Manga: Collecting for 12 Years and Counting!

As I was cleaning up my room and finally putting away the piles of manga that were lying around, I thought it would be fun to share my collection with everyone and talk about some of the fond memories I have of collecting manga over the past 12 years. Strap in, cause this is gonna be a long one!

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Easily my favorite (and most important) part of my manga collection is the issues of Shonen Jump I collected in the 9 years it ran in North America. Without SJ, my life would have turned out vastly different, as it was the magazine that first introduced me to manga. Unfortunately it seems the Shonen Jump is often overlooked by most manga collectors, who gravitate more towards rare out-of-print manga. Perhaps it is a symptom of only seeing collections from newer collectors (past 5 years say), and the nostalgia for these large magazines is just not there. Having grown up reading these magazines though, they have become my favorite part of my manga collection for the great memories they bring.

February 2006 was my very first issue of Shonen Jump, and the first time I stepped foot into the world of manga. I had picked up this issue solely on the fact that it came with a rare Yu-Gi-Oh card I wanted for my collection. Even though I didn’t know much about manga, it didn’t stop me from reading the whole magazine and officially starting my manga addiction. I was already familiar with Naruto at this point, but these chapters were past what I had seen and covered what would end up being one of my favorite fights from the series (Chapters 79+80, Hinata vs. Neji). Manga quickly became one of my favorite past times.

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These are just some other issues that stand out to me, being the first three to be released in North America (technically there was an preview “Issue 0” handed out at comic-con, but I don’t have that one). I got these (and a lot more) not long after first picking up Shonen Jump in 2006, from garage sales and a generous gift from a friend. These stand out to me not only because they are the first issues however, but because they were also my first experiences with the beginnings of a lot of manga. I never read a lot of One Piece, but I did read some chapters in early Shonen Jump. Issue #2 was also the first one to feature Naruto, and was the first time I got to see the beginning of Naruto’s story (having started watching the series around episode 5). A lot of good memories reading these early issues over and over, piecing together what happened between issues I was missing from my collection.

Not long after getting into manga through Shonen Jump, I found a local comic shop that sold manga and started buying volumes of my two favorite series. Naruto and Bleach. I didn’t have a lot of money (I was only around 11 and I didn’t get much of an allowance) so I was pretty slow at collecting them. I started off with the first few volumes of each, and luckily for me that’s all I really had to buy as I was able to get one of my best friends into reading manga as well. His parents would buy him lots of books all of the time, so he was able to get manga much more frequently then I was. He ended up becoming my main source for reading manga (physically at least) as he would bring whatever volume he had already read into school so I could read it during class. I would only buy a volume if he couldn’t get it when it was released, which was pretty rare.

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As I mentioned, I never read much One Piece back when I first got into manga (I often skipped it in Shonen Jump, or just skimmed through it). Last year my parents got me this box set for Christmas though, so I guess now I will have to try and catch up on the series when I get a few months free or something…. man One Piece is damn long.

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In the February 2006 issue of Shonen Jump, a preview to an exciting new manga series called Black Cat was featured directly before Naruto. I read those preview chapters dozens upon dozens of times, and picked up the first few volumes around the same time I was picking up Naruto and Bleach. I never did continue the series unfortunately, even though I was enjoying it so much. As a kid my money was always split between manga, video games and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, so sometimes I had to drop a series in order to save up for whatever new game I was waiting to release.

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Another series I read when I should have been paying attention to class. The same friend that let me read his copies of Bleach and Naruto picked the series up when I read it, and man did I love this series. People complain about the second half, and even though I also thought it is weaker I still enjoyed it at the time. I haven’t gone back to the series, even though I was gifted these Black Edition’s some time ago. Maybe it is time to revisit the series to see if it still holds up all these years later.

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I picked up Dr. Slump some time ago in a bundle deal I got from someone, and the Dragonball was a gift one year. I have never tried reading either before, but once I have time I plan on going through both. (I did read a bit of Dragonball Z when it was published in Shonen Jump, but I stopped reading it after a while and never read much of it)

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Continuing with the classic Shonen Jump series trend so far, here is what I have in Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure. I have read Part 1, but am holding off on Part 2 until I can get my hands on the rest of the volumes. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, so I am excited to see what Part 2 brings to the table!

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Bakuman is he one Shonen Jump series I believe every Shonen fan needs to read. Even if you aren’t necessarily a Shonen fan, and are just a fan of manga in general, I think you should give the series a shot. There is a reason the series is in my top 5 of all time, and that is because not only is it a wonderful read that will keep you entertained from beginning to end, but it also gives you some insights into what it takes to get a manga series off the ground and the hard work mangaka out into all of your favorite manga. Seriously, check it out!

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I don’t know what to say about Akira that hasn’t been said before. It’s a classic, the movie has nothing on the manga (the manga is just that good!) and this box set is beautiful. Also in my top 5 of all time, so check it out if you haven’t. You’ll be in for a treat!

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Like Akira, this one is a classic. In this case though, I enjoyed the anime adaptations far more than the mange (especially the original movie directed by Mamoru Oshii). Still a joy to read if you are into Sci-fi or just classic manga in general. Shirow does a great job flushing out his world, carefully realizing every bit of tech introduced and trying to create a fully realized future world you can believe in.

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Finally, something that wasn’t published in Shonen Jump! Azumanga Daioh is an absolute treat, full of funny skits and lovable characters. Depending on my mood it usually makes it into my top 5 of all time (Barakamon and Yotsuba&! kind of fluctuate as my favorite among the 3). I think more people should read it though, its sure to put a smile on your face, and being a 4-koma it is easy to read, just knock off a few strips at a time and enjoy it over a month. One of the most satisfying endings in a manga I have read as well, as you become closer and closer to the characters over time.

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Since I mentioned it I thought I would talk about it next. It has a shaky start with some less than stellar art in the beginning, lacking much detail and often looking a bit off.  As the series goes on though the art progressively gets better, kind of reflecting how the main character starts to become a better person and opens up oddly enough. Unfortunately I am painfully behind (I haven’t bought a volume in about 3 years!) but that doesn’t stop me from often championing it as one of my favorite manga. Experiencing childlike excitement from Naru while watching Handa grow as a character has put a smile on my face more than once, and I can’t see the later chapters being anything but excellent. Slice of life fans should totally be reading this series if you aren’t.

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Since I am talking about my favorite manga series already, now is a good chance to talk about Goodnight Punpun. I haven’t finished it yet, but as it stands it is without a doubt going to be in my top 5 favorite manga. A story that is somehow depressing yet uplifting, showing the struggle of everyday life some people have to go through. It is probably going to be remembered as a classic, no doubt. The storytelling is phenomenal and the art itself can stand on its own as well. Some amazing panels in there that have stuck in my mind, and overall just amazing artwork throughout the series.

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I bought these volumes purely because I enjoyed the anime so much, but unfortunately have only read the first volume. My initial thoughts were that the anime took something that was fun and a joy to read, and brought it to life making everything better. Maybe I’m just biased towards the anime because I saw it first (and loved it), but this is a series where I think people should check out its adaptation. The manga isn’t bad by any means, its just the anime is so good!

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Another series I bought volumes for because I enjoyed the anime, and again I have only read the first volume. The anime for this series didn’t blow me away or anything though, I just thought it was enjoyable so it is unlikely I buy more of the series past what I already have. Unless I get into a rom-com kick and need to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, then I’ll head back to this as it was one of the more enjoyable ones I have read with a male lead nothing like I have seen in these types of stories.

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If you want a little melancholy with your cute-girls series, these two should be right up your alley. Both feature cute girls doing cute things, but there is constantly a sense of dread and an air of mystery. How did the world end up the way it did in Girls’ Last Tour? Will they find anything by going to the top of the industrial wasteland they are adventuring through? What is the mystery surrounding all the demonic, cursed creatures in The Girl from the Other Side and how are those on the inside of the wall connected? I haven’t found the answer to any of these questions yet, but I sure am going to be keeping up to find out. Plus, the characters are all super cute and fun to watch, so that’s a bonus!

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Sometime in highschool I stopped watching anime all together because it wasn’t something my friends at the time were really into (I didn’t read much manga either, but I did keep up to date on some stuff I was already invested in). When I got back into anime and manga again in University, for some reason this series came up a lot at the time so I decided to watch it. The series was not very good, but for some reason I ate it all up and proceeded to buy these. I never did read them, because by the time I got them all I had already moved on from that phase. At least the characters all had really cute designs that made them fun to watch. Other than that though, there isn’t really a good reason for me to ever dive into the series again, so these will probably remain un-read.

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Not long after my stint with Black Bullet I watched Durarara!!, ending the short phase of eating up anything with cute enough character designs. Story and characters are important too! Durarara is still one of my favorite anime series, and the manga does a pretty good job of capturing the story as well. I would probably recommend the anime over the manga for this series, but if you are strictly a manga person then this adaptation is fine too, and totally worth your time.

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For a time I enjoyed Deadman Wonderland. Then it just started going down hill, putting the pedal to the metal and not letting up. The pacing was way off later on, and the plot felt like it was going a mile a minute. Fights would be over in a flash, with one or two moves. Characters were introduced and killed off in the span of one or two chapters. Some of the characters we were with from the early parts of the story are only seen in action a handful of times. Overall I didn’t like how the story was handled at all, which was a shame because I thought it had a really cool premise.

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I wrote a review on this once, I think it still pretty much holds true to what my feelings of the series are. Cool characters, cool fights. Lackluster ending and loose ends made the last bit fall short for me.

I haven’t read the stories on the right, so I don’t have anything to say about them. As for Tokyo Ghoul, one of my favorite series in recent years. It’s ending drops the ball pretty hard, but RE: picks it back up and continues on. At the time when I first read it though when RE: was not yet a thing, the ending of Tokyo Ghoul just left a bad taste in your mouth from what was up to that point an incredible story.

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Attack on Titan was one of the first series I picked up when I got back into collecting manga in University, unfortunately I kinda of stopped caring at some point. I kept on buying new volumes with the intention of catching back up, but I never did. Currently missing a few volumes since I haven’t bothered reading the newer ones I already have. Hope to get back into this one soon, though it may end up stuck on the back burner on indefinite hiatus. I enjoyed my time with it though.

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Bought these ages ago (apparently 2007 and 2008 respectively). Gintama will probably be added to at some point. Haruhi I’ll probably just stick to the anime for.

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Sometimes I buy a few books of a series and never touch them, letting them sit on the shelf as I read (and buy) other things. I’ve heard good things though, so I will read them eventually (I did read volume 1 of Assassination Classroom at some point, but I would be lying if I said I remember any of it or what I though of it).

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More examples of me having no control over my buying habits. Picked them up at some point but haven’t touched them since. Are these even good series? I honestly don’t know…

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I’ve read all of these, but for various reasons haven’t continued them. Can’t really say much on any of them though since it has been a while (and I only read the one volume).

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All series that looked interesting to me / I have heard good things about, but haven’t gotten around to reading the first volumes of to see if I want to buy more.

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Honestly I only bought these because I am a huge Nintendo fanboy. I’ll read them during my next Zelda marathon probably.

If you don’t have these in your collection, you should really fix that. They are cheap, short and excellent. In This Corner of the World is honestly one of the best things I’ve read this year, and The God’s Lie is only a few chapters long so give both a shot!

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Sometimes I wish I just sat down and read a bit before purchasing, so I could avoid wasting money on a series I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy or continue with. Especially Tabboo Tattoo and Smokin Parade, they are just plain bad!

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Baby Naruto and Wizard Naruto. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy either nearly as much as I enjoyed Naruto, so I kind of just didn’t bother continuing with them. If I want to read Naruto, I’ll just go back and read Naruto. (Or My Hero Academia, which is great!)

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Hey look, it’s My Hero Academia! Did I mention its really good? Well it is! Probably my favorite series running in Shonen Jump currently, and a series I don’t think I need to talk much about. Pretty sure everyone knows about it by this point.

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Another Shonen Jump series I am reading digitally. I am missing a few volumes because I don’t feel the need to pick up a volume of manga that contains stuff I have already read, so I just pick up what I don’t have whenever I got a bit of free cash (same with My Hero Academia really). Overall Food Wars has its ups and downs, but overall has been an enjoyable read. This last arc was epic but long, and has left many fans (including me) feeling a little burned out.

More shonen, I think people might start be figuring me out…

These are both series I kind of put on hold for now. Both are great, its just I have other things on my reading list right now.

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There is just something about the absurdity in the art, characters and story that makes me bust my gut laughing throughout each volume. This is a series that I feel is very polarizing, since you either love the comedy and laugh through each volume, or it just falls flat. I can’t tell you if you will like it or not, but man do I love it!

Some single volume manga. I liked both enough to recommend them to people who are interested in them, but they are not on the top of my recommendations for people looking for new manga to pick up.

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I haven’t actually read any of these short stories yet, but I really liked Tokyo Godfathers (which was directed by Satoshi Kon) so I thought I would pick this up a while back. Will try and get through these soon and watch Kon’s other anime he directed, since a lot of people sing high praise about him.

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Not going to lie, I mainly bought these because they were hardcover and thought they looked nice on a shelf. I will read Captain Harlock soon though, since I have a huge fascination with classic manga series.

Some series I thought had really good starts, but kinda lost my interest. I blame my lost interest in Gangsta on the fact that the series is only released like once a year, if that. It feels like it has been forever since I have continued on with that story.

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I am a Hero is weird man. The main character is just a schizophrenic that sees things constantly, which turns out is not very good when you are trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.  Immortal Hounds was a weird series I picked up about a world where no one can die, instead when you die you are brought back to life in perfect health. It leads to a lot of gore during the fight scenes, with limbs and body parts flying everywhere. Although I haven’t read it in a while, it had a story that was interesting enough to keep me coming back for more without relying on its over-the-top action and gore to keep me reading.

If you don’t have these volumes in your collection you should really fix that. Some of the best short manga series I have read, each only consisting of one volume. I think I declared In This Corner of the World the best volume of manga to have come out all year when it came out, and I would probably still stand by that stance (I would just have to double check to see what else came out this year). The Gods Lie may not be as great, but it is still a nice treat. Kind of melancholic, but it has a happy ending that will leave you satisfied.

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It’s like Death Note but instead of murdering people, the criminals just commit petty crimes to assholes. There is a darker side to the story you learn later on, but as a whole the series was alright.

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I don’t know why, but I never did get the forth volume of Sakamoto, even though I thought the series was pretty funny. I just never see it at the book store when I go there, and forget to order it online whenever I put an online order together. Delicious in Dungeon is also pretty funny, and one of my favorite series to come out in the last year.

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Some volumes of manga I have read digitally, and decided to pick up a volume of at some point. I want to collect all the volumes for these eventually, but like My Hero Academia and Food Wars I don’t really feel the need to by manga for series I have already read (and don’t have intentions of re-reading soon). It has been a while since I have read Yotsuba&! though, so that will soon be filled out. Great fun little series, and its probably on the “required reading” list for people into Slice of Life and similar genres. Its one of the best. (Kakegurui and Real Account are both really good too from what I have read of the series).

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Is there a single North American manga fan who doesn’t have Berserk in their collection? I bought these a long while back because everyone always talks about how amazing the series is. I did quite enjoy what I read so far, but right now I’m just more interested in reading some of the other series I am following. If I ever clear some of my reading list up a bit, this is one of the series I will definitely be continuing.

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A long while back while browsing my local comic book store I noticed that they had the entirety of Gantz in stock minus the first 3 chapters. Those who are into collecting manga will know that the series can be pretty difficult to collect since a good few of the volumes went out of print and fetch pretty-high prices online. Recently though Dark Horse has been re-releasing the series in 3-in-1 editions, so I am not sure if I want to collect the rest of these single volumes or just get the new release. These account for most of the rare and out-of-print volumes though, so if I do collect the rest everything else should be pretty inexpensive.

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A box of manga a friend at work gave me before he moved. I haven’t touched it, but maybe one day I’ll read some of it. Or maybe I’ll hand it off to another collector someday who might enjoy it more.

That’s It!

If you managed to read all of those little write ups, I don’t know what to say. You have a lot of free time on your hands I suppose. I apologize that some of them were just pretty basic or boring in general, I just don’t have a lot to say about a lot of my collection. There are only a handful of manga that really stand out to me that I own that I had stories about.

Anyways, thanks for leading this incredibly long post about my manga collection. This post is a bit different from my regular content, but it was something I have wanted to share for a while now. Hope you guys enjoyed looking through my collection nonetheless!

Take care, I’ll be talking to you again in the next one!

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