Category Archives: Confessions of a Mangaholic

Fire Sale of Manga!

Well, I finally did it.  I have listed some of my complete series up on eBay.  I only put up a few that I’m selling, as eBay kept upping the fees with the more I listed.  It was starting to suck, so I stopped at 5.  I’ll be adding more as I see how these do.  You can find them here:

Read or Die

Read or Dream

Train Man: Densha Otoko (Viz Edition)

Densha Otoko (CMX Edition)

Treasure Hunter (CPM)

Why I Hate Con Season

Even though most of the big Cons are in the summer, Con Season gets its official start now in February with the New York Comic Con, and I’m really getting to hate it.  Why?  Because of all the license announcements!  I am really, REALLY trying hard to cut down on the amount of manga I get.  I’ve done a brisk bit of trading at Mangatude (which I still highly endorse), and have caught up on several series, and I’ve got more complete series ready to go up on eBay.  I go through Previews, and am happy when I see titles completing.  Another couple of titles I don’t have to buy.  But then, con season rolls around, and the list of titles I have to get suddenly goes up again!

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Early Spring Cleaning

Well, it’s January in California, and to all you people in the Midwest and East Coast, that usually means lots of cursing or dreaming of our weather.  For the Rose Parade it is usually clear but cold, and that can last throughout the month.  But not always, like this week.  We went from high 50’s the last two weeks during the day to high 70’s to mid 80’s all this week.  Since we only have two seasons (fire and rain), spring cleaning can happen at any time of the year.

Over the holidays, I finally did some clearing.  I’ve gone through my manga collection and have started to pull out titles I want to get rid of.  As much as I love the idea of having just one room of wall to wall manga, that just isn’t going to happen right now.  So, I’ve had to do a lot of soul-searching, and decide what titles I want keep and what titles need to go.    I couldn’t let sentimentality get in the way, (though in some cases I think I have).  But I thought things over very carefully, and based on re-readability, I have pulled 43 titles from my shelves.  It’s come out to be about 135 volumes of manga that I’m going to be getting rid of.

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What's Been Going On

Some of you out there may be wondering about my lack of posts lately.  Most of you probably haven’t, but anyway…  With the holidays and work, I’ve been really bogged down and quite frankly stressed, which tends to kill my creative juices.  Distractions by things other than manga can also do it.

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Desperate Times

Want to know why the Japanese model of selling anthologies without back issues won’t work in the US?  This ebay auction is a pretty good indication.  With 2 hours to go, the winning bid is $91.00 for Yen Plus Volume 1 issue 2, which started out at $8.99.  Such outrageous extremes wouldn’t be happening if Yen Press had thought things through and had a plan for back issues.  I think this is a good indication of how uneven the distribution of Yen Plus is in brick and mortar stores.  I don’t think anyone in this economy would pay such a price if they were so readily available.  And Collectors want their collection complete, graphic novels coming out later or not.

The auction ended, by the way, at $102.50.  That seller is going to have a happy Christmas.  I hope it was really worth it to the buyer.

Viz does it again

I want to cut down on the manga I buy, I really do.  But Viz just keeps making it harder!  Six new licenses have been found for the publisher, 2 of which I’m going to have to get.  While all the attention seems to be going to Detroit Metal City and Ooku, Rasetsu no Hana and Black Bird are the ones that are taking mine.

Rasetsu no HanaRasetsu no Hana is a kind of sequel to the Viz Shojo Beat title, Yurara (Yurara no Tsuki).  It features Yako, the water using medium that was attracted to Yurara’s spirit guardian.  He joins a “ghostbusting” company and meets their medium, Rasetsu, who is said to be cursed by an evil spirit, and just happens to be the spitting image of Yurara’s spirit guardian.  I really enjoyed Yurara, and had hoped that Viz would get this one too.  It’s already at 5 volumes and is still ongoing, already surpassing the series that spawned it.  It looks like it’s going to take a while for Yako to get this girl.

Black Bird is a supernatural high school series by the creator of Backstage Prince.  Misao hasBlack Bird a special power that lets her see the “mysterious things” that exist in the world.  One day, she is attacked and nearly eaten by goblins, but is saved by Kyo, a boy from her past who seemed to have the same ability as her.  Turn’s out, Kyo is actually a goblin, and Misao has been targeted as goblin food.  Can she trust Kyo?  Will she still marry him just like they promised as children?  And what will her school life be like now that Kyo’s become Misao’s homeroom teacher?  I really liked Backstage Prince, and was disappointed that it was only two volumes.  I hope this one is just as good.  This title is currently at 6 volumes and ongoing.

Now, these titles won’t be coming out until Summer of 2009.  Rasetsu is due in June, and Black Bird in August.  I can only hope by then, most of the other titles I buy will have finished, and I don’t take on more  (Like that’s gonna happen).  And of course that these titles really are as good as I hope they will be.

Dream Job Part 2

Between the news about the economy and the negativism in this years elections (If I hear one more person in my office go off about the Gay marriage initiative, I’m going to scream!), I’ve been retreating more and more into my own fantasy world.  One of those fantasies is getting out of this office of increasingly closed-minded individuals, and into a business of my own.

This particular fantasy just started as I’ve been reading about the city I live in wanting to revitalize downtown, which still has an old time “Main Street” feel to it.  The city wants to keep that feel, and get more businesses that are unique and won’t compete with the big box stores that have been opening recently (Target, JC Penney, etc).  Now, one of the stores in downtown is our local comic shop, where I sometimes get awesome manga deals.  So, I started thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if, in conjunction with the comic shop, maybe in a shop upstairs, there was a Manga Lounge/Reading Room?

I can just see it, the walls lined with shelves of manga.  Bean bags and lounge chairs scattered around; no set seating, so you can either read by yourself, or pull seats together to read with friends.  In one corner is a small snack area, for soda, juice and water, and finger food snacks.  Nothing elaborate or time consuming, just the things you can eat while reading (and are easy to clean up).

While the main reason for the reading room would be for reading (obviously), I can also see having other activities going on.  Reading group meetings for specific genres (shonen, shojo, fighting, romance, etc).  Maybe having one or two computers set up in the back for reading online/unlicensed manga, and manga reviews.  I can also see setting up activities with the local library and schools for manga events and/or extra credit in curriculum for manga reviews written.

How would I monetize all this?  Hell if I know.  The selling of snacks and drinks could be one way, but I don’t see it making a lot.  I could sell manga as well, but, I think it would be better to do that through the comic shop.  Read the volumes upstairs, and if you like it enough, go downstairs to buy/order it.  Maybe referrals from purchases?  Not at California prices.  I suppose admission could be charged, or by the hour such as is done in Japan, but that just doesn’t seem right either.  I can’t see myself shooing people out after their time is up either.

Like I said, this is a fantasy, not a business plan.  I really wish it could be though.  It could help bring people into downtown, like the city council wants.  It would be aimed at kids, who could come after school and/or on weekends.  Some may need their parents to give them rides, and that could get the parents looking around downtown shops that might not have before.  The benefits abound for this!  Kids get a place to hang out and meet other manga fans.  Parents can get rid of their kids for a few hours (admit it, you know you want to).  The city gets more bodies on Main Street.  I get to work surrounded by, and reading, manga!  It’s a win-win for everyone!

*sigh* Wouldn’t it be loverly?

Feast to Famine

The Manga gods (ie publishers) smiled down on me in August.  After having such a frustrating time with having to decide with books to cull in July, August orders (shipping in October) was too easy!  I had to go through Previews twice just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.  But, it was true!  My usual manga order was just under $60, right at my goal!  I was so shocked after July, I thought there had to be a mistake!  But, it seems publishers needed a breather too.  Or they’ve got another deluge planned for September-November, with the holiday buying season.

In fact, our whole order was lighter, so I could add in a couple of titles!  My Nana review copy run seems to have ended, so I made sure to order Nana 13.  I have to find volume 12 now though.  And I decided to get the next volume of Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden 7.  I got volume 6 as a review copy and really enjoyed the story!  I’m late coming to the whole Fushigi Yugi thing.  I’m waiting for the VizBIG volumes of Fushigi Yugi (which are due in Jan 2009!) to get caught up there.  And, I still need volumes 1-5 of Genbu Kaiden (thank goodness for Mangatude and Manga Trading!).  Yen Press’ Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was an absolute must have!  The tiny 16 page booklet that Yen gave out at SDCC barely even got into the story!  But I’m loving it already!   CMX’s relisting of Kiichi and the Magic Books gave me another chance to order volume 3, which I had to skip in July’s order.  And then I realized I forgot to order volume 2.

CMX has been a hard publisher for me to remember to order from.  They are mixed in with all the DC imprints, so when I go to order online, I always skip over them, because I am thinking CMX when I look through the list of publishers, and skip right over DC Comics.  I missed a volume of Gon that way too.  It bugs me too, because I think CMX has really come up with some good and fun titles that deserves more attention.

While this month was more of a famine, it was a good famine.  I hate having to choose between manga.  It’s like being asked to choose between my children, or cats.  It’s impossible to do, and never feels right.

Wishful Thinking

When I was in High School, I wanted to learn Japanese.  My Dad thought I was crazy, since he didn’t see any future in knowing the language.  Unfortunately for me, my High School and Junior College didn’t offer it as a course.  Only the four year college did, and by the time I got there, I was already set in my major and didn’t have time to fit it in.  I still feel some twinges of regret not being able to learn the language.  I could have been one of the “old hats” in the anime and manga industry today.  But, that doesn’t mean I can’t still think joining it.

I may not be able to read or speak Japanese beyond a few worlds I pick up from watching subs, and listening to Japanese 101 podcasts, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a niche in the manga industry.  We keep hearing about how book stores and comic shops don’t know what to do with manga.  They don’t know how to shelve or market it.  Well, I’ve come up with a position that I think I could fill that would solve this problem.  There are marketing consultants, management consultants, and even ninja consultants, but what I want to be is a Manga Consultant!

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Bragging Rights

I has them. At least I thought I did until I saw this forum thread. I’m way behind compared to some of these people. Maybe if I added in all my Shonen Jump and Shojo Beats…  Anyway, that’s not to say my manga collection isn’t still growing. This month is going to be another tough Previews order. There are a lot of not just manga but comic books that are coming out that look good. A new Doctor Who (10th Doctor), a new Fathom series, and I new Voltron in addition to the titles I’ve already added over the last few months: Madame Xanadu, Indiana Jones, and Chuck.

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Never Go Against Your Instincts

Ordering from the Previews catalog can be like gambling. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And I lost big time. See, the problem with Previews is, I’m ordering books 2-3 months in advanced, based solely on a picture of a cover, and a brief marketing copy that meant more to entice retailers into buying than the individual consumer. When there’s a new title in the catalog, I can sometimes try and research it, if it looks like something I want, as long as the US title is the same as the Japanese (or at least close to). But often, there isn’t much to find, and I’m stuck going on instinct.

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