Level Comics Bestselling Manga of 2009: Sunako rules!

Level Comics 2009 Bestsellers: #1 - Perfect Girl Evolution (banner)

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge © Hayakawa Tomoko/Kodansha
Published in Indonesia as Perfect Girl Evolution by Elex Media/Level Comics

Sunako of 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).

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.

Level Comics 2009 bestselling manga

# Trimester I II III
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
18 Arms Feverish Girl Homunculus
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.

Another shot at an analysis by huamulan03: Release frequency accounts for nothing. Much.

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
Fight!! Ippo 2 2 UNC 2 UNC V61-70 10
Love Affair 3 7 10 V2-3 2
For You in Full Blossom 4 6 7 V21-23/23 3
Magister Negi Magi 5 3 3 V18-19 2
Vagabond 6 5 6 UNC V25-29 5
Rainbow 7 4 5 V10-13 4
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
Tokyo Juliet 11 13 20 V2-8 7
AirGear 12 14 4 V7 1
Hotaru's Light 13 19 N/A V7 1
LIFE 14 20 N/A V13-16 4
If You Were Here 15 16 N/A V18/8 1
X 16 N/A V18 1
Over Rev 17 N/A V4-8 5
Arms 18 N/A V12-14 3
Descendants of Darkness 19 N/A V4-7 4
Nurse Aoi 20 N/A V9 1
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
Feverish Girl 18 N/A N/A V3-7 5
21st Century Boys 9 N/A V1 1
xxxHOLiC 13 N/A V4 1
Death's Notice 16 N/A V1 1
Homunculus 18 N/A V9 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.

It's supposed to be seinen, but...

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.

Table 3: Bestsellers according to genre (demographics) across three trimesters

Rank Trimester I Trimester II Trimester III
1 Shoujo Shoujo Shoujo
2 Shounen Shounen Shounen
3 Shoujo Shounen Shounen
4 Shoujo Seinen Shounen
5 Shounen Seinen Seinen
6 Seinen Shoujo Seinen
7 Seinen Shoujo Shoujo
8 Seinen Shounen Shounen
9 Shounen Seinen Seinen
10 Seinen Shoujo Shoujo
11 Shoujo Seinen Seinen
12 Shounen Seinen Shoujo
13 Josei Shoujo Seinen
14 Shoujo Shounen Seinen
15 Josei Shounen Seinen
16 Shoujo Josei Seinen
17 Seinen Seinen Shounen
18 Shounen Shoujo Seinen
19 Shoujo Josei Shoujo
20 Seinen Shoujo Shoujo

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.

Table 3.1: 2009 share by genre (demographics) and changes with shares from same period last year

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.

huamulan03's predictions for 2010

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!)

I also expect a stronger showing from Ikigami in 2010 and the addition of Psychometrist Eiji somewhere in the Top 20.

~niki DBA huamulan03 (花木蘭03) who now wants to tweak the Elex list


Cover image and source material used here for reference are © their respective intellectual rights holders. No infringement intended.

other invaluable resources

Amazon Japan (image)

Technorati tags
· , · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·


♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

wow! that's awesome!!!!!!!!!!!XD Sunako rules!!yay!!

huamulan03 said...

@♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ -san,
I thought it was kewl, too ^_^

Post a Comment

When commenting, kindly leave a name, make one up, whatever. I would like to call you something other than "anonymous-san" ^^

Arigatou gozaimuchness,

Recent posts