Eastern manga has always had something of a friendly rivalry with that of western comic books. While comic books are still seen as something as a niche hobby, despite the smash success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, manga is widely accepted in Japan with both children and adults reading it far more per capita than comics books in the west. Anime Executives at the panel for Project Anime discussed why they believe that manga sales are currently overtaking those of comic books in the west proper.
Twitter User Deb Aoki broke down the panel, documenting why these executives believe that manga is overtaking comic book sales in the west for a myriad of factors:
Dallas Middaugh @dallasmiddaugh ‘s opening remarks at Project Anime in LA described anime & manga as “going through a period of radical change” - as overseas interest & availability of content from Japan has grown + increased investment fr. overseas #ProjectAnime19 #AX2019 pic.twitter.com/FsuvwKcBay— Deb Aoki (@debaoki) July 2, 2019
Whille this Twitter thread may be quite long, it is interesting to dig through it and see some of the interesting reasons as to why manga is becoming more popular worldwide. One factor we never even imagined, which is mentioned here, is Japan's population rate problems. As sales have declined in Japan due to the overall population number slipping, manga has been made to become more appealing to audiences worldwide in order to garner the lost sales. Companies are seeing that the "growth potential" for manga is overseas and are acclimating accordingly.
Another really interesting phenomena that is documented here is that executives discuss the fundamental changes that are now seen with anime and manga today versus five years ago. One executive noted that five years ago, the main battle for these properties was Crunchyroll vs Funimation, but today, its Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Amazon, and Netflix joining the fray. Regardless, this will be a very interesting trend to study as we move forward into the future.
What do you think about the reasoning displayed here from executives as to why manga is currently overtaking sales from western comic books? Do you see this trend continuing into the future? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, or Marvel's long lost "Mangaverse" project.
Project Anime is described as such: "Project Anime is an international conference series that invites convention directors, executives, anime and Japanese pop culture industry leaders, distributors, exhibitors, and more to discuss ways to improve the anime and Japanese pop culture market in their territories and across the globe. Through roundtable discussions, workshops, and lectures, Project Anime hopes to empower convention owners and executives, deepen the bonds between the anime industry and conventions, and find new and unique ways that conventions can further reach and grow the anime industry on a global scale."