Japan’s July 2021 manga sales numbers carry some surprises, but most astonishing is just how much Tokyo Revengers managed to move last month.
With a whopping 5.6 million units sold, Tokyo Revengers has seen an incredible surge since the debut of its anime adaptation in April 2021. With 32 million volumes sold in total, the July sales alone represent nearly 20% of that number–an impressive boost for a series that first began running in 2017. By comparison, juggernaut series My Hero Academia came in at #10 on the list, moving about 415,000 units over the same time frame. Jujutsu Kaisen, which also finished up its first anime season this year, was in second place with over 960,000 units, followed by seinen series Kingdom at 796,000. Other big names on the list include That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime at #4, Demon Slayer at #5, and Attack on Titan at #9. Attack on Titan‘s final collected volume saw release in Japan in June, while Demon Slayer‘s sales are likely still propped up by the record-breaking Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie adaptation’s success.
As one can see from a glance at the list published on Twitter, Tokyo Revengers‘ performance is exceptionally impressive, moving more units than all the other titles in the top 10 combined. While still a bit niche among Western anime and manga fans, the series has clearly managed to build a loyal fanbase rather rapidly, as its story of an ordinary guy trapped between gang wars and time paradoxes strikes a unique balance between sci-fi and action. The series has had some difficulties with localization, however, as the Tokyo Manji Gang wears armbands featuring the Buddhist “manji” reversed swastika, which are a bit too close to the familiar Nazi swastica symbol for many Western publishers. The anime version hosted on streaming service Crunchyroll ended up removing every instance of it, leaving the meaning of the gang’s name a mystery for anyone unaware of the censorship. The series also saw the release of a live-action film adaptation on July 9, 2021, which likely further contributed to the outstanding sales.
Manga in general has seen a surge in sales throughout the pandemic for a variety of reasons. While large-scale film and television productions had to put a stop to filming due to COVID-19 and theatrical releases were canceled, manga were able to proceed with almost no disruption to their publication schedules, as most are written by a single creator with a handful of assistants. Manga have also been able to put out digital releases simultaneously with serialized weekly magazine releases, making it easy for fans to keep up without even leaving their homes.
The sales numbers listed above are for the paperback releases, which are popular among collectors and often include some extras that aren’t found in digital form or the weekly release. What this means for Tokyo Revengers is that these manga sales are almost exclusively coming from the series’ back catalog, as those new to the series dive in for the first time.
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