Anime gambit 2022 is long over, but all the ramifications of the run are just beginning. As the new year continues, netizens are looking ahead to what shows are on the horizon, while checking out the latest batch of anime hits. Of course, one way to measure the latter is through home video sales given that the anime industry loves Blu-ray packages. But right now, those numbers call Chainsaw Man’s legacy into question.
The information comes from Japan as Blu-ray and DVD have been tallied overseas for the past week. This happened when the first Chainsaw Man hit the shelves, but its launch was shockingly slow. Only 1,735 Blu-ray and DVD copies were sold, which is dismal compared to other home video debuts.
For example, shows like Lycoris Recoil achieved insane numbers on Blu-ray, with first week sales exceeding 23,000. Bocchi the Rock did well with nearly 17,000 copies sold, and even lesser-known hits like The Eminence in Shadow recorded 3,163 first-week sales.
Of course, it’s wild to see Chainsaw Man have so few sales in its first week, and it’s caused an online firestorm. Fans and haters are at war over the true meaning of the character. Some theorize that the low number is a simple fluke, while others argue that the flop was inevitable given Chainsaw Man’s bumpy reception in Japan. Although Chainsaw Man is very popular worldwide, it caused opposition in Japan due to its overly “Western” style. A group of Japanese Netizens even started a petition for a reboot of Chainsaw Man with a new director, so the reception of the anime was hardly smooth.
Still, low Blu-ray anime sales need to be taken in full context. These sales figures do not count internal sales from MAPPA’s online store, and the studio offers plenty of first-hand goodies. There’s also the fact that Chainsaw Man doesn’t rely on Japan’s core otaku audience. With a global fan base at hand, Chainsaw Man’s prowess comes in licensing with Steamboats. International Blu-ray sales may work well, but Chainsaw Man knew from day one that it would need to negotiate solid streaming deals to capitalize on its international fan base. And while increased video sales would help the anime’s reputation in Japan, well – a sellout isn’t necessary for Chainsaw Man at this point.