France has long been the second largest consumer of manga and anime behind Japan, and only very recently ceded this place to the United States and its 330 million inhabitants. In these conditions, difficult to compete. The fact remains that France is a mirror of Japan concerning this part of Japanese culture.
Let’s take the time to analyze the manga market in Japan to better understand 2023. Unsurprisingly, the top 5 Japanese manga sales in 2023 are stormed by the best sellers of the moment, namely My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Tokyo Revengers, Demon Slayer and finally Jujutsu Kaisen. In ambush stands the tireless One Piece, which for more than 20 years has been squatting in the Top 10.
In the cinema, the unprecedented hits of the Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen films further reinforce these sagas, and boost manga sales. Movies – anime – manga… this winning trio is essential to dominate the market. A little anecdote, Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece Spirited Away, long remained number 1 in the Japanese Box Office, was dethroned in 2023 by Demon Slayer with 28.7 million admissions.
What happens in Japan ends up happening in France. As proof, the film was a hit on our territory in the spring of 2023. In a delicate health context, Demon Slayer: Le Train de l’Infini recorded 727 thousand admissions in France. These encouraging results are pushing distributors to bet more and more on Japanese anime… beyond animation films qualified as auteur.
For industry professionals, manga and by extension anime have entered a new Golden Age… just that, and the numbers prove them right. In 2023, one in two comics sold in France was a manga for a total of 28 million volumes sold between January and August, an increase of +124%. This enthusiasm of the French for Japanese comics is explained by a favorable alignment of the planets.
the COVID-19, the Culture pass, the simulcast and the simultrad – to put it simply, it is the simultaneous distribution of a work in Japan and France – accentuate the phenomenon. The addition of Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer and My Hero Academia to the catalog netflix also boosted sales of paper formats. The number of manga and anime fans is only growing. And 2023 should live up to their expectations.
2023 is off to a flying start with the release of the final season part 2 of the most anticipated anime of the year… Attack on Titan. The phenomenon is such that the servers of Wakanim and Crunchyroll exploded during the broadcast of a new episode on January 9th. The dedicated # has even been used more than 70 thousand times on Twitter in less than 24 hours. It must be said that the resumption of the series was eagerly awaited by the fans. The presence of the first seasons on Netflix clearly played in favor of the titans.
Few sagas can boast of standing up to such a colossus, and yet, Demon Slayer hits hard with the Pleasure Quarter Bow, certainly started in 2023, but which continues in 2023. We could also mention immortal series such as One Piece, but we should not forget the dozens of novelties that are arriving at the start of the year. I will avoid citing them all, but I advise you personally Sabikui Bisco. Level post-apo mushroom Mad Max sauce … we do not do better.
Cinemas are jumping on the bandwagon in January 2023 with the release in quick succession of two feature films requested by fans. Last January 6 came out Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of the Starless Night, a story centered on the character of Asuna Yuuki. At the end of January, it is the superheroes of My Hero Academia who will in turn thrill fans with the film World Heroes’ Mission. When I told you that the start of 2023 was Plus Ultra, we weren’t lying to you.
Once again, my goal is clearly not to make an exhaustive listing of the animated series which will be broadcast in Japan, and therefore in France in 2023. But let’s blow on the embers of passion by citing the most anticipated. After an epic first quarter, the summer will be much calmer, just to rest while waiting for the start of the school year. The month of September should carry in its bag My Hero Academia Season 6 as well as the long-awaited new season of Bleach named Thousand Year Blood War. Personally, I no longer believed in it. To have been wrong delights me.
The arrival of winter should be experienced to the rhythm of the demonic battles of chain saw man. Those are the MAPPA studios, responsible for the final season of Attack on Titan and Jujutsu Kaisen, who are responsible for adapting the recent Weekly Shōnen Jump phenomenon. Right now, it’s THE studio to watch. I could… no, I also have to quote the hypothetical releases of seasons 2 of Vinland Saga and of tokyo revenge by next December. If all of this is confirmed, 2023 would become an extraordinary year.
The video game intends to take advantage of the “anime” phenomenon to explore some of its universes in a different way and popularize them with the general public. Netflix is taking a close interest in these video game licenses, as evidenced by the deserved successes of Castlevania and Arcane. The SVOD service is now setting its sights on Cyberpunk 2077. Determined to capitalize on a saga that sold 13.7 million copies at the end of 2023, Netflix is working on Cyberpunk Edgerunners. This anime adaptation project from the CD Projekt RED universe will be released in November 2023.
With the exception of Ghibli productions, which need no introduction, and CoMix Wave, these are the studios behind Your Name and Les Enfants du Temps – releases of Japanese animated films in cinemas are still too rare in France. Nevertheless, Faced with the French craze for anime, cinemas are trying to meet the demand. It’s a fact, the situation has improved significantly for a few years in France, and 2023 will blow a breath of fresh air in dark rooms.
In the spring of 2023, an anime film single-handedly reshuffled the cards and proved to the few remaining skeptics the immense potential of Japanese animation. On French soil alone, Demon Slayer: The Infinity Train recorded more than 727,000 admissions during the health crisis. At the worldwide box office, the film collected no less than 503 million dollars for a total of 41 million tickets sold. Demon Slayer is therefore the most profitable film of 2023 ahead of Hollywood blockbusters… a first in the history of the 7th Art. Faced with such a tidal wave, professionals in the sector are seriously considering the subject. Films based on popular manga are on the rise, and now have the right to a theatrical release in France.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero should, barring cataclysm, settle in French cinemas in 2023 to the delight of fans. The New Adventures of Son Goku will be screened in Japan in April and this summer in the rest of the world according to the latest rumors. As for the Jujutsu Kaisen prequel, a summer release in our borders is to be expected, the film having landed in Japan in December 2023. Finally, the film One Piece RED is scheduled for August in Japan, which should delight fans of piracy. Japanese animation should experience bright days in 2023 in cinema, but also in streaming, especially since a major player has changed the situation in 2023.
In France, three simulcast services have so far shared the market. But sometimes all it takes is a “simple” takeover to change the landscape of Japanese animation forever. In 2023, Sony acquires Crunchyroll through its Aniplex and Funimation subsidiaries for a whopping $1.75 billion. The Japanese giant thus gets its hands on all the major players in the simulcast market in France, and through Crunchyroll and its 100 million subscribers in the West.
Sony would have everything to gain from merging its various entities and creating what some people vulgarly call the “Netflix of Japanese animation”. Let them be reassured, Wakanim and Crunchyroll have been slowly but surely bringing them together for several months. It will not have escaped any expert that the two platforms pool part of their catalog of new products. In 2023, major additions will be made in parallel on Wakanim and Crunchyroll. Attack on Titan and Demon Slayer are thus available regardless of the subscription to which you have subscribed.
A merger of the two streaming services would eventually come as no surprise. Sony would even have everything to gain from creating a single platform for everything related to simulcast and Japanese animation in the broad sense. A single subscription to see and review Dragon Ball, Jujutsu Kaisen, Naruto, One Piece, Tokyo Revengers and so on… this would be the hypothetical, but highly probable present made by Sony to anime fans.
2023 looks bright for all fans of manga and Japanese animation. The cultural revolution from the Land of the Rising Sun is definitely underway.