EDITO – François Lenglet deciphers “the fury of manga”

Since last year, the manga is an incredible success. A few years ago, Pokémon was all the rage. The fury of manga is at least as powerful among young people today. Sales are exploding. And this month, in November, no less than seven releases are planned, there will be a queue at the entrance to bookstores for these Japanese comics.

Mangas often tell fantasy stories, populated by monsters, pirates and heroes with supernatural powers. These albums are read upside down, starting with what is the end with us, so turning the pages from right to left. One of the best known, One Piece, tells the adventures of a hero whose body has the properties of rubber. Like most manga, this book is a series, we are at episode 102 for the French translation. One Piece its sold over 500 million copies worldwidemostly in Japan.

Manga take up the good old success of adventure novels, with more or less sophisticated graphics. The characters have a vague Asian air, which does not trouble young French readers. In 2021, of the ten best-selling comics, seven were manga.

15% of sales

Bookstores have installed manga shelves, even entire corners. These “Made in Japan” albums represent up to 15% of their sales, with derivatives. In total, again in 2021, sales doubled compared to the previous year, exceeding 350 million euros with 43 million manga sold.

Young people go to bookstores. The prices are quite low, 3 to 7 euros per album, often in barely bleached paper. Very often, the young client keen on Japanese monsters does not pay. The grant of 300 euros given to each young person between 15 and 18 since last year, the cultural pass, made the market take off. 800,000 passes were thus distributed. 25 to 30% of the credit offered to young people for education would be spent on manga, according to the observations of booksellers.

Manga paid for with public money. The case has also moved the representatives of the nation. Two days ago, some of them, led by RN deputy Jean-Philippe Tanguy, filed a amendment to kick Japanese comics out of the culture pass. They suffered a bitter failure, the amendment was overwhelmingly rejected. The manga will therefore continue its dazzling trajectory, to the delight of booksellers and publishers. As for the Japanese creators of these comics, they thank the honorable French taxpayer.

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