For a while now, I’ve been trying to get into more recent manga and lately it’s been extremely hard. Why is that you ask? Well for starters, if you’re subscribed to Shonen Jump magazine (or any other magazine publisher), you might already know. It’s hard to get into new manga because of how fast various manga series get cancelled.
For starters, “Red Sprite”, written by Tomohiro Yagi: I thought that this particular series had a lot of promise and could have been pretty good if given the chance. However, due to the way the manga industry is currently structured, it was cancelled after only releasing a few chapters. The reason for this is as follows: the way manga is judged in Japan is all based on surveys. At the end of every issue there is a survey wherein the company asks the readers to rank the series, and as you expect some series don’t rank very high.
In an article from animenewsnetwork, Horie Nobuhiko, former editor and chief at Shonen Jump magazine, sheds some light that’s very troublesome to many readers. According to him, readers can decide a manga’s fate in the first three weeks of its release. Check out the quote for yourself below.
“Horie said that even if the work in question is by a major creator, if its popularity starts to fall, the magazine may decide to discontinue the series based on reader survey results. He said that editors can determine whether or not a work will become popular by about three weeks after it debuts. The magazine aims to operate closely in line with readers’ desires and tastes. Therefore, it places a lot of weight on the results of reader surveys, and readers can determine whether or or not manga will continue.
Horie also added, “Surveys have more objectivity than anything.” He explained that editors can tell creators that their works are not interesting, so they will be cancelled.
Horie also admitted that the decision to cancel some series can be made too early. He said, “There are also cases where manga go up in popularity little by little,” and that fact is sometimes overlooked. Horie said that the standard for cancellation is 10 weeks, but some series start to gain popularity by the seventh or eighth week.”
So yeah, sometimes a series can get cancelled with only three chapters being released. Imagine this: back when Naruto or One Piece first made their debut, and the readers felt as if neither series wasn’t up to par, we would never have had the chance to experience the the incredible journey of Naruto or Luffy.
The problem is, can you truly blame the publishers? Regardless of whether you feel they should give each series as much time as they can to see if popularity rises, at the end of the day they are a business. Should reader surveys hold so much power though? I love checking out new manga and seeing the new ideas that the creators come up with. Unfortunately I just can’t seem to make the investment. It’s gotten to the point to where I need a series to at least make it through ten chapters in order for me to give it a chance.
If not, there’s no telling if the series will even make it past three chapters, even though the same can be said for a series that makes it to ten chapters and still potentially gets cancelled.
It’s not just the surveys either. The editors can make things hard as well. For instance, we all remember the sports series “Keijo.” Keijo made a splash when the anime premiered back in 2016 and was immediately a fan favorite. Due to certain circumstances though, the manga was cancelled with the show at its peak. Luckily the creator Daichi Sorayomi gave some insight as to why this took place.
“He began by denying rumors that the manga was cancelled due to poor sales of the anime’s home video volumes.
He specifically addressed the rumors that the anime’s first home video volume only sold 715 units. Upon seeing the rumors, he immediately contacted the anime staff to confirm the number. The anime staff informed him that the figure was incorrect, and that the first volume had sold more than that. He said that the figure had “the number of digits wrong.”
He admitted that the manga’s cancellation was due to his own lack of skill and the circumstances between him and the publisher. He wrote with some hesitation that the manga’s publisher Shogakukan could have given him more support. He claimed that there was a period of time where he had asked Shogakukan for more assistants for a year and a half, but the publisher told him they could not find him one. He worked on the manga with only one assistant, and at one point ended up doing too much work that he passed out for an hour.”
If you would like to read more of this interview, please click here.
I’d like to say that I will continue to try and read new manga and support the industry as much as possible, but making an investment in new series has me feeling doubtful on the future, unless the series gets announced for an anime. Also, before you go, please check out my article on the anime and manga industry and how hard it is for creators to live.