Here’s something that’s been running through my head for a bit: What is the manga (or anime) community like where you live, if there is one?
For me personally, I specifically starting blogging because I really like manga, but I’ve yet to find a community of sorts to really get into my hobby and discuss it. I live in Kentucky, and while not the manga capital of the world (despite popular belief, I know) I live in a decent sized city that has things like a university anime club, manga at libraries, and anime clubs at the library. Still I’ve yet to feel a sense of community outside of the internet.
I’ve always imagined the mecha of manga fandom to be centered on the West Coast and New York City, with their Bookoffs and Kunokuniya’s and Viz’s and Tokyopop’s. I figured that was the place to be. Any time I go out of town anywhere, I google to see if the place I’m visiting has anything manga (or anime) related. I’d like to visit California one day, where I’m sure streets are lined with pages of manga. 🙂
What do you all think? Is there an area in the country (the United States, that is) “best-suited” for an manga fan? Is there a sense of community outside of the internet? If not, can it be created?
I can’t remember how I became familiar with Vertical, Inc. I think the first series of theirs I bought was 7 Billion Needles, so pretty recent. After that it was Twin Spica (which I’m so, so painfully behind on). I got the sense just from those two series that Vertical was a little different; they didn’t have a ton of manga out like Viz, but the manga they did publish seemed interesting and varied. I was sort of reminded of Viz’s Signature imprint, in that Vertical’s manga seemed a bit more adultish. After a while, you want something a little more than your standard shounen fighting fare and shoujo love triangles. (Though I love those things, too.)
Still, I didn’t fall in love with Vertical. Yeah, I liked their stuff and all, but since I was a Tezuka newbie I didn’t feel the rush to run out and buy everything Vertical.
No, what made me fall in love about Vertical is their social networking, their Twitter and Facebook (d’aww Twin Spica cover photo!).
Continue reading Thoughts: Why I Like Vertical
Earthian – Volume 1
An end of the week trip to my local Half-Price Books turned up a near perfect copy of volume 1 of Earthian, a boys’ love manga by Yun Kouga of Loveless fame. I don’t normally delve into the boys’ love world, but I’d heard good things about this series. I’ll probably never land the rest of the volumes (at least not at a reasonable price), but a half-price perfect copy was convincing enough to give it a whirl.
(A slight aside: Someone apparently sold a few random copies of Kimi ni Todoke as well as the first two volumes of the new Sailor Moon reprints by Kodansha to the store. I’m big fan of these manga (but already own them) so I am secretly hoping they find a happy home soon!)
I don’t follow actively follow anime news as much as I do manga nowadays, but given that the lovely AnimeNewsNetwork is my home page, it was hard to miss this yesterday: Bandai Entertainment is downsizing, as in “We’re not releasing anime or manga in the U.S. anymore.”
Instead, Bandai Entertainment will focus on licensing rights to other companies, particularly in digital distribution, broadcast, and merchandising.
What’s interesting is this tidbit from today’s interview with Ken Iyadomi of Bandai regarding the “restructuring”:
“The pricing range for our products kept dropping in Western countries, and people tended only to buy sets with very reasonable prices, which we understand is what fans want, but it lead us to a different strategy than what Japanese licensors wanted,” he remarked. “So we always had a problem [with licensors wanting something different than what consumers wanted].”
Sometimes I forget and as one of my favorite manga blogs reminds me: Buying anime in Japan has more of “collectors’” feel to it than here; the few anime I do buy I base on rewatchability or love for the series, and I’m terribly price conscious. My understanding there is that anime fans in Japan are hardcore collectors; they buy DVDs (and merchandise, etc) to add to a collection, not so they can have a $30 complete series thinpack to pop in on a whim. They want the boxsets, the extras, the booklets, and will pay a pretty penny to get them (and take pride in that). On Amazon I’ve seen some anime DVDs in Japan go for about $40, and have only two episodes. Perhaps that pricing strategy just didn’t fly over here.
As a manga fan though, this doesn’t affect me much, as none of their manga ever made it into my collection. It’s not a very long list; it seemed like they tended to go with manga based of off major hit series. I think I own one volume of Code Geass, simply because it came with one of the DVD sets for the anime. Still, it’s always a slightly sad day when any company in our already small community calls it quits.
Thanks to Christmas Amazon gift cards, today brought in:
Princess Knight 1 & 2
Dengeki Daisy 8
Now my Nana run is officially complete; I smartly scooped up the majority of series during Borders’ liquidation sales, so I’d say I’ve spent (over the course of many years, oddly enough) about $70 for all 21 volumes. Can’t wait to pick volume 12 back up and finish reading.
As for Princess Knight, I’ve come to really look forward to Tezuka manga. I picked this one up solely based on it being lauded as one of the first shoujo manga and the buzz it generated in the manga-sphere.
Dengeki Daisy is nothing less than a guilty pleasure. I wait with baited breath for every new volume. It’s one of the few manga that I genuinely find hilarious, and the dynamic between Teru and Kurosaki is enough to make the series worth reading.