Weekly manga is a ruthless industry. Everything depends highly on whether any particular manga is popular or not. After all, why would the publishers waste precious resources to support a manga that not many people read? And that creates a sort of survival-of-the-fittest world where new and innocent mangaka get swallowed whole by the veterans.
That being said, the same rules also apply to those seasoned veterans in the industry. There are mangaka who have already tasted fame and recognition at one point in their career, only to fall flat with their subsequent works or fail a few times before finding their big hit. These are 5 manga by famous mangaka that got discontinued.
5. Barrage by Kohei Horikoshi (My Hero Academia)
Before we talk about the veterans, let's start with the newbie first. Prior to creating the global phenomenon called My Hero Academia, Kohei Horikoshi created a couple of duds first. One of the biggest ones, or at least the one that got published in English, was the 2012 manga called Barrage.
It’s a story about an orphan boy named Astro who lives in a kingdom that was ravaged by planetary war. One night, he meets the prince of the kingdom named Barrage who looks exactly like Astro. One thing leads to another and the prince is killed, so Astro is forced to take his place to save the kingdom.
Barrage had a lot of things going for it: an interesting premise, quirky characters, exciting action sequences, and light humor scattered on top. What it didn't have, however, was popularity. Not many people read Barrage - that’s why, just two volumes in, it was discontinued.
4. ROBOT x LASERBEAM by Tadatoshi Fujimaki (Kuroko's Basketball)
Tadatoshi Fujimaki has had immense success with his quirky basketball manga called Kuroko's Basketball ever since it began serialization back in 2008. He managed to shake off the colossal shadow of Slam Dunk and achieve massive recognition in his own brand of basketball manga.
Then 2017 came around and Fujimaki-sensei published another sport-oriented manga called Robot x Laserbeam. It's about a highschooler nicknamed “Robot” who has unbelievable talent in golf despite having no interest in it whatsoever. For the most part, Fujimaki-sensei managed to do a fantastic job in turning golf, a sport that is rarely talked about in manga, into a very exciting shounen story.
Unfortunately, there was a glaring pacing issue to the story. One golf match could take dozens of chapters, but then three years would pass by in just two chapters. That was one of the reasons why Robot x Laserbeam inevitably got axed after a mere 62 chapters.
3. Yui Kamio Lets Loose by Hiroshi Shiibashi (Nura: Rise of The Yokai Clan)
Similar to Kuroko's Basketball, Hiroshi Shiibashi's Nura: Rise of The Yokai Clan also had its debut in 2008 and achieved instant success among shounen fans. It quickly became the staple supernatural manga of its era and lasted for a whopping 25 volumes until it finally ended in 2012.
After that, Shiibashi-sensei published a couple of oneshots and short stories, but none of them seemed to be able to get the same amount of love as his debut title. In 2019, he published Yui Kamio Lets Loose; it’s a story about Yui Kamio, a light-haired model student with proper manners who turns into a raven-haired delinquent when the chain that binds her hair comes loose.
The premise is quite interesting and there's a lot of humor and romance to liven up the story. Unfortunately, it failed to attract the sufficient number of readers and had to be discontinued after just 36 chapters.
2. Hard-Boiled Cop And Dolphin by Ryuhei Tamura (Beelzebub)
There was a time in the early 2010s when Beelzebub, the story of a baby prince of hell and his delinquent caretaker, was one of the biggest shounen manga in the world. 28 volumes later, it ended as one of the fans’ most beloved series.
Unfortunately, Ryuhei Tamura-sensei couldn't seem to repeat the success that he once had with Beelzebub. He published a manga called Hungry Marie in 2017 which ended after a mere 4 volumes. After that, Tamura-sensei published another work in 2020 called Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin. The story was about an overly serious cop who solved mysterious and often hilarious crimes with his partner, a buff anthropomorphic dolphin.
It genuinely had a fantastic start, but Tamura-sensei decided to spend the early chapters building a huge cast of quirky characters and expanding the world at the same time. In doing so, he missed the opportunity to tighten up the plot and create a solid storyline. That decision ultimately led to its downfall. Five volumes in, Hard-Boiled Cop And Dolphin was discontinued.
1. Samurai 8: The Tale Of Hachimaru by Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto)
For 15 years since its debut in 1999, Naruto reigned supreme as one of the three biggest shounen manga in the world with fans spanning across different generations. That is why when Masashi Kishimoto-sensei published the last chapter of his magnum opus back in 2014, countless people around the world were looking forward to reading his next work.
He published Boruto in 2016, the sequel to Naruto. His role was something like a supervisor at the time, with Ukyo Kodachi responsible for the story and Mikio Ikemoto working on the art. Boruto is good in its own right, but the fans wanted to see a new and original work from Kishimoto-sensei.
In 2019, he finally gave us Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru. It is a story about a space samurai with a unique setting that blends cyberpunk and feudal Japan. The fans were overjoyed. Samurai 8 had a stellar start - the concept felt fresh yet familiar at the same time, the characters were interesting, and the world was so fun to explore.
Unfortunately, Kishimoto-sensei seemed to be so preoccupied with setting up a massive foundation for his epic story that he somehow neglected the pacing and the plot. It didn’t take a long time for people to realize that Samurai 8 was a sinking ship. As expected, it was discontinued less than a year after its debut.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is the fact none of these manga are terrible per se. Sure they have their problems, such as pacing or lackluster plotlines, but the one and only reason why they got canceled by their publishers was because of their lack of readership and popularity. And that is the one unforgiving factor that determines the fate of every single periodical manga series, no matter if it’s coming from a new mangaka or an experienced one.
Most of these titles are available in Shueisha's Manga Plus, so we urge you to give them a try and decide for yourself whether or not they deserve the boot. If you have read any of these manga, then we look forward to hearing what you think about them. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.