Looking At One Piece And Declining Popularity Claims

Looking at One Piece and Declining Popularity Claims

Recently, a thread appeared on Japan's largest net forum attempting to point out that the One Piece juggernaut was ending. Not sure about that, though.

Bandai releases various items, such as plush toys, figurines, notebooks, bento boxes, cups, t-shirts, video games, etc. Those licenses include Gundam, Power Rangers, Dragon Ball, Yokai Watch, and One Piece. Some of them are Bandai's properties, others, like Yokai Watch, are not.

The 2ch thread pointed to Bandai's recent financial statements which show the net sales for each franchise among the properties.

Below, you can see how Bandai's total net sales for One Piece compare over the course of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 financial years. While One Piece did rebound in 2013, net character sales dropped in financial year 2014. Currently, Bandai is in the 2015 financial year and forecasting a future net sales slide for One Piece goods.

Looking at One Piece and Declining Popularity Claims

To break it down even further, here are the "toys and hobby business" net sales for each franchise. This focuses strictly on things like figurines, little statues, models, and the like.

Looking at One Piece and Declining Popularity Claims

And as you can see One Piece takes quite a big dive over the past three years. It is expected to decline even further.

But, does this mean that One Piece isn't popular anymore in Japan? It might mean that One Piece as a thing is less popular than the fever pitch it reached a few years back, but the manga itself is still going strong.

As Oricon pointed out this past July, One Piece was the second biggest selling manga series in Japan, right behind Attack on Titan, for the first half of this year. Now, a contrarian might say, well, One Piece used to be the biggest selling manga in Japan every year until it was knocked out of first place by Attack on Titan.


But it was the biggest selling manga for four years straight and is the biggest selling manga ever. So, what's your point? And for those doomsayers, One Piece vol. 73, which was released in March, sold 2.8 million copies, making it the only single volume manga to surpass the magic two million mark during the first half of this year and continue One Piece's six-year streak of the biggest selling single volume manga.

Eventually, yes, One Piece will be completely eclipsed by another manga series. All of its records will be shattered. Is Bandai selling less One Piece stuff? Oh yes. It is. This could be more generational than anything else. Kids today are buying other character goods, and that should not be confused with the anime and the manga's following.

So is Bandai selling more Yokai Watch stuff? You betcha — it's posting record-breaking numbers.

This is not a judgment on One Piece's quality, nor is an attempt to say One Piece doesn't have fans in Japan. However, it does appear that the One Piece juggernaut is winding down, with the juggernaut being more of a trend unto itself than a reflection of the actual work or the people who enjoy it. So let's not start calling the end of One Piece's popularity just yet. That ship hasn't yet sailed, and let's judge One Piece the best way we always have: By the work itself.

ワンピース売上 2012→112億 2014→20億wwww [2ch]

Financial Highlights of the Second Quarter of the Fiscal Year Ending March 2015 [Bandai]

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    Urgh, this reminds me of people throwing population numbers for Halo as prove that the series is dying unless they become in charge.

    The Marineford arc and the midpoint climax of the story had a phenomenal impact in Japan and made One Piece absolutely mandatory reading for Japanese people at the time. That could never have continued as it was.

    I'm not shocked. The pacing been so slow this year, I've nearly given up as well.

    They need to get their thumbs out their asses and make some filler.

    Naruto finished up after 15 years, yet One Piece is still going. Maybe some series need to end, this being one of them. Manga readers can't handle extremely long term stories anymore

      ive hated naruto since Jiraya was killed (not coz i was pissed they killed him off, but because the storyline sucked) but i stuck with it coz i had read them all from the start.

      ive done the same with One Piece and while i would like to see more frequent fighting and action, its has kept me more entertained then what Naruto did.

    Per volume, One Piece is still the highest selling manga. People need to realise that Attack on Titan outsold it due to the Anime release which revitalised the previous volumes. That's exactly what happened with One Piece few years back in the Marineford arc which made people buy the previous volumes to catch up with the series after the hype. That's why it had the inflated numbers which is still amazing for a manga 10+ years after release.

    One Piece is still the most popular series per volume, and and no other manga manages to do above 2m (except Attack on Titan sometimes). One Piece does it in one week. It's not declining, I just don't think it can get any more popular, well at least until the final arc. Look at the highest selling volumes of every year, that's the best indicator of the popularity of a series.

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