Earlier this month, Megan of The Manga Test Drive (which is one of my favorite manga review blogs and worth checking out if you haven’t already) gave a tour of her manga shelves and answered some questions about her collection as part of a game of manga tag. And wouldn’t you know it, I was tagged at the end! I thought it would be fun to participate, and it gives me a chance to talk a bit about my own manga collection, so here goes!
1. What was your first manga?
The first manga that I ever read was Osamu Tezuka’s Adolf as published by Viz way back in the day. I came across it while helping a friend locate materials for his thesis about the Jewish population in Japan during World War II. I’m fairly certain that the first manga I purchased for myself was Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura at the recommendation of my fantastic local comic book shop.
2. What is your most expensive manga?
Considering the amount of manga that I accumulate, I try very hard to keep my habit as inexpensive as possible. But sometimes it just can’t be helped and exceptions must be made. I discovered and fell in love with Basara after most of the series went out of print and ended up spending more than I really wanted to find a complete set. But I did get a couple of Basara artbooks out of the deal, too, which was cool.
3. What was your least expensive manga?
Relatively recently, my good friend Traci (who did a guest video review for me a couple of years ago) gifted me with her collection of Yu Aida’s Gunslinger Girl. She was moving out of the state and had to be very selective with the books she could take with her. As a result, I inherited a bunch of comics, most of which I still need to actually read. (I dread my next move; my collection is huge.)
4. What is the most boring manga you own?
This was probably the question that I found the most difficult to answer. I’m going to guess that Project X: Cup Noodle by Tadashi Katoh might be the most boring manga that I own, but it doesn’t seem entirely fair to say that since I haven’t actually read it yet. However, I don’t expect that the manga will be terribly exciting, even though it may be interesting and at the very least educational. I could be wrong, though!
5. What is your favorite manga series?
I have way too many favorites to narrow it down to one, so instead I’ll just highlight the series that has been the most personally meaningful—Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son. As someone who is all sorts of queer, the manga’s earnest and sensitive exploration of personal identity, including gender identity, made a huge impact on me; it’s not an exaggeration when I call Wandering Son life-changing.
6. What is the most relatable manga series you own?
This took some thought, but in the end I’m going to go with Takehiko Inoue’s Real. It might seem like an odd choice for me seeing as I’m not really a basketball enthusiast and am currently fortunate enough not to need a wheelchair, but Inoue’s characterization in Real is phenomenal. He has created incredibly complex individuals with whom I can strongly identify with even though they’re unlike me in many ways.
7. What is one manga you own that is based off an anime?
It’s certainly not always the case, but many manga based on anime often leave something to be desired. I’ve still collected a few, though. Samurai Champloo was one of the first anime series I ever watched and it remains a favorite. Sadly, the Samurai Champloo manga by Masaru Gotsubo didn’t overly impress me. But, it has its moments, and I’m enough of a completist that I’ve held onto it.
8. What is your rarest manga?
I’m not certain it’s necessarily the rarest manga that I own, but let’s just say I hope I never need to purchase the colorized master edition of Buronson and Tetsuo Hara’s Fist of the North Star ever again. The sixth volume alone, even used, would cost several hundred dollars to replace. But I’ve actually got all sorts of interesting, uncommon, and unusual things kicking around.
9. What is the most reprinted manga you own?
Well, assuming we’re talking about the different releases of a manga rather than the number of printings, that would be Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte. In English, the manga started out in Tokyopop’s MixxZine before being collected as individual volumes. Tokyopop eventually lost the license and Del Rey Manga picked it up. Kodansha Comics rescued the series after that. (I have the Del Rey version, though.)
10. What is the most popular manga you own?
At the moment, that would probably be Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan along with its numerous spinoffs. The immense popularity of Attack on Titan fascinates me, so I like to keep up with the series. (In some ways, I’m almost more interested in the fandom than I am in the franchise itself.) Even though I do find parts of the manga to be extremely frustrating, other parts can be very engaging.
11. What is the most damaged manga you own?
I try to take very good care of my collection and am largely successful, but thanks to my cat Lysander (affectionately and sometimes not-so-affectionately known as Stupid), I have a few volumes of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk that I need to get around to replacing. Lysander used a box of full of manga as a scratching post, so some of them look like they were mauled by a tiger. I’ve still not forgiven him for that.
12. Which manga has the most amazing art?
I’m with Megan on this one. Kaoru Mori’s work in A Bride’s Story is absolutely stunning. It’s incredibly detailed, beautifully drawn, and thoroughly researched. There are a lot of mangaka whose artwork that I love and appreciate, but the illustrations in A Bride’s Story really do amaze me. In addition to the frequently breathtaking artwork, I also enjoy the series’ story, characters, and setting immensely.
13. What is the oldest published manga that you own?
I’m pretty sure the oldest manga that I have in translation is The Four Immigrants Manga by Henry (Yoshitaka) Kiyama. The Japanese compilation was published in 1931. I’ve also collected the work by Masaichi Mukaide released in North America the 1970s, some of the earliest manga to be published in English. Granted, depending on the definition of “manga” being used, those may or may not count.
14. What is the newest published manga you own?
Let’s see… what came out this week? I actually picked up the first omnibus of Akira Hiramoto’s Prison School. I’m intensely curious about this manga since it’s such an extreme shift in tone from Hiramoto’s earlier series, Me and the Devil Blues. I have a feeling Prison School will be a very divisive series. If for no other reason, it’s something that I want to read myself in order to have an informed opinion.
15. What are some of the most recent manga you have purchased?
Not counting all of the preorders that I’ve recently placed (and there have been many) the most recent manga that I purchased was a complete set of Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi. I’ve actually been meaning to do this for a while now. (Sorry, Viz, for taking so long!) And as for my most recent out-of-print find, I was very happy to finally get my hands on Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish!
So there you have it! A very brief look at a very small selection of my manga collection. (Where is all the shoujo and josei?! The alt manga?! And everything else!?) Like Megan, I’m next going declare a free-for-all. If you’d like to answer some manga tag questions about your collection, either in the comments below or elsewhere, go for it! I’d love to keep talking about manga with you all. I’m also specifically going to tag my fellow bloggers manjiorin at Manga Connection and Lori Henderson at Manga Xanadu in case they’d like to participate, too. It’s been fun; hopefully you’ve found this diversion interesting!