Gangan Online is a subsidiary of Gangan Comics, a manga publisher owned by Square Enix. Yes, this Square Enix. While Gangan Comics is known for its shonen action series like soul eater and Fullmetal AlchemistGangan Online’s selection is much more varied, ranging from romance to action.
Although few manga under the Gangan Online label have achieved the same level of widespread popularity as titles published by its parent company, many have been popular enough to receive anime adaptations. Its most successful series have been of the slice of life variety, but for some reason none of these anime ever received a second season.
The few manga that have been adapted into anime have been very successful, with most quickly becoming modern classics. These titles include Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, No Matter How I Look At It, It’s Your Fault I’m Not Popular!, Barakamon, Tanaka-kun Is Always Apathetic, Daily Life of High School Studentsand The Morose Mononokean. These titles have at least two things in common: they all belong to the slice-of-life genre and, with the exception of The Morose Mononokeanthey all never received a second season.
This begs a big question: of all the Gangan Online titles up for renewal for a second season, why was it the least popular on the lineup? This does not mean The Morose Mononokean is a bad show – it’s a pretty enjoyable series. It’s just not very popular, especially compared to the other series listed. The premiere met with rather lukewarm reviews, and the animation was considered passable at best. The only remarkable feature of MononokeanAdapting was likely its voice cast, made up of popular veterans like Yuki Kaji and Tomaoki Maeno. But it’s ultimately one of those adaptations that has many fans saying, “Watch the manga instead.”
There is also Handa-kun — a spin-off for barakamon which follows Handa through her high school days – but it’s a prequel, not a sequel. Interestingly, the manga was released under the Gangan Comics label instead of Gangan Online. The anime was also produced by Diomedia instead of Kinema Citrus, and all returning characters received new voice actors. No official statement was given as to why these changes were made, especially since most Japanese media outlets tend to go to great lengths to at least preserve the original casts. But as for barakamon himself, there’s still no sign of the rest of his story being adapted into a second season.
So, at this point, popularity doesn’t seem to be a factor in deciding which shows get renewed for a new season. But if so, what decide it? Is it the studio or maybe fan demand? And why is Gangan Online specifically tied to those seemingly successful shows whose stories never fully fit? Same The Morose Mononokean remained unfinished despite a second season. Further research shows that this appears to be a prevalent issue not only for Gangan Online, but also for many of its sister companies.
It should be noted, however, that Gangan Online is the only magazine published, well, online. It can also be read completely free for anyone who downloads the app (although it is currently only available in Japanese as of this writing). Whether this has any bearing on the single-season streak remains to be proven, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
Many popular anime have been renewed for a season 2 several years after the first season, so it’s not unrealistic to hold out hope for those shows. Surprise announcements happen quite often, especially in these times when popular properties of yesteryear are being revived for the enjoyment of a new generation. So hopefully another Gangan Online manga will join The Morose Mononokean breaking his single-season streak.