Regardless of the reason, hiatuses are common in the manga & anime industry.
Writing manga is no easy task, and few authors work solo, especially where traditional publication is involved. Even so, anime fans often feel frustrated when a beloved manga announces an extensive or indefinite hiatus.
The reasons for hiatuses are myriad and complex, but often the reason for taking some time off comes down to the wellbeing of a creator, a manga’s failure to reach an audience, or concerns about the quality of the work. Hiatuses are a necessary part of the business, and fans must remember that being a mangaka is still a job and they sometimes need time away from work. No one can work forever, and overwork leads to disaster. Hiatuses will always be a part of the manga landscape.
Fans of Hunter x Hunter are used to a shared sense of perpetual anticipation. The shonen hit has a notoriously patchy publication history, and it’s not due to lack of popularity. Since 2006, the series has been on hiatus more than it has been in publication. While so much waiting can be disappointing, some fans have made unkind assumptions about the frequent breaks.
Author Yoshihiro Togashi is often accused of being unmotivated because he and his wife, Sailor Moon mangaka Naoko Takeuchi, are established, successful authors who need neither money nor fame. Yet this disregards Togashi’s chronic back pain issues and his admission of mental health issues as well. Chronic pain is no joke, and while possibly Togashi could take shortcuts, hiring other artists to assist him, he wants to retain full control of his story.
It’s hard to think of any industry that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19. While in America, glimpses of normality have gradually begun to return thanks to the recent vaccine rollout, that is not the case universally. In Japan, a state of emergency was declared in January and has been intermittently reinstated in the months since.
Given this, it wasn’t surprising that author Kore Yamazaki announced that The Ancient Magus’ Bride would be going on hiatus in February and March of 2021. Fans, initially fearing that Yamazaki might have fallen ill, were reassured that she was instead working with her publishers to establish a better production process. Given the constant state of flux the modern world must contend with, it’s not surprising. As promised, chapter 75 was published by Comic Garden again in April 2021.
One-Punch Man has one of the most unique production histories of any modern manga. Author ONE began self-publishing the superhero gag manga as a webcomic in 2009 which was later remade and published online in Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump with a new illustrator attached.
The anime adaptation ensured a slew of new fans embraced the series, but in the years since One-Punch Man received more official publication, the process has been bumpy. Illustrator Yusuke Murata has been fixated on redrawing chapters that were published long ago, and neither creator has been producing new material in recent months. Fans waiting for the story to actually proceed may be waiting a long time.
It was big news the first time One Piece went on an extended hiatus, mostly because Eichiro Oda was seen as a dedicated manga machine. Still, no one can work without a vacation for decades. In 2010, the manga, which had only ever taken single weeks off at a time, announced it would go on a one-month hiatus for the first time.
In true Oda fashion, however, there could not have a more fitting time for an extended break. The break marked a time-skip in the manga, and possibly the halfway point of the series. If there was ever a time for Oda to take a vacation, it was right then.
The rise in new publishing methods and the diversification of the manga market have helped the industry in countless ways. Among them, the mangaka who choose less traditional publishing routes finds themselves at greater liberty when it comes to scheduling. One author who has embraced the hiatus in all its glory is Akihito Tsukushi, author of Made In Abyss, who produces just enough material a year for a single tankobon volume.
The manga took five straight months off in 2019 and did the same in 2020. Because Made in Abyss is published digitally via Web Comic Gamma, the author has more freedom to set their own schedule. This ensures that the author lives a healthy life and produces precisely the story they intend to.
Nana is a brilliant piece of fiction because it is unafraid. It tackles serious topics that even josei doesn’t often touch upon, ranging from drug abuse to unwanted pregnancy and the trials and pitfalls of a failed dream. Nana has a special place in the manga canon, and author Ai Yazawa is a favorite among favorites.
In 2009, Ai Yazawa fell gravely ill and spent months in recovery. Initially, her publishers suggested the hiatus was temporary, but more than a decade has passed without a new chapter. For the most part, fans have abandoned hope that the series will continue, but Ai Yazawa still says “eventually” in interviews.
Noragami is something of a sore spot for shonen fans. The series is one of the best to air in the past decade, but the second season left fans hanging in 2015. The manga has devoted readers but whispers of a third season have become increasingly more desperate. In 2017, the situation became remarkably more hopeless as the series went on hiatus for fourteen months straight. Adachitoka took an extended break due to severe health issues, though details have been sparse. As Adachitoka is a two-person team, it’s not even clear which author was suffering. When the manga returned in 2018, fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Hiromu Arakawa firmly established her place in otaku history with Fullmetal Alchemist, still widely considered the best shonen series of all time. Fans curious about what Arakawa would turn her hand to next didn’t have to wait long, as Gin No Saji, a series about attending agricultural school in Hokkaido, began serialization within a year of Fullmetal Alchemist ending.
The manga received a solid anime adaptation and its share of accolades but fell in 2015 by the wayside. Fans thought perhaps Arakawa was preoccupied with other work, such as Arslan, but learned otherwise in 2019. Arakawa added a note to one of the final chapters of Gin No Saji stating her husband and child were dealing with incurable illnesses. Fans can only wish them all the best.
CLAMP has been making significant waves in both manga and anime since the 1980s. The all-women mangaka team is responsible for classics such as Cardcaptor Sakura and Chobits, and had a hand in helping shows like Code Geass with character design. And yet, CLAMP is also known for being remarkably inconsistent. Numerous CLAMP manga have gone on hiatus without ever receiving proper endings.
In 1999, Clover went on indefinite hiatus after the magazine that published it collapsed. X/1999 went on hiatus in 2003, citing concerns that the tone was too dark for the modern world, and XXXholic Rei, the sequel to XXXholic, went on hiatus in 2017 and has yet to return. This is a pattern that seems likely to continue, much to the eternal frustration of CLAMP readers.
The recent passing of Kentaro Miura devastated the otaku community worldwide. Berserk has long been considered one of the best manga of all time and a phenomenal fantasy epic by any standard.
For years, rumors that Miura had lost interest in the project in favor of an idol series. Now, given the clear escalation of the hiatuses, fans are left wondering how long the beloved mangaka may have been privately unwell. The longest Beserk hiatus lasted 67 weeks, spanning from 2012 to 2014.
NEXT: 10 Assistants Who Became Famous Mangaka
Leah Thomas is a young adult author currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her books have received critical acclaim; her first book, Because You’ll Never Meet Me, was a Morris Award finalist, and her fourth novel, Wild and Crooked, was nominated for an Edgar Award. Leah has also been a guest at San Diego Comic Con and, as an avid cosplayer, loves nothing more than geek culture. Find her on Instagram (@fellowhermit).
Regardless of the reason, hiatuses are common in the manga & anime industry.