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!”