Sports manga has always had an impact on culture, with series like Slam Dunk and Haikyuu!! influenced the popularity of basketball and volleyball in Japan and neighboring countries. Despite the rise of the dark fantasy shōnen genre in recent years, the success of Blue Lock and other sports manga shows that the genre is once again gaining traction. New sports manga are incorporating other genres such as coming-of-age and romance, making them even more appealing to a wider audience.
Shonen Sports Manga has always been a cornerstone of the medium, and recent sales data proves that success is growing. Great series like Ashita No Joe and Ace No Diamond are pretty well-known influential series, but with the rise of dark fantasy shōnen in recent years, like Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man, This genre is getting less and less attention.
However, the best-selling manga of 2023 has renewed hope that this worrying trend may soon come to an end. An X post by user @Josu_ke collected the best-selling manga of 2023 according to manga data tracker Oricon. Kodansha’s Blue Lock has earned top-selling manga status, surpassing iconic series like One Piece and Jujutsu Kaisen.
This achievement is considered almost impossible considering the popularity of those two series. In fact, two of this year’s bestsellers were sports manga, with Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk coming in at number 6 and selling around 4.9 million copies.
Blue Lock’s bestseller status hints at a resurgence in sports manga
Looking at the sales data of the best-selling manga of all time on Oricon, it is clear that sports series like Haikyuu!! and Kuroko No Basket are always bestsellers. Other series such as Ao Ashi and Diamond No Ace have also appeared in the top 50 of this decade, proving that sports manga has always been highly popular. Unlike other popular shounen series such as Bleach and Naruto, sports series have always had a huge cultural impact in Japan and sometimes around the world.
Where to read?
Hajime no ippo
There is no English release.
The prince of tennis
Ace of diamonds
Kuroko No Basket
Take, for example, one of the best-selling sports manga of all time, Slam Dunk. Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk has sold over 100 million copies and is the sixth best-selling manga according to Oricon. As reported by Anime News Network, the series even led to Inoue being honored by the Japan Basketball Association for helping popularize basketball in Japan.
Many other sports manga are being published and are attracting a lot of attention, such as Blue Box and Two On Ice. Sports manga will always have a place in the hearts of manga fans because this genre has great influence. What’s interesting to note is that the new sports manga also incorporates other genres, such as coming-of-age and romance aspects. From simply entertaining to inspiring viewers to pick up a sport, this sports manga is a timeless genre that will continue to be in high demand no matter what. Battle shōnen has long been the standard of the genre, but the monstrous success of Blue Lock proves it. sports comics may be wearing that cloak.
Source: Oricon, Josu_Ke, Anime News Network
Read Blue Lock on Kodansha