For the last two years (2016 & 2017) I’ve started the year by making some predictions on what will happen within the upcoming year. So far my predictions haven’t panned out but that’s not going to stop me from trying!
Before we get into 2018’s predictions, let’s see how I did with 2017:
- New Shaman King Remix chapters posted online – Didn’t happen
- Nekogahara will have a TV anime series in Fall 2017/Winter 2018 – Didn’t happen
- Nekogahara gets monthly simulpubs for chapters – Didn’t happen
Stuck out again for a second time! In 2017 there was alot of things happening… but all of it was setup for the next year with Shaman King. Nekogahara and Hyper Dash! Yonkuro continued to be released, but nothing much more than that. But now with 2018 being the Shaman King 20th Anniversary… we got to have something big happen, right? And if I keep getting them wrong with only 3 guess, let’s bump this up to 6 predictions this year!
Note: These are just guesses. They are not real news stories. (unless reported here later)
New Shaman King chapters will be based around the “Funbari No Uta” short chapters
Based on the Shaman King 20th Anniversary website opening announcement, we got confirmation that some sort of new Shaman King manga chapters will be published in Shonen Magazine Edge in Spring 2018. No further details were given at the time on what these chapters will be.
Instead of continuing with Shaman King Flowers right away, Hiroyuki Takei is going to continue the original Shaman King story. He’ll pick up the story with a “chapter 301” where we’ll continue the story around that time. This would include a re-write and expansion upon the 5 “Funbari No Uta” (Funbari Song) short chapters that were featured around Hana. There are several plot elements that haven’t been developed in this timeframe and now they will be rolled up into the story-line proper. This also will help act as a prequel to the events in Shaman King Flowers and pull Yosuke into the story as the upcoming new villain. These chapters will then later be available for purchase in the recently announced volumes 34 and 35 of the Kodansha eBook releases of Shaman King.
All of Shaman King becomes a single series (No more “Zero” or “Flowers“)
We know that there will be at least 35 volumes of the Shaman King manga being released as digital ebooks in early 2018 by Kodansha. However the content of these books and possible changes/modifications haven’t been announced yet. With Shaman King‘s multiple publications by Shueisha, it’s become increasingly difficult to explain to new fans what they should read and within what order.
To start fresh with Kodansha and leave the old Shueisha prints behind… Hiroyuki Takei will take all of the Shaman King series and combine them into a single unified series called “Shaman King.” There won’t be references to “Flowers” or “Zero,” and the “Kang Zeng Bang” 300 chapters will be the basis. With the prediction above, Hiroyuki Takei will be creating some additional chapters (301+) which will sit at the end of the KZB run. Then once that arc is complete, the Flowers chapters will then be added on. So Shaman King Flowers “chapter 1” could become “chapter 325” in this unified release. The original Zero chapters would be spread throughout the volumes still as extra stories, or could become full numbered chapters as well (which would add even further confusion to older fans). With this setup however, it’s unlikely that any continuation of Shaman King Flowers chapters would occur in 2018.
No news of Jumbor in 2018
With 2018 being all about Shaman King, let’s make a prediction about there NOT being any news for Jumbor. Though it’s been on “hiatus” since June 2015, this year is going to be one more year where nothing happens. Hiroyuki Takei has made a few comments about Jumbor in the past which pointed to his ongoing conflict with Shueisha. With the license now most likely in Kodansha’s managerial hands, it’s possible for the series to continue. However with his 3 ongoing series (Shaman King, Nekogahara, and Hyper Dash! Yonkuro), adding a fourth series could be troublesome. With that, we’ll probably get a couple side comments like “constructing a new plot for Jumbor” or “please support SK/Neko to show your support” in the upcoming year.
Kondasha Comics (USA) licenses the new Kodansha eBooks of Shaman King
Now that Kodansha has a new manga series it can license, it’s time to work out some deals with international publishers. The challenge is that physical copies may not be able to be printed in 2018 due to some other outstanding contracts, but digital ebooks of Shaman King may be on the table! The only publisher in the Kodansha-related world outside of Japan who has this worked out is the American Kodansha Comics. They are currently publishing Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai internationally in both print and same-day digital formats. Kodansha Comics’s digital release division is also releasing many digital-only (or digital-first) manga titles on a weekly basis. Original English licensor of Shaman King, Viz Media, has removed all new purchases for the digital volumes in October, so this appears to be a clear path for this to occur. Print volumes of these are unlikely to occur in 2018, but some combined omnibus volumes may hit store shelves in 2019 if the digital sales numbers are strong.
Nekogahara concludes in early 2019
With the focus on Shaman King, and Takei’s itch to finish up Jumbor… Nekogahara is going to wrap up it’s story-line throughout 2018. The end of volume 3 points to where the “final boss” will be to end the story and volume 4 helps setup the journey to get there. Hiroyuki Takei doesn’t take much time for “travel” so getting to the end conflict could come quickly. But with everything Shaman King going on, and him having 2 mangas being published at the same time, in the same magazine, with the same deadlines… Nekogahara may have an infrequent release chapter cycle in 2018. For that reason, it might take until 2019 for it to actually end, but we should get some more information in the middle of 2018 that says “Nekogahara is on hiatus this month while Takei works to the final arc!”
New Shaman King anime announced for 2019
If Kodansha is confident about the success of Shaman King, they are going to push hard to make this happen. Hiroyuki Takei has previously stated that there are certain criteria he needs for a new anime to occur. The key factor being who the voice actors are and the music compositions behind it. This is an effort to bring back the original vocal cast as he has become friends with several of them. Assuming that the sales numbers support it in early 2018, development of a new Shaman King anime would begin later in the year. Shonen Magazine Edge would also need to stand behind it to ensure that it can use the anime’s promotion to increase it’s magazine sales. The magazine runs the same risk as Jump X (Kai) did which didn’t hit the sales numbers it needed and was only supported by the Shaman King Flowers fans for a significant number of it’s magazine sales.
That wraps up my predictions for 2018! It looks to be an exciting year if even one of these predictions comes true! To all of our readers I hope you have a Happy New Year, and enjoy on what’s to come in 2018 here at Patch Cafe!