Earlier today, ANN reported that Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V topped Nielsen Bookscan’s top 20 graphic novels for September. The two joined nine other manga novels to make a total of 11 titles in the top twenty. Sailor Moon and Sailor V were both released on September 15 which means that the titles shot to the top of the list in just under two weeks’ time.
It should come as little surprised that Sailor Moon experienced its the explosive debut. Prior to the Kodansha Comics release, Sailor Moon was simply unavailable for purchase in America. Mixx’s edited release of Sailor Moon was yanked from shelves in 2005, and Sailor V had never hit western shores. With this in mind, it’s easy to dismiss these early sales as pent-up demand from a rabid customer-base.
The true test began on October 1. The current sales this period will determine whether Sailor Moon’s return to market created a true sales phenomenon, or whether the title will follow a normal sales pattern. In a typical sales pattern, a manga title will rarely top Bookscan for more than a month at a time. After this month, the title will typically begin its slide down the charts, and lose ground to the newest, shiniest releases. In the ideal situation, both Sailor Moon and Sailor V will maintain their positions at the top of the Bookscan for October. As the new volumes hit in November, they will drop down to make way for both titles’ second volumes.
Unfortunately for fans, I don’t live in a world of ideals. More realistically, I foresee strong sales for both titles, though both will lose some ground as the new items roll in. Sailor V will likely lose more, due to the fact that it’s a prequel, and simply not as strong of a work as Sailor Moon. Come November, we’ll see another strong performance for Sailor Moon and Sailor V’s second volumes, though we will see continuing diminishing returns as the releases continue.
The logic for this reasoning stems from a common trend seen among serial works. In particular, the first two or three installments of a product do exceptionally well. However, as releases continue, they experience a steady and predictable decline that gets sharper as the series grows longer.
I’d love nothing more than to be proven wrong, and see Sailor Moon continue to thrive. Sailor Moon is a timeless title that has inspired anime and manga fans for many years. The series has the potential to inspire newer generations as it had those in the ’90s. However, whether this will happen still remains to be seen.