If you are an avid reader of manga, you’ve heard of Weekly Shonen Jump, the world’s most prominent manga anthology. The latest chapters from the hottest new manga titles appear in each issue. Is there a method used to determine which titles are featured in the magazine?
Yes, there is; the Weekly Shonen Jump Rankings.
With each issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, a postcard is filled that contains a survey for readers. The practice of polling readers is not uncommon within Japanese publications, in fact, the weekly and monthly editions of Famitsu, one of Japan’s most popular video game-related magazines, does the same thing to collect data, although in the case of Famitsu the data is usually simply printed to indicate popularity amongst readers with no actual consequence.
In the case of Weekly Shonen Jump, the postcards mainly contain popularity surveys, asking readers for their opinion on which three manga stories they thought were their favorite amongst the titles for that week, and the data is used to determine which stories remain featured in the magazine. Titles that rank near the bottom of the popularity poll for a length of time are eventually removed from future lineups.
The survey also polls readers on how many titles they read, allowing further assumptions to be made about the popularity of titles.
For example, specific manga titles might sell issues of the magazine to readers who tend to ignore most of the other titles in the magazine and stick to one or two. Demographics are included in the survey as well to determine the age and gender of the reader.
All data on these surveys is given a specific weight which is unknown to anyone except for the Weekly Shonen Jump analytical team; correlations are likely drawn between specific titles, reading habits, and reader demographics to influence this weighting.
These surveys continue to exist beyond print form for readers who prefer to read Weekly Shonen Jump via either the web, or a mobile app, and feature new questions from time to time. For example, the readers have been polled on their purchasing habits with questions to determine if they alternate between purchasing digital and print versions of the magazine, if they tend to pass on buying print editions entirely with the availability of digital editions, or if they end up reading and purchasing both on a regular basis.
The results of the process are not directly indicated and are often speculated on in some ways.
Fans tend to believe that titles printed near the beginning of the magazine are more popular than others, but this may or may not be entirely true. There can be sponsorships to take into consideration, and some titles may be promoted at certain times based on what is trending beyond raw popularity, such as a series or artist trending in the news, or following the television or movie theater debut of an adaptation.
Furthermore, not every title appears in every issue, which could make the process even more complicated. Digital surveys yield results more quickly than print surveys, so the results are calculated over a period of time likely between 20 and 40 days – once again, the exact period and process are unknown. The time frame during which an unpopular title undergoes scrutiny and is in direct danger of cancellation is unpredictable, and can be between one month to three months or longer.
What Titles, for Example, Have Recently Been Popular in ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’?
Some titles that have been popular consistently throughout 2018 include:
- One Piece
- Boku no Hero Academia / My Hero Academia
- The Promised Neverland
- Demon slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
- Jujutsu Kaisen
- Dr. Stone
- World Trigger
- Black Clover
- Hunter x Hunter
Note that this list may or may not represent the actual order, but a rough approximation of such.
Many of these titles have remained popular throughout 2019, with a few new titles such as Chainsaw Man, Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, and Mitama Security: Spirit Busters gaining some level of popularity going into 2020. It’s hard to say which titles are the “Big Three” so to speak right now, as there are at least five that have been highly popular over the last few years, with no indication of slowing down.
Will a new title emerge as the breakaway title of 2020, or will established titles like Demonslayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Boku no Hero Academia continue their reign in popularity?
One thing’s for sure, no matter what type of shonen stories you fancy, Weekly Shonen Jump has you covered.