1. Jujutsu Kaisen, 2. Kimetsu no Yaiba, 3. Tokyo Revengers, 4. Attack on Titan, 5. My Hero Academia, 6. One Piece, 7. Chainsaw Man, 8. Spy x Family, 9. Kingdom, 10. Haikyuu!!. Since Oricon released its year-end list of the Best-Selling Manga Series, Toplist combed through the Oricon statistics to determine the Top 10 Most Successful Manga Series in Japan in 2021 based on total sales. The outcome is mostly predictable (with some surprises thrown in!).
- Jujutsu Kaisen
- Kimetsu no Yaiba
- Tokyo Revengers
- Attack on Titan
- My Hero Academia
- One Piece
- Chainsaw Man
- Spy x Family
Jujutsu Kaisen follows Yuji Itadori, a high schooler who consumes a decaying finger from a terrible Curse and gets possessed. He is condemned to death by a ritual performed by Jujutsu Sorcerers, but not before he is entrusted with locating and swallowing the Curse’s remaining fingers. The series’ overall concept may seem like a shonen copycat animated movie rehashing the same cliches as Naruto Bleach, One Piece, or —but check the first episode to discover how it injects its distinct flavor into the genre.
The Jujutsu Kaisen manga project is written and drawn by Gege Akutami, whereas MAPPA creates the Jujutsu Kaisen animated film series. Both manga and animation have had a worldwide impact, with enthusiasts adopting various cosplay and body art forms. Furthermore, you’ll witness social media postings, fan art, and jokes inspired by the Jujutsu Kaisen characters.
However, what makes Jujutsu Kaisen so successful? The series has action, adventure, humor, and a sprinkling of drama and mystery that adds depth to the story. As with any shonen show, Jujutsu Kaisen is filled with bouts and action-packed competitions that serve to heighten the excitement.
Author: Gege Akutami
Year of Release: 2018
2021 Sales: ~ 31M copies
Source: Anime Galaxy
Source: Shogi Pineapple
Kimetsu no Yaiba
If you’re looking for a manga/anime narrative about an underdog, go no farther than Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The series has had a single-handed effect on the whole business in the previous two years. The manga was somewhat obscure outside of popular circles when it started. Still, since the anime aired, particularly since the publication of a particular now-iconic anime, the series has witnessed a dramatic increase in sales, with over 100 million copies of the book now in circulation.
Its most recent film, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Infinity Train, has likewise broken box office records, becoming the quickest film in Japanese cinema history to gross more than $100 million.As with many successful series, some may criticize that Demon Slayer is overrated. Yet, there are several reasons why the series has garnered so much support and love from an ever-growing following.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba makes it extremely evident that family is the story’s central subject, with a particular emphasis on Tanjiro and Nezuko’s connection. Tanjiro’s narrative starts with him trying to revert his sister to human form, despite the risk he is putting her in. He cannot risk losing her in the same way he lost all the other family members.
Although Tanjiro takes all of this on himself to defend her, Nezuko reciprocates – it is a connection built on trust and respect.
Year of Release: 2016
Author: Gotoge Koyoharu
2021 Sales: ~29.5M copies
Source: demonslayermanga.com (not official website)
Tokyo Revengers follows Takemichi Hanagaki, a 26-year-dol loser trapped in a dead-end career and run-down flat. Takemichi’s dreary existence is exacerbated when he learns that the one girl he has ever genuinely loved, Hinata Tachibana, has just been killed by the vicious Tokyo Manji gang member. Takemichi’s life, however, takes an unexpected turn when someone pushes him in front of an approaching train, and he awakens in the body of his twelve-year-old self.
To rescue Hinata, Takemichi pervades the Tokyo Manji Gang when most of its founders are still juvenile delinquents. Takemichi attempts to alter past events to avoid the disastrous future he previously endured.
Year of Release: 2017
Author: Ken Wakui
2021 Sales: ~25M copies
Source: Dual Shockers
Attack on Titan
At the moment, Attack On Titan is the most talked-about worldwide anime series on the planet. It’s essentially anime’s Game of Thrones. Other, more recent successes, such as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, haven’t quite reached the same heights as Attack On Titan. Both series earned popularity in the Western market – namely the United States and the United Kingdom – in the same manner, and it’s worth considering how that works.
In Japan, a comic or light novel project must first achieve commercial success before the publisher invests in promoting an anime series. The anime acts as a marketing strategy for the series, attracting new viewers who may purchase the novels. This elevates the series’s sales and establishes it as a full-fledged brand with several spinoffs – figurines, video games, retail, and even stage productions and audio dramas. The IP becomes almost self-sufficient in terms of revenue generation. This is the ultimate goal of every author or publisher with a series.
In the United States and Western Europe, the reputation of a comic series is reversed. Typically, fans discover a series as an anime before purchasing the original manga edition. Attack On Titan is an especially fascinating case study since Kodansha Comics published its English version before the anime’s debut. According to reports, the manga’s sales were disastrously low. Then the anime’s first season began, and the series quickly became a global hit. Fans in the United States and Western Europe started purchasing the manga series, propelling it to bestseller lists and sometimes surpassing sales of The Walking Dead books, which had previously been the top comics series in the United States.
Year of Release: 2009
Author: Hajime Isayama
2021 Sales: ~7.3M copies
My Hero Academia
After garnering millions of viewers and fans in Japan after its original release in 2014, “My Hero Academia” immediately established a strong following among American anime enthusiasts. The series is often lauded for its vibrant, multi-layered group of characters and the very well-crafted plot storylines that Kohei Horikoshi tends to elevate with the arrival of new, deadly antagonists. With the announcement of a highly anticipated video game, the third season premiering Saturday, a spin-off series presently in production, and a film arriving in Japan and America, the series’ enthusiasm shows no sign of abating.
“My Hero Academia” is set in the future where most citizens have obtained superhuman abilities known as “quirks.” Superheroes became the norm by fully embracing these abilities, defending citizens against those seeking to use their eccentricities for evil.
Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, the series’ protagonist, is given birth without a quirk, yet he aspires to be the world’s greatest hero.
It’s no accident that this narrative has a strong resemblance to Marvel’s “X-Men” comics, given that the series’ creator leaned extensively on conventional comics. Rather than spouting a slightly tweaked version of the famous comic, Horikoshi developed a unique manga that many people rate higher than the DC and Marvel books. The anime adaptation of the manga gained popular attention after The New York Times named it one of the year’s greatest television series.
Year of Release: 2014
Author: Kohei Horikoshi
Although it is only a few decades old, One Piece has swiftly become one of the most popular tales in both the manga and anime industries. Due in part to the simplicity of the idea, the series became something that viewers clung to and hated to let go of. Although the universe of One Piece has grown in size, its essential features have mostly stayed the same.
Monkey D. Luffy is a young guy who travels to the Eastern Blue Sea to pursue wealth. Along the process, he accumulates a team and a range of supporting characters who are all well suited to complement one another. The narrative has developed from this rather straightforward premise, as Luffy and his friends have encountered several adventures and met new people along the way. Fundamentally, though, One Piece is a program about likable characters embarking on a journey to chase their aspirations.
One Piece is a very successful anime series. The manga has a current circulation of over 520 million copies in 43 countries. This includes 450 million copies in Japan and another 80 million in other nations. While One Piece is undoubtedly more famous in Japan, it is a global phenomenon and one of the greatest comic series in history.
Year of Release: 1997
Author: Eiichiro Oda
2021 Sales: ~7M copies
Source: One Piece Wiki
Source: Anime Corner
For good reasons, Chainsaw Man is widely regarded as one of the greatest new Shonen Jump series. The visual rip-and-tear battles combine with a distinctive and humorous narrative about demons to create one fantastic manga. The story has been available on Viz Media’s Shonen Jump row for a while now, with subscribers able to read it in its entirety and non-subscribers able to enjoy the first and final three chapters. However, the first commercial paperback edition of Chainsaw Man, which includes eight chapters, was released today.
Denji (the protagonist) is a teenage boy in severe need of money. After his father dies, leaving him with a large debt, he relies on a demonic dog called Pochita, who seems to have a chainsaw blade protruding from its face to assist him in earning money. They work together to exterminate bad demons, gather logs for sale, and just do whatever else they can to cobble for some money. Denji eventually puts himself into trouble battling the yakuza. He and Pochita then fuse, resulting in a chainsaw-man hybrid, whom devil hunters enlist to fight for them.
Now that he has achieved stability, he is hell-bent on reclaiming the fantastic life he never really had.
Author: Tatsuki Fujimoto
2021 Sales: ~5.2M copies
Spy x Family
Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo has become one of the fastest successes of the previous year, and it has already passed another significant sales milestone. The bi-weekly story, which debuted in 2019 on the Shonen Jump website, has quickly become a fan favorite due to its depiction of a cute family full of mysteries. With a little more than four volumes and 30 chapters, the series unexpectedly reached three million copies in circulation only a few months earlier. Now, the series has surpassed that first success with another major milestone.
After 2021, Spy x Family has achieved an official print run of 4.9 million copies. This figure includes print and virtual editions of the series, implying that every volume will have sold at least 1 million copies in its initial run and subsequent reprints.
Year of Release: 2019
Author: Endo Tatsuya
2021 Sales: ~4.9M copies
Source: Books and Bao
Source: Anime Geek
Yasuhisa Hara wrote and drew Kingdom, which is presently published in Young Jump. It was eventually adapted into an anime and a feature film. The narrative begins in China in 245 B.C., during the Warring-states period. Thousands of decades had gone by since the period of legends when man’s and god’s worlds remained unchanged. During these periods, the world was governed by man’s wishes. It is the 500-year conflict era known as the Era of Warring-states.
Born during ancient China’s Warring States period, Hyou and Shin are war children in the qin dynasty who each want to become the “Great Generals of the Sky ” to rise above their humble rank as enslaved people. However, one day, a minister takes Hyou to the palace for unknown reasons, leaving Shin behind as a domestic enslaved person in their native peasant hamlet.
After a few months, Hyou comes to the hamlet on the edge of death, pleading with Shin to journey to another village teeming with vagabonds and gangsters. He encounters Ei Sei, Ei Sei, the present King of Qin, who has a striking resemblance to Hyou. Shin discovers that his closest buddy acted as Ei Sei’s body double and was fatally injured during a political battle for the crown. Though initially furious at Ei Sei for provoking Hyou’s death, Shin resolves to help the young king overcome his younger brother and restore the Qin kingdom.
Year of Release: 2006
Author: Yasuhisa Hara
2021 Sales: ~4.6M copies
Source: Ariel Dean Rada
Source: King Magax
Both the anime and manga versions of Haikyuu!! are among the genre’s best-selling titles. This feat was accomplished despite the manga’s last edition and chapter having been published more than a year ago. Specifically, the series sold an amazing 4.345 million copies in Japan in 2021, making it one of the year’s ten leading best-selling manga series. This achievement might be ascribed in part to the anime’s new season’s popularity.
While the book managed to sell well after it concluded, at roughly 500,000 volumes per month, it was beginning to slow down at about the 200,000 level. It rebounded in December 2020, coinciding with the anime’s new season’s premiere, generating over 869,000 copies for that month alone.
This streak has remained strong since then, resulting in a profitable time period for Haikyuu!! Given that the anime has not yet concluded, it seems unlikely that the franchise’s popularity would wane in the near future.
Year of Release: 2012
Author: Furudate Haruichi
2021 Sales: ~4.3M copies
Source: Wallpaper Cave
Source: Recent Highlights