The Mystery of Oninagi (and Final Impressions?)

Oninagi Volume 4

I’m doing a post about Oninagi after all these years not because Oninagi is particularly good or anything. No, it’s painfully average despite it’s cool artstyle. No, it’s because Oninagi is a series that Yen Press had shrouded in mystery. It’s just that I thought that I would never own volume four and even when that finally happened, it wasn’t even normal.

It was a mystery that puzzled me for years. This was around the time of Del Ray going under so I have many unfinished series in my collection now but it was always this one that was most puzzling. Why did Yen Press suddenly stop publishing it? On the last volume, at that.

Oninagi is a bit of an unusual western release. The first volume came out in 2009, the second came out in 2010, the third also came out in 2010. And the fourth volume? Well that didn’t come out until 2014. After three, the series just mysteriously stopped. On the website at the time, it also listed no release date. However the fourth and final volume did come out in 2010, so it wasn’t as if there was some big delay over there or anything.

It seemed very odd. Yen Press has never been a company (to my knowledge) to cut their losses. Oninagi surely wasn’t a popular series but the avoid publishing that last volume for that reason? Surely Kieli made little money too but they published that to the end, right? I imagine there’s something required when they acquire the license and rights for a series that requires them to publish continually too. But who knows. Not me.

Well, whatever happened, Yen Press has never been very open about it. I had emailed them trying to get a response but never heard back. And I’ve never seen any press releases, comments or anything about it disappearing or reappearing. If you do happen to know of a tweet, comment or anything where they referenced it coming back, do let me know.

In the end, the important thing is that is came back, right? Well yeah I guess. I hadn’t noticed until after I had purchased it was great excitement that something was very, very off about this volume.

Oninagi

Example 1: the first volume (left) and final volume price

Example 2: The price of a same sized manga from today 1

Example 3: Compare between both Yen Press and non-YP omnibus volumes and this regular sized one

Example 4: size comparison, left book from above vs Oninagi 4

This very regular sized manga cost $20. If I had known that, even though I was excited, I would have never picked this up in store. On Amazon, it’s $13. I know I’m being charged more when I buy in store but never have I been gouged as badly as this.

As the pictures above illustrate, it’s not simply inflation or a sign of changing times. They’re regular manga volumes are still reasonably priced. This volume, however, cost the same as an omnibus volume which is triple it’s size!

From this, I suppose we can deduce that perhaps it was the fact that Oninagi was such a poor selling title? Is this really the best move then? I bought it because I was dumb and forgot that Oninagi wasn’t that great and just assumed that they wouldn’t have done something so shady. But is the average person going to buy this? Especially with Oninagi, being a few years old now, not so readily available on the shelves?

I imagine that volume four will have a very limited run and that explains the price. Pay $20 now and have something that will, presumably, rocket in price when it becomes less available. But right now it just seems completely available everywhere. In store, online, no limitedness to be found.

In the end, I suppose I am happy that Oninagi got completed at all. Even if the end is sloppy, rushed and the series was most likely axed over there. Well, it was a typical shounen work anyways. The only thing it had that made it stand out was a striking visual style, in my opinion. Worth paying so much for one final volume of it though? No, definitely not.

addendum: If you do know anything about why this all went down the way it did, have a link to Yen Press making any statement about this series, please link me so I can update this post and not have  any of my pure speculation spread in place of actual facts.

Notes:

  1. As obviously, things go up in price over time and the first volume would obviously cost less but not that much less

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