Del Rey Omnibus Manga: School Rumble 14/15/16

School Rumble 14/15/16 cover

I was curious about the upcoming Del Rey Manga omnibuses (omnibi?). Instead of continuing to publish single volumes for certain series, they’re releasing two (Samurai Deeper Kyo volumes 37/38) or three books’ worth of material in one binding.

I just got a chance to flip through School Rumble volumes 14/15/16, due out later this month, and here’s some notes and thoughts on the format:

If you’re a fan of the series and would be buying all these entries in the series anyway, it’s a great deal. The previous single volume, 13, (released 10 months ago) was $11 ($9 at Amazon) for 176 pages. This one is almost three times the size, 512 pages, at a list price of $20, which brings it down to $13.49 currently at Amazon, or under $5 a book.

School Rumble 14/15/16 cover

If you’re not already a fan, this is an intimidating starting point in its bulk. But I don’t think it’s designed to attract new readers. I suspect most would start earlier in the series.

Unlike Mushishi volumes 8/9/10, which completes that series in one convenient book (and is $5 more), the end of this one says “to be continued in volume 17”. I don’t think I’m confident enough to bet on seeing that in this country. There’s a listing on Amazon for it, but it’s dated last year and seems to mostly be a placeholder. I would be curious to see, if it does come out, if Del Rey does another omnibus of volumes 17/18/19.

The decision to make this a combined edition seems to have been handled in something of a slapdash or shortcut fashion. The copyright page lists all three volumes, but after that, the individual books have simply been printed in full. That means you get a title page for volume 14, followed by its table of contents, then the manga, then its extras and translation notes, then it all starts over for book 15. Including restarting the page numbers at 1. Weird.

Overall, these books are a nice gesture to long-time fans. I’m perhaps reading too much into them, but the format shake-up for three lesser-known titles feels like one last stab at getting something out of material already licensed and translated, and I’d rather see a company do this than just disappear the series.

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