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Manga comics keep booming in Germany

Julia Hitz
August 27, 2022

Germany celebrates Manga Day on August 27. A look at how Japanese comics such as Akira, Dragonball and Pokemon conquered the European market.

Yu-Gi-Oh! cartoon draing of a person holding up a fist
Yugi, the protagnist of the Yu-Gi-Oh seriesImage: EntertainmentPictures/IMAGO

Germany now has its very own Manga Day, along the lines of Comic Book Day, the day when bookstores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been giving away for free comics since 2010.

On Saturday, August 27, 2022, more than 720 bookstores across Germany are set to give away manga comics, a promo event bound to garner attention and higher sales in the long run.

Manga boom before and during the pandemic

Manga are all the craze in Germany. Sales of the Japanese comics — impressive even before the pandemic with gross sales of 70 million in 2005 — increased by 75% in 2021, according to a trade magazine.

Two German publishers, Carlsen and Egmont, first dominated the market. In the meantime, publishers Kaze and Tokyopop, as well as a host of newcomers are joining the fray.

cartoon of a woman and the olympic flame
'Mila Superstar' is one the popular manga series by Chikako UranoImage: Chikako Urano/TMS

Manga comics are not a fringe niche on the book market. In 2014, the Leipzig Book Fair established Manga Comic Con, which attracted many visitors from the colorful cosplay community before the pandemic.

New readership

The scene in Europe, which was dominated by Franco-Belgian comics, once eyed the manga publications with skepticism.

In the meantime, however, the tide has turned. The European comic tradition in the style of Herge and Uderzo has not lost its appeal, but comics as a whole have undergone a revaluation.

Manga comics have opened up an entirely new readership, especially girls and young women. The exchange of the Japanese and European drawing traditions has proven to be very creative indeed — the late Jiro Taniguchi successfully mixed the styles in works such as  "Distant Neighborhoods," which was adapted into a live-action French-Belgian film in 2010.

Germany is the third-largest comics market in Europe after France and Italy. And the boom presumably won't be ending any time soon.

This article was originally written in German.