Kadokawa Corporation Q3 FY2023 Report: Sword Art Online Remained As Best Publishing Title, Overlord for Video

Kadokawa Corporation registered its highest sales yet since FY2016, climbing 20.35% from the same period the year before to 189,727 million yen (≈1.39 billion USD) from 157,641 million yen (≈1.15 billion USD). The result of the increase in sales had also fortified its sales for the fiscal year 2022 to 12,159 million yen (≈88.81 million USD), also its strongest since FY2016, up by 27.05% from 9,570 million yen (≈69.90 million USD) y-o-y. The stellar outcome was mainly driven by steady growth of its key segments such as the Publication, Anime, Games and Educations businesses which were all further bolstered by increasing overseas sales.

Publishing Business

Kadokawa Corporation defines the segment as a business that sells digital and paper-based books and magazines. At the same time, it also produces magazine advertisements and engages in the selling of digital ads and licenses.

The Publication segment recorded its best performance to date since FY2016 to end the quarter at a total of 103,534 million yen (≈756.21 million USD), up by 5.96% year-on-year. However, operating profit was unable to reciprocate the increasing sales, seeing 26.65% less profit at 9,891 million yen (≈72.24 million USD) than the same quarter the year before.

The increase in net sales was attributable to several factors. First, the group’s overseas subsidiaries saw a 20% growth, thanks to the popularity of Japanese intellectual properties surrounding its publication business via YEN PRESS, LLC. According to a transcript of the question-and-answer session listed in the sources section below, the North American market, in particular, has been growing faster than anticipated. However, the group cautioned that the recession faced by the region at the start of the year may result in sales being less impactful in the Quarter 4 than in Quarter 3. Although the business is contending with a contracting market in its home country, the increase in the number of newly published books ensured that it was able to achieve higher sales in Japan. For the quarter, the segment published 1,232 books, up from 1,095 books in FY2022. The group also witnessed more paying users in Japan and overseas for its online book platforms, which includes sales of Manga, Light Novels, Books, among many others. This led to an 11% year-on-year increase in e-book sales, accounting for 38% of the Publishing Business sales, whereas paper-based books were 4.1% less than the same quarter the previous year. In the overseas market, paper-based books are still the more popular option, accounting for 80% of sales against e-books’ 20%. Among newly published books, Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! Volume 8 and Dungeon Meshi Volume 12 were mentioned to have performed well for Manga, while Pan Dorobou: Onigiri Bouya no Tabidachi did well in the children’s book segment.

Unfortunately, as noted above, the decline in profit for the segment was brought upon by two factors. One being investment in human resources, and the other being the much higher operating costs for printed books due to inflation. The business is already starting production of books to combat increasing production costs through its Tokorozawa City’s production facility in Saitama prefecture, which, however, is proving to be a challenge.

Additional Note. As for Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! Volume 8 and Dungeon Meshi Volume 12, both volumes sold 22,954 copies and 147,053 copies respectively in their first 7 days and 5 days in September and August 2022 according to Oricon. But Oricon does not capture the full extent of volumes’ performances since not all stores in Japan report their numbers to the organization. Additionally, Oricon only counts physical sales and not digital sales. As for the increasing price of volumes, while I have not analyzed KADOKAWA-related releases, it is noteworthy that volumes are indeed more expensive than before, especially for Shueisha titles. For more information, please refer to the visualizations provided in the sources section below.

Regarding KADOKAWA’s Publishing Business Top 10 performing titles as of the end of the quarter, we have the Top 3 titles remaining unchanged from the previous quarter, with Sword Art Online still leading the list, followed by Overlord and KADOKAWA Manga Gakushu Series. The list witnessed the entry of two new titles, The Eminence in Shadow at Number 4, boosted by the broadcast of its Anime that aired from October 5, 2022, to February 15, 2023, and Bungo Stray Dogs at Number 9. Unlike Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute!, Bungo Stray Dogs‘ latest Anime season did not broadcast throughout the third quarter and began airing on January 4, 2023, slated to end on March 29 of the same year.

Below is the full list of the Top 10:

Rank Titles Δ Year Video Game
1 Sword Art Online 2009
2 Overlord 2012
3 KADOKAWA Manga Gakushu Series 2015
4 Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! NEW 2018
5 Pan Dorobou ↑1 2020


Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu ↓2 2014
7 Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei ↓2 2011
8 Fate 2004
9 Bungo Stray Dogs NEW 2013
10 Love Live! ↓1 2012

According to KADOKAWA’s financial report, the top 10 titles alone accounted for 7% of the total sales, with 7,247 million yen (≈52.95 million USD) in revenue. The remaining titles accounted for 93% of the total sales, with 96,287 million yen (≈703.50 million USD) in revenue.

Video and Game Businesses

Kodokawa Corporation defines its Video Business as a business that plans, produces and distributes live-action films and anime. It also handles the distribution of licensing rights here and the sales of package software. As for its Game Business, the segment involves planning, development, sales and licensing of game software and internet games.

Kadokawa Corporation’s Game Business had noted a sharp increase in sales by 206.41% to 23,416 million yen (≈171.08 million USD) from 7,642 million yen (≈55.83 million USD). But, its operating profit soared high, recording a 2134.24% jump to 9,071 million yen (≈66.27 million USD) from just 406 million yen (≈2.97 million USD) the same quarter the prior year. And this splendid turn of event was thanks to none other than the contribution of its blockbuster hit title, Elden Ring which as its reports highlighted, significantly drove up sales. Following the title’s winning of the Game of the Year award at The Game Award 2022, units sold for the game had also climbed to an overwhelming 20 million copies sold as of February 22, 2023.

Its Video Business, on the other hand, had seen a positive jump of 25.69% in sales to 31,092 million yen (≈227.11 million USD) from 24,738 million yen (≈180.70 million USD), while operating profit decreased by 20.53% to register lower at 1,111 million yen (≈8.12 million USD) from 1,395 million yen (≈10.19 million USD) the same period the year before. According to Kadokawa Corporation, the increase in sales can be attributed to an increase in the number of new Anime titles for the period, from 14 in Quarter 2 to 16 in Quarter 3. The previous year’s Quarter 3 had only 11 titles. New movie titles for the live-action business were also a contributor to the increase in sales, although much of the segment was carried by Anime titles. The group noted that sales derived from the licensing of media mix works such as Overlord IV and Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute!, among others, were strong.

Please note that for this segment and as of the time of writing, I combined the two segments since KADOKAWA grouped them together until FY2019. I will split them once FY2024 reports come out. However, you can refer to the table below to see the results separated according to segments.

Video Business Performance (Separated)
in million yen

FY Sales Sales Δ% (Y/Y)
Operating Profit Profit Δ% (Y/Y)
2020 24,788 2,413
2021 22,439 -9.48% 2,316 -4.02%
2022 24,738 10.25% 1,398 -39.64%
2023 31,092 25.69% 1,111 -20.53%

Game Business Performance (Separated)
in million yen

FY Sales Sales Δ% (Y/Y)
Operating Profit Profit Δ% (Y/Y)
2020 10,162 1,480
2021 12,375 21.78% 2,946 99.05%
2022 7,642 -38.25% 406 -86.22%
2023 23,416 206.41% 9,071 2134.24%

As for Kadokawa Corporation’s Top 10 video titles, the Top 2 retained their positions as the previous quarter, with the Overlord series leading the charge while Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu maintained its Number 2 position. The Eminence in Shadow, which began airing in Quarter 3, was the only new title, jumping all the way to Number 3, overtaking Kakkou no Iinazuke and Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari.

Below is the full list of the Top 10:

Rank Titles Δ Year Video Game
1 Overlord 2015
2 Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2016
3 Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute! NEW 2022
4 Made in Abyss ↑2 2017
5 Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari ↓1 2019


Kakkou no Iinazuke ↓3 2022
7 Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! ↑2 2016
8 Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e ↓1 2017
9 Isekai Ojisan ↓4 2022
10 Isekai Yakkyoku ↓2 2022

The Top 10 for Video Business titles alone accounted for 29% of its total sales, worth 9,017 million yen (≈65.86 million USD), whereas the rest was at 22,075 million yen (≈161.24 million USD), accounting for 71% of the total sales.

Web Services, Education and Others Businesses

In terms of net sales, Web Services increased by 6.4% to 17,375 million yen (≈126.91 million USD), Education was up by 12.1% to 9,282 million yen (≈67.80 million USD), and Others saw a 47.6% jump in net sales to 12,661 million yen (≈92.48 million USD). However, Others recorded an operating loss of 2,795 million yen (≈20.42 million USD), while Education had a modest increase in operating profit by 25.6% to 1,331 million yen (≈9.72 million USD).

The Publishing Business accounted for 52.5% of the group’s total net sales, followed by Video at 15.8%, Game at 11.9%, Web Services at 8.8%, Education at 4.7%, and Others at 6.4% (please refer to the chart here).

Anticipation for Quarter 4

The group is expected to finish FY2023 on a strong note, as it has several upcoming releases that are likely to reinforce its position in the market from January 1 to March 31, 2023. For books, readers can anticipate the release of Bungou Stray Dogs Volume 23, Nichijou Volume 11, and The Five Star Stories Volume 17, which is expected to perform well. In the Light Novel segment, No Game No Life Volume 12 is set to be released within Quarter 4. In the Video segment, viewers can look forward to the second season of Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu Season 2, Spy Kyoushitsu, and others that are currently airing as of the time of writing.

From left to right, Bungou Stray Dogs Volume 23, Nichijou Volume 11, and The Five Star Stories Volume 17

Additional Analysis. Bungou Stray Dogs Volume 23 debuted on Oricon’s Top 30 sales chart for the week of December 26 to January 1, selling 63,326 copies in its first 5 days, which was slightly lower than the sales of Volumes 19 and 20. Meanwhile, Nichijou Volume 11, which was also released the same week, ranked 8th on Oricon’s chart with 43,219 copies sold, seven years after the release of Volume 10. The Five Star Stories Volume 17 which was released on March 10, 2023 sold 109,215 copies in its first 3 days and both Volume 15 and 16 had also appeared on Oricon’s sales charts, selling 138,073 and 130,641 copies in their first 7 days and 3 days, respectively. While No Game No Life Volume 12 sold 16,094 copies of the Regular Edition on Oricon’s list recently, which was lower than previous volumes, the Limited Edition did not appear on Oricon’s sales charts for the week, even on the paid platform. Distributed exclusively through Melonbooks, the store does not report its sales to Oricon, so the actual sales, including the Special Edition for the series’ latest volume, should be much higher.

When the Q3 performance was announced, Kadokawa Corporation’s stock price closed at 2,377 yen (≈17.36 USD), a decrease of 0.88% from the previous day’s closing price of 2,398 yen (≈17.52 USD). However, the stock price rallied and ended strongly at 2,475 yen (≈18.08 USD), representing an increase of 4.12% on February 3, 2023.

Kadokawa Corporation is incorporated in Japan with its headquarter located in Tokyo. The company owns several well-known entities including: BOOK WALKER, FromSoftware, Spike Chunsoft and YEN PRESS. It is publicly listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange under the ticket symbol 9468

All currency conversion was done at the time of writing.

Updated (March 22, 2023) – Added additional references, included link to The Five Star Stories Volume 17’s sales performance according to Oricon and shifted a paragraph up into the Video and Game section.

Featured Image:
Bungo Stray Dogs

Previous Quarter Coverage here.

Presentation Material Q3 FY2023
Presentation Transcript Q3 FY2023
Financial Statement Q3 FY2023

Google Charts:
Group sales vs profit or loss Q3 FY2023
Publishing Business sales vs profit or loss Q3 FY2023
Video and Game Business sales vs profit or loss Q3 FY2023

Additional References (Charts):
Overseas net sales vs previous year
Segment Sales Q2 FY2022
Segment Sales Q3 FY2023
Paper-based books and media by genre

Shueisha Price Changes:
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