If you were an anime and manga fan coming up in the early 2000s, chances are you remember the "Big 3" titles of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump. These were the three titles that stood as pillars of the magazine for quite some time and often always took the top three spots of the rankings. These series blossomed into huge franchises in their own right, and each now have their own massive fandoms. When the Big 3 was first colloquially crowned, the top series were Eiichiro Oda's One Piece, Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto, and Tite Kubo's Bleach. But...does Shonen Jump finally have a new Big 3?
What three series could match the popularity and widespread appeal of these three? One Piece is still around, but what about the other two? Well, what if Kohei Horikoshi's My Hero Academia fills one of those spots? So what does the last one go to? 2019 finally gave us our answer with Koyoharu Gotoge's Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
The tail end of the 2010s was especially transformative for manga and anime availability. Anime broke through more into general pop culture, and is entering the 2020s in one of its highest peak yet, and manga was eventually brought into this fold in the final two years of the 2010s as Viz Media made a ton of manga available legally through the Shonen Jump digital library. This meant that those who fell in love with an anime series now had a much easier, legal, and sometimes free way to check out the manga too.1comments
Meaning series such as My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba have a much easier time of becoming "brands." It took quite a while for the original Top 3 to break through outside of the magazine, and it was the same here. Both series started in 2015 and 2016, ran for a few years in the magazine, and blew up even more with the successful releases of their anime. Bleach and Naruto got huge through physical sales, but perhaps digital sales might make numbers boom even more?
With both of the series dominating sales charts (and Demon Slayer continuing to dominate anime charts months after its initial release), maybe we finally have a new three pillars? But what do you think? If not these series, then what could be considered the top manga in the magazine? Are there any others that have reached this level of popularity? Is it even possible to have a new Big 3 at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or talk to me directly about all things anime and other cool things @Valdezology on Twitter!