My History With Manga
A little while ago, OASG created a project where they are asking people to talk about their history with manga. Having already wrote about my history with anime, I’m now wondering why I never thought to make one about how I got to be interested in manga. My blog is mostly focused on anime (it just sorta happened like that), but I do love my share of manga. I buy it regularly and I pretty much reread chapters from manga that I really liked on a daily basis. I’ve been thinking lately about how maybe I should include more things about manga, so all see how that turns out. With all that said, I figured some history on how I came to enjoy manga could be a good place to start.
My first exposure to manga was when I was about five, if not younger. My sisters and I all enjoyed watching Sailor Moon, and I’m guessing it was my oldest sister who at one point bought three volumes of the manga (in French). I didn’t know any French at the time, and probably only had a small grasp on even reading English, so the words in the manga meant nothing to me either way. As for the pictures…that was a different story.
Try to put yourself in the mindset of a child for a second. Here I was, looking at a 200 page book of black and white drawings. Of course I came to the conclusion that this was essentially the best colouring book ever! I think even my sister joined in on the fun, and so now those three volumes have quite a few colourful pages!
After that, for about eight years manga played no part in my life. When I was 13, I started to really care about anime. I was watching a bunch of things back then and at this point, I was aware of the existence of manga (as a reading form this time), but I just hadn’t gotten interested by it at that point. That is, until the day where I went to the library and laid eyes on the first manga I would ever read. This manga was none other than Yotsuba!
I remember struggling a bit trying to understand how to read it from right to left. It didn’t take too long, and once I got the hang of it, I was engrossed it was obviously a super funny and awesome manga to make for my first read. Sadly, this was the one and only manga this library had in English. They had a few in French, which I read a bit later, but now the library thankfully has a bigger selection.
Though, back when it was the only thing I could read, I talked to my sister about how much I enjoyed it (I have two sisters, both older, just to prevent any confusion), and she had told me that she knew someone who was into manga and how they had recently gotten into reading Fruits Basket. I was then told that I could buy it at any book store, so that’s where I went!
I’m glad a hell of a lot more manga is being sold now, because back when I was 13, there were maybe about 10 different series that you could buy from. Of course part of the reason is because I come from a French province, and the market for manga in English isn’t nearly as big, but now when I go to buy manga there is a much larger collection for both languages. Anyhoo, luckily Fruits Basket was a best seller so it was one of the few available, but they didn’t have volume one in stock, so I just settled for buying volume two because I was really determined to start reading this series.
One thing lead to another and I ended up loving this manga so much! Considering it was still publishing in North America, I remember having to wait months between volumes, but I refused to read it on the internet because it was a series I wanted to support to the end. Over the years, I even managed to turn some of my friends into Furuba fans. On account of how much I enjoyed Fruits Basket, I tried to give other tokyopop series a shot. Sadly, that company really didn’t have that many good titles, so I mostly stuck with being satisfied by just buying Fruits Basket.
A couple of years later on some random occasion, someone had bought me a Shounen Jump magazine. I preferred reading shoujo, but I was willing to give it a shot. I still didn’t grow to love shounen manga from this experience, but I did learn to appreciate the monthly magazine format, and because of an advertisement in it I came to discover its counterpart, Shojo Beat magazine.
For the next year I bought every issue of that magazine until they decided to stop publishing it. Although I was sad, the magazine had introduced me to a dozen other new shoujo series that I ended up buying. Shojo Beat is without a doubt my favourite manga publishing company!
Although I’m not a big fan of shoujo anime, when it comes to manga, whether I like to admit it or not, it’s the type of series I mostly read. Through the years my collection is steadily growing and I now own about 100 volumes total in my collection. I actually used to have more, but I gave away a few that I hated and I lost a few to a flood in my basement…
I also now read more series than I used to online, but I’ve always much preferred buying manga and having it in my hand as I flip through the pages myself. I guess you could fit me into the category of people who don’t want a kindle for this similar reason. I like to try out some new series every once in a while, but rereading my favourites over and over again that are in my collection will no doubt be the thing I continue to do most!