Remember late last year, when Viz besieged book stores and comic shops with a blizzard of Naruto volumes (three a month)? Well, apparently that may be happening all over again. The Anime News Network is reporting that 11 volumes of the uber-popular shonen manga series by Masashi Kishimoto will be released in stores between February and April of 2009. That’s according to reports by both Amazon and Simon and Schuster (who is one of Viz’s book distributors):
Naruto volume 33 is scheduled to ship on December 23. However, the next four volumes (#34-37) are all listed for February 3. Volumes 38 to 41 will then follow on March 3. Volumes 42 to 44 will end the accelerated schedule on April 7. The next volume, #45, is slated for July 7. The Amazon online retailer also lists the same dates.
There was some suggestion last time around that the reason Viz was doing this was to a) catch up on the Japanese audiences and cut down on some of the scantillations; and b) speed through one of the drier parts of the lengthy epic. What’s the reasoning this time? Are they still that far behind Japanese readers? Was the initial Naruto Nation that popular? Apparently so.