The best-selling manga of all time, One Piece, has confidently topped the manga sale charts now for 11 years in a row. And with interest booming across the world, that means shifting a lot of copies – 8.1 million of them to be exact. Plus, those figures don’t even count the revenue from the ubiquitous anime adaptations, merchandise, movies, videogames and more.
Although, it has to be said, even last year’s impressive sales don’t reach the heights of Dragonball Z in the late 80s and early 90s. Over it’s 11 year run, compared to the ongoing 22 years of One Piece, DBZ sold nearly 300 million copies. That’s over 27 million copies a year, putting the current manga best-sellers to shame. Still, these three are a testament to the enduring appeal of manga in the 21st century – and it’s easy to see why they are so popular in both Japan and across the globe.
End of 2018 sales: 8,113,217
Since it first launched in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1997, One Piece has gone on to become the most popular of all manga. Following the exploits of straw-hatted pirate Monkey D. Luffy as he travels an Ocean planet, looking for the mystical artifact known only as ‘One Piece’, this manga holds the World Record for the best selling book series of all time – let alone just manga. The anime series is also extremely popular, and it is estimated to have made over $19 billion in revenue over the whole franchise.
My Hero Academia
End of 2018 sales: 6,718,185
A relative newcomer to the scene, having first been published in 2014, My Hero Academia has nonetheless proved incredibly successful. It chronicles the story of Izuku Midoriya, a schoolboy born without superpowers in a world where the majority have them. He is taken under the wing of legendary hero All Might, after attempting to intervene in an assault – even when all the superpowered peers around him did nothing. It has sold just over 21 million copies since launching 5 years ago, making 2018 My Hero Academia most successful year ever.
Attack on Titan
End of 2018 sales: 5,235,963
Another regular in the top-selling lists since it launched in 2009, this 28-volume (so far) manga is widely known around the world because of its extremely popular anime adaptation. It tells the story of an alternate Earth called Paradis, that has seen human civilization penned into a three-tiered walled city by hundred foot tall man-eating giants called Titans.
The military uses flying zip line shock troops to fight the Titans, who can only be killed by a puncture to the base of their giant necks. Attack on Titan has sold 90 million copies around in the world, in the ten years since its launch. The Anime version has also won many awards and regularly appears in the most popular end-of-year lists from such Western anime streaming services as Crunchyroll or Funimation.