Kodansha Comics, the English publisher of Hiroyuki Takei’s Nekogahara:Stray Cat Samurai series, has recently shifted the release date of volume 4 to June 12th, 2018. Previously a placeholder date of February 6th, 2018 was set. No dates for the fourth Japanese volume has been announced yet. It’s also important to note that the placeholder for volume 5 of the English manga was removed. This is most likely because they are unsure of when that volume release will be, but at the earliest it could be in Fall 2018.
Typically if you hear about a manga volume being delayed that would sound like bad news. However, we can start making some new estimations based on this large bump in release date. Based on the last 3 English releases, they typically come out around 100 days after the Japanese release. Subtracting 100 days from June, puts a possible Japanese volume release in March 2018.
Nekogahara is just a manga series at this point. There are no product lines or an anime to promote. However, we will be a good portion into 2018, which is the 20th anniversary of the Shaman King series. A new manga series is extremely likely, but there could be other multimedia parts as well (Drama CD, Music CD, Anime, .etc). Kodansha in Japan hasn’t officially become the publisher of Shaman King, Jumbor, Butsu Zone, and Ultimo yet, but that also is extremely likely.
So why would a “March 2018” volume release be noteworthy? The answer is the “obi” or the wrap-around ad /promotion that would be attached to the volume release. Typically these advertisements are reserved for promoting other manga or products (such as TV anime). When the Shaman King anime aired on TV, all of the current manga volumes at that time were reprinted. With a March release date, if there was some sort of Spring anime being released…. this would be a great promotion. Or possibly if some of Hiroyuki Takei’s manga was getting reprinted by Kodansha… this would fall in that timeline. If there was a new manga series being published… this could also be that cross-promotion to bring back the fans of Takei’s manga.
Not that has any bearing… but here are some other notable Japanese March releases from years past:
- 2004: S.F.O.V (Shaman Fight of Vocal) music CDs
- 2008: Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volume 1
- 2014: Karakuridôji Ultimo volume 1 digital release
- 2014: Danball Senki: Gaiden (Jin Kaido Story) manga
This may all be just random speculation, but it does feel like if there was going to be a “big event” that March 2018 is lining up to be that time.