Random Musings: Three Years of Experiments in Manga

Three years? Three years?! Three years ago today I began writing at Experiments in Manga in an attempt to share my love of manga and Japanese literature. Well, to be perfectly honest I started the blog for myself, but I am delighted that other people have on occasion found it to be helpful and interesting. It’s been a lot of work and I certainly have plenty of room for improvement, but I have largely been enjoying myself. I’m rather pleased that I’ve been able to keep the blog going this long.

So what am I particularly proud of looking back on the year? One of my biggest accomplishments was hosting the Moyoco Anno Manga Moveable Feast. I’ve been regularly participating in the Feast since December 2010, but this was only the second time that I acted as host. It wasn’t quite as nerve-wracking as the first time, but I was still very anxious about it. I like to think that it went well. Not as many people participated in the Feast as did in the first one I hosted, but the contributions were great.

I don’t tend to get very personal in my posts at Experiments in Manga, but I made one notable exception last year—Random Musings: A Note of Thanks for Wandering Son. This article was very difficult for me to write because it was so extremely and intimately personal. I had no idea what the response to it would be. Much to my relief, it was very well received. As nervous as I was, I ended up being very glad that I put myself out there writing it.

Another post from the last year of Experiments in Manga that seemed to go over well was Finding Manga: Right Stuf. Finding Manga and the closely related Discovering Manga are two features that I’ve really been meaning to update more frequently. I’ll have to make a point to try to do that over the next year. I tend to focus on reviews at here at Experiments in Manga, but it’s fun to mix it up every once in a while, too.

Two of my reviews from the past year have been particularly popular. My review for The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame: The Master of Gay Erotic Manga has been, by far, one of the most frequently visited pages at Experiments in Manga in the blog’s entire history. I was pretty excited about the manga—the first volume of Tagame’s work to be released in English—so hopefully the review has been useful. I was rather surprised to see how popular my review of Tomoyuki Hoshino’s volume of short fiction We, the Children of Cats proved to be. The review did receive some support from the publisher, so that probably helped. We, the Children of Cats is a difficult but very good collection.

And speaking of reviews: I continued my Blade of the Immortal review project. Every month I have been reviewing one volume of the series. Although Blade of the Immortal is still being published in English, I have just about caught up with Dark Horse’s release. I will continue to review the series as the new volumes come out, but I plan on taking on another monthly review project as well. I’ll be putting it to a vote, too, so look out for a poll in the near future if you’d like to help choose which manga I focus on next.

Over the last year I was able to consistently release at least two “extra” posts a month. This pace has seemed to work pretty well for me and tends to be manageable. I still run into the problem where there’s more that I want to write about but I simply don’t have the time. In general, my coverage of manga has increased and I post at least one manga-centric feature or review a week. At this point the balance between manga posts and non-manga posts is close to where I want it, but I may have over-compensated a bit. I miss reading and reviewing non-manga materials to the same extent that I used to do.

Oh! And some big news before I close: I am very pleased to announce that I and Experiments in Manga will soon be joining the Manga Bookshelf network of blogs. I was greatly honored and very excited to be invited to the group and after much careful thought and deliberation I decided to accept. Not much will actually change here at Experiments in Manga, but by being a member of Manga Bookshelf I’ll have even more opportunities to write about and discuss manga. More information about the move will be coming very soon. I am really looking forward to it and am delighted to be joining a group of manga bloggers that I sincerely admire.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, I would like to thank everyone who has read and supported Experiments in Manga over the years. As I previously mentioned, I started Experiments in Manga mostly for myself, but I sincerely appreciate all of my readers. Whether you’re a regular reader or just drop by on occasion, thank you so much! I hope that I can continue to build upon what I’ve already done and make Experiments in Manga even better over the coming year.

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