Will the Keijo Season 2 release date never happen because the poor anime Blu-Ray sales caused the Keijo manga to be canceled? That’s what the rumors being spread around the internet claim about Keijo: Hip Whip Girl, but are they true? It turns out to be quite the opposite, although there is some truth to the rumors.
Fans of the Keijo anime were astounded by the rumors largely because the series was popular based on multiple metrics. On MyAnimeList, Keijo had a good 7.37 score and Crunchyroll News reported that Japanese fans voted for Keijo as the second best anime during the 2016 fall season, placing the anime right behind Yuri On Ice. The show was popular enough to inspire a real life Keijo sport called Keijo Portugal.
The sales of the Keijo Blu-Ray Volume 1 disc in Japan were initially reported as being pretty miserable, with only 715 discs sold. An estimate from December of 2016 claimed the first-week sales numbers were closer to 1,025. However, Keijo manga author Daichi Sorayomi contested these numbers, claiming that “Keijo’s sales were closer to 7,000 than 700 as previously reported.” He claims the Oricon chart estimates were wrong, saying, “It’s like the decimal place was different.”
What do these numbers mean for Keijo Season 2? Conventional wisdom holds that an anime needs around 3,000 units sold in the first week to be guaranteed of a second season, but the anime industry has been shifting from disc sales to international streaming rights as a major source of revenue. For example, in China Keijo has received an 8.7 rating and has been watched by many millions. In addition, the Keijo Blu-Ray disc was very pricey at $70 for only two episodes, which means it’d cost $420 USD to own the entire first season on disc.
“I’m very sorry to write this but the timeline was not on my side. You see, the editor came to me last week and informed myself to increase the popularity of Keijo!!! This is not something you can do overnight. I was lost for words, as I believed we were doing fine in rankings. Today, I was informed by my editor that my manga is being removed due to the poor reception of the anime. The anime failed to make an impact, for advertising purposes, and the studio is carrying that loss because of it. It is my fault, and I am sorry. The source material should have been better and I’ve done a great burden. I was actually very surprised by the reception overseas. In various conversations, I was told it was greatly talked about in America. I’m glad some of you enjoyed it, but I’m sorry once again for failing. My sincere apologies to Takahashi-san and XEBEC.”
This blog post was completely fake, but the news spread like wildfire and many anime fans assumed Keijo Season 2 was now impossible. Sorayomi’s personal blog responded to the controversy by explaining what really happened to the Keijo manga.
Sorayomi says the decision to end the Keijo manga was made well before the first season of the anime even aired. The mangaka was commanded to start finishing off the entire story once Keijo episode 12 had released in December of 2016.
At the time, the Keijo manga was struggling to keep afloat on Weekly Shonen Sunday. The magazine had already pushed the Keijo manga to the back pages, which is where the least popular manga end up. Sorayomi believes his manga should have been moved to the front of Weekly Shonen Sunday while the anime was airing in order to give it more visibility.
The author regrets that the magazine was forced to end his manga early because he was unable to realize the full story he had planned out. Instead, he had to rush the ending of the manga and he believes the half a year he was given was not enough.
But Sorayomi does not blame others for the decision to have Keijo canceled. Instead, he attributed the cancellation to his own lack of skill and personal issues he had with his publisher, Shogakukan. Sorayomi said he was overwhelmed by the work requirements related to creating the weekly manga and he requested an additional assistant to help. The publisher was unable to find him an extra assistant and Sorayomi was working so hard that one time he passed out from exhaustion.
The alleged poor sales numbers for the Keijo anime were also explained. Sorayomi says he contacted the staff at anime studio XEBEC and they confirmed the Oricon estimates were incorrect. He also says the anime lacked sponsors and this meant the anime was not broadcast in all regions of Japan, including the western areas. He claims that his own publisher Shogakukan did not sponsor the anime, but could not confirm this assertion.
“I really appreciate the readers who read it to the end. Thank you very much!” Sorayomi wrote in his blog.
“And thanks to the director who worked hard despite the difficult circumstances. To the animation staff, public relations people, and voice actors who finished working on this interesting anime: thank you! I really only have a feeling of gratitude and I was able to work hard during the second half because I saw everyone’s best effort.”
The manga writer’s last blog post was in July and he continued to celebrate the release of the manga volumes and other merchandise like Nozomi Kaminashi figures. He also expressed thanks to fans for continuing to send him letters and messages.