As we all know, Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been the shock trooper in the recent manga bounce back here in the US and Japan. A story from the Japanese language reported at ANN reveals AoT has 50 million copies in print worldwide , a healthy number of which 2.5 million copies are in English. Attack on Titan has 16 volume available, with a new one due soon, as well as a live action film which just opened in Japan expected pull in ¥5 billion (about $40.3 million). A second film, Attack on Titan: End of the World, opens in September. It’s expected these films will boost sales even more.

As impressive as these numbers are, AoT has a ways to go to beat past Japanese hits according to this Wikipedia chart which shows One PIece the all time leader with a staggering 320 million copies in print. Of course there are 79 volumes of Eiichiro Oda’s masterpiece out — and more to come. But One Piece beats Attack on Titan on a per volume basis as well.

Actually it’s interesting to look at the top 10 chart as shown on Wikipedia — I’ve added a column showing sales per volume on the end for the statistiucally minded.

Manga series Author(s) Publisher Demographic No. of collected Serialized Approximate sales Sales per Volume
One Piece Eiichiro Oda Shueisha Shōnen 79 1997–present $320,000,000 $4,050,633
Dragon Ball Akira Toriyama Shueisha Shōnen 42 1984–1995 230,000,000 $5,476,190
Naruto Masashi Kishimoto Shueisha Shōnen 72 1999–2014 205,000,000 $2,847,222
Golgo 13 Takao Saito Shogakukan Seinen 177 1969–present 200,000,000 $1,129,944
Black Jack Osamu Tezuka Akita Shoten Shōnen 17 1973–1983 176,000,000 $10,352,941
Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo Osamu Akimoto Shueisha Shōnen 195 1976–present 156,000,000 $800,000
Detective Conan Gosho Aoyama Shogakukan Shōnen 86 1994–present 140,000,000 $1,627,907
Oishinbo Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki Shogakukan Seinen 111 1983–present 130,000,000 $1,171,171
Slam Dunk Takehiko Inoue Shueisha Shōnen 31 1990–1996 120,000,000 $3,870,968
Astro Boy Osamu Tezuka Kobunsha/Kodansha Shōnen 23 1952–1968 100,000,000 $4,347,826

No surprise that Dragonball and Naruto are #s 2 and 3. What may be more of a surprise is the presence of the food manga Oishinbo on list. The only property in the top 10 that isn’t in print in English is #6, Kochikame, as it’s known, a long running comedy manga about Japanese life that presumably wouldn’t translate very well.

None of which means to undermine the immense success of Attack on Titan, which has revitalized manga publishing both in Japan and the US. The story itself concerns a bunch of kids fighting an invasion of Earth by horrific monsters who are held in check by a giant wall. So yeah it’s got survival, teen angst and staggeringly visual violence, an unbeatable formula that hit it big in the US with the Hunger Games and the like, but which US comics have yet to discover. Pacific Rim 2?

The manga publishing industry in Japan has a lot of problems to work out, including a glacially paced and stubborn reaction to the rise of piracy, a recent lack of hits, and readers moving to mobile. It’s hard to draw any direct comparisons between the US and Japanese comics reading markets— the US market has pivoted far more quickly and successfully than the Japanese, but Japan has been doing it bigger for way longer. Anyway, none of this is a competition. It’s all about great storytelling.



  1. Its just unbelievable that a japanese manga selling so much in a foreign country US, aot is seriously amazing

Comments are closed.