I was planning on writing up my thoughts on “Prophecy,” a new manga from Vertical, but then I read this earlier today. After putting out five nice two-volumes-in-one hardcover editions of “Vinland Saga” in the space of a year, Kodansha U.S.A. has “temporarily” suspended publication of this excellent title. As announcements of this such go, it’s better than what I’ve seen from Dark Horse in the sense that it exists, yet below the explanations we’ve received from Vertical and Viz who have actually offered some context for their decisions in the past. There’s still a lack of clarity from Kodansha’s announcement at this time. This “temporary” suspension could simply be a misguided way to diplomatically say that we’re not getting any more volumes of the title, which would be a goddamn shame. Or, it could mean that Kodansha is trying to figure out a way to release subsequent volumes in a more cost-effective fashion.
It probably goes without saying, but I REALLY hope the latter situation is the case. Though there’s plenty of speculation in the comments thread on that post from Anime News Network about the title’s sales, we actually have some hard evidence that they weren’t at the level Kodansha needed/wanted them to be. Vols. 1-4 cost $20, vol. 5 cost $23 -- you don’t raise the price like that if a title is selling well. Let me throw this out there: If it means getting the series to completion in the U.S., I would be willing to pay a premium for subsequent volumes. Each hardcover volume of “A Bride’s Story” has a $17 cover price (less with Amazon’s discount) and I pay that without question because the series is THAT GOOD. The same is true for “Vinland Saga:” It WILL be on my “Best of 2014” podcast in a couple weeks. You’ll just have to listen to find out how high up it’ll be. That said, now is the time to pick up the first five volumes of this title. Better to show Kodansha that there is a dedicated audience for “Vinland Saga” as its corporate overlords decide its fate.