Viz is at it again it seems, trying to decimate our pocketbooks mercilessly, especially in this difficult economy. ANN has reported that Viz has listed 11 more volumes of Naruto for release in February, March and April. This second wave will essentially catch Naruto up with the releases in Japan, at what price? The last time Viz did this, the sales of their other titles suffered. It proved that there is a limit to what readers will buy, and that was back when the economy was still doing well. What’s going to happen this time? Did Viz plan for this with fewer releases scheduled for their other titles? And what’s the point of doing this again? The time jump in the manga made some sense the first time. But this time seems much more arbitrary.
The only reason I can think of for this is to fight against the scanalators. Viz has been criticized for not doing anything about the illegal scans that keep coming out, and as anime companies have been learning, the best way to fight fansubs is to bring out the episodes at the same time they come out in Japan. Catching up the Naruto manga will get rid of any excuses of “not wanting to wait for the official release to catch up”, a common reason given for continuing a title after it’s been licensed.
I mean, February was supposed to be the big launch month for 20th Century Boys and Pluto. These titles are just going to be overshadowed by this tidal wave of Naruto. Is that really what Viz wants? I would think not, especially after the presentations they gave for these titles at SDCC.
Now, I enjoy my Naruto manga. It’s one of the reasons I keep getting Shonen Jump. But, I think Viz may be tipping it’s hand too far this time. The first wave worked because it was near Christmas, and it was the first time. I dont’ this time will be met with as much enthusiasm. I’m certainly not looking forward to it. It’s going to mess up Shonen Jump again, and put me 11 volumes behind at most. I can’t afford to keep up like this. And I’m sure I’m not going to be the only one feeling this way. Why doesn’t Viz just take Naruto out of SJ and give it a monthly release like Rurouni Kenshin? It would make so much more sense than these “waves”.