Monday, May 03, 2004


Following up a bit on my earlier post on the top graphic novels of 2003 as reported by BookScan (if permalinks don't work, scroll down to April 26), here's ICv2's list of the top 25 manga (and manhwa) series for the first quarter of 2004 (via artbomb). As it was prepared as a guide for retailers, this list only contains series which have, or had, releases scheduled in the second quarter of 2004 (so no Chobits or Love Hina), and it's "based on sales reports for both the bookstore and comic store channels, as well as interviews with retailers, publishers, and distributors."

Mostly, the list is what you'd expect, but a few things surprised me. Demon Diary, at #6, does even better than it did on the BookScan charts, where I was surprised at how well it did. Fake, at #11, and Gravitation, at #14, really surprised me, because these are both shounen-ai series: stories about a romantic relationship between two males, aimed at a readership of heterosexual girls. (Don't confuse this with shounen manga, which are manga aimed at boys, as in Shonen Jump. Shounen means "boy"; ai means "love.") When I've seen shounen-ai talked about in Western discussions of manga, it's always been explicitly or implicitly presented as a peculiarly Japanese phenomenon, despite the similarity with slash fanfiction. These series both looked a good deal less explicit than the doujinshi I reviewed in my last post--I haven't read either of them, but when I briefly dipped into them I saw nothing that went beyond a kiss--but that's by no means true of all Japanese shounen-ai series. Maybe the success of these titles will lead some publisher to bring over the harder stuff. Looking through the BookScan chart again, I do notice that both these series did do well in bookstores, though not well enough to crack any of the top-10 lists I compiled.

I'm also surprised at Azumanga Daioh coming in at #19, not because it doesn't deserve it--it's definitely one of the best series out there--but because it didn't do all that well on the BookScan chart. It didn't do terribly, but its most recent volume was only #103 in sales for the week the chart was compiled, even though it had appeared very recently, which would be expected to translate into a high ranking. Glancing at Newtype USA (which is wholly uncritical, but is a good source of news if you can find a copy with the shrinkwrap off), I noticed that AD was Diamond's seventh-ranked manga for Feb. 2004. This would seem to be a case where the direct market has better taste than the bookstore market.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?