Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto is now stronger than it has ever has been 20 long years after it initially debuted, so fans have definitely been wondering what Kishimoto would be working on next following the series' official ending. We got our answer last year as his new series, with illustrations provided by his former assistant Akira Okubo, Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru made its debut. While the series was a huge hit with fans when it initially debuted, talk about the series as a whole admittedly quieted down significantly in the following weeks.
But the sales figures from the latest volume release of the series in Japan have certainly thrown fans for a loop as Kishimoto's newest work has seemingly underperformed. According to figures spotted by @WSJ_manga on Twitter, Volume 3 of the series has sold just over 9,700 copies. It's only been a short time since the volume's initial release, but it is a far cry from the sales one would expect from such a prominent creator.
UPDATE: Samurai 8 Volume 3 has sold 9.738 copies. https://t.co/UBPvvSZXiG— Weekly Shounen Jump (@WSJ_manga) January 10, 2020
This figure could be attributed to a few factors as maybe it's not getting as big of a response as one would expect because Kishimoto is simply just writing the series. Another factor could be the fact that the Naruto franchise is still continuing on with its official sequel, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, so perhaps fans aren't searching for more of Kishimoto's work. Or maybe it's because it's too early into its run to really take off.
There are plenty examples of series not hitting their stride until late in their run. Take a look at one of 2019's biggest hits, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, for example. It's selling like hot cakes to the point where some are even stealing it right off shelves, but this was a little under 20 episodes into its first anime run. It could be the same case for Samurai 8, which could find both its footing and audience whenever it gets an official anime adaptation.
Viz Media has officially licensed Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru for an English language release, and are planning to begin releasing its volumes sometime this Spring. Soon more fans in the United States will get to check out the series for themselves, and maybe that will bump its popularity more in the right direction? But what do you think? Is Samurai 8 dead in the water or is it too early to spell doom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or talk to me directly about all things anime and other cool things @Valdezology on Twitter!