From earlier last month, we got the heads up that some of Hiroyuki Takei’s series were leaving the digital manga service Bookwalker. However, with July coming around, we now have the final confirmation that Hiroyuki Takei is no longer associated with Shueisha for the following titles:
- Shaman King
- Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang
- Shaman King Flowers
- Shaman King Zero
- Jumbor Angzenbang
- Butsu Zone
All of these series have been removed from all Japanese digital marketplaces. This includes S-MANGA.net and books.shueisha.co.jp which, has the listing of the currently published titles for Hiroyuki Takei. The official Ultra Jump website still lists Hiroyuki Takei as an artist, but it will most likely be removed soon, as indicated by the recent omission of Jumbor from the print July issue. Physical books may be hard to find as they have been out of print for a while. Some bookstores may be returning their current stock back to Shueisha, so finding these series in Japan may become difficult.
The Karakuri Dôji Ultimo manga series is still listed with Shueisha as that series has some additional licensing issues and was a collaboration project with Hiroyuki Takei.
Typically when one of these “breakups” occur there can be some other side-effects for the international markets as well. Currently Shaman King is still listed by Viz Media as an active title for both print and digital in English. Any other international publishers will most likely continue their current contract with Shueisha until it’s run it’s course. However, once it becomes time to renew the contract, there may be some difficulties doing so as currently they would need to work with Hiroyuki Takei directly, rather than through Sheuisha (or via Viz Media Europe to Shueisha). Until this is sorted out, it is highly unlikely that any of these series will be licensed in any country until next year at the earliest.
It’s possible that these series could be picked up by another publisher, such as Kodansha, who is currently publishing Nekogahara. Hiroyuki Takei has recently stated that he hopes to have an announcement before the end of the year, which would indicate that he is in negotiations with a publisher.