Manga's Publication System Sparks Backlash Amidst Creator Concerns

When it comes to manga, the industry is always moving forward, and that evolution provides lots of [...]

When it comes to manga, the industry is always moving forward, and that evolution provides lots of competition. At any given time, there are thousands of manga series and web-comics going on, but only so many can be published. Of those series, even fewer are able to hit the top-selling list, but fans are starting to push back on the 'Shonen Jump' model of serialization after the community lost a beloved talent.

The conversation was put forward when news broke that Kentaro Miura had passed away at age 54. The news was shocking as the creator of Berserk was not only young but a force of nature in the art world. His stories made a big impact on the fantasy genre worldwide, but Berserk had been quiet as of late given a slew of hiatuses.

Berserk Manga Kentaro Miura
(Photo: Hakusensha)

All of the breaks did spawn some memes about Berserk never finishing, but those jokes have now been pushed to the trash. The dialogue going on with fans has to do with protecting manga creators who feel worked to death, and the 'Shonen Jump' system is partially to blame.

When you look at the best-selling manga in the world, you will find that series like One Piece and Naruto top the list. All of the most iconic manga you think of overseas and mostly in Japan are shonen, and they came from Shueisha. In fact, most were published on a weekly schedule under Shonen Jump, and fans like jelani-akin are pointing out why the pressure put on the publication's artists is so damaging.

"The "Shonen Jump System" is a prime example of what's wrong in creative industries, and especially manga. NO ONE should be burning themselves out and sacrificing their health because 'I could be dropped at any moment if I'm not popular,'" the fan shared on Twitter.

As you can imagine, fans were quick to echo the sentiment in the wake of Miura's death. The artist was lucky enough to take hiatuses when needed, but his early career no doubt brought needed stress upon his health. The same ordeal can be said for Yoshihiro Togashi, the artist of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. The author has not published a new chapter in well over a year. For any other artist, this could mean cancellation, but Togashi's reputation has kept his work in print as he focuses on his health.

The allowances given to Togashi are wonderful, and they should be the bare minimum for every artist moving forward. The so-called 'Shonen Jump' model is overly competitive, and its consequences are nearly always taken out on a creator's health. And while publishers might be focused on their bottom dollar, fans want to remind the industry that nothing is more valuable than their team's health.

What do you make of this manga debate? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.