Original Publication date: November 30th 2023
We close this year of Oricon's new post-One Piece era with a new series at the top of the ranking, the new soccer phenomenon, BLUE LOCK. First let's take a general overview. We have already left behind the mega explosions we have experienced these last years of Kimetsu no Yaiba, Jujutsu Kaisen or Tokyo Revengers, seeing how the physical manga market in Japan has stabilized and returned to the typical trends prior to this era. We continue to have big increases in popularity and sales of new series, but nothing similar to these mega-explosions I was talking about. We continue with the trend of transfer to the digital market, where less generalist series and more niche audiences have a strong pull in contrast to their performance in the traditional paper volume. This continues to lead to a "domination" of the paper by the series of the generalist public. This is neither bad nor good, it is simply the way the public has been moving in recent years, and the fact that something works in the digital market does not mean that it will do so well in print.
n.1 BLUE LOCK
Total Copies sold: 10,527,146
This return to "normality" leaves us with a first, and it is the first time in the history since Oricon has been publishing figures, that we have a series from the publisher Kodansha leading, and comfortably, the ranking of best-selling physical series in Japan, BLUE LOCK. The beginning of its meteoric rise takes us back to last year's fall anime season, when its anime adaptation premiered. It was anticipated that the series was going to have an important rise thanks to this. Since shonen series of the main magazines and also as a spokon, this tendency to rise in sales is usually given more easily. But that was not all, since Blue Lock had more of an advantage than other series, and it was by chance or by a very good programming of the anime by its producers, that it coincided with the Football World Cup in December. For a month and a half, a huge amount of people consumed all kinds of football-related content, and the great performance of the Japanese national soccer team in the World Cup made the manga series gain even more fans. For example, in that month, the World Cup tik tok content became extremely popular with winks to Blue Lock, comparisons, edits and so on. With all this, the series has catapulted to the peak of current popularity within the manga and anime scenario, selling in this 2023 alone (Oricon year = November to November) the incredible amount of 10,527,146 physical volumes in total, among its 25 volumes in publication in the Japanese country, which shows a growth of almost 200% compared to last year. This crowns it as the best-selling manga of the year, and as I said before, is the first series of the publisher Kodansha to lead this ranking. In addition, it becomes the Weekly Shonen Magazine series that has sold the most copies in a single Oricon year, surpassing [by a little] the previous record held by Nanatsu no Taizai (Seven Deadly Sins) since 2015.
n.2 JUJUSTU KAISEN
Total Copies sold: 8,541,411
In second place, we have the almighty Jujutsu Kaisen, once again occupying a place on the podium of this ranking. Another series that was also expected to be at the top of the ranking seeing how their new volumes performed sales wise in these years (+1M) and with a new anime adaptation released this summer. Although with the continuation of the anime and others, there is a slowdown in the series, having a small drop compared to last year of around 30%. Nothing worrisome since all series that have a bang tend to stabilize and go down a bit later.
n.3 ONE PIECE
Total Copies sold: 7,197,532
Closing the podium is the one and only ONE PIECE. Which with only three new ones released on sale in this period has not been able to climb higher. Therefore, it remains in line with the years 2020 and 2021, periods in which the series also found similar figures, and which also had only 3 new volumes released in those years. This, let's say relaxation in publication, is normal due to the length of the series and the (deserved) breaks taken by its author, Eiichiro Oda. It shouldn't come as a surprise if we see how this trend continues over the next few years until the end of the series.
n.4 [OSHI NO KO]
Total Copies sold: 5,413,091
The first off-the-podium series we have is [Oshi no Ko], the other big reveal this year that appeared in the spring topping all the weekly and monthly sales tops. And as it could not be otherwise, its recent success is due to its recently released animated adaptation, which shows us once again the power that this type of adaptation has today in the manga-anime industry. As it has fewer volumes overall than Blue Lock, its total has not been as large, but that has not stopped it from growing up to 390% compared to 2022. The series was already popular, being one of the most read on Jump+ in Japan, but with the recent high, it has been placed as the most read on the platform! With an average of almost 4 million readers (counting the last 10 episodes) and narrowly surpassing Spy x Family and Chainsaw Man 2.
n.5 CHAINSAW MAN
Total Copies sold: 5,348,618
Behind them is another recent hit, Chainsaw Man. Despite a little slowdown in the recent volumes’ sales, it manages to keep going with huge numbers. Figures that were also helped by its animated adaptation released at the end of last year, and that its last legs allowed the series to have a very profitable first half of the year. With all this, the series continues to have a great level of sales, growing 50% compared to last year.
n.6 SLAM DUNK
Total Copies sold: 4,968,484
Also, mid-table is an old acquaintance, one of the biggest and most influential series in Japanese history, Slam Dunk. Its sudden resurgence is due to the release of its anime movie, which adapts the ending of the story, which had not yet been brought to the screen since the nineties. This of course, and as if it could not be otherwise, has attracted old and new fans that have acquired the new edition of the series that came out a few years ago. Demonstrating once again the importance and popularity of this series for the Japanese people, that even over the years, never falls into oblivion.
n.7 SPY X FAMILY
Total Copies sold: 4,326,425
After this historical titan, we find one of the recent "titans" of Jump+, Spy x Family. With a dozen volumes, it has been positioned as one of the most popular and best-selling series in Japan for three years in a row. Following in that wake, this year is a little lower in the top than in previous years, logical considering that the initial hype for the series has been decreasing over time as usual in all series and has only published two new volumes this year. It is still a young series so its growth from now on may be "smaller" compared to its beginnings.
n.8 MY HERO ACADEMIA
Total Copies sold: 3,528,423
We are now approaching the end of the top 10, passing by the action shonen par excellence of the last decade, My Hero Academia. A weak year for the series compared to the previous ones, with only 3.5 million volumes sold, a little more than half of last year. This is since the series lives a lot from its anime adaptation and this year no new season has been issued, which makes the sales of previous volumes suffer a lot. If we stick only to the new volumes released this 2023, sales remain at a very good level, with no signs of fading. In addition, this year only 3 new volumes have been published, one less than usual, which makes the annual total lower than last year’s as we have said.
n.9 TOKYO REVENGERS
Total Copies sold: 3,218,117
In penultimate place is another of the big hits of recent years, Tokyo Revengers. This year could not have ended higher since the series ended at the end of 2022 and this year's sales have been the manga's last moments. Thanks to the anime continuations that are still being produced and broadcasted, the series manages to maintain sales that have allowed it to enter (possibly for the last time) in the annual top of best sellers.
Total Copies sold: 3,207,691
Finishing off the top 10 at last, the giant KINGDOM. No surprise since it is the boast of the seinen demography of the last years, with more than 70 volumes and maintaining a spectacular level. We also find ourselves with one of the most timid years of this series in sales, which can be explained to the length of this same and a small loss of readers expected by the passage of the years. With this we close the top 10 best-selling manga series of the year 2023 in physical, let's not forget that here we have not considered the digital sales that would probably give a twist to the top and we would see several changes. Thank you so much for reading