May 13

New Nekogahara English Volume 4 Release Date

With the never ending shifting of the Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai release dates… it looks like English volume 4 by Kodansha Comics is now scheduled for February 8th, 2018. With volume 3 currently scheduled for June 6th in Japan and October 17th in English speaking countries… a February release for the fourth volume isn’t out of the question. However, depending on Hiroyuki Takei’s release cycle in Japan with the chapter/volume releases… it could very easily change again!

You can follow all of the upcoming international releases on our Release Calendar, or on the sidebar for all of our pages!

Apr 29

Nekogahara Volume 3 Release Dates for Japan & America

The release date for the third volume of Nekogahara (猫ヶ原) in Japan has finally been announced as June 16th, 2017 (2017/6/16). It’s ISBN is 978-4063910773 and will cost ¥702 for the print edition. That puts it about 7 months since volume 2 was released in Japan.


Previously, the third volume release date for Nekogahara in English has shifted alot over the last couple months. The dates were mostly placeholder dates, but the latest release for Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai in English is now currently scheduled for October 17th, 2017. The first volume of Nekogahara in English, as released by Kodansha Comics was released on October 25th, 2016.

The third English volume release has the following information:

ISBN: 978-1632363978
Page count: 176 pages
Size: 5-3/4in x 8-3/16in
MSRP: $12.99
Release Date: October 17th, 2017

This will have the English release of Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai volume 3 be about 4 months (123 days) after the Japanese volume release.

Feb 18

20th Anniversary of Butsu Zone serialization

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!”

Feb 15

Hiroyuki Takei comments on Shaman King anime production offer

Yesterday, Hiroyuki Takei responded on Twitter to a fans comment about the Shaman King anime. Below is the original Japanese followed by an English translation from Dit on Tumblr:

Fan (@nooreneri): 懐かしい…! 今でもシャーマンキング大好きです☺️ またアニメ化してくれないかなぁ…!

This brings back such good memories! I still love Shaman King, after all this time. I hope it gets a new anime someday!

(This fan’s comment is in reference to a recent post by Takei of Yoh Askura’s first Oversoul.)

Takei: じつを言うと本格的なところまで再アニメ化の話はありましたが…前作の声優さんや楽曲が使用できないとのことで、お断りさせていただきました。またチャンスがあるといいですね

Well, to be honest, there WAS going to be a new anime… But since it was impossible to keep the same voice actors and music from the first one, I decided to decline the offer. Who knows, maybe next time.

As of the time of this posting, there were 10,770 retweets and 5,089 likes. 

Hiroyuki Takei was most likely referring to the “music” as Starchild Records (as part of King Records) who produced the music for the original Shaman King anime series. Additionally, Megumi Hayashibara, who played Anna in the original anime, has her music label through King Records as well.  While not impossible to have a new anime without her (or King Records), it definitely adds some additional issues to the offer.

It’s important to note that there are many offers made for adapting manga into anime. Additionally, multiple offers could be made from different studios or committees. We do not know when this anime offer was originally made as well, since this could be from many years ago.


Personally, I am happy that there are (or were) offers for a new Shaman King anime. But I respect that Hiroyuki Takei wanted to have some control over the direction of the adaption and that it would meet the quality that he expects. With over 10,000 retweets, I’d expect to help some traction on some new offers to be made.

Feb 12

Wonder Festival Winter 2017 Preview

On February 19th, 2017 will begin the Winter edition of Wonder Festival (ワンダーフェスティバル) for 2017. This is also know as Wonderfest, Wonfes( ワンフェス). This is a special, twice-a–year convention that is based around promoting and selling of figures, typically from anime, manga, and comic series.

The event is split between the official figure manufacturers promoting their upcoming figures to be sold through normal outlets for the rest of the year and one-off “groups” that make their own custom figures for sale during the event. These one-off, fan-groups’ figures typically get a “look-the-other-way” in terms of copyright infringement for using licensed characters on this special day in this special location. Typically these figures are sold at high prices with a very limited quantity. And often these figures are promoted online via social media. A such, there has been a couple new figures (unofficial, fanmade) being advertised and some reprints from last year, which we have listed below. As more are posted online, we’ll have additional news posts. Sometimes we won’t see them until the day of the event!

Note with 16 figures on display or for sale, click to continue reading this post to check them all out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 12

High Quality “Shaman File” Images Officially Posted on Twitter

As a late 2016 present, Hiroyuki Takei has started posting on Twitter some high quality images of the “Shaman Files” that were included in the original Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang releases in Japan. When he originally did the drawings, he drew them much larger and with greater detail than what was printed. These drawings were only printed in the original KZB (Kang Zeng Bang) editions of the Shaman King manga, and not included in the later Remix edition reprints. These images were also included in the official Italian release of Shaman King: Perfect Edition. Note that there are some minor changes to the images than what was previously printed.

Additionally, Hiroyuki Takei has included some images from Shaman King Flowers and some “mashups” as some jokes as well.

Below is a gallery of these images from Hiroyuki Takei’s twitter. This post will be updated sporadically when new images are posted.

Gallery Updates:

  • Dec 31st, 2016 – Originally posted with 33 images
  • Feb 12th, 2017 – Added 47 images

Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 26

English Nekogahara Volume 3 Shifted to Sept 19th

As previously reported, there was some early placeholders for Nekogahara volumes 3, 4 & 5 for the English release. There has been yet another change, in which Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai volume 3 is now scheduled to come out on September 19th, 2017. Previously the date was for April 11th. Additionally, the placeholder dates for volumes 4 & 5 have been removed completely.

Having 5 volumes being released in a year was a pretty aggressive timeline, so shifting in dates was to be expected. However the “delay” for volume 3 will be quite a distance. No release date has been planned for the third volume of manga in Japan yet, so it’s hard to tell when that volume will be released to use as a reference. It’s possible that Hiroyuki Takei may be slowing down on Nekogahara chapters (page count and/or number of chapters) in the near future. This would cause the number of volumes to dip. Maybe Takei is working on some more Shaman King?

It could also be possible that Nekogahara may move to having “simlupub” or monthly releases in English directly online. If that’s the case, then it’s possible that the volume releases become a bit more delayed and allow more time to be worked on (rather than rushing to release).

Or another scenario could be that the sales expectations for Nekogahara weren’t as strong as they needed to be, and it’s being bumped from Kodansha Comic‘s translation priorities.

Which ever the case may be, the Japanese volume release will always come out first. So once volume 3 has a set date in Japan, we can get a better idea how it relates to the English releases.

Jan 15

Nekogahara – English Volume 5 Placeholder Release Date

Since American booksellers tend to need a 6-month window to purchase and stock books before their release, we can get some good estimates on when the next Nekogahara volumes will be released in English. As such, Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai volume 5 is currently slated for an October 10, 2017 release date in the United States with it’s English release. The ISBN for this is 9781632365033. This is just a placeholder date, as volume 2 in English was moved about a month later than originally planned. There are no dates yet for volumes 3, 4, or 5 in Japan. Other countries who have Kodansha Comic‘s English editions will have their release dates be some time after the United States.


The current release dates for Nekogahara in the United States are as followed:
Volume 1: October 25th, 2016
Volume 2: February 14th, 2017
Volume 3: April 11th, 2017
Volume 4: July 18th, 2017
Volume 5: October 10th, 2017

Jan 03

Buy Nekogahara Vol 1 Digital for $1.07 USD!!

A combination of two sales, for a limited time only, has resulted in the English volume 1 digital edition of Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai for a bargain price of $1.07USD! Also, this is available from BookWalker… which means that you can buy this anywhere worldwide (excluding Japan) for the English release!!! To read the manga, they also have iOS/Android apps as well as in web-browser (no download).

How to get the deal:

  1. Go to Bookwalker and add the book to your cart:
  2. If you don’t have a Bookwalker account, you’ll need to create one
  3. In the checkout, apply the code Happy2017 (screenshots)
  4. The price should reduce down to $1.07USD or 130yen at the checkout.
  5. The complete the purchase with your credit card or Paypal!

The coupon code is only active until January 6th, 2017, and can only be used once. The Kodansha Comics digital sale is active through January 10th, 2017. So if you want probably the cheapest price it will every be… do it before January 6th!


Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. When there are great deals, we sometimes post them (example 1, example 2). We would love for everyone to support Hiroyuki Takei and the manga industry whenever possible! And even getting manga for super cheap helps! That’s a win-win!

Jan 01

2017 News Headline Predictions!

Last year I had a post for the 2016 News Headline Predictions…. Let’s see how I did!

  • New Shaman King Toys/Figures via a cross-promotion campaign – Didn’t happen
  • Jumbor concludes… in light novel form – Didn’t happen
  • Hiroyuki Takei creates new Gundam manga series – Didn’t happen

Oops, struck out! None of those happened! Well, it was 2016 was a less eventful year for Takei’s older series. He was more focused on Hyper Dash! Yonkuro and Nekogahara than Shaman King. But at least we got some good news with that he’s working on the next plotline for Flowers and that more will be in the works for the 20th anniversary. Even if my predictions for 2016 didn’t happen, all of them could very well happen this year!

So now that 2017 has started, let’s make some more bold predictions on what could happen in 2017!

Note: These are just guesses. They are not real news stories. (unless reported here later)

New Shaman King Remix chapters posted online!

So at the end of 2016, Hiroyuki Takei started posting some high quality images from the Shaman Files. These Shaman Files were originally printed in the Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang editions of the manga. They were never officially printed/released anywhere else. So continuing that line of thought… next Hiroyuki Takei will start putting up the “Remix Chapters” that he did as bonus non-canon extras for the print Remix editions of Shaman King. Unless you bought those volumes as they came out bi-weekly directly from your local store, you would have never have read them. But! Hiroyuki Takei isn’t going to stop there with just putting those extras online. He’s going to start drawing a couple more new ones! The content will probably be short (a page or two), but he may venture into Remix chapters for Shaman King Zero or Shaman King Flowers! It might not be the full scale new series arc we’re looking for, but something is better than nothing!


Nekogahara will have a TV anime series in Fall 2017/Winter 2018

Hiroyuki Takei has had a “missed the mark” with adapting his mangas into anime. Yes, the Shaman King anime did come out at the right time for making products and money. But, when it was being created, the series was aiming towards a conclusion, which caused the end of the anime at 64 episodes. We didn’t expect Takei to write one of his best story arcs during that time. If the ‘Osorezan Revoir’ arc was animated, that might have been enough to keep the anime on the air longer.

Next with Jumbor, Takei was having success with his second take at the story. But the story progressed too slowly and he missed the mark. Similarly with Ultimo, but here they even had a small production committee setup! But Ultimo just didn’t catch on as much as they liked, and nothing came of the anime.

Finally with Shaman King Flowers, Takei was having enough success with the manga that an anime adaptation could have been possible if the magazine continued. But that burden of connecting the plotlines left open from the original Shaman King series… made that anime adaptation much more trickier.

So with all of that from above… This is the year to strike down and get the Nekogahara anime while the series is still “hot.” With it’s meandering plot line, it doesn’t have to take too long to get to a conclusion. With it’s current direction, it”s looking to be about a 6 to 8 volume series. It’s already a year old, and in the Fall 2017 it would become 2 years old, which would be a perfect time to launch the anime series! It will have enough manga to adapt into a 12 episode series, and a prime time to launch a couple product lines. The stars could align and the anime and manga could even have a similar end, or it could be left open. I’m also leaning towards this it could be a Winter 2018 anime, but with the announcement (and trailer) launching in 2017.

There is also a possibility that it could get a single OVA episode pack-in with a special edition manga for volume 4 during the summer. However, I think it’s going to go straight to TV anime, and save the OVA-pack-ins for 2018. Even more so, if the anime is left open ended and the manga continues to a more 8 or 10 volumes.


Nekogahara gets monthly simulpubs for chapters

Let’s say that there is that hit new Nekogahara anime coming out in the Fall. Great! The manga is being printed in English by Kodansha Comics and is less than 100 days from the Japanese volume releases. Excellent! But with an anime happening… you might only get one volume release out while the anime is airing in Japan. With simulcasts and simuldubs being the normal for anime in English now… and no real marketable products for the series… it needs something else to keep it going.

Luckily Kodansha Comics has been laying the groundwork for this over the last two years. Take a look at Crunchyroll’s simulpubs list of manga (all of which comes from Kodansha Comics) and you’ll see a bunch of series that also had or will have anime series. It’s the way to keep fans involved with a manga on a monthly basis. Plus these simulpubs will also available from Comixology and Bookwalker (in 2017), so there is plenty of revenue streams where this makes alot of sense. And getting the manga, faster? Love it!

I don’t know exactly when this will happen. Maybe closer towards summer, as it takes some time to “shift” the production cycle for the manga. But if you see the English simulpub happen before an anime announcement… then that only gives more reason to say that an anime is on it’s way!



So with two Nekogahara predictions, does that make 2017 the “Year of Nekogahara?” It could be! But hey, I was wrong with 2016, so who knows! I think it will still make 2017 a busy year, but one that I’m looking forward too. So I hope you have a Happy New Year, and enjoy on what’s to come in 2017 here at Patch Cafe!


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