I was saddened to learn this week of the death of famed mangaka Daisuke Sato, best known as the co-creator of the action/horror/harem series Highschool of the Dead. After being diagnosed with ischemic heart disease in 2011, leaving the series on hiatus before making a brief comeback in 2013, Sato succumbed to the disease on March 22nd of this year after a protracted battle with the deadly illness. His passing is a definite blow to his fans everywhere, but it leaves a huge question unanswered – as tacky and selfish as it may be by us fans to ponder: what does the future have in store for the Highschool of the Dead franchise?
I’ve been seeing, along with sentiments of sympathy and condolences for his family, many fans question as to what his passing means for the HotD series on message boards and fan pages around the web. And, as unfavorable a question as this may be, it is a fair one. Fans of the series have been waiting for an answer to whether or not the series would continue before his passing; and questions arose even more so when Sato briefly came out of hiatus to produce a single new chapter. But when he fell ill again, and his continuing thoughts after the March 2011 Sendai earthquake, HotD was again put on hiatus. And fans have been wondering ever since the 2013 chapter whether the series would continue, at least to a sudden conclusion.
But to be honest, I believe that his passing will not affect the future of the series at all. Even though Sato may have gone on hiatus in 2011 and again in 2013, HotD co-creator Shoji Sato could have continued the series at any time. Yes, it could have been construed that it would have been in bad taste, but there could have been the chance that he could have spoken with Daisuke Sato and gotten permission to continue the series – but that never happened. And with nothing happening for the better part of six years, with the passing of Sato this past week I really don’t see the series continuing at all after this. And I am a huge fan of the series; I’ve been waiting for the series to start again since it was halted. I am one of the fans that initially questioned as to what the future held for the series.
However, being realistic about the whole situation, I don’t see any positive signs that HotD will end up continuing in any shape or form. And that’s fair; I don’t think it would at all be surprising if Shoji Sato didn’t continue the series without Daisuke Sato after his passing. I mean, if he didn’t continue it during his medical hiatus for six years, I really don’t think it will happen now. And as sad as I am at that as a fan, as a human being I am okay with that prospect as well. But I understand why fans would be asking such a question. I did so as well. I just understand why it will not happen. And I may be wrong; something may be worked out that the series will continue in the future at some point – but the realist and sympathizing humanity in me tells me not to get to optimistic about any such arrangement.
Still, it is important to remember that a talented and respected manga creator has passed away at a relatively young age this past week. And as much as we all would like some answers to questions we all may have regarding the future of Highschool of the Dead, for the immediate future our thoughts should be with the family of Daisuke Sato in this time as they grieve the loss of someone so close and dear to them.