Talking about my 300+ physical manga collection
Here's what's in my collection:
Alright, you scrolled through? Good. Let's unpack this.
Kinda hard to navigate these pictures without a full layout of the space, but you get the idea. I have one Target 3-tiered shelf (only one shelf stores manga), a full 5-tiered Ikea Gersby shelf, and one seahorse cabinet. The seahorse cabinet was a Goodwill find. It's my favorite piece of furniture, and I think it fits my BL/yaoi collection perfectly. 🤣
About the decorations—I decorated my shelves with figures, standees, and other merch. The Hercules cup holds my bookmarks; some of which I made. The Hercules cup came from the Disney On Ice Show I attended for my birthday as a kid many moons ago. As for the art, I made it. I made the canvas art and decorative boxes just by painting and decoupaging some old manga on top of canvas and cardboard, respectively. As for the art, I didn't make I bought online. The keychain hanging off the handle of the seahorse cabinent is from Bishiepro. (So, cute!) I also got the Ten Count bookmark from @ekitaidesigns. Now, let's talk about the books.
Some things are hard to tell by pictures; other things, easy. For one thing, the pictures can't tell you about the books my dog chewed up. (My Harry Potter books were torn up by her too.) The pictures can't also tell you about the time I lost a bit of my collection when the basement was unexpectedly flooded. (The sump pump did it.) Unfortunately, I don't have all of my old shelfie pictures so let me tell you about my manga journey.
First off, I've been collecting and reading manga (physically) on and off for over 15 years. My first series was Inuyasha followed by other Rumiko Takahashi works Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku. (Pretty much collected/found them at the same time.) Never fully finished collecting (or reading) Inuyasha, instead opting to watch the anime, but I got up to volume 22/23 before I called it quits. I just kept my fave volumes plus volume 22 because I had found the same volume in German and Japanese at Half Price for super cheap. (Half Price was my go to store. Not so much nowadays as I don't live near one. 🥲 ) Speaking of foreign manga, I can read a little Spanish (thanks college), but that's about it. The foreign manga in my collection are mostly there for decorative purposes and maybe for crafting when I get tired of them.
I slashed my collection a few times throughout the years but especially between 2015-2017 when I was moving cross country, but thanks to the still ongoing pandemic situation, I have amassed a new and better collection. I'm really happy with my collection right now, and I'm trying to keep a tight grip on it as I don't like overly large collections. (It's all fun and games until you have to move apartments/cities/wherever.) Besides, I like how curated it is. (My physical collection anyway. My digital collection on the other hand...)
With the huge turnover, there aren't too many series/books I can point to as having in my collection for a long time now. My oldest series and books in the collection are: Butterflies, Flowers (bought all 8 volumes full price from Borders as each one came out. RIP Borders), all of the Inuyasha volumes, all of the Ranma 1/2 volumes, Rumic Theater, first volume of Detective Conan/Case Closed in English and Japanese plus v. 85 and the pink special volume (those were gifts),Yellow, and Gorgeous Carat. Finally, I didn't really showcase them, but the Urusei Yatsura/Return of Lum floppies are Half Price finds from long ago. Basically, my pre-pandemic collection boils down to this:
Just a little over 30 books. Yikes. Of course, that doesn't include the number of old books I've sold in 2020 till now, but it's close. Alright, moving on...
Recommending Manga from My Collection
With only a few "hems" and "haws," I'd recommend 90% of the manga featured in my collection. My collection isn't a crowd pleaser or greatest hits of what's out there right now. (Guess, I can't be a "TrUe FaN" because I don't have Berserk or whatever ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), but I do have a few popular titles that you should read without a doubt, and they are: Blood on the Tracks, the Fushigi Yugi series, Inuyasha, Paradise Kiss, Ranma 1/2, Skip, Beat, Spy x Family, and Urusei Yatsura/The Return of Lum. Pretty much anything Rumiko Takahashi you should read.
Now for the unpopular and unappreciated stuff. Case Closed deserves more love and better treatment than what it received. It's a classic mystery series with a large cast of strong characters and formidable villains. Besides Case Closed, I wish more people would talk about Something's Wrong With Us and Natsumi Ando's works. She has a solid body of works under her belt and no anime adaptation to show for it. Sure, she gets the live-action treatment because Japan, but I want an anime, damnit!
Furthermore, I'd like to see more love for Life Lessons With Uramichi Oniisan. The anime didn't take off like I'd thought it would. It had an all-star cast and production team behind it. I still haven't seen the anime yet (didn't have the Funi subscription), but I've read the first two volumes, and they are hysterical. The video release is coming out this summer so maybe I'll get to hear more chatter about it then. Likewise, in spite of NISIOISIN having a cult following (?), there's been no love for Pretty Boy Detective Club, and I'm not sure why that is. I've only read the first volume (again, no Funi subscription), and it's basically the Ouran High School Host Club crew running around solving mysteries as detectives. It's fun thus far.
Alright, let's talk about the elephant in the room—that bl collection. From my bl collection, I recommend, nay, beg you to read: 10 Dance, the Canis series, Jealousy, Liquor & Cigarettes (basically everything Ranmaru Zariya has written), and New York, New York (and The Vampire and His Pleasant Companions—I have that one digitally; same artist Marimo Ragawa). The fluffiest boys love/shounen ai story in my collection is Seven Days: Monday to Sunday by Venio Tachibana and Rihito Takarai. If you love Sasaki & Miyano, I Cannot Reach You, and just shounen-ai level school romances, then read Seven Days. I love Rihito Takarai's art so much that I bought her art book Mirror. I definitely recommend that too as well as the rest of her work (though they're not all fluffy like Seven Days).
Finally, you don't need me to tell you to read the popular stuff, past and present, especially when it comes to danmei. I'm new to the danmei scene, and I only have The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation because it's a mystery. I love mysteries. Sadly, I haven't read it as of this post yet (I'm a slow reader especially when it comes to regular novels), but if overwhelming pre-orders and fan response are indicators, then the danmei community is a force to be reckoned with, and they scare me.
Where I Buy My Manga
There are more places than ever to buy your manga, and I shop around. My go to stores are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kinokuniya, and RightStuf Anime. I buy books every now and again from Better World Books, CheapManga[dot]com, Goodwill Auctions, and when possible, directly from the publisher. I don't live near Half Price anymore, but when I did, I'd love going in there and shopping around. I'll find treasure every once in a while. Finally, there's a few local haunts that I like to visit. Out here in L.A., I go to Anime Jungle, Book Monster, The Illiad, and The Last Bookstore. I still haven't been to Book Off. That's on the to-do list.
My Collecting Philosophy
I think this space is as good as any to impart a bit of my manga collecting philosophy. In short, I am a reader first, collector second. (Hence, the ex-library books and omnibus editions.) As long as the books aren't covered in dirt or ripped to shreds, it's all good to me. I don't collect everything that I read, which is why I pimp out the library or point out digital subscription services whenever I get a chance. Read it first, collect later. Can't stress that enough.
I collect series I intend to read and re-read. If the manga doesn't spark joy, then out the door or through the window it goes. As I'm typing this, I'd estimate that I've read a good 80-85% of my collection, working on getting to 100%. Of course this mostly applies to my physical manga collection, my digital manga collection is a bit of a mess. 🙈
Alright, that's it about me for one post. I won't be posting collection updates on here very often. For collection updates and showcases, you can follow me on Instagram @ThatMangaHunter. However, I'll share more about my digital manga collection in a later post.
So, what do you think about my collection? (Not that I care, baka!) See anything you'd like to read or own yourself? What's in your collection, and what's your manga journey?