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Jump Editor-in-Chief Explains What's Unusual About Demon Slayer's Success

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Weekly Shonen Jump editor-in-chief Hiroyuki Nakano spoke to entertainment magazine Nikkei Entertainment about the current trends in manga. One of the main topics of discussion was Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's sudden and meteoric success in the latter half of 2019.

"Normally, a manga gradually sells more copies throughout the anime's run, but Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's sales shot up straight after the anime ended," he said, indicating that a large number of people watched the anime through streaming services after it ended rather than watching it weekly. "The way people interact with anime has changed, and I feel like we've entered a new phase."

Nakano also mentioned that these days, it takes more time for a manga series running in Weekly Shonen Jump to become a hit. Demon Slayer began serialization in 2016, but it was not until 2019 that it became a hit.

"There are more manga publications and digital outlets these days, so there are more channels to find manga to your taste," he explained. "No matter how great a manga it is, it won't become a hit just because it ran in Jump." Even Demon Slayer's success hinged on word of mouth generated after the anime's run, he argued.

Throughout the history of the magazine, Jump has relied on reader surveys in order to gauge the success of its titles. Nakano said that this system of "valuing new blood" is what has allowed Jump to produce "cutting edge" manga for the times. He also highlighted the global success of One Piece as a positive factor in producing new hits for the magazine, because it gives newcomers a distinct goal to strive for.

This year, Nakano says that Jump still doesn't have enough hits. Although he highlights Chainsaw Man and act-age as titles that he has high expectations for, he describes Jump's editorial department as "desperate to create the next hit." He concluded by saying that the magazine launched three new titles in January, but "it wouldn't be Jump if none of them became a huge hit."

As of the February 4 debut of the 19th manga volume, the franchise as a whole (including print and digital releases) has 40 million copies in circulation. Earlier this month, the manga became the first in history to occupy all top 10 positions of Oricon's weekly manga chart in print.

Shueisha revealed last November that the series was the company's second highest-selling manga in 2019, second only to Eiichiro Oda's One Piece manga. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba sold 10.8 million manga volumes in the period from November 19, 2018 to November 17, 2019. Meanwhile, One Piece sold 12.7 million manga volumes during the same time period. Shueisha did not specify if these numbers include digital sales.

Koyoharu Gotouge launched Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba in Weekly Shonen Jump in February 2016. Viz Media is publishing the manga in English digitally and in print. The manga inspired a television anime that premiered last April, and aired its 26th and final episode last September. The anime will receive a sequel anime film.

Source: Nikkei Entertainment March 2020 Issue

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