Random Musings: Seven Years of Experiments in Manga

As of today, I have been writing at Experiments in Manga for SEVEN YEARS. And of those, four have been spent as a contributing member to Manga Bookshelf and its cohort of blogs. I have spent much of this past year trying to find a balance between my writing and reviewing and the multitude of other responsibilities requiring my focus and attention. I had to cut back significantly on my posting, more than I really would have liked, but was still largely happy with what I was able to achieve both with Experiments in Manga and in other areas of my life. Among other things, over the past twelve months I’ve been granted the rank of shodan in traditional Okinawan karate, was hired for a new job at a different library, and started teaching introductory taiko classes. It’s all been rather tumultuous. But perhaps most importantly, at least for the sake of this post, I am now able to celebrate the seventh anniversary of Experiments in Manga!

Unlike past years, there weren’t really any big projects or special features at Experiments in Manga this time around. In fact, much to my dismay, I actually even stopped writing in-depth reviews for a few months. However, I re-found some of my inspiration to write after reading and reviewing the eighth omnibus of Makoto Yukimura’s Vinland Saga after which I finally started to post long-form features a little more regularly again. Other reviews from the past year that were personally memorable or meaningful to me in some way include those for the marvelous children’s book Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, Yeon-sik Hong’s autobiographical manhwa Uncomfortably Happily, and most recently Kazuki Sakuraba’s soon to be released novel A Small Charred Face. I also continued two annual features that I especially enjoy, my random musings on notable releases for the year and my Toronto Comic Arts Festival adventures.

I started writing at Experiments in Manga seven years ago as a way to more actively engage with the online manga community. To some extent, I was successful with that. Not all of my experiences have necessarily been positive ones, but Experiments in Manga has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with a wide variety of people that otherwise I never would have. I especially cherish the friendships that have been fostered because of it. While I primarily write for myself, I also love sharing my excitement for manga and such with people; it makes me incredibly happy to know that at least from time to time others have found Experiments in Manga interesting, entertaining, or useful.

And so, while I am celebrating seven years of Experiments in Manga, it is with some amount of sadness that I am also announcing my semi-retirement from manga blogging. I will continue to regularly write at Experiments in Manga through the end of 2017, but once 2018 arrives I will no longer be actively posting here. However, I’ll still be a contributor at Manga Bookshelf, chiming in on the Manga the Week of and Pick of the Week features, and starting in January my quick takes on manga will be included as part of the Bookshelf Briefs. I’ll likely be a little more active on my Twitter account, too, using it as an additional outlet for my thoughts on a variety of topics. This all was an extremely difficult and even heart-wrenching decision for me to make, but while I remain conflicted, I do feel that it was ultimately the right choice. There are a number of different reasons behind it, but perhaps the most obvious is that the demands on my time only seem to increase with every year that goes by. And at this particular point in my life, I find I most want to return to my roots in music and to be able to devote more of my attention to studying, performing, and teaching taiko.

To conclude, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and Experiments in Manga over these last seven years–my readers, colleagues, contributors, friends, family, publishers, industry contacts, the creators I’ve met, and anyone else who has taken the time to care, participate, comment, provide feedback, or share. Experiments in Manga truly couldn’t have lasted this long without your encouragement; I am incredibly grateful and appreciative of you all. Writing here has been an illuminating experience and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’m also going to miss it tremendously. Experiments in Manga and I have had our ups and downs, but I am honestly proud of some of the things that I have been able to accomplish both with and through it. Going forward I won’t be writing as much, but I will certainly be reading even more and hope to continue finding ways to share my love of manga, Japanese literature, and all of the other wonderful things that mean so much to me.

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  1. […] time for another giveaway at Experiments in Manga! Earlier this month I celebrated the blog’s seventh anniversary, and I’d like to continue that celebration by offering you all the chance to win not one, not […]

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  3. […] recent monthly giveaway is currently underway at Experiments in Manga! Partially in honor of the seventh anniversary of Experiments in Manga (but largely just because I feel like it) this is a giveaway for four volumes of manga rather than […]

  4. […] Initially I was intending to write one more in-depth review before the year was over (and before I retire Experiments in Manga), but after some thought I think that Knights-Errant will have the honor of receiving the last. […]

  5. […] in a few weeks I will be retiring Experiments in Manga, this will be the final Bookshelf Overload posted here. However, I am thinking of ways that I might […]

  6. […] this is it! The final My Week in Manga feature here at Experiments in Manga before my semi-retirement. The fun isn’t quite over yet, though–later this week there will be one last giveaway. For […]

  7. […] end of the year is almost here and I’ll soon be entering semi-retirement as a manga blogger, but there’s still time for one last giveaway here at Experiments in […]

  8. […] Japanese literature, and related items of interest here at Experiments in Manga, I am now largely retiring the blog. The content that’s here will remain for the foreseeable future, and I will continue to […]

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