Oct 09 2017

Viz Media Removes English Digital Volumes of Shaman King & Ultimo

Viz Media, the current English publisher of the Shaman King & Ultimo manga series in English-speaking territories, has silently removed both of these series from purchase from all digital platforms. Unless purchased previously, neither of these series can be purchased in a digital format anywhere in the world. Back in July with Shaman King, and then later in September with Ultimo, Hiroyuki Takei has taken back the distribution rights from the Japanese publisher Shueisha. Particularly for Japan, this take-back was for both the digital volume as well as the print editions. Currently the volumes are still listed for sale for the print/paperback editions only on Viz’s website, and has all references to the digital volume sales removed.

Internationally, the individual publishers responses were mixed. Viz Media held the only remaining digital license for the manga series, so outside of Japan, there is no comparison. For print volumes, publishers are either only continuing with reprints (which don’t require Japanese editorial sign-off), or holding off printing new volumes until the licensing issue in Japan has been resolved.

If you had previously purchased the manga from a digital vendor, you should still be able to re-download the volumes. However ability may vary by service and could change over time.

Viz Media is owned by Shueisha, Shogakukan, ShoPro, and the Hitotsubashi Group in Japan, which makes their licensing agreements a bit more challenging.  Other international licensors (including Viz Media Europe), work independently of the Japanese publishers, which can help ease publisher transitions. Unless these series licensing agreements are transitioned to Shogakukan (who is currently publishing Hiroyuki Takei’s Hyper Dash! Yonkuro in Japan), it may be difficult for Viz Media to regain the English publishing rights for the series. If you haven’t purchased the physical (print) volumes of these mangas yet, I would highly recommend you do so as we do not know how long Viz Media will be able to reprint/distribute the Shaman King and Ultimo manga series in English.

Oct 09 2017

Hiroyuki Takei Tweets About Hiring Additional Staff

Earlier today, Hiroyuki Takei returned to Twitter to make a small announcement. Though not uncommon for him to be silent on Twitter for a month, he had not posted since August. He begin with an apology for not coming with a different announcement before jumping into that he is looking into hiring additional staff.

For the job posting, there is no prerequisites, but will be based on the applicants skill. Job location (remote or in-office), hourly wage, or full-time/part-time status are all flexible. To apply to the position, there is an e-mail address you can send your application with your sample work. Sample work can include character designs, landscape/setting, mecha designs, 3D/perspective designs, or other personal designs. The original drawing is still completed by Hiroyuki Takei on paper, but they do use Clip Studio EX for all of the digital editing that occurs.The application deadline is by the end of October. As a common courtesy please do not spam this e-mail address, or expect a response for any e-mails

Though not posted in the Tweets, being fully fluent in Japanese and living in Japan are often the requirements for working on manga in Japan. Since assistants to a manga-ka are often employed directly, the difficulties of working internationally with the employees is extremely difficult. If you wanted to test out your own manga skills, Clip Studio EX can be purchased in English and there is a trial available. Based on photos of Hiroyuki Takei’s office, and prizes given out, his office primarily use iOS-based computers for creating manga.

Additionally, the project Hiroyuki Takei is hiring for was not stated, but it is most likely for his upcoming sequel to the Shaman King Flowers manga or assisting with his two current manga projects (Nekogahara and Hyper Dash! Yonkuro). Previously he did comment that he hoped to make an announcement before the end of the year about Shaman King. With a staff hiring deadline of October, it’s more likely that the earliest a new manga could be produced would be in December or January. Typically there is at least a month lead-time from the announcement to the first chapter being released. With Hyper Dash! Yonkuro, Shaman King Zero, and Jumbor, Hiroyuki Takei started with a stand-alone oneshot chapter or specials before getting into the core series. As Shueisha is no longer publishing Shaman King or Jumbor, some sort of introductory manga is highly likely.

Sep 24 2017

Hiroyuki Takei Provides Character Designs for “Tokyo Dragon City” Mobile App Game

On September 21st, the announcement of new mobile app game “Tokyo Dragon City” was announced via twitter. This is a new action-RPG game created by JoyTea Games for the Japanese market. As part of it’s initial campaign, it’s promoting that Hiroyuki Takei has provided the main character designs, along with a collection of other artists. The in-game graphics use a slightly different styleization with it’s 3D world graphics, but are still based on Takei’s designs. With the announcement, the beta test for the game is currently avialable on the Google Play store, and will remain active until September 30th at 12:00. No announcement on when the full game will be released, but it will be on the Google Play store and the App Store for all mobile devices. This game is un-related to the English 2012 game “Dragon City.”

On the official website, there is also some high quality versions of the artwork used at the bottom of the main page. Currently the game is completely in Japanese and has regional restrictions to prevent use outside of Japan.

Hiroyuki Takei has provided character designs for various other card and video games. Most recently he provided the character designs for Chaos Dragon back in 2015.

Google Play Store Link (Beta – β): Link
Official Website: http://www.tokyo-dragon.joytea.jp/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/tokyodragoncity

 

Sep 05 2017

Karakuridôji Ultimo Manga To No Longer Be Published by Shueisha

Back in July, it was softly announced that most of Hiroyuki Takei’s manga series were leaving Shueisha as the publisher on July 31st, 2017. These titles included Shaman King, Jumbor, and Butsu Zone. However at the time, Takei’s longest running series, Karakuridôji Ultimo (機巧童子ULTIMO) was not included in that list and was still being published in print and digital by Shueisha. These manga series was a collaboration between Hiroyuki Takei and Stan Lee with his production company POW! Entertainment. The collaboration was originally setup through Shueisha, and was on the initial production committee. Because of these partnerships between Shueisha and POW! Entertainment, it was possible that Hiroyuki Takei did not maintain enough of the rights to fully break away with his other manga series in July.

However, several digital manga distributors (example: Honto) are now listing a digital sale end date of September 30th, 2017 at 23:59. This is following the exact same scenario as what occurred in July. The same day that the digital manga was removed, Shueisha also removed most of the references from it’s distribution sites for the print volumes. This was then later confirmed by other international publishers that the manga series (specifically Shaman King) was changing publishers. With a digital manga release end date also occurring, it’s extremely likely that Hiroyuki Takei’s Ultimo series will follow the same path.

It’s also worth noting that earlier this year, the POW! Entertainment company was purchased from Stan Lee by the Hong Kong based Camsing International Holding company. Though unlikely that this had an impact on Hiroyuki Takei moving away from Shueisha, it may have helped free up the license from some control of who is publishing it.

Similar to the shake-up in July, this potentially can have an impact on international licensors of the Ultimo manga. Based on the examples from Shaman King over the last few months, it appears that companies who have already had previous approvals may be able to continue releasing the manga for the time being. Some companies may still push out some reprints of the volumes in order to get some final sales before the license shifts to a different Japanese licensor (and may be subject to different licensing fees and terms, which may require renegotiation). Based on our recently released Manga License Status chart, there are currently 8 international editions in which the manga was published.

Though the sales numbers weren’t great, most publishers were able to release all 12 volumes. Siam Inter Comics in Thailand still missing the final 2 volumes (with volume 10 being published in 2015). Similar to Shaman King, they have held off on releasing additional volumes until the license status has been clarified and will most likely be the case for the Ultimo series as well. The English releases by Viz Media (which is partially owned by Shueisha) are still available in print and digitally for both the Shaman King and Ultimo series.

If you do choose to purchase the Ultimo manga digitally before the end of the month in Japanese, do note that some services may not allow you to re-download the volume after the end of the month (including if you lost/changed you device or deleted the data).

Sep 05 2017

Hiroyuki Takei Provides Prizes for Upcoming Mini4WD Championship in Osaka

The “Fast Faster Fastest” or “3F” Mini4WD Championship in Osaka, Japan has just announced that Hiroyuki Takei will be providing some of the prizes for the upcoming tournament. The tournament will be held on October 29th, 2017 and will be held at the following location:

〒597-0021
大阪府貝塚市小瀬75-2
オークタウン2F TOPGEAR

The Grand Prize will be volume 1 of the Hyper Dash! Yonkuro manga with a sketch of the lead character and Takei’s signature (shown left). In 2nd and 3rd place they will be given volume 1 of the Hyper Dash! Yonkuro manga with Takei’s signature (shown below).

Additionally, there will be a lottery held at the event for children in Junior High and younger for all participants with the prize being one of five autographed copies of the Hyper Dash! Yonkuro manga. Other Mini4WD stores participating in the 3F championship will also be receiving additional signed volumes to be distributed independently prior to October. Throughout the championship they will be also giving out event prizes of signed copies of the mini4WD kits and additional promotional materials (as shown below).

 

Source & Images: Mini4CS

Aug 27 2017

Worldwide Anime/Manga License Status

With Hiroyuki Takei being a published manga-ka for now over 20 years, many of his manga series and the Shaman King anime have been licensed around the world. Keeping track of all of these countries and languages isn’t any easy task, but we’ve created two tables which should make it easier to see. The columns can be sorted and there is a search bar for additional filtering options. Click the links below (or in the header menu) to check them out!

Anime License Status

In this grid we list out every country that we could track down where the Shaman King anime has aired in. We also included if it was part of the “4Kids Global License” where some of the names and animation may have been altered when localizing. 51 countries are listed in the chart!

Manga License Status

In this grid, we list all of the manga that Hiroyuki Takei has created. This list includes:

  • Butsu Zone
  • Shaman King
  • Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang (KZB)
  • Shaman King Zero
  • Shaman King Flowers
  • Jyuki Ningen Jumbor
  • Jumbor Angzengbang
  • Jumbor
  • Karakuri Dôji Ultimo
  • Danball Senki: Gaiden
  • Hyper Dash! Yonkuro
  • Nekogahara

Since the manga license is in transition in Japan (leaving Shueisha), the License Status column attempts to help show what the status within each language/country. Note that this grid only lists the officially licensed/published releases.

 

If there are major changes in the licensing status, we’ll be sure to post an article to let you know! For the most up-to-date releases, be sure to watch our Upcoming Release page.

Aug 18 2017

Indonesian Manga Publisher Reprints Shaman King Manga

In a surprising change, the Indonesian manga publisher, m&c, has been recently reprinting the original Shaman King manga. Within these reprints there are no content differences, but there may be some slight differences in the cover art. These reprinted volumes also have new ISBN numbers which separate them from the original releases. Since these releases do not contain any changes, it may be possible that they didn’t need to go through contacting Shueisha. This is different from Ivrea Argentina who needed to temporarily halt publishing the Shaman King manga while the license is moved to another publisher.

As the volumes are reprinted, we will add them to our Release Calendar, along with any other releases around the world. For a quick glance at upcoming releases, see our sidebar.

Below is the grid for these the most recent reprint for the Shaman King manga in Indonesia:

Release Date Volume Number ISBN
5/17/2017 Shaman King volume 1 9786024284121
5/24/2017 Shaman King volume 2 9786024284138
5/31/2017 Shaman King volume 3 9786024284145
6/7/2017 Shaman King volume 4 9786024284459
6/14/2017 Shaman King volume 5 9786024284466
6/20/2017 Shaman King volume 6 9786024284473
7/12/2017 Shaman King volume 7 9786024284688
7/19/2017 Shaman King volume 8 9789792315592
7/26/2017 Shaman King volume 9 9789792315608
8/2/2017 Shaman King volume 10 9789792315615
8/9/2017 Shaman King volume 11 9789792315622
8/16/2017 Shaman King volume 12 9789792315639
8/23/2017 Shaman King volume 13 9789792315646
8/30/2017 Shaman King volume 14 9789792315653

Aug 17 2017

Ivrea Argentina Comments About Shaman King Manga Status

Starting in July, the final confirmations occurred that Shueisha is no longer the publisher of Shaman King in Japan. At that time it was unclear on the exact impact this may have on the other licenses worldwide involving the Shaman King manga series.

On August 11th, the current Argentina publisher of Shaman King, Ivrea Argentina, commented on Facebook about the matter. Below is the rough English translation:

Regarding Shaman King: There was a fight between the author and Shueisha (the publisher of Shaman King in Japan) that blocked all contracts of foreign editions. A few days ago it was confirmed that Shueisha no longer manages the license of Shaman King, so we are waiting to know who will be the new Japanese publisher so we can agree with them to continue our editions. A disappointing situation but I assure you that we will complete it one way or another.

(The second part of the comment was referencing the differences between the Spanish portion of the company with licensing series.)

Ivrea Argentina was planning on releasing Shaman King manga in 34 volumes. This would be the original 32 volumes plus the extra chapters added with the Kang Zeng Bang for the final 2 volumes. The most recent volume release was volume 19 which was published on December 7th, 2016. Volume 20 was planned for March 1st, but was delayed at that time. On March 2nd, Ivrea Argentina commented on Facebook that there was an issue between the author and Shueisha. This appears to be part of the on-going disagreement Hiroyuki Takei with Shueisha and wasn’t a sudden decision.

Elsewhere around the world Thailand was the other country that was still releasing new volumes of the Shaman King manga. On July 11th, Thai publisher, Siam Inter Comic, released Shaman King UE (Ultimate Edition) volume 20. This is the localized Thai edition of the Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang editions of the manga (which would be 27 volumes in total). Beginning in February with the 15th volume, they had been consistently releasing new volumes each month, however no new volume was released in August. It’s likely that Siam Inter Comic is also waiting on the new licensor holder in Japan to be announced.

It’s also worth noting that Viz Media, the publisher of Shaman King in English, still has all volumes available for purchase. It’s likely that this licensor change issue is only impacting the publishers who are still printing new volumes. It’s highly unlikely there will be any reprints of currently released volumes by any publishers worldwide for Shaman King until this is resolved.

Aug 15 2017

Early Shaman King Card Game designs from Weekly Shonen Jump 2001

Today on Twitter, users Momomoranko and urushimacsrk, posted some photos from early 2001 advertisements for the Japanese Shaman King Trading Card Game from Weekly Shonen Jump. The first three images (shown below) are from 2001 issues #12 & #15, which were published on March 5th and 26th, 2001. For the eagle-eyed that’s Shaman King chapter 126 in the 15th issue.

To put this timeline in perspective, the actual set of cards wasn’t going to be released until May 31st (as shown in the 15th issue ad to the right). However during the Spring Tokyo Game Show 2001 (when it was an event held twice a year), TOMY did hand out “premium” packs which contained the first 5 shamans in the Card Game. This Spring event wasn’t until March 30th, so the card game had actually came out literally the next day. There was some minor changes to the cards (but not the art) between the “Premium” set and the “First” set.

 

But now let’s roll back the clock to March when these two ads were published. The main 5 shamans and their spirits from the “First” set are there; Yoh, Ren, Anna, Horohoro, and Faust VIII. Most notably is that Ren was completely redrawn from that first ad! Another minor change was with Manta which swaps his bookbag for a book. This change was most likely to put it in line more with the anime.

The next interesting thing is that we also see Shamans and Spirits that are NOT in the “First” set. Tamao, Jun, and Ryu were all included in the first expansion pack (EX) called “Merakiahen” (メラ気合い編), which didn’t get published until 8/30/2001. In terms of edits, Ryu was completely redrawn and that image was never used as a card art (as far as I can tell). Ryu also was included in the second ad, so it’s likely that he was considered to be part of the First set in early development. In the EX expansion, Ryu also has several different designs for the “Attack” cards, which may have been additional redesigns that Takei was testing.  Both Tamao and Jun for their Shaman cards the art was completely redrawn. However these two pieces didn’t go to waste as it was re-used in the “Attack” cards for the EX expansion, with Tamao still receiving some additional changes.

 

Aug 08 2017

5 Things You May Have Missed From The “Great Connection”

On Monday, Hiroyuki Takei had a very brief appearance on the Japanese TV show “Great Connection.” His segment was only a little over a minute long and briefly showed off his office and displaying the full image he drew for the show. The image features 2 of the hosts of the show; which he posted the full image the next day on his Twitter (click image on right to see the full image).

However brief, there was some cool little nuggets of information if you carefully watched over the video. Below is a quick list of 5 things you might have missed!

 

1. Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volumes are now behind his desk!

Previously he had another manga series there. So it’s good to see that Takei wanted Shaman King to closer on hand! Here’s what was behind Takei’s desk last year during the “imagine-nation” TV episode featuring Nekogahara for comparison.

 

2. The full poster from Shaman King Mentalite that features all of the Shaman King Character Files from the Kang Zeng Bang (KZB) is still on his desk!

Most likely they are there as a handy reference sheet for all of his characters that he’s draws for Shaman King. He even had this on his desk a year ago.

3. He has the May 2017 issue of “Train Vert” on his desk!

In the recent August issue he had a segment of the magazine featuring Shaman King. It’s sitting right behind the Shaman King poster in the image above. Here’s what the full cover looks like:

 

4. Takei’s shirt is from the band “Happy Kuru Kuru” and the art was drawn by one of his previous assistants!

You can find their music and other information on their Japanese website: http://happy-krkr.tokyo/ . The shirt he is wearing is not currently available for purchase.

 

5. Only Takei’s name is listed as the copyright owner for Shaman King!

He also put his logo on the image which wasn’t previously there. Typically “Shueisha” would be added in some form. This further confirms that Shaman King is no longer published by Shueisha in Japan.