Manga readers have more control over a series’s fate than they believe. Former Shonen Jump editor-in-chief Nobuhiko Horie revealed that readers can get a series canceled in as little as three weeks after its debut.
However, a manga would have to be terrible to get canceled in that short of a window. Horie says the standard cancellation time is 10 weeks, which should be enough time to set up an opening act.
This input is through reader surveys, and it can result in even popular mangaka getting their stories canceled. Horie says that manga magazines put a lot of weight into reader surveys because they hope to publish works that are in line with the tastes of the audience.
Horie told Oricon Music Store, “Surveys have more objectivity than anything.” He also said that not all surveys are looked at in the same light: regular readers are more valuable than newcomers. This could explain why long-runners, like Bleach, were published despite having low reader surveys. Dedicated readers can rank a series higher than newcomers, which can lead to a longer life.
However, Horie does admit that the system has a flaw, “There are also cases where a manga goes up in popularity little by little.” Surveys can hurt slower moving stories, which is an unfair disadvantage for certain mangaka. He cited Kenritsu Umisora Koukou Buin Yamashita Tarou-kun and Hareluya as series that may have been canceled too early due to surveys.
It’s a system Shonen Jump still uses even as they switch towards digital manga. Earlier this year, current editor-in-chief Hiroyuki Nakano revealed that while print sales have been falling, digital and combo sales have been rising. That may not change Shonen Jump‘s reputation for being a cancel-happy magazine, but it could lead to a widening of the 10-week cancellation window.