It is an honor beyond measure to be invited by MJto be a guest blogger. I have such a deep respect and admiration for MJ’s thoughtful reviews and insightful analysis of manga. Honestly after my initial excitement over the invitation abated a little, I froze for several days in a fit of self-consciousness. But manga means too much to me to pass up this wonderful opportunity to share my love of it with more people.
I cannot promise the eloquence and insight that you have come to expect from MJ, but as so many of my favorite characters say, I will do my best.
It all started out so innocently. A story about a boy plagued by spirits, who finds himself in the shop of a mysterious woman who can grant almost any wish – for a price. A woman who intones, “There is no such thing as coincidence. There is only hitzusen.”
I thought I knew what I was getting into when I picked up that first volume of xxxHolic last April. I had read MJ’s beautiful persuasion post after all. I had no idea that, like Watanuki, the reason I had entered Yuuko’s shop was because I had a wish as well. I had been seeking a purpose, some kind of clear direction in my life and I found it here in this medium.
XxxHolic was such a wonderful introduction to the genre. And then of course I had to read its crossover series Tsubasa. And Tsubasa was full of characters from Clamp’s other manga…. and the slippery slope became an all-out free fall into this world that I am so thrilled to find myself in.
Manga has become an all-consuming passion as I strive to read as much as I can get my hands on as well as become more informed about the genre. I have consumed 376 volumes of manga since xxxHolic volume 1; spread over 60 series either completed or ongoing.
MJhas been such a wonderful guide (see: crack-dealer) to this world and out of all the series I have read now, my favorites (except for 3*) are series I first picked up based on her recommendations.
My Top Ten (currently):
Banana Fish by Akimi Yoshida
Bleach by Tite Kubo
Fruits Basket* by Natsuki Takaya
Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Hikaru no Go by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata
Nana by Ai Yazawa
Ranma ½* by Rumiko Takahashi
Sand Chronicles* by Hinako Ashihara
Tsubasa by Clamp
XxxHolic by Clamp
I cheated by listing them alphabetically, so I would not have to outright rank them. I love them all equally, but they each have their own beauty and strengths that appeal to me. I have only read 2 volumes of Ranma ½ and 3 volumes of Sand Chronicles so it may truly be too early to call them outright favorites, but at this point I am really looking forward to reading more from those series. If you’re curious about what else I read last year, I posted my 2008 reading list here on my livejournal.
So other than the fact that I have a growing collection of manga and anime and its accompanying ephemera that is rapidly taking over my living space, what else is there to say about myself? I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and now live within a reasonable drive from Seattle. I’m turning 30 this year. I work in a library, but have dreams of getting into the publishing industry: specifically manga publishing. My favorite sports are baseball and roller derby. I have a weakness for 80’s music and my all-time favorite musical group is Depeche Mode, but I enjoy all kinds of music. I am a movie-buff, but that has really taken a back seat to my manga addiction.
Well, I think that about does it for my introductory post. I want to say thank you again to MJfor this opportunity. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me and for always being such a warm, encouraging spirit.
Next time, I’ll be posting about Canon by Chika Shiomi, Seimaden by Higuri You, Life by Keiko Suenobu, and Only the Ring Finger Knows by Satoru Kannagi & Hotaru Odagiri