Japan’s Manga Industry in Dire Straits

manga-a-sinking-ship

Japan’s manga industry faces great peril, with a significant drop in overall sales and a precipitous drop in sales for manga magazines suggesting that change may be required sooner rather than later if the industry is to arrest its decline.

Weekly Shonen jump is a case in point – Shueisha’s flagship magazine sold 6 million copies each week in 1995, which has more than halved to 2.8 million now. Analysis suggests much the same pattern across other magazines in the industry.

Below are the decline in 2009 sales versus those of a year earlier:

Shonen, etc:

Weekly Shonen Jump 2,807,000 0.7%
Weekly Shonen Magazine 1,633,000 -6.9%
Korokoro Comic 937,000 6.0%
Monthly Shonen Magazine 902,000 -4.7%
Weekly Shonen Sunday 765,000 11.7%

Seinen, etc:

Young Magazine 843,000 -10.0%
Weekly Young Magazine 838,000 -10.4%
Big Comic Original 785,000 -5.3%

However, the traditional pattern in the manga industry is for the work to be developed and published in a magazine, and then for the real money to be made in publishing the manga in compiled volumes (“tankobon”).

Poor sales for magazines might be shrugged off, but even tankobon sales have been suffering, though not with the same substantial drop in circulation exhibited by manga magazines.

Below you can see magazine (red) vs tankobon (blue) sales, with volumes sold in units of 100 million above, and sales in units of 100 million yen below (approximately $1,000,000):

manga-tankobon-vs-magazines

One industry researcher reports that “the industry is becoming polarised between the mass market and the otaku-centric,” a fair characterisation in the eyes of many.

Not all companies in the industry face such a bleak outlook however. Kadokawa has carefully cultivated niche audiences of otaku, enjoying huge success with a “character business” based approach, as opposed to pure publishing.

Their CEO certainly agrees, though he stresses that good characters only stem from quality works:

“As we were selling our magazines, so the characters began to sell as a result. But characters don’t take precedence. First the content of the work itself has to be good.”

Kadokawa seem to have taken this business model to its logical extreme in any case.

However, one major shortcoming with this entire viewpoint does become apparent – despite what major publishers would like to believe, Japan’s visual culture industry continues to evolve, and much activity now takes place outside the auspices of the traditional manga/anime combine.

Thus it seems possible that just as traditional CD-based music sales have suffered from the advent of the Internet, so has traditional manga begun to suffer from the rapid changes wrought upon the visual culture industry over the last decade, none of which offer any particular reason to continue buying thick volumes of manga every week.

The very notion that the health of a medium can be measured by the number of blockbusters it produces is itself increasingly obsolete – in music, books and other media, markets are increasingly centred on the so-called “long tail,” with modern distribution allowing vast numbers of niche titles to be economically supported where before only a few very popular titles could ever find commercial success.

Having low or high sales is thus not a measure of how “good” a title is, but instead merely reflects the size of the particular niche a product serves.

Most people have probably lamented their favourite work not appearing in some sales chart, instead marvelling at how bad the top-sellers can be – the future of content industries are increasingly seen to be many of these relatively obscure titles appealing to obscure fanbases, rather than a few hugely popular franchises winning all.

Of course, mass appeal still seems essential in actually developing the market into something which can be differentiated, and the lack of recent franchises with truly broad appeal is a matter of concern.

Just how the production and distribution of anime, manga and games ultimately copes with the erosion of the mass-market blockbuster in favour of a hundred niche titles remains to be seen…

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143 Comments

  • It may be that most people just prefer the digital delivery of content rather than paper (which is probably one of the reasons).

    You can’t really bring your favorite manga book/magazine to work and read it (everyone would stare at you and think you are not working) but you can hop online and read and not feel as conscious about it.

    Perhaps if they could make a service where you could subscribe and receive the chapters immediately upon release (and hopefully also in English) and it’s sent to your e-mail or phone like right away then that might be worth looking into. They could also tie this in to their magazine subscriptions in some way (get both?).

    Of course they will have to make the back end infrastructure very cost-effective in order to give out reasonable prices for the content.

    Either that or they start having manga reader sites start paying reasonable royalty fees to legally host their published works based on an “average per view to ads clicked” basis or something.

    No one wants to be 6 months behind on their favorite series. People need to learn that people want stuff right away and there are those who are willing to pay for getting things ‘hot off the presses’ so to speak, even if it is digital.

  • mm i dunno, make your manga moar entertaining, i mean, i can point out their bad things for the mangas now, and its not piracy.

    – Naruto is full of it now, and Kishimoto draws like he don’t care anymore.
    – Bleach is delaying so much, just finish the fight, we wanna see something else.
    – One Piece: Still good, but if you stopped somewhere, don’t try to continue.

    that, and all the other awesome manga finished.

  • -I’LL- say it’s failing! You have a giant poster of Jump stars and no Cobra?! THAT’S why your stupid magazine’s failing! Your damned ninja pirate soul reaper kids are killing it! Give us something with REAL adventure, naked chicks, and actual FUN! Stop pandering to elementary school kids and moe blobs and START MAKING SOME -REAL- MANGA AGAIN!!!!

  • They should start consider going digital.

    I love manga and I love buying it, but I don’t have the space to go around hoarding it like crazy.

    Yeah I know we have online free manga already, but I’m talking about still supporting the industry without sacrificing space.

    • Do what the American comic industry had to do. Cut the number of titles, do smaller, better quality print runs (the US no longer prints comics on newsprint) and subsidize your print industry with your online/licensing money. Comics in print HAVE to stay as the biggest target for a comic company is children, who do not have the means or money to do electronic distribution but certainly can read a comic. These are the most important fans because they’re the ones that become life-long collectors and collecting is central to the comic industry. Without the physical objects it’s just stories and frankly there are better sources (i.e. movies, anime, novels) for that. Finally, make manga full colour.

  • Barbarian of Gor says:

    Scan the stuff onto PDF formats, also “Take” the “Free” stuff fans have already done to save time and $. Offer cheap, like $5 a manga downloads on Amazon.com. Maybe $1 for new installments, translated, from the latest “Shonen Ace” and such? (Or $5-$10 for the whole phone book size scan+Translated Manga? Please? Can Haz?) Think of all the postage saved, trees saved, fans across the world?

    A lot of titles I like, but frankly these days we are all watching every dime and there’s always the ‘disaster’ possibility of having to move quickly and live in a tent/van, etc. I don’t want to own a suitcase full of “Maido” anime, but having it as tiny space on backed up hard disk drives and DVDs is cool. I like 3D software for that reason also, tons of ‘action figures’ for art practice, DIY porn and mini self-made movies but no need for lots of physical space.

    • 1 dollar for new installments? My current bi-weeklies (Young Animal, Kindai Mahjong) offer 10-12 new installments an issue for 300-400 Yen. That’s between 3.50 and 4.50 US. Why on earth should I pay 2-3 times more for what I currently buy?

  • The entertainment options increase everyday… It´s natural manga sales will suffer. It´s still better than what happened in the USA, where the best selling comic sells something like 100.000 copies and most of them sell around 7.000 copies or less.

  • Now this article I like, kinda hate when Artefact simply throws us a picture and a few words, not much to go on. This however is the reason I came to sankaku in the first place. Nice Job Artefact.

  • I say everything is dying even regular American Comic books are having problems too. They just closed my Comic Shop in my town and the only way I can get my comic books is if I go across town to new york or buy it on the internet. Problem is I don’t trust the American comic book web sites, because there been times when they charged me three times the price for just 5 comic books.

    Not only that but they also closed Border and Barnes & Noble stores in my town as well. I’m actually sad that this is happening to everyone around the world. People say that new way to get reading material is by downloading it into a electronical reader. But what I remember what the guy at Borders told me that Writers in general don’t feel like writing anything to anyone anymore, because of online sales. They are getting less money and have no choice to either find work or commit suicide which has been happening alot lately.

    I don’t know anymore…this might be it…for everything…

    • Borders, and Barnes and Noble overprice their merchandise.

      Yotsuba&! from Borders (EN TL’d, printed and bound in Canada, shipped to the US): $10.99 (MSRP $9.99).

      Yotsuba&! from Kunokuniya in the US (JP language, printed and bound in Japan, shipped to the US): $6.99.

      Yotsuba&! (JP language, printed and bound in Japan) Japanese MSRP: 600 Yen.

  • Nice article, however the notion of the “long tail” as a viable alternative to mass markets is seldom a consensus right now, let alone supported by actual data:

    Chopping the Long Tail down to size
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/07/long_tail_debunked/

    The idea that a troubled mass industry could bounce back by turning to “niches” is tempting, particularly because it sidesteps the question of why things went downhill in the first place – but numerically it has yet to add up, if it ever will.

  • I can say that some of this might be due to people increasingly feeling the need to go against anime, manga, and video games with no clear cause. People saying things like, “this is the devil!” constantly is sure to lower sales.

  • declining sales in print media, publisher’s churning the same shit every time, not enough “new market” (declining birthrate in the past decade or so), shortage of expendable income due to monetary concerns and a host of other reasons culminate to this decline but I don’t believe there’s really one single reason.

    though it does feel like “Same Shit Different Title”

  • the answer is in the internet!

    pixiv, youtube/nico, and blogs are letting more artists with good ideas get noticed without being restricted by sales figures

    and you get stuff like Fumiko no Kokuhaku, Cencoroll, Supercell,

    talented people will always shine thru, and the internet will give anyone who is sick of the slump and has brilliant ideas an outlet.

    • This is quite true, but there are certain practicalities which intervene to potentially make the transition messy.

      A single person cannot make an actual anime, or even a high level manga (which needs assistants and editors); these can be distributed online easily enough, but the infrastructure is still not being developed in a way which will be successful on a large scale.

      The problem is even more acute with mainstream games – these are now completely dependent on the “big project” development model, although they look to be very easy to distribute digitally in comparison.

  • I think the problem is that people is now experiencing the economic crisis more evidently, so if you have less money to spend, you will have to cut some entertainment as manga and anime. If dad lost his job, your allowance has to be cut, right? I don’t think that originality is the main cause of this, since several long running manga as Detective Conan, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach are still selling as hotcakes.

    As for seinen mangas, in my opinion they are overall more original in contents than shounen titles, yet they are suffering the most; it’s more that the seinen older audiences are suffering from the economic crisis more than others; it’s them who need to pay rent, electricity, water etc. all by themselves.

    • Bleach is indeed being dragged on for too long, since it’s the same shit over and over again, with a new guy stronger than the last showing up. Rince and repeat. Naruto on the other hand has alot more imagination in terms of abilities, and who is good against who. It’s more a Rock beats scissors, but scissors beats paper, which beats rock – relationship. Also, the story is good. So I don’t mind that Naruto lasts forever, as long as Kishimoto still manages to be creative and keeps it interesting like this.

  • The graph explains for itself:
    Shounen, with a mantaining average. Same shit, new readers, which translates to a slight increase.

    Seinen. Same shit, same readers, which translates in readers fed up with that same shit, so a declining in readers.

    It’s quite obvious.
    As someone commented above: “LACK OF ORIGINALITY” which can be seen in behaviour of seinen readers.

  • LaughingReader says:

    Well, every kind of business suffers from the business cycle of ups and downs. Do we need to wait for an expert view from a the economic of manga expert dealer/underground dealer/maiden-capturing godzilla for some enlightenment??? Maybe, or not…

    It could be that:
    Quality works of competitive groups continously decline(yeah right we see people buy what they don’t want)
    In the dark ages of manga, genres are not plentiful so shounen has the customers(could be)
    The other genres(chome chome XXXX) are getting popular even for a hardcore shounen kid (absolutely duhhh, the reason why this site is best for(I’m sure the authors loved it))
    The best manga stories were short lived
    Fujoshi women are not interested in mangas(only novels probably)
    Less and less popular games are based on manga( an FF manga sure can hit big, or godzilla)
    The clear-type of the new browsers made it possible to view high res mangas from the web(i secondly do that, but not only mangas right??) having fans reserving their money for non manga objects

    In the end, who can blame the industry? U think dat JP mangas are a hit on asia? More countries seemed to closed its door for H, animes are dubbed on asia(but not manga, its hard to get one) and JP hates FFVII copyright infringement cosplayers

    • Some good points.

      I wonder: how much have manga sales declined, relative to the general economic decline in Japan and abroad? Other businesses are suffering, too – people aren’t eating out at restaurants as often, etc.

      An observation: in the U.S. major metropolitan city I live in, I previously could locate the yaoi section of bookstores purely by the number of teen- and twenty-something females clustered around it.

      But not these days – it virtually looks like a windswept desert.

      As a currently-unemployed person, I’ve cut my manga/graphic novel purchases way back. I’m currently collecting just “Yotsubato!” (gods, I need the humor), and Terry Moore’s “Echo”. Previously, I’d bought “Kare Kano” volumes 1-20 in a single purchase, and collected multiple series.

  • How is this surprising? Manga is not an essential item… many people have lost their jobs or have had salaries cut back. I’m sure all areas of the economy in Japan have suffered. Yes, I’m sure some of this has to do with the manga being offered… but I can’t help but think that if the economy were better that people would be buying a more varied and wide selection of manga rather than just a few tried and true ones.

    I myself have cut back drastically on what I buy, limiting myself only to those stories that I must have. I’ve dropped to reading only 4 titles. If the economy was better I’m sure I’d be buying boatloads still 🙂

  • I wholeheartedly blame the content of much of the most popular Manga. Consider how many people have been picking up Shounen Jump to read what happens next in Naruto and Bleach. What do they find? well, Naruto is a clusterfuck of new immortal characters with stupid powers that can only be beaten when yet another new character unleashes their ultra-super-secret-I’m-Out-of-Chakra-last-resort Jutsu. Then there’s Bleach, which is such a mess of pointless chapters and several hundred fights between the entire cast that almost always end in the badguy not actually being dead until 50 chapters from now when another character shows up and one-shots them.

    That only explains Shounen Jump, however. I can only really imagine that the effect kind of spread to other publications as well. Angry fan sees that Naruto continues to suck, and says to themselves that they aren’t going to pay for this crap. Then they go online and find that all of the series they’ve been paying for weekly are free and sales drop like a rock.

  • i really like the idea of long tail, i have my own taste in music/movie/anime/art/hobby/etc, why should i stuck with little choices.

    however, the hard part must be trying to figure out how to make a long tail business operable.

  • I think they are slowly killing the market with censorship, like i feel the anime market is going cause of it. Violence, nudity espcially nipples, and now even Pantsu are censored. How long will it be before they carn’t show pantsu in manga anymore.

  • Anime/Manga, its all shit

    its all tits, schoolgirls and moe

    Why people waste their money and time on this sort of shit is beyond me.

    Let this horrible industry die, it needs rebooting back to the time when anime/manga was cool and not shit like it is now.

  • manga is by far not the only product suffering from this discrepancy between quality and sales volume.
    videogame developers have started to produce more and more crap lately, leaving the good stuff behind – just because the crap sells better. prominent current example: modern warfare 2.

    long-time fans tend to be more demanding, but one also mustn’t forget that many people move on after a while. die-hard fans with a strong desire for quality are not as common as one might think.

    • As someone in the game industry, I can say yes there is a high lack of originality. I am highly disappointed with this console generation, during the previous generation there were countless great games, but this generation bores me with few games that interest me. My Playstation 2 collection is bigger than my PS3, XBOX 360, and Wii collections combined. With budgets so big and risks so high, companies don’t take the chances they used to. Luckily, i’m high enough on the ladder to have some control, but some simply isn’t enough. I’m a planner/director (sometimes other jobs) that gives me some creative freedom but I can’t count the number of times the suits or the producers have fucked me over. They just focus on PROFIT, BUDGET, GRAPHICS, HYPE thats it sadly. I’d rather make Playstation 2 games with creative freedom, smaller budgets, weaker graphics, originality, great gameplay, and great stories. Sadly though, it’s just those 4 points that matter to them, if it sells thats what we make. We must break the cycle

    • This, and the fact that with how commonplace video games and animation has become (to the point of saturation as pointed out in an earlier post), it’s like the population has been split into “Consumers” and “Developers”; with most of the shit hitting the fan for the latter as they are potentially pressured with unreasonable demands because one does not understand how the other works (i.e. ignorance or genuine lack of knowledge).

      The industry’s low success rate is not limited to lack of ‘creativity’ and ‘originality’, but feels almost inevitable with the amount of free entertainment avaliable online (for example) to keep the ‘consumers’ satisfied with themselves.

      • The only reason why people play Modern Warfare 2 it offers Multi-player action which of course people would buy it.Yes, It is crap consinder the CEO of Activision Blizzard doesn’t care, he knows it will sell because Call of Duty series proven to be best seller, even though CEO doesn’t play Video games.

        • You know what so funny Archie Comics is still around because Archie Digest does sell yet kids and adults buy it in super markets and mom and pop shops.They market the same old Characters Archie,Jugghead,Betty and Veronica and it still going on.

        • I would say that it’s lack of originality. I mean how many manga do we have of a guy being in a harem liking this one girl who totally hates him?

          Or how many anime of a guy finding himself in a weird place and that he seems that he totally kicks everyone’s ass? All anime/manga is too formulaic.. Stories that aren’t risque or original, and reinventing the same things over again, or worse milking old series that were great over and over.. I mean HOW many revisions to Evangelion do we NEED? They still make those stupid damn statues of Rei in her bandages.. holy crap..

        • The thing is there is some minor controversy with the game it was release same day when Fort Hood was holding a ceremony for the people who got killed or injury in that Shooting.I wasn’t offended by the storyline but it may have offended a few people who didn’t like the idea of a American Genral going rogue and causing a globle threat to the world it seem Fox news was talking about violence of the game the mention the level where your CIA Operative shooting in a Air Port killing Innocent people.

          They made a point the game was made for 17 and up but the funny thing I notice on Xbox live 11 year old kids manage to get a hold of a copy of the game and its annoying the hell of me when they whin that the on Voice chat.Here is another example Halo wasn’t the best game but it manage to be a good Multi-player game that it became competive to the a lot of people believe it was a fun game.

      • Then there are pirates who sell pirated stuff to customers without permission from the developer and the likes. These things really kills most entertainment industry , not just manga’s, slowly but sure.

        • Of course it is. The point is that with the way that the internet is becoming more available to the general public (private, or otherwise), it would make sense to start off with a service which tries to make use of it.

          I know Sony has taken things a bit too far, but the point is that I have the impression that the PSP-Go is but an experimental transition which will eventually grow WITH the expansion and increased availability of the Internet.

        • … this as well.
          Coming to think of it, this may just prove that Sony’s approach with the PSP-Go is all but a ‘transition bridge’ to combat piracy as developers eventually distribute content exclusively through online means.

  • Did they also take into account how large the industry has grown sinse then? there are more magazines for consumers to choose from and less single market dominance. The internet is definatly to blame for some loss of sales but also the fact that the consumer has much more choise now in what to buy than they did 14 years ago. Notice the very small dip in tankobon sales, because there is no substitue you eather get the book of a series you like or you dont there isnt many versions to choose from offerent similar but varied content.

  • Manga’s mostly archetypes now. You’ve got:
    1. Typical shonen action stuff.
    2. Typical shoujo romance stuff.
    3. Moe.
    4. Ecchi/Fanservice.
    5. Parody/Comedy
    Very little of it is interesting original stuff, in my opinion. Needless to say, people are starting to get tired of the same old stuff.

    • All I know I’m supporting manga in the NA.

      I admit i read alot of stuff on the internet but i do buy the ones I really love. which is probably only one piece, I duno since it has most of the things i love about Shounen except smashed into one convenient series.

      Comedy, drama, action, language, imagination, and length (while still maintaining the previous stated)

      dbz and reborn were so close but I’m saving money for bioshock 2 and god of war 3.

    • You know, maybe they read these sorta things more because they’re ronery, and moe, romance, action, comedy, and ecchi things help to cheer them up more….rather than some dark or more “realistic” sorta manga, which would only serve to depress them…

      Just my theory, though of course this would only apply to ronery otaku and such….

    • Lack of Originality. Yep.
      Remember Parasite, from 1990? This manga had an actually somewhat philosophical view towards mankind as a whole and asked questions like “Do you care when people who you do not know die?”

      But I don’t know about anything interesting to read from the last 5 years. Did I miss some good stuff because of the sheer overload with moe & Co?

      • Parasite wasn’t bad. I also pretty much liked Manhole, a horror/mystery. From the most recent I would recommend Onani Master Kurosawa, although, if I remember correctly, it started as novel.

        That was probably the first and last manga that really moved me this year and it’s definitely one of the best ever.

        *Don’t forget to read two additional chapters of OMK in form of short story.

        • I don’t know about manhole, but Onani Master was funny for awhile (mostly the parts where it reminded me of Death Note), but it got boring pretty fast and I dropped it. Lack of originality. Not as bad as most recent manga, but still not good enough for me. First of all, I hate stories with bullying in them. But then this silly girl and her revengegames,.. no, I pass.

          noein and bokurano, both anime, where stories I acknowledged as superior to most of the recent stuff

          nana to kaoru is pretty much the only manga I’m looking forward to finish reading, but I can’t say that it has an interesting storyline or something.

        • Are you stupid or something? A manga doesn’t count as a manga because it’s based on a visual novel? That’s possibly one of the stupidest comments I’ve ever heard. So in other words, anime based of of a manga isn’t anime? That would make 80% of all anime not anime you know. I’m speechless. What a load of crud! How retarded can you get!?

    • Interesting and original stuff gets sweeped under the rug by the hordes of moe/yaoi otaku.

      Just try to compare the sales of your typical harem and something like Mushishi or Sayounara, Zetsubou-sensei.

      People don’t want original stuff. They want same of the old trash packaged in new wrap.

      • From http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2008/10/16/2008-anime-dvd-sales-ranking/
        5,251  俗・絶望先生 / Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (First week)
        5,937  ゼロの使い魔~三美姫の輪舞~ / Zero no Tsukaima III (2 weeks)
        Man, Zero no Tsukaima sure sells better than Zetsubou-Sensei! (And Zero no Tsukaima is one of the more popular harem series.)

        The problem isn’t that generic shows make viewers not watch non-generic shows – it’s just that not enough non-generic shows (and manga) are becoming less and less common (producers take the safe approach: if you know it will sell, why take the risk to make something you’re not sure of if it will sell well?). This naturally leads to a decrease in sales over time. And with the lack of anything better to focus on, moe shows get the spotlight.

        Generic shows and manga have always been there. It goes for every medium – generic books, generic films, generic TV shows, generic manga, generic anime, generic games, generic visual novels – and it has never killed an industry. A lack of non-generic titles kills an industry, not an abundance of generic titles.

      • Comment by makkun
        01:06 16/11/2009 # ! Bad (-0.6)

        ….because lack of creativity or originality?

        at least that’s what i thought….

        You win K.O….! +5…no wait I’ll try to log in for the plus.

    • I don’t believe it’s merely a case of lacking in originality. Even though the current state of manga is heavily slanted towards ero, parody, bishonen, and bishoujo and of course, moe ;D

      I mean, for every fan who has seen enough to say ‘this is original’, there is another, much younger fanbase who picks up these manga like hot cakes.

      Just look at how many ppl rave about Gundam Seed/Destiny. More than half of those have never seen any other Gundam series prior to that.

      More like it’s a decline of traditional media, i.e., physical magazines. If you could have manga serialized into your handphone.. well, you know the rest of the story.

      • Agreed.

        Although I don’t read manga, I watch anime that is “based” on it.

        Anime used to have interesting plots with a Japanese perspective on technology (as opposed to a US/European one). The characters also seemed to be more complex than Western characters (anime/manga vs DC/Marvel for example).

        I think that anime/manga is starting to suffer from the Hollywood syndrome, “We can’t take a chance on that. Come back when you’ve got something with gunfights & explosions.” That’s to say that, the executives aren’t prepared to spend any money, unless the artists can point to a market sector that it will appeal to.

        Think back to before “Star Wars” (sorry, young whipper snappers) there was nothing like it on the market. I have read articles that say that most of the 20th Century Fox executives, wanted to pull the plug on production because they couldn’t understand it and didn’t think that they would make their money back (that’s why George Lucas got such a great deal on merchandising).

        The early anime that I watched would never have been made in the West, “Cartoons are for kids!”
        That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed recent “innovative” shows like Ergo Proxy, Noein, Death Note & Code Geass. I enjoy Naruto even though I don’t consider it to be innovative.

        Sorry about my show list but we don’t get much anime on TV here in Australia.

        lehnerus2000

        • Well its not the internet perse that crippled the manga sales rather in my opinion that the mobile phones and the Internet lifestyle that are responsible.The current Japanese youth generation are more into the mobile thing than any other previous generation,so the hikikomori argument is not viable.They prefer chat rooms ,forums and emails to converse and trade ideas rather than convention (yes the comiket always attract crowd but mostly its newbies or hardcore die hard fans),thats why the figure is also in decline and there is proof ,this year the only figure convention thats always full of fans (Wonder Festival)has less visitors than last year.Its a generation and trend thing that has nothing to do with lack of innovation.Look at Hatsune Miku she became one of the first internet idol that really rule the charst,why?because of the internet culture.It was the people that markets Miku not Yamaha.The True Internet Age has just began,so if the Manga Industry do not follow this trend then they are going down the hard way just like the news industry and their lame watchdog Rupert Murdoch (He blame google (who allows online news readers to read news for free) for stealing his market share of newsreaders …a stupid move thats bound to get nasty payback from the Internet Culture).

        • Quite a weird argument. The manga the most read on the Internet doesn’t seem to refrain Weekly Shonen Jump to sell magazines. There’s a shitload of websites showing Naruto mangas and RAW, still it seems that people buy it.

          Doesn’t it struck you that maybe there isn’t *more* people interested. You can’t have a constant augmentation for a product that is generally bought once (Compulsive buyers aside). Maybe there’s no really more than 2 million people interested in Shonen Jump and unless these 2 million begin to buy multiple copies, the number won’t grow.

          Plus, I don’t think you have an idea on how much crisis impacted the country. Not everyone is some Hikikomori (Welcome NHK) with uber-rich parents who can give unlimited money for buying unlimited amounts of manga (“And so I prayed…”).
          Of course Seinen are gravely impacted. They don’t interest kids, and, adults are trying to keep their money in such a period. (And FYI, Japan bank saving rates are ridiculous)

          Now, the whole “Internet is evil” argument look like Majors company blaming the lack of CD sells on treacherous pirates who should be killed and sodomised (Order is yours). It surely can’t be due to some lack in the mass of products sold nowadays. No ! Absolutely not, it must be the Internet.

          Yes, Internet sharing system impacted the selling of those products but seeing in it the only reason of the downfall of an industry look completely unfounded, at best.

        • MelancholyMomo says:

          wouldn’t say kids lack an imagination, but you make a good point.

          mobile phones and the internet are the main cause.. after all who can read when they’re being distracted.. and the lack of originality is also another significant factor for the older generations.

          mediums of communication and sharing info and the like have changed, what they need to do is simply go with the flow bro, like water yo.

          as troublesome and annoying as it would be for poor people like me, the industry needs to start considering electronic methods of selling their g+s.. it might mean the death of my beloved mangafox and onemanga, but nevertheless change is needed if they want to survive.

        • Maybe because we’re in an information age full of technology, that fiction and the likes are no longer being appreciated as much by a younger generation who now lacks an imagination? In other words, tastes are changing.

          What was uncommon is now common, and as such is not garnering as much attention. That, and sluts are now rampant in japan.

        • The answer is simple!

          It’s the internet.

          Low sales because people read from the internet and don’t bother buying the magazines, that’s why tankobons didn’t drop as much as magazines.

          Tankobons, now those dropped because of the lack of originality. Moe moe moe moe moe moe moe, building blows, building blows building blows, senpai x kouhai, harems, harems, guy without emotions falls in love with a girl then he finds out he does have emotions… shit gets too repetitive and unoriginal.

        • Idiot. Any true otaku knows the value of manga. Most anime is based on manga anyway, and more often than not, the manga is superior. Saying that watching anime rather than reading manga is “smarter” is a load of crap.

        • yeah, if you think it’s smart to wait for their manga to be animated….you might’ve becoming a fool instead.
          k, people getting smarter bacause they choose what’s best for them. They like their fave scene animated, then they’ll choose anime. If they think their fave scene depicted better in manga, then they’ll choose manga instead.

          Also, the best of stories comes from manga.

        • Yeah, so smart that they would’ve gotten even more stupid instead coz they will wait forever for their favorite manga to be animated even if the truth speaks differently.
          Also will they wait forever for their continuation of favorite animes when it’s continuation actually exist only in manga?

          k, people getting smarter because they choose what actually good for them. They will choose anime when they want to see their fave scenes animated, and they will choose manga when they think their fave scenes are depicted better in manga.