Well, I suppose I should first apologize for being silent for the past few months, mostly because, as far as RIN-NE is concerned, there was nothing new to say and no change at all in its status. Simply reporting that I had nothing to report each week seemed counter-productive, though I know it was very frustrating (for you, me and everyone involved).
And as of this date, our online publication of new chapters is still on indefinite hold, and quite frankly, isn't likely to come back, at least the way it was before. At the same time, it's not officially canceled. Yes, that's a pretty frustrating state to be in. Why, you ask (or scream)?
Originally, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami interrupted the publication schedule for about two months after the disaster due to serious damage to Japan's infrastructure. As things slowly returned to normal for Japan, we were looking forward to restarting RIN-NE. Unfortunately, RIN-NE got wrapped up and carried along with other complicated issues that I'm not at liberty to discuss (and probably couldn't explain very well anyway).
As a result, the online simultaneous publication of RIN-NE has wound up in a sort of weird limbo where it has been put on indefinite hold. The manga series itself is ongoing (in Shonen Sunday Magazine in Japan), and we are still publishing the graphic novels (volume 6 just came out in July and volume 7 comes out in November).
So where does this leave us now? For now, our online simultaneous publication of RIN-NE remains on indefinite hold. Will RIN-NE ever come back online the way it was before? Given the way things look right now, all I can say is it's unlikely, but VIZ's digitial and online publishing efforts are a constantly growing and changing thing.
Perhaps it might be best to look at this philosophically and put RIN-NE in a larger perspective. When we launched RIN-NE in April of 2009, it was an experiment, the first official simultaneous online publication of a manga chapter in English on the same date as the Japanese release. It was a foray into a format that was developing and continues to develop at a breakneck pace.
The intent (at the time) was for the online chapters to help drive sales of the print version. As with many things that hadn't been tried before, we had no idea if this would work or not. While the results may not have been what we'd hoped, it did help us learn a lot about the process itself. If anything, it proved day and date online publication was possible (though certainly not easy, lemme tell you).
The digital publishing landscape has changed since then and continues to change rapidly, usually right under our feet. When RIN-NE began in April of '09, there was no VIZManga.com, no VIZ iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch apps. Now there are and even those are still in their initial stages. Where our digital publishing efforts will be five years from now (or even one year) I don't know, but I do know RIN-NE was a significant part of our initial exploration of the format.
All in all, I think we had a good run. 89 chapters right on schedule every week except for Japanese holiday periods for nearly two years isn't bad. If it hadn't been for the disaster in Japan, we would have kept going - though it must be admitted that the online publication would probably have ended at some point anyway, as priorities, strategies and the way we offer our products changed.
RIN-NE may come back online again in some form at some point. When that may be I don't know, but we'll still keep producing the graphic novels and I hope you'll continue to pick them up.
I've been on the RIN-NE project from the start and as long as VIZ has the license, and whatever form its publication takes in the future, I'll probably be working on it. At any rate, I want to thank the members of the team here for their (very) hard and ongoing work on the series. And of course, I want to thank you fans. Being able to be part of something that delivers so much excitement and happiness to you is a great privilege!