ICv2 has released its estimate of the size of the manga market in North America for 2005 in the new Retailers Guide to Anime/Manga #14-- between $155 and $180 million at retail.  A year ago we estimated the size of the North American manga market in 2004 to be in a range between $110 and $140 million, and we now feel that the actual number was closer to the top end of that estimate than the bottom.  The fairly substantial range in our estimates reflects the wide variations in the numbers we receive from our sources and the difficulty in tracking sales in all the various channels in which manga is now sold.  The bottom line here is that in 2005 sales of manga rose at a strong double digit growth rate that would be the envy of any other publishing category.


Retailers interviewed for the new Guide reported that manga sales continued to rise in Q1 2006.  Among the key trends in the marketplace were:

  1. A growing disparity between the sales of the number one title on our Top 50 Manga Properties list and the bottom titles;
  2. An increasing number of shojo (girls') manga in the Top 50 (up from 14 in our last issue to 19 in the current Guide);  and
  3. The growing popularity of new manga genres evidenced by the first appearance of a josei (sexy manga aimed at older female teens and twenty-somethings) series and a yaoi (aka 'Brokeback Manga'--tales of male homosexual love crafted for a female audience) title in our Top 50.

The top ten on the ICv2 Top 50 Manga Properties are:

  1.  Naruto
  2.  Full Metal Alchemist
  3.  Kingdom Hearts
  4.  Fruits Basket
  5.  Tsubasa
  6.  Death Note
  7.  Rurouni Kenshin
  8.  Negima
  9.  Bleach
  10.  Loveless


On the anime side, a couple of trends we have identified previously have become more and more apparent.  Anime movies continued to dominate sales of individual disks in the first months of 2006 thanks to the release of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro, and the video game-driven Final Fantasy VII: Advent's Children. 


While the dollar sales of TV anime releases are rising, it's not because of any great rise in the number of units sold, rather it's because anime TV series are increasingly being packaged like the vast majority of domestic 'TV on DVD' products in season-long multi-disk formats, which have a higher price point, but which also deliver a better value to the customer when gauged in terms of minutes of programming versus dollars spent.


The anime market in North America is still recovering from a glut of releases and the subsequent shock from mass-market retailer returns at the beginning of 2005.  The number of anime releases for Q1 was down about 12%, but the actual number of new series released was down even more drastically since repackaged backlist titles accounted for a substantial percentage of anime titles in Q1. 


While anime movies took the top spots, some anime TV series such as Full Metal Alchemist, Naruto, Samurai Champloo, Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex, and Gantz all made the upper echelon of our Top 25 Anime Properties list. 


The first ten titles on that list are:


  1. Howl's Moving Castle
  2. My Neighbor Totoro
  3. Dragon Ball Z Movie #12: Fusion Reborn
  4. Full Metal Alchemist
  5. Samurai Champloo
  6. Inuyasha
  7. Naruto (Vol. 1 had just been released when we went to press)
  8. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  9. Gantz
  10. Whisper of the Heart


For the full list of top anime and manga properties along with in-depth market analysis, and previews of all the top anime and manga launches see the magazine (for information on how to obtain your copy, see 'ICv2 Releases ICv2 Retailers Guide to Anime/Manga #14').