In the dynamic of entertainment, certain narratives ignite the collective imagination, akin to wildfire. This phenomenon has graced various mediums, from the silver screen to the intricate world of manga. The latter witnessed a surge in popularity with the introduction of Kagurabachi, a creation by the esteemed Takeru Hokazono. Launched in September 2023, the series was met with thunderous applause from the community, hailed as a shonen revolution, with its fame proliferating at a viral pace.
Curiously, the series has garnered both accolades and critiques, with some commentators having not perused even a single chapter. Yet, it has steadfastly held its ground on Shueisha's MANGA Plus service, currently boasting 11,612 reads, a testament to its burgeoning appeal.
Despite its international acclaim, Kagurabachi's performance within Japan's market, particularly in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, remains modest. The magazine's index is often viewed as a barometer of popularity, with the most celebrated mangas gracing the opening pages, while others find themselves towards the back. Kagurabachi has been navigating the latter sections, hinting at a potential decline in domestic popularity.
However, the global readership has not wavered, initiating the #BACHIFLEX campaign on social media platforms.
The campaign encourages the purchase of Kagurabachi's first compiled volume, available from Japan, through various distributors, despite the additional shipping costs and fees. Supporters then share images of their acquisitions, showcasing their solidarity with the series. The question remains: will this international support be enough to avert the series' cancellation?
Yuta Momimaya, editor at Shonen Jump Plus, acknowledged the trend and the series' popularity:
- «The debut volume of KAGURABACHI hit the shelves last week, and we've been thrilled to see the international readers' campaign using the hashtag #BACHIFLEX to support the series by purchasing the book. Reports from various countries have flooded in, with the website brimming with messages from around the globe about acquiring the manga's first volume, which has just been released in Japan.»
- «Currently, the volume is exclusively in Japanese, with no translated editions available. While obtaining Japanese comics overseas is easier today, with stores like Kinokuniya, the enthusiasm is palpable. It's a clear shift from the era when a manga's popularity overseas followed its anime adaptation. Now, new series can gain worldwide popularity almost instantaneously with their serialization on platforms like MANGA Plus.»
Despite the editor's optimistic words, it is ultimately the sales figures that will determine the manga's fate. According to the latest Oricon stats, for the week of January 29 to February 4, 2024, the first volume of Kagurabachi sold an impressive 12,386 copies, securing the fourth spot behind heavyweights like "Undead Unluck," "The Elusive Samurai," and "Black Clover." Will these numbers suffice?
The journey from the pages of a manga to the hearts of an international audience. Whether it continues to soar or meets an untimely end is in the hands of its readers. Those captivated by this story are encouraged to share their experiences and continue the conversation with friends, perpetuating the legacy of this fascinating series.
Source: @momiyama2019 on Twitter