It was a small miracle of the year 2021. Young people who had never passed the door of a bookstore have taken the plunge. The booksellers describe, with a little emotion, these new customers moving with a resolute step towards the comic book section, and consuming all or part of the 300 € of their past culture in manga. The first twelve books purchased thanks to this kitty offered to 18-year-olds are manga, which represents the bulk of the purchases of the Pass culture.
« L’important, specifies Pierre Dutilleul, Director General of the National Publishing Union (SNE), This is the operating principle of the pass: you have to pick up your book from a bookseller. This forces these young people to go to bookstores. Once they enter, many enjoy the place. They are going back. ” They will be joined in 2022 by two million teenagers aged 14 to 17, beneficiaries of the second pass. Will they once again double the French market for these comics born in Japan in one year?
“Action, friendship, generosity”
The edition comments, dumbfounded, this unprecedented tidal wave which brought manga sales to 50 million copies in 2021. With phenomena like One Piece, a colorful odyssey of the young and joyful Luffy and his endearing crew on imaginary seas. One hundred volumes in 25 years, sold 28.2 million copies in France and 490 million worldwide, more thanAsterix (360 million). And a delighted Emmanuel Macron showing, at the opening of the Tokyo Olympics, the drawing dedicated to him by the author Eiichiro Oda.
Marion Glénat-Corveler, president of Éditions Glénat, pioneers of manga in France since 1990, publishes One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Akira, Bleach… “These manga tell wonderful stories for all ages and audiences. Everyone will find what they want there. There is action, friendship, generosity. The intrigues speak of redemption, women’s rights, slavery… The manga does not elude any subject ”, underlines the boss of the number one in the sector.
A pop culture that becomes legitimate
In Japanese, manga (man, “Lightness” and ga, “Drawing”) translates to “free line drawing”. It is this freedom, embodied by their favorite character, Naruto, that readers acclaim. Their culture, long frowned upon because imported, cheap, suspected of violence or simplicity, even accused of promoting dyslexia (because of the sense of reading from right to left), is now becoming legitimate.
Manga embodies a pop culture that develops the imagination, cements communities, brings children to books. The young parents, who grew up with the series broadcast by Club Dorothée in the 1980s, join… as well as publishing. “The manga analyzes social facts with themes that hit the mark, effective drawings and a particular way of reading that young people make their own”, summarizes Pierre Dutilleul.
“We can see that comics speak to young people and to people who have never read. This is why it is growing so strongly. It’s a more intuitive, more flexible way of storytelling and it’s easy to get into it ”, emphasizes Marion Glénat-Corveler.Including for older customers, who sometimes admit to their bookseller, a little surprised, that they have found pleasure in reading a manga.