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The success of manga in Belgium

Belgium is the land of comics, and while readers are still fond of paper comics, they are increasingly turning to Japan for satisfaction. More manga than "classic" comics are sold in French-speaking Belgium, and sales of new manga are set to rise by 130% between 2019 and 2023, reaching a record high.

Why is manga so successful in Belgium and France?

After a few attempts in 1969 in the magazine JUDO KDK and in 1978 in the magazine Le Cri qui tue (Golgo 13), manga really arrived in France in 1990 with Akira, followed by Dragonball. It was aimed at a teenage audience looking for something new, with parents keen to broaden their offspring's cultural horizons. And so began the success story of French manga.

Cheap books

The first answer is that a manga tome costs perhaps half the price of a French or Belgian comic. Line-drawn, black and white, mass-produced and printed at low cost, manga books lend themselves perfectly to mass consumption: young people (or their parents) can buy the continuation of the adventures of San Goku, Ranma ½, Akira... without fear of breaking the bank. And if they want to discover another title, no problem!

Rapid anime adaptations

After the initial success of manga comes the flood of anime on television. TV adaptations of manga are a real hit with teenagers and young adults, with Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam Wings, Nicky Larson (City Hunter), and so on... Fans of manga can see their heroes brought to life in colour, and fans of the screen can decide to discover the manga from which their favourite series are adapted.

Identification for young and old

Manga comes in various age and gender categories: while Shonen is the most popular (teenage boys up to around 25), Seinen came first (Akira, Berserk, Ghost in the Shell - for young adults), Shojo attracts mainly girls and Josei adult women. Then there's Kodomo, for children, and a whole host of other more targeted genres or sub-genres... There's something for everyone!

Simple yet profound

The typical mechanism of empathy in manga is to allow young people to dream: they identify with a hero or heroine, with whom they initially feel close (often schoolchildren), and who is going to have fantastic adventures.

But while these adventures are often punctuated by epic, graphically incredible battles, as only manga can be, and while the young women always have impeccable looks, the themes are often complex and serious. Of course, we're all familiar with the spirit of friendship, dedication and sacrifice of shonen, but manga explores far more themes than that: deep-seated fears, corrupt societal systems, initiation adventures... There's enough to keep audiences captivated into adulthood, or to please the parents of teenagers.

Manga for adults, such as Seijin or Seinen, offer deep stories, characters with highly developed psychology, all in a "comic book" wrapper that reminds us of the child in our soul.

Which mangas will be big hits in 2024?

While the forty-somethings are still attached to their good old Gunm, Trigun and Naruto, the young people of today have found new heroes:

  • Blue Lock, a football manga, is set to top the sales charts in 2023. Young teenagers are recruited into the "Blue Lock" programme, designed to find and train the best strikers in the world, in order to avenge Japan's defeat at the World Cup.
  • One Piece: yes, it's 'old' - the adventure began in 1997 - but sales are still well inside the top 10!
  • Chainsaw Man: the latest manga craze, set in a world of demons and featuring a hero who is half-man and half-saw.
  • Berserk: more gory and violent, set in a medieval fantasy world.

Thousands of manga goodies in our shop

Fans of Akira Toriyama, Eiichiro Oda and Katsuhiro Otomo can all find their way to our ShopforGeek shop. The manga universe is extended through our many accessories: figurines, printed t-shirts, water bottles, mugs... perfect with the best editions of your favourite mangas or the blu ray disks of Tokyo Revenge, Perfect World, Gash Bell and many others.