The Meteoritic Rise of Manga in Australia

Manga, the beloved Japanese art form, has witnessed a phenomenal surge in popularity across Australia over the past few years. Driven by explosive growth in sales and readership, manga has cemented itself as a major force in the Australian book market. But this success story has unfolded rapidly, taking many by surprise.

Just how did manga go from niche to mainstream down under? And what is driving its astronomical growth trajectory that outpaces most other book genres? Let's analyze the key factors behind manga's meteoric rise in Australia.

Manga Sales Explode in Australia

The manga market in Australia has evolved from a small niche to a multi-million dollar industry seemingly overnight. Sales revenue doubled from 2019 to 2020, then absolutely skyrocketed in 2021.

  • Overall manga market in Australia saw sales spike 231% year-over-year in 2021
  • Total manga revenue exceeded $20 million in 2021
  • For context, total manga revenue was just $4.8 million in 2019
  • This means the manga market grew over 5 times bigger in the span of 2 years
  • Leading publisher Viz Media reported 179% sales growth for manga in 2021
  • Rival publisher Simon & Schuster Australia saw manga revenue leap 339% in 2021
  • These staggering growth statistics cemented 2021 as a landmark year for manga sales in Australia

Manga's Share of the Overall Book Market

Manga's contribution to Australia's book industry has rapidly ascended. Total manga sales reached $24.5 million in 2021. This equates to 5% market share of the entire Australian book business.

Compare this to 2020 when manga accounted for just $7.4 million or 1.5% market share. In the span of a year, manga's share tripled as overall book sales remained relatively flat.

This illustrates how the manga market is evolving independently rather than just riding broader industry trends. Manga's sales growth is outpacing the total book business.

Manga Readership Demographics

While teenagers and young adults remain core manga consumers, its readership base has proven far more diverse than stereotypes suggest.

  • Over one third of manga readers are over 30 years old, according to a 2021 survey
  • The gender split of manga readers is 60% male, 40% female
  • Manga hotspots are in major metro areas as expected, but readership is growing steadily nationwide

Manga appeals across ages and backgrounds. From salaried professionals to retirees, Australians are discovering a passion for manga's gripping stories illustrated with mesmerizing artwork.

Most Popular Series and Themes

When it comes to  favorite manga series, dark fantasy action titles like Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen reign supreme in Australia. For female readers, romantic comedies known as shojo manga such as Ouran High School Host Club are best-sellers.

Sports manga like Haikyu!! and slice of life books like Spy X Family also perform well. These themes of adventure, drama and humor have universal appeal.

Australians seem drawn to manga's ability to immerse readers in riveting, escapist worlds with empathetic characters. Manga provides an affordable entertainment escape from everyday stresses.

The Catalyst: COVID-19 Lockdowns

While manga was gaining traction pre-2020, the COVID-19 lockdowns supercharged sales and readership. With spare time on their hands and libraries closed, Australians turned to manga.

Per Atomik Pop, 46% of manga readers consumed more titles during lockdowns. Trapped at home, manga's cliffhangers and gripping drama provided the perfect binge reading escape.

As social isolation took its toll mentally, manga's stories of perseverance and relationships offered hope. Manga filled an entertainment void amidst theatre and cinema shutdowns.

The Halo Effect of Anime and Live Action

Manga's close relationship with anime has also boosted its popularity. Streaming services like Crunchyroll bring hit anime series to eager Australian audiences.

When the anime adaptation Demon Slayer hit screens, sales of its manga source material spiked 179% immediately after. This "halo effect" is real, with anime driving new readers to manga.

Live action Netflix adaptations of manga like Alice in Borderland have a similar effect. Seeing a manga story come to life on screen generates renewed interest.

How Australia Compares to Global Markets

Manga is now a $5.6 billion industry worldwide, but Australia is among the hottest markets. With 2021 sales growth of 231%, Australia's manga mania outpaced even larger markets.

- US manga market: $250 million in 2021, up 14%
- UK manga market: £84 million in 2021, up 116%
- France manga market: over €60 million in 2020

So while the manga wave is global, statistics show Australia to be experiencing one of the sharpest rises along with the rest of the Anglosphere.

Opportunities for Local Creators

Amidst the manga boom, some warn it is crowding out local Australian graphic novelists. But opportunities exist for artists focusing on niche, Australia-inspired stories.

Creators like Queenie Chan (dark fantasy) and Queen Niki (YA) incorporate manga art with local settings. ToK's manga series Wargames: Godsend also brings a manga style to gritty sci-fi stories.

While competition is fierce, there is potential for more Australian creators to tap into the blockbuster shonen manga genre with their own action/adventure stories showcasing local mythology and lore.

 Manga Is Here to Stay

The phenomenal rise of manga in     Australia shows no signs of slowing   down. Major stores like Manga Mate   dedicate entirely to manga.

 With demonstrated crossover appeal   to various demographics, gripping stories, and affordable prices, manga has staying power. Australia has wholeheartedly embraced this modern Japanese art form.

For local creators and publishers, the new reality is that manga is a major force in Australia's book industry. More and more Australians are discovering that within its panels lies a visual world of captivating adventures awaiting any eager reader who picks one up.


  1. Manga's Growth In Popularity Is Here To Stay, Industry Leaders Predict
  2. ICv2 Report: U.S. Manga Sales More than Doubled in 2021
  3. Manga Market Reaches Record 677 Billion Yen in Japan in 2022
  4. AJA: Anime Industry Grew by 13.3% in 2021
  5. Japanese Comic Market Grows to 675.9 Billion Yen

1 comment

  • Charlie

    This is a great article, it is exactly the article I needed, I had been searching for an article like this for about 3 weeks before this was uploaded, it got uploaded 2 days before my assignment was due and it sent me from a fail to a pass because it sent the resources and references I had from under the minimum to the required amount. Please give the person who created this article a raise, promotion, or whatever.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.