Here||Death's Notice|
|17||Over Rev||Blade of the Immortal||Red Eyes|
|19||Descendants of Darkness||Hotaru's Light||A Hint of Purple|
|20||Nurse Aoi||LIFE||Tokyo Juliet|
Based on total quantity sold and net sales; standalones excluded
Source: Highly Acclaimed Manga of Elex; figures from Elex Media Research and Development; updated 23 November 2009
Top 20 2008 bestseller titles that do not appear in the above 2009 list:
20th Century Boys, Babysitter Gin, Dandelion, Haruka 17, Hellsing, My Favorite Bike, Shin Angyo Onshi, Trafficker, and Train Man (Densha Otoko - Net Hatsu, Kakueki Teisha no Love Story) by Hara Hidenori.
AirGear could, of course, resort to the defense that only one new volume released during the period surveyed (volume 7, which came out in September; see Note) to explain its dismal showing, but as I've already noted the previous year,
the frequency with which a series releases new volumes doesn't effect its ranking. No, top of mind or always being in your face don't cut it. Were that the case, Hajime no Ippo should have captured the #1 spot with its 10x release during the period under discussion (see below):
Table 2: Rankings, changes in succeeding periods, comparison with original TI position, and new volumes released
|Manga||TI||TII C/ TI||TIII C/ TI||Releases 1||Total 1|
|Perfect Girl Evolution||1||1||UNC||1||UNC||V18-19||2|
|For You in Full Blossom||4||6||↓||7||↓||V21-23/23||3|
|Magister Negi Magi||5||3||↑||3||↑||V18-19||2|
|Team Medical Dragon||8||9||↓||11||↓||V6-9||4|
|Love & Collage||9||8||↑||8||↑||V5-7||3|
|Yugo The Negotiator||10||11||↓||14||↓||V16-18||3|
|If You Were Here||15||16||↓||—||N/A||V18/8||1|
|Descendants of Darkness||19||—||—||N/A||V4-7||4|
|Little Devil Café||—||10||N/A||12||C/TII ↓||V1-4/4||4|
|The Black Swindler||—||12||N/A||15||C/TII ↓||V6||1|
|Red Eyes||—||15||N/A||17||C/TII ↓||V9-11||3|
|Blade of Immortal||—||17||N/A||—||N/A||V4||1|
|21st Century Boys||—||—||9||N/A||V1||1|
|A Hint of Purple||—||—||19||N/A||V1||1|
N.B. 1 Total number of new releases may be more if the fourth trimester of 2008 were also taken into consideration.
AirGear's woes aside, this Level bestseller list again proves that in any trimester, seinen—the genre that comprises most of Level's manga—wouldn't be among the top three, despite fan faves Vagabond and Rainbow. Yamanade is shoujo, while Hajime no Ippo and Negima are shounen.
|Rank||Trimester I||Trimester II||Trimester III|
Based on the above mapping, overall, shounen manga held a steady 25% share of the top 20 in three trimesters of 2009; shoujo garnered 35% during the first two trimes and dropped to under a third during the third. Seinen only flexed its muscle in the third by nabbing a 45% share. I attribute this increase to the addition of 21st Century Boys (which debuted at #9) and Death's Notice or Ikigami (which debuted at #16), and the return of xxxHOLiC and Homunculus to the Top 20 in the third trimester, thus swelling the seinen ranks.
So, based on shounen performance here (and in the 2009 Elex charts), the safest strategy for a manga publisher is to publish shounen titles.
|Genre||TI share (%)||TII share (%)||TIII share (%)|
|Shoujo||35 ↑||35 ↑||30 ↑|
|Shounen||25 UNC||25 ↓||25 UNC|
|Seinen||30 ↓||30 ↓||45 ↓|
|Josei||10 UNC||10 ↑||— ↓|
Level, however, is apparently not that risk-averse, as borne out by the increased shoujo composition, the general diversity of the 2009 Top 20 titles, and its incursion into European comics (ROMIC) starting from August 2009. To reiterate what a Level editor told me when I asked why Level had gone into Lucky Luke, Michel Vaillant, and Smurfs comics,
See an opportunity, we catch it ^_^ But despite its experiments, I don't see Level slashing the number of seinen titles it puts out any time soon, as that genre is likely the basis of the imprint's existence.
That we're likely to see more new seinen manga is a given (considering the planned for 2009 K2, Restore Garage 251, The Drops of God (Kami no Shizuku), Fist of Northern Sky (Hokuto no Ken?), and Ghost Mama haven't premiered yet), but whether any of these would duplicate or better the feat of Urasawa Naoki's 21st Century Boys in 2009 remains to be seen. Also in terms of what will be released in 2010, I anticipate more new shoujo titles — relatively short ones, since at least two shoujo series—For You in Full Blossom and Little Devil Café—finished during this timeframe and something needs to fill the vacuum they leave behind. But that gap-filling wouldn't constitute European comics, I don't think; the number of ROMIC per month would probably stay at six new releases, max, and I doubt that they would make it into the Top 20. (Although considering the popularity of the Smurfs, I could be wrong.)
Despite all indications from this period, I also predict AirGear regaining its previous glory as the series "matures," giving Hajime no Ippo and Negima a tougher time hanging on to their 2009 positions. (In my own little way, however, I will contribute to Perfect Girl Evolution remaining on top by continuing to GET!)
~niki DBA huamulan03 (花木蘭03) who now wants to tweak the Elex list
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manga · bestseller, Level Comics · josei · seinen · shoujo · shounen · 21st Century Boys · AirGear · Ai Kora · Arms · The Black Swindler · Blade of the Immortal · Descendants of Darkness · Feverish Girl · For You in Full Blossom · Hajime no Ippo · Hana-Kimi · A Hint of Purple · Homunculus · Hotaru's Light · If You Were Here · Ikigami · LIFE · Little Devil Café · Love & Collage · Love Affair · Mahou Sensei Negima! · Ns' Aoi · Over Rev · Perfect Girl Evolution · Rainbow · Red Eyes · Team Medical Dragon · Tokyo Juliet · Vagabond · X · xxxHOLiC · Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge · Yugo The Negotiator