Real Neat Blog Award

Thanks to Tiny Ugly Animal for the award! I’m still just getting myself set-up here, so it’s nice to hear someone appreciates the effort.

The rules:real-neat-award-1

  • Display the award logo.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  • Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
  • Nominate 5-10 bloggers.
  • Ask them 7 questions.

Tiny Ugly Animal’s questions:

So, what are your thoughts on…

  1. potatoes?
  2. shoes?
  3. the color purple?
  4. flying pigs?
  5. Tom Hiddleston?
  6. big hands?
  7. gasoline?

Now, I’ll admit, I was debating whether I should participate in this or not. My blog is essentially about my reading life (and its closely associated hobbies) and these questions seem a bit off topic for me. But, then again, just because I was asked about “potatoes” doesn’t mean I can’t also find a way to keep it on topic…or, try to, anyways.

So, here are my answers!

My Thoughts on Potatoes

yakiimoIt’s a traditional street food in Autumn in Japan. Sweet Potatoes grilled over dry heat, called yakiimo (焼き芋). This is one of the first foods that intrigued me about Japan, and one I still have yet to try. I remember the scene came from one of the Sailor Moon movies… or, was it in the opening credits? Usagi and Chibiusa attempt to eat a very hot potato. I can’t remember exactly where it happened, but since watching it I’ve been wanting to try roasting a Japanese sweet potato this way. The only problem is that it’s been impossible to find ‘Japanese’ sweet potatoes in my city. I guess next time I visit Japan I should plan to go in the Autumn!

My Thoughts on Shoes

slam dunk 1I’ve read a TON of manga, but never a title where the shoes take centre stage. They rarely do more for the character than act as mere decoration.

Off the top of my head, I can only think of 2 pairs of shoes that are explicitly discussed in manga. The first are in “Slam Dunk” where Sakuragi has to actually go to the store and pick out a pair of sneakers appropriate for the basketball court. And the other, is in “High School Debut” where Yoh states his mortification at Haruna’s choice of clothing (and rightly so!).

I think that shoes basically get forgotten in most series simply because they don’t contribute to the overall story. It’s the character and their actions that tend to be important. Close up shots of faces and hands are what are used to express action and emotion. Shoes just don’t seem to really matter for the most part – except that it would look strange if characters were constantly wandering around bare footed.

*since writing the above, I’ve been informed that the title “The Garden of Words” features a character who wants to design shoes. So, I guess there is a “shoe” manga after all. I haven’t read it though, so I don’t know how much it is actually discussed.

My Thoughts on The Colour Purple

Purple… is very purpley! Here are a selection of “purple” manga from my collection:purple manga2

My Thoughts on Flying Pigs

porco rosso

The only “flying pig” I can think of is the ace pilot in Hayao Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso. I saw the film years ago, and even then it was just once. Despite being part of the Studio Ghibli cannon, it is somewhat surprising that there isn’t more Porco Rosso merchandise out there. I’ve been to the Ghibli museum, and I don’t even remember seeing him represented in any of the installations… But, I guess as a film it is missing Miyazaki’s trademark young female protagonist, and all of the “cutesy” elements that fans love. Maybe people are just less interested in a story featuring a middle-aged pig. He’s certainly not as “cute” as Totoro. I do actually remember enjoying the film (much more than expected), and think it might be time for a re-watch.

My Thoughts on Tom Hiddleston

Who? Uhhh… I don’t know who this is… Ohhhh… Well, thank you Google. So, thoughts: ummm…

Considering that he plays a ‘Norse’ god in what I’m assuming is his most famous role (because it’s the only one I recognize), I would recommend he read “Vinland Saga” by Makoto Yukimura. There is certainly a sad showing for manga featuring Norse mythology!

My Thoughts on Big Hands

demon love spell 1They say that hands are the most difficult thing to draw. And no one seems to have a harder time of it than Mayu Shinjo. As popular as her series tend to be, she is terrible at drawing human proportions, especially in her male characters. Sometimes they’ll have too small of a head, too large of a chest, and most especially gargantuan over-sized hands that would look more at home on a gorilla. You could almost call this her “trademark” artistic style (which would then make these bizarre proportions excusable), except that her proportions on a single character also change drastically from panel to panel. I don’t know if she thinks this adds to her manga, or if she’s just sloppy, but it is certainly distracting.

My Thoughts on Gasoline

initial dI guess we’ll go back to Japan and discuss Japanese Gas Pumps. The gas pump is one of the most “culture shock” things I encountered in Japan. They are manned by young people in cosplay (i.e. uniform) who furiously clean both inside and outside of your car, and then bow to you when you leave. It’s a bizarre experience. Especially considering that I always pump my own gas at a station.

In Canada, there is usually 2 pumps on the right-hand side that are designated for assistants. I avoid those pumps if at all possible. I like to do it myself. I don’t want to talk to other humans. And I pay at the pump. It’s quick and uncomplicated. And, I like it that way.

The idea of this high level of customer service is unnerving! If you ever pick up the manga “Skip Beat!” or “Initial D”, especially in the early volumes for both series, you will get a glimpse of what I’m talking about.


I Nominate:

*Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to participate. I’ve never participated in one of these award/tags before so I’m still not entirely sure what the blogger etiquette is.

My Questions:

  1. What was the first manga you read?
  2. What was the last manga you read?
  3. Do you finish a volume of manga in 1 sitting, or will you take a break in the middle?
  4. Do you have a specific place that you like to read?
  5. Have you ever started a new hobby because of your interest in anime/manga?
  6. Recommend a non-manga comic book or graphic novel.
  7. What is your favourite novel?

*I’m also looking to follow more bloggers who talk about manga! If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear about it!


Most Anticipated Manga – Winter 2017/2018

These are my top 10 most anticipated new manga releasing in Winter 2017/2018 (or from December 2017 to March 2018). At this point, I don’t know how many of these I will be able to collect, but these are certainly the ones I am most eager to pick up!



Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu. I’ve already got this title pre-ordered. I don’t know much about it, except that a few people I follow on twitter were excited about the release announcement. I don’t actually want to know what this is about before I read it. But, I’ll let you know what I think, when I get to it.

Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card by Clamp. Pretty excited about this new installment in the Cardcaptor Sakura series. I’ve had a chance to flip through this at Chapters, and the art has definitely been updated for this new series (I’m not sure yet how I feel about that). This title is already out, but I’m going to hold out for a bit to see if my sister won’t pick this up instead.

Cutie Honey a Go! Go! by Go Nagai & Anno Hideaki. A lot of my anticipated releases come high on nostalgia. Cutie Honey is one of those. I’ve still never read a title by Go Nagai, so I’m really curious what he has to offer. But more importantly, Cutie Honey is just one of those series that reminds me of my university days and my blossoming obsession with anime.

Saint Seiya : Saintia Sho by Chimaki Kuori. Yes. This! I can’t believe this is something that exists! I am so excited about reading this new Saint Seiya title. Again, a title bursting with nostalgia, but coming at the story or world from a completely new angle. I don’t know what to expect with this series, but I can’t wait to read it!

Voices of a Distant Star by Makoto Shinkai and Mizu Sahara. Again. Nostalgia takes hold! Voices of a Distant Star was a film that I saw over a decade ago. Later, I remember seeing the manga in stores when it was published by Tokyopop and thinking to myself that I would collect it later. Unfortunately later never came. I am so excited that this renewed interest in Makoto Shinkai’s work means that I have a second opportunity to add this to my collection. You can be assured, that this time I won’t miss out!


Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa.  I believe this is a slice-of-life series by the author of Fullmetal Alchemist. I think my most controversial opinion regarding manga, is that I don’t like Fullmetal Alchemist. I can see the appeal, but I just really hate the themes, setting, magic, and characters in it. I’m sorry. It’s just all of the things I don’t like in manga merged into one series. But, I’m still interested in finding out more about the author. I don’t like her penultimate work — but maybe I’ll like this one? I’ve been interested in picking this up since I heard of it’s existence several years ago. Crossing my fingers that this is a title by Arakawa that I’ll actually like!

Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi. This is a reprint of a title that I read, again, probably about a decade ago. I had borrowed if from the library when I was fairly new at reading manga. It is different than anything I had read up until that point. And frankly, I was not ready for it. Now, I have quite a bit more experience reading alternative, and gekiga manga. I think it’s time to revisit this title. I had actually recently borrowed this from the library thinking that it was never going to get published, because I know my sister has had this on pre-order for years. Can’t wait to chow down on this!

Orange: Future by Ichigo Takano. I believe this is a companion story to the popular 5 volume (or 2 omnibus) Orange. I don’t know if it follows the same characters, or is a continuation of the same story, but what I do know is that Orange is a beautiful series. And I can’t wait to read more from the same “world.” I hope it is as impactful as the original series.

Kaguya-sama : Love is War by Aka Akasaka. This is my “wild card” in this list. Again, I title I don’t know too much about. I don’t actually research much before I try new series. I like the cover, the title is intriguing, and the short synopsis I’ve read has put this into my anticipated titles. From what I can tell this is a shoujo manga where the guy and girl are in love with each other, but because they are competing or fighting they are resisting telling each other. Sort of like, “the first person who confesses, loses.” If this is actually what this manga is about, I will be completely sold on the story. It sounds really fun and unique, and can’t wait to give it a try!

Perfect Blue : Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi. This last title that I’m interested in is actually a prose novel, and not manga. It is the title that inspired the Satoshi Kon film of the same name. I’m currently trying to be really discerning with the novels I buy this year (because last year felt like such a waste of money), but this is a top contender for when I get to splurge a little. I’ve read a few Japanese novels which have been the inspiration for various manga or anime, and have really enjoyed the experience. And despite it only being January 2018, I already am starting to think about what I want to do with my reading in 2019. I have a feeling that I’m going to give myself permission to read a lot of Japanese novels next year! I’d like this to be one of them!


What about you? What new releases are on your radar for the Winter season??


MANGA THUMBHello kiddos! I’m hosting a manga giveaway (until February 18 12:59PM MST) where you can guess which manga I’m giving away. If you guess correctly, you could win up to 10 volumes of the manga you guessed!

It’s a bit of a complicated giveaway, but I thought it would be a fun way to distribute my doubles and also ensure that they went to people who actually wanted them!

Follow the link to find out how to enter!


12 Manga I Want to Read in 2018


There are so many unread titles in my collection (mostly owned by my sister) that I haven’t read yet. Every year I like to give myself a list of titles to read to make a tiny dent into that massive, and overwhelming TBR. The following are the titles I hope to prioritize reading in 2018.

I’ve given myself 12 titles to choose from. Ideally, I want to read one per month… but knowing me… I’ll be happy if I read more than 50%.

I’ve given myself a secondary challenge as well, in addition to reading them, I also want to review them all! This is a much bigger challenge, but I hope I’m up to the task. I’ve been putting these titles off long enough — 2018 is the year!

Are there any titles you’re planning on prioritizing in 2018?


Check out my video, if you want to hear more thoughts on why I picked these particular titles:

10 Reading Plans & Goals for 2018

I’ve already talked a little bit about my plans for this blog, but I also wanted to talk a little about my other goals (mostly reading) for 2018.

ONE. Read Less (and not worry about it).

In the past I’d average about 1000+ manga read in a year. But, my reading has changed, and I don’t have the time or the inclination to read that much anymore. It was fun to go for a number goal, but this no longer important. Instead, I’m interested in reading broadly, and picking up titles I just want to read. I’ve set my GoodReads goal at 100 books, which will let me track what I’m reading throughout the year, but take away the stress of having to reach a certain number.

TWO. Get back to the shelf challenge.

This was a challenge that my sister and I had posed on ourselves in 2017, but had fallen off course during the summer. It’s a way to choose books for ourselves to read every month, and showcases our collection on YouTube. We randomly select a shelf from our manga room every month, and then construct our TBR from that shelf. I really like this challenge as it narrows my focus to certain manga I may have been neglecting, while also giving me the freedom to read something that I might actually be in the mood for.

THREE. Participate in fewer readathons.

I participated in tons of readathons last year. Some I was very successful at, and some, not so much. I was finding, especially closer to the end of the year, that I was over-doing it. As much as I like participating in readathons, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to reading that much every month. So, I will be participating in less. I’m hoping, no more than 6.

FOUR. Host the Manga-thon in June.

I created a readathon last year that I hosted in July with my sister focusing on reading manga. We were pleasantly surprised by how well received it was. We had a lot of fun doing it, so we’re excited to do it again. There will be a few changes to the readathon, based off of some suggestions we received last year.

If you are interested in co-hosting with us next year, or want to host your own “event” during the readathon, please send me an email!

FIVE. Stop buying other books.

I have had a rule for a long time, that the only books I was allowed to buy before I read them were classic fiction or manga. I broke that rule a few times this year as I was looking for titles to fulfill readathon challenges, or just getting too caught up in the hype. I absolutely regret every single one of those purchases… I will be getting back to my strict collecting plan.

It’s not actually that strict. It just will go back to being required to borrow and read a book from the library before I’m allowed to buy it. I do make allowances for our local “library sale” that happens once a year. But, I’m usually buying books for $2… I don’t feel quite as bad about my buying at that price.

SIX. Buy Less Manga.

I’m not buying less because there is less I want to own. But, just that I have to be practical with my budget. I have some other things that I want to be doing with my money (mostly home repair… ugh, boring…) next year, which requires dipping into my manga portion of my budget. My budget has to decrease. And this in turn means less manga.

I’m also going to try and do a bit of concentrated purchasing and actually hunt down a few out of print titles that I’ve been meaning to read. I still refuse to pay more than cover price for manga, so this will be difficult, but I want to be a bit more deliberate with my collecting this year. I’ll still be adding a lot of manga to my collection, it’s just going to be slightly different this year.

SEVEN.  Read 12 specific titles/authors in 2018.

I’ve created a list of 12 categories that I want to read in 2018. They’re titles that are either older, and I just haven’t gotten to them; are bodies of work by a single author who I haven’t read from yet; or are brand new releases that I really want to finish. I’ve already made a YouTube video about this if you’re interested. But, I’ll probably also include a list here in a few days.

EIGHT. Read my new releases 2017-2018.

I don’t like to get too far behind in reading my new books. I like to at least have an idea of the stories that I’m currently collecting. So, I do have a yearly goal to read the first volume of all of the new releases that I’ve bought (or am buying) within a year of buying them. I would also like to review all of these new titles either here, or on YouTube or both.

NINE. 52 Manga Reading Challenge.

I’ve created a year-long challenge with 52 reading prompts to participate in. I’ve also made a YouTube video about it. I sort of made this because I am reducing the number of readathons I am participating in, but still wanted to participate in challenges. Plus, the readathons and challenges that I have been participating in really didn’t cater to reading manga in any way. I made this to challenge my own reading, but you are certainly welcome to participate as well if you would like. The link can be found at the top of any page of this blog.

TEN. Unwrapping Novels TBR Challenge.

Something I haven’t mentioned on my YouTube videos, is that I have created a TBR of prose fiction and non-fiction to read over the course of 2018. I only read about a dozen non-graphic works last year and I’d like to read more. So, I went through my TBR shelves, pulled out about 35 books and wrapped them in 3 different wrapping papers. Each paper indicates a different category: non-fiction, classic fiction, and literary fiction/modern classics. I am going to unwrap books to read randomly. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to unwrap monthly, or quarterly but, I think it will be a fun way to read some of the books I’m still very interested to read — or finally give up on certain titles.


So, that’s everything that I’m planning on doing with my reading in 2018. And just think… these are just my resolutions about reading.

I love making resolutions at the beginning of the year — even if I tend to fail at most of them. With the few that I don’t fail — it’s just so satisfying to actually achieve something that I had actually planned on doing.

Will you be making reading resolutions for 2018?

And So It Begins… Again.

2017 was a terrible blogging year for me. So in around October and November when I had begun to think about what I wanted to do in 2018 I realized that I either needed to start over with this blog, or abandon it completely.

chaos bedroom
I’ve basically had a blog since about 1997. And back then, before YouTube was a thing, I was happy to devote my creative energies to it. After blogging for nearly 20 years, I wanted a chance to try something new, and discovered making YouTube videos. I have been doing that now for 2 years — and even though it hasn’t always been easy, I’m enjoying it more and more.

But now that making YouTube videos has become a regular feature in my life, I wanted to shake things up again; partly with my YouTube channel, and partly (and especially) with this blog. I’ve always found I could express myself much better in writing than I could ever do in speaking — so I actually don’t want to abandon this format after all.

It’s going to take time to get back into the “swing of things” and figure out how to add yet another thing into my already busy schedule. And as a matter of course, this is just one of about half a dozen things I’m attempting to add into my busy schedule. That is at least until I start abandoning some of my New Year’s resolutions. I usually succeed at 1 or 2, but I always set at least a dozen. Let’s hope that blogging isn’t the thing I fail at this year!

Barring that… here are a few of the things I’m hoping to do on my blog in 2018:

  1. Post every week. Some original content, and some content will duplicate what I’ve been talking about on my YouTube channel.
  2. Reviews! I’ll also be attempting to increase the reviews I post on YouTube, but I find it so much easier to actually write about a title than I do talk about it. I wonder why that is?!make it hot
  3. Monthly wrap-ups. I’m going to abandon monthly wrap-ups on my YouTube channel and move them over here. Basically this will be a list of everything I read in the previous month with a short description of the title and my thoughts.

I’m sure I will have lots of things to say on my blog that just wouldn’t work on a YouTube channel. I know I’ve come across a few topics over the last year that I think would work substantially better in writing. Hopefully, I’m right.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to a great year of reading manga… and blogging about it!

For those of you who have been following me all of this time, just wanted to give you a huge shout out! Thanks for your support!

Happy New Year!

-Laura the Manga Hoarder