May 25

Hiroyuki Takei draws art for Japanese release of Back to the Future comic

Releasing on May 27th, 2017, Hiroyuki Takei has drawn some art for the obi (wrap-around ad) for the Japanese release of second Back to the Future comic. The Japanese title is “バック・トゥ・ザ・フューチャー コンティニュアム・コナンドラム” and has the ISBN of 978-4800272980. This on-going comic was originally published by IDW in English back in October 2015, but is now getting a collected volume release in Japan for 1,998 yen. The first volume release in Japan had featured a different manga artist promoting the volume. Though not part of the official cover, the obi is a promotional wrap-around that is typically added to books in Japan (including manga). Often they are self-promotion for an author’s other works, an upcoming TV adaption, or as in this case, includes praise about the book from another author. Typically, the art on the obi is not reprinted elsewhere or included in the book proper, and is often only on the first printing.

It is also worth noting that Hiroyuki Takei is a huge fan of the Back to the Future movie series. Additionally, he does own a working original DeLorean DMC-12 (the car featured in the movies) as part of his personal car collection.

Back in 2011, Hiroyuki Takei also drew an image for the obi of the single volume release of Renjin (錬人) which was released by Corodragon Comics.

May 17

Nekogahara Volume 3 Cover Art Previewed in Ad

In the Shonen Magazine Edge that released today with the 19th chapter of Nekogahara was also an ad for the upcoming Nekogahara volume 3 (猫ヶ原 3巻). It confirmed the original Japanese release date of June 16th, 2017. The ad also references the same signing event that will occur that Hiroyuki Takei hinted at yesterday. The image used in the ad will most likely be the cover image for the third volume. It will also most likely continue the trend of having the image wrap around to the back cover (and be in color).


Additionally, in the next issue preview for Shonen Magazine Edge, that Nekogahara would also be featured on the cover of the issue releasing next month (June 2017).


Currently the third volume of Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai is scheduled for release in English on October 17th, 2017.

May 15

Hiroyuki Takei turns 45

Today, May 15th, Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of Shaman King, Jumbor, and Nekogahara turns 45 years old. He was born in Yomogita, Aomori, Japan in 1972 and has been working in the manga industry since 1992 where is started off as an assistant. After the success of Itako No Anna short story in 1994, he continued with new manga stories until his first success of Butsu Zone in 1997.

On Twitter, he posted the following update and image today as it relates to his birthday (Rough English translation follows):

たくさんのお祝いありがとうございます、45ちゃいになりました。これからも老眼に負けず適当にがんばってまいりますので、応援よろしくおねがいします。 ※画像は20代の時のもの



Thank you for your congratulations, for now I am 45. I will continue to do my best without losing to presbyopia, so thank you for your support. ※ Image from my 20s.

… In return I will have an autograph session. Please see ‘Magazine Edge’ magazine for future information as well as to send any gifts.

Presbyopia is a medical condition which is the worsening ability to focus on close objects (such as small text). Typical treatment can involve surgery or corrective lenses. In most promotional photos and interviews he has not been wearing glasses.

The photo attached is of “Mandain Hikaru” which is most famously is the co-author of the Shaman King Character Book – Man.Ji.En. Of course this is just a running gag of Hiroyuki Takei dressed up in an alternate persona.

Hiroyuki Takei most recently had two autograph sessions to promote his current running Nekogahara manga series. The first event was at the Tokyo’s Animate Ikebukuro store on September 21, 2015. Then the 2nd event was on May 7th, 2016 which was also partially recorded for the imagine-nation TV show which had a feature on Nekogahara and Hiroyuki Takei’s works. In the second event, he also talked and did more live drawings from his more popular manga series, Shaman King. Prior to these two events, Hiroyuki Takei has also appeared at anime/manga conventions in America and France for promotion, which included autograph sessions.


May 13

New Nekogahara English Volume 4 Release Date

With the never ending shifting of the Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai release dates… it looks like English volume 4 by Kodansha Comics is now scheduled for February 8th, 2018. With volume 3 currently scheduled for June 6th in Japan and October 17th in English speaking countries… a February release for the fourth volume isn’t out of the question. However, depending on Hiroyuki Takei’s release cycle in Japan with the chapter/volume releases… it could very easily change again!

You can follow all of the upcoming international releases on our Release Calendar, or on the sidebar for all of our pages!

Apr 29

Nekogahara Volume 3 Release Dates for Japan & America

The release date for the third volume of Nekogahara (猫ヶ原) in Japan has finally been announced as June 16th, 2017 (2017/6/16). It’s ISBN is 978-4063910773 and will cost ¥702 for the print edition. That puts it about 7 months since volume 2 was released in Japan.


Previously, the third volume release date for Nekogahara in English has shifted alot over the last couple months. The dates were mostly placeholder dates, but the latest release for Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai in English is now currently scheduled for October 17th, 2017. The first volume of Nekogahara in English, as released by Kodansha Comics was released on October 25th, 2016.

The third English volume release has the following information:

ISBN: 978-1632363978
Page count: 176 pages
Size: 5-3/4in x 8-3/16in
MSRP: $12.99
Release Date: October 17th, 2017

This will have the English release of Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai volume 3 be about 4 months (123 days) after the Japanese volume release.

Feb 18

20th Anniversary of Butsu Zone serialization

On February 18th, 1997, the 12th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump was released in Japan. This issue, contained Hiroyuki Takei’s serialization debut work, Butsu Zone (仏ゾーン). Though only 19 chapters long, this was the series that launched Hiroyuki Takei’s career and gave him the momentum to create Shaman King in the following year.

Butsu Zone was originally a oneshot manga that debuted in the Summer 1996 edition of Akumaru Jump. The core concepts of the original oneshot continued in the full manga. It also combined elements of his 1994 oneshot, Itako No Anna, which received an honorable mention in the 48th Tezuka Award. Though ending with 19 chapters, the series continues to change and mix with Hiroyuki Takei’s other series.

After receiving an animated short with the Shaman King anime in 2002, Butsu Zone resurfaced in 2003 with the first of three drama CDs to adapt the manga. These drama CDs also contain an alternate ending to the manga. Then in 2004, with the S.F.O.V. music CDs and PS2 videogame Shaman King: Funbari Spirits Sennju began the start of blending further into the Shaman King timeline. With the Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang, the integration continued, and then further solidified with the Shaman King Zero chapters 8 through 10 in 2014 with a continued rewrite of the original Butsu Zone story.

There isn’t much excitement regarding the anniversary coming out from Japan for Hiroyuki Takei’s series. Back in January, Jyuki Ningen Jumbor, Hiroyuki Takei’s third serialization, reached 10 years old with little fanfare. But with it’s further integration in with the Shaman King universe, next yea, with Shaman King‘s 20th Anniversary, may be the year of true celebration of all of Hiroyuki Takei’s works.


Thank you Hiroyuki Takei for all of the hard work you have done. And may you continue to create great manga “with an adventurous tendency!”

Feb 15

Hiroyuki Takei comments on Shaman King anime production offer

Yesterday, Hiroyuki Takei responded on Twitter to a fans comment about the Shaman King anime. Below is the original Japanese followed by an English translation from Dit on Tumblr:

Fan (@nooreneri): 懐かしい…! 今でもシャーマンキング大好きです☺️ またアニメ化してくれないかなぁ…!

This brings back such good memories! I still love Shaman King, after all this time. I hope it gets a new anime someday!

(This fan’s comment is in reference to a recent post by Takei of Yoh Askura’s first Oversoul.)

Takei: じつを言うと本格的なところまで再アニメ化の話はありましたが…前作の声優さんや楽曲が使用できないとのことで、お断りさせていただきました。またチャンスがあるといいですね

Well, to be honest, there WAS going to be a new anime… But since it was impossible to keep the same voice actors and music from the first one, I decided to decline the offer. Who knows, maybe next time.

As of the time of this posting, there were 10,770 retweets and 5,089 likes. 

Hiroyuki Takei was most likely referring to the “music” as Starchild Records (as part of King Records) who produced the music for the original Shaman King anime series. Additionally, Megumi Hayashibara, who played Anna in the original anime, has her music label through King Records as well.  While not impossible to have a new anime without her (or King Records), it definitely adds some additional issues to the offer.

It’s important to note that there are many offers made for adapting manga into anime. Additionally, multiple offers could be made from different studios or committees. We do not know when this anime offer was originally made as well, since this could be from many years ago.


Personally, I am happy that there are (or were) offers for a new Shaman King anime. But I respect that Hiroyuki Takei wanted to have some control over the direction of the adaption and that it would meet the quality that he expects. With over 10,000 retweets, I’d expect to help some traction on some new offers to be made.

Feb 12

Wonder Festival Winter 2017 Preview

On February 19th, 2017 will begin the Winter edition of Wonder Festival (ワンダーフェスティバル) for 2017. This is also know as Wonderfest, Wonfes( ワンフェス). This is a special, twice-a–year convention that is based around promoting and selling of figures, typically from anime, manga, and comic series.

The event is split between the official figure manufacturers promoting their upcoming figures to be sold through normal outlets for the rest of the year and one-off “groups” that make their own custom figures for sale during the event. These one-off, fan-groups’ figures typically get a “look-the-other-way” in terms of copyright infringement for using licensed characters on this special day in this special location. Typically these figures are sold at high prices with a very limited quantity. And often these figures are promoted online via social media. A such, there has been a couple new figures (unofficial, fanmade) being advertised and some reprints from last year, which we have listed below. As more are posted online, we’ll have additional news posts. Sometimes we won’t see them until the day of the event!

Note with 16 figures on display or for sale, click to continue reading this post to check them all out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 12

High Quality “Shaman File” Images Officially Posted on Twitter

As a late 2016 present, Hiroyuki Takei has started posting on Twitter some high quality images of the “Shaman Files” that were included in the original Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang releases in Japan. When he originally did the drawings, he drew them much larger and with greater detail than what was printed. These drawings were only printed in the original KZB (Kang Zeng Bang) editions of the Shaman King manga, and not included in the later Remix edition reprints. These images were also included in the official Italian release of Shaman King: Perfect Edition. Note that there are some minor changes to the images than what was previously printed.

Additionally, Hiroyuki Takei has included some images from Shaman King Flowers and some “mashups” as some jokes as well.

Below is a gallery of these images from Hiroyuki Takei’s twitter. This post will be updated sporadically when new images are posted.

Gallery Updates:

  • Dec 31st, 2016 – Originally posted with 33 images
  • Feb 12th, 2017 – Added 47 images

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 26

English Nekogahara Volume 3 Shifted to Sept 19th

As previously reported, there was some early placeholders for Nekogahara volumes 3, 4 & 5 for the English release. There has been yet another change, in which Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai volume 3 is now scheduled to come out on September 19th, 2017. Previously the date was for April 11th. Additionally, the placeholder dates for volumes 4 & 5 have been removed completely.

Having 5 volumes being released in a year was a pretty aggressive timeline, so shifting in dates was to be expected. However the “delay” for volume 3 will be quite a distance. No release date has been planned for the third volume of manga in Japan yet, so it’s hard to tell when that volume will be released to use as a reference. It’s possible that Hiroyuki Takei may be slowing down on Nekogahara chapters (page count and/or number of chapters) in the near future. This would cause the number of volumes to dip. Maybe Takei is working on some more Shaman King?

It could also be possible that Nekogahara may move to having “simlupub” or monthly releases in English directly online. If that’s the case, then it’s possible that the volume releases become a bit more delayed and allow more time to be worked on (rather than rushing to release).

Or another scenario could be that the sales expectations for Nekogahara weren’t as strong as they needed to be, and it’s being bumped from Kodansha Comic‘s translation priorities.

Which ever the case may be, the Japanese volume release will always come out first. So once volume 3 has a set date in Japan, we can get a better idea how it relates to the English releases.

Older posts «