MY COLLECTING HISTORY + tips on growing a massive collection

I’ve often had the question on my YouTube channel of “how many manga do you own” and “how did you collect so many”. Here is a little history of how I’ve collected such a huge collection of manga, with tips on how you could do the same… (Think before you decide to collect a huge collection. A huge collection is fun, but isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be!)

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ONE: Start Early, and Be Consistent.

I started collecting manga in 2003, and in 15 years, have amassed a collection of over 5000+ volumes. That means that I’ve collected nearly a volume of manga every day! Every. Single. Day. That’s a ton of manga! I’ve had a few ups and downs in collecting, but manga has been something that I’ve regularly invested in. I couldn’t have done this in a few purchases, it’s taken a LONG time to get here, and consistent shopping is really the only reason my collection is now bursting at the seams.

TWO: Collect With a Friend.

I’ve been collecting with my sister since day 1. This was one of the major things that we bonded over when I moved away after university (and she still lived at home). So technically, of the 5000+ volumes of manga in the collection, half of them are actually hers. She has slightly different tastes than me, so we have been good at keeping to collecting our own series. Because it’s two people collecting together, we’ve been able to collect so many more than if we were doing it alone.

THREE: Don’t Have Discriminating Tastes.

It’s basic math. If you subtract from your collection it will take you longer to accumulate more manga. We don’t subtract from our collection. This isn’t the recommended way to collect, but it’s the way that we do it. Even if we don’t like it, we keep it in the collection. It’s a major reason why the collection has gotten so massive!

FOUR: Don’t Read Scans.

You shouldn’t read them anyways, because they are BAD for the industry. But, when we started collecting, scans weren’t a thing. I didn’t have a chance in the early days to be tempted by scans. And if scans aren’t an option, the only way to read manga is to either buy it or borrow it. If you want to grow your collection, you need to buy the books you’re reading! I did later discover scans (in recent years, even) which I was a bit naive about how detrimental they were… but while I was reading them, I didn’t have a desire to buy them… my collection barely grew at all during the 2-3 years that I was reading scans. Now that I’m back to avoiding scans, my collection has been growing by leaps-and-bounds.

FIVE: Get a Job.

The more expendable income you have, the more you can buy manga. I discovered manga as an adult, and I’ve always made manga a priority in my budget. In the early days I was more foolish with my money, and I did take on debt thanks to my interest in manga, but now with a very manga-specific budget I’m able to collect nearly as much as I want without going further into debt! Manga is NOT worth going into debt over!!

SIX: Reorganize Your Financial Priorities.

If you can’t afford the manga you want, maybe you’re spending too much in other areas. I’ve made tough choices, and gotten rid of expensive hobbies (like giving up paid-for TV services, and collecting 80s toys) completely because I wanted more money to dedicate to manga.

SEVEN: Buy Used.

It’s one of the main ways I’ve been able to add so many manga, so quickly. Used is a great way to find good titles, for a good deal. I’ll often pick up titles for more than 50% off the cover price. But, I do caution you that if you’re not careful, you could actually end up spending more on used than new. I have a motto to NEVER pay more than cover price. Sometimes it means waiting a decade for a volume I really want, but I’ve found some amazing deals on titles I REALLY wanted this way! It pays to be patient!

25 Otaku Facts About Me!

I’ve been thinking of this list for a while now. I was originally going to film a video, but then I saw DynamicDylan film a tag which he titled 50 otaku facts. 50 facts is a lot to share in a single video, so I’ve been debating what to do about it. I’ve even filmed that video twice, but I haven’t liked the result either time. It’s weird to talk about yourself so much in such a short period of time. I’ve decided to scale it back to my original plan, and just do 25 facts… and so that I’m not actually “talking” about myself, I’ll post it here! haha!

1.  I discovered Japanimation by watching Sailor Moon. But, my first official anime title was Blue Seed.

2.  Of all anime I re-watch Blue Seed, 3X3 Eyes, Shura No Toki, HunterxHunter (1999), Azumanga Daioh, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Hikaru no Go the most. But still I only watch about 2 or 3 shows a year at the most these days.

3.  My favourite anime opening songs. At least, these are songs that can stick in my head for days. There are others, but this post is long enough (and also I couldn’t find good videos on YouTube for sharing)!

Nightwalker (Gessekai / BUCK-TICK)

Great Teacher Onizuka (Driver’s High / L’Arc En Ciel)

Zenki (I actually don’t know who sings this… send help!)

Edit: ZENKI (Kishin Douji ZENKI)” by Hironobu Kageyama — Thanks ZED-RAM!

Kimagure Orange Road (Night of Summer Side / Masanori Ikeda)

4. I prefer subs to dubs. Actually prefer is a mild word. I REALLY hate dubs. I won’t watch dubs if I have an option. And sometimes, I just won’t watch the series if I don’t have an option.

5. The Best line in anime (and probably one of the most famous) is: Omae wa mo shinde iru from Fist of the North Star. It often comes to mind when someone makes me angry. It’s good on so many levels! But, I have yet to say it to anyone in a fit of anger. ^ ^;

6. The first manga I read was Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki in 2003, from my public library. It legitimately changed my world!

7. The first manga I bought was Wedding Peach… also in 2003. Probably the day after I finished reading Nausicaa.

8. I relate most to Madarame from Genshiken (season 1).

9. My favourite characters are Piccolo (Dragon Ball Z) and Arale Norimaki (Dr. Slump).

10. The first time I went to Japan was on a tour (for geeks). Thanks to that tour my photo now appears in some manga. Or, maybe I should say… my forehead appears in some manga. haha!

meinmanga1

11. My biggest pet peeve are translations that try too hard to Westernize a title. Titles that attempt to remove the Japanese characters, settings and situations from it. Not only does it feel culturally insensitive, it feels insulting to readers. Give readers some credit! We can handle knowing that the title is set in Japan, has Japanese themes, and guess what, star Japanese characters! Gasp!

12. My 2nd biggest pet peeve are translations that neglect to translate Japanese terms like kawaii. The English use of the word kawaii and the Japanese use of the world kawaii are two completely different things! They are NOT equivalent. Not unless the character speaking it happens to be an otaku from the West. That’s the only time that it works! gah!

13. RANT TIME: I used to read online scans, but now have a very strong bias against them. Regardless if they are licensed in your country yet, or not… they were created illegally. AND their existence hurts the industry that I love. If it’s not licensed in your country, and you can’t read the original English, you are NOT entitled to read it. Not being able to afford manga is NOT a good excuse to read scans. Neither is the lack of availability in your country. If you are reading scans with the intention to invest in the series you like later, you are hurting the industry (have you even considered you also need to support the creators you don’t like?). Don’t read scans! But, if you are doing it, I beg you, don’t tell me about it! I am now on a mission to collect EVERY volume that I read through scans; even the titles I hated. I’ve bought about 200 in the last couple years… and have about 800 to go. This may take a while!

14. I love re-reading series. I would be happy to only re-read my favourite manga forever!

15. I re-read the series From Far Away 7 Times in less than 7 days. It was an experiment to see what rereading something over and over would be like. I’m glad I picked that title, it’s still one I can pick up any time and enjoy.

16. Art is MUCH more important than story in manga. If you take away the art, you’re left with a very confusing novel. But, if you take away the words (or even the plot), you can still have a very compelling manga.

17. My least favourite topic is World War 2. I’ll read it. But, I hate feeling the feelings.

18. My favourite genres are historical, romance, and gekiga (despite it often being about the war). I also prefer older titles from the 70s and 80s to modern stories. I’m old, it makes sense I’d prefer old titles, too.

19. My least favourite genre is harem. I can’t express to you how booooooring I find it!

20. My favourite trope/scenario in manga is the indirect kiss! It’s just so adorable (and absolutely ridiculous) every single time.

21. Takehiko Inoue is my favourite mangaka. He writes dynamic stories with complex characters, draws unbelievably gorgeous art… and he’s totally cute! haha.

collectors article22. Our manga collection was featured in a local magazine in a photo essay about collectors! Look at those empty shelves – what happened?! haha.

23. We used to regularly buy so much manga at one local comic book store, that they nicknamed us “the manga sisters” and used to print it on our receipts.

24. Together my sister & I have amassed over 5000 volumes of print manga.

25. I strongly believe that anime and manga have enriched my life. I’ve gotten close to my sister, made great friends, learned a language (sort of), tried many interesting hobbies, and lost a lot of money while having a ton of fun! I’ve genuinely enjoyed every minute of it!

 

I’m not going to tag anyone to do this, but if you’d like to please feel free! But don’t forget to put a link in my comments, so I can find you! 😀

What Is It About Manga?

What is it about manga that appeals to you?

Librarian Nancy Pearl AFThis question was spurred on by a “Nancy Pearl”  TEDx talk from a few years ago (Below). If you don’t know Nancy Pearl, she’s basically the superhero of librarians… complete with her own action figure! She was recently visiting my city to talk about reading (I was unable to attend, so satisfied myself with her old TEDx).

While I don’t really think it’s the best TEDx talk I’ve watched, and think her ideas about recommending books to people may be a bit idealistic, she also suggests her own theory about why people enjoy the books they like.

Continue reading

What Kind of Collector Are You?

I’ve been doing a bit of reading of academic journals lately. Partly because I’ve been working on a handful of scripted videos for my YouTube channel… and partly because I like reading academic journals.

But, in doing so, I’m coming across topics I want to talk about that don’t fit into the other things I’m doing. I think, I am going to start talking about them here.

So, today I am going to ask you, “What kind of collector are you?”

I was reading this article:

Belk, Russell W., et al. “Collectors and Collecting.” Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 15, no. 1, Jan. 1988, pp. 548-553.

There is quite a robust discussion of collecting behavior in it – which touch on some of the topics that I’m looking at adding to some videos. I won’t go into everything this article talks about, but the main point that I found interesting was how collectors were categorized.

Type A Collector: Continue reading

Manga Review: Platinum Garden (vol. 1-6) / by Maki Fujita

platinum garden 1Platinum Garden, volumes 1-6  / by Maki Fujita

Translated from the Japanese by Egan Loo. English Adaptation by Sarah Dyer.

Published in English by Tokyopop, 2006

First published in Japanese by Akita Publishing Co., 2001

1598163612 (volume 1)

Rated: 2.5/5 Stars


From GoodReads:

When Kazura is sent to live in Mizuki’s house, she learns that she’s really there to become his wife! Furious, Kazura tries to leave, but discovers that she was given as payment for her deceased grandfather’s debts. But things aren’t what they seem to be in this household–Mizuki can call back people’s souls, and Kazura wants him to bring back her grandfather! Maki Fujita’s shojo comedy is filled with delicious family secrets, dreamy high school romance, and plenty of spirited fun!


I picked up Platinum Garden to read because it’s on the next shelf that I’ve picked for my monthly bookshelf tours (video will go up beginning of April). My sister owns this series, and neither of us have finished reading it. Which I guess is okay, considering how it was dropped at the half-way point. There are still 7 volumes which never got an English release. She owns the first 6 volumes, which is what I’ll be discussing:

I remember picking up the first volume years ago… probably when she started buying it (in 2006) and being too bored to continue. I thought it would be a good time to try this again.

It was. I was pleasantly surprised by how good this title was. Was it great? No. It’s pretty average. But it’s better than I remember… and everything from story, art and translation improves as you progress into the later volumes.

Continue reading

Manga Mysteries #MangaMonday Recommendations

There are a whole bunch of manga mystery stories. Here are a very small selection that I think you should check out if you have the chance!

The Kindaichi Case Files by Kanari Yozaburo and Sato Fumiya

Kindaichi

This is wildly out of print, but because most of the stories are self contained within each volume, it’s well worth picking up if you find a volume here and there. This is essentially a series featuring the young detective Kindaichi who solves murder mysteries; very much scenarios like you’d find in Agatha Christie novels. Kindaichi is an unassuming youth, but has great powers of perception. The stories are more about the mysteries, than they are about the characters, so if murder mysteries are something you like to read I would definitely recommend checking this one out. Published by Tokyopop.

Utsubora: the Story of a Novelist by Asamiko Nakamura

Utsubora

This is a recently in-print manga, so you should still be able to get your hands on it. This is a beautifully illustrated josei series about a novelist who has some relationship to a young woman who has recently commit suicide by jumping to her death. The mystery is subtly woven in an art house style manga. After you’ve read through it and revealed all of the secrets, you will definitely want to pick it up again. This is one of those mysteries that you get more out of every time you pick it up — which says a lot for a mystery! Definitely would recommend checking this title out. Mature Content. Published by Vertical.

Young Miss Holmes by Kaoru Shintani

Young Miss Holmes

This is exactly what it sounds like, a series about a “miss” Holmes. This miss is the niece of the famous detective, who like her famous uncle has a nimble mind and keen observation skills. This is normally a type of series that I don’t like, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. For one, the art in it is beautiful! I would recommend it for that alone. But also, this takes on the concept that miss Holmes is not her uncle’s helper, but her uncle’s competition. She is a tenacious child who wants to best her uncle at solving crimes. They often appear simultaneously at the conclusion, but have come to the correct conclusion in a different way. It’s a delightful read, but recently out of print, so pick it up when you have a chance! Published by Seven Seas.

Continue reading

Quick Thoughts On : Ajin Demi-Human (vol. 1-8) / story by Tsuina Miura, art by Gamon Sakurai

ajinAjin Demi-Human, volume 1-8 (ongoing) / story by Tsuina Miura, art by Gamon Sakurai.

Translated from the Japanese by Ko Ransom.

Published by Vertical, 2014

Originally published as Ajin, in good! Afternoon magazine (Kodansha, Ltd.), 2012-

9781939130846 (volume 1)


From GoodReads:

High school student Kei Nagai is struck dead in a grisly traffic accident, but immediately revives to learn that he may not be like every other human. Instead, he may be a mysterious, almost immortal being, granted not only the powers of rejuvenation, but the abilities to see supernatural beings. Scared, he runs away, and is aided in his escape from society by his friend. Unfortunately for Kei, the manhunt is on and he will soon be caught within a conflict between mankind and others like him as they prepare to fight a new war based on terror.  Continue reading

Manhwa #MangaMonday Recommendations

Funny, how despite being the person who sets up these themes, they seem to spring up on me! Ack!

Today’s #MangaMonday recommendations are for manhwa. So, not manga at all… this really should have been called #ManhwaMonday. Manhwa in its simplest definition are comics coming out of South Korea. There’s more to that definition, but I’ll talk about that at some later point.

I actually have a pretty size-able collection of manhwa in my collection, but it’s something I pick up rarely to read. I think I only read 2 or 3 titles last year. And, I rarely buy manhwa. I used to pick it up because I didn’t notice the difference between it and manga, plus it was published and promoted as manga… so as a new reader, the difference wasn’t clear.

But now as a seasoned reader, I will say that because manhwa can look so much like manga that it actually shows its differences more clearly. It comes from a completely different country, so of course the stories, art, scenarios, and iconography will be different. In my opinion, this difference is one of the main reasons you or I as a manga reader should be reading them. It challenges, and hones your understanding of another comic form.

So, here are a few titles that I recommend you check out:

Pig Bride by Kook Hwa Huh and SuJin Kim.

pig 1This is a short 5 volume manhwa that I would equate to a shojo fantasy romance. At the tender age of 8 a young boy, and son to a powerful family, finds himself lost in the forest. He is found by a girl in a pig mask, who’s mother threatens not to let him leave if he doesn’t marry her daughter. He is forced into this marriage, and then sent back to his family. But, at the age of 16 this girl which he remembers from his dreams now has appeared and is ready to start their married life together.

At 5 volumes, this series is packed with unexpected twists and turns, and is a treat to read. Plus, because it’s so short, it shouldn’t be too hard to collect. Continue reading

Manga Review : Alice 19th / by Yuu Watase

alice 19Alice 19th, Volumes 1-7 (complete) / by Yuu Watase

Translated from the Japanese by Lance Caselman

Viz, 2003-2004.

Originally published as “Alice 19th”
by Shogakukan, Inc., 2001

9781591162155 (volume 1)


Verso (volume 1):

Alice Seno is a seemingly shy and meek girl who always seems to be outshined by her older sister Mayura. One day, Alice has an encounter with a mysterious and magical rabbit girl, and her life is turned upside down. Alice discovers that certain words have power, and that she has the potential to be master of a set of sublimely powerful words called the Lotis Words. But power always comes with a price, and the price may turn out to be Alice’s sister Mayura.

*also, I copied this image off of GoodReads. My copy has the correct spelling of “story” (not “sroty”) on the cover. If you’ve got a first edition of this manga, I’d love to know if it was sent out with this spelling error… because that’d be hilarious! Continue reading

Gaming Manga #MangaMonday Recommendations

Today’s topic is “Playing Games in Manga.” It’s a popular and frequent topic in manga. Not only that, it is also a popular hobby for many manga readers.

I grew up playing games. And though, I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, I still end up playing games with friends and family on an almost weekly basis. As for video games, I think my first experience was when my father bought me my own game for the Atari 2600. Which game? Only the Best game ever!!

Okay, so maybe this is a good example of when games are better left inside the pages of comic books… [I still like it though]

Here are my recommendations for game-centric manga! Continue reading