Another week, another awesome manga fan shares pictures of her stuff! Today’s featured collector goes by the handle Hamster428, and traces the beginning of her manga obsession to Doraemon. These days, her tastes run the gamut from Skip Beat! to Phoenix, and while she doesn’t actively collect rare titles, her library includes a unique edition of Mermaid Saga. (No word on whether that volume of Mermaid Saga is valuable…) So without further ado, I turn the floor over to Hamster428 so that she can introduce herself and her manga. – Katherine Dacey
Hi, this is Hamster428. I majored in engineering and make a living doing design work now. But aside from my job and my manga, I’m generally a non-geek, I swear.
How long have you been collecting manga?
If you count my Doraemon days, it’d be since I was six. No, really, I saved lunch money to buy my own volumes of Doraemon and Chibi Maruko-chan. But those days didn’t last long because we moved to the US when I was in the third grade. And it wasn’t until Fruits Basket came out over here that I bought my next manga volume.
What was the first manga you bought?
Doraemon. I must have been six, or something like that, because I couldn’t read a word. And I really, really wanted to learn, because I really, really wanted to know what the book says. Yes, parents, comics can be beneficial to your child’s education!
What is the rarest item in your collection?
To be honest, if they’re that rare, I probably don’t own them. (See the gaps in my Phoenix collection…)
What is the weirdest item in your collection?
I didn’t think I owned anything weird — that is, until I bought an upside-down and backward copy of Mermaid Saga volume 2. (VIZ somehow flipped the cover in production.)
How has your taste in manga evolved since you started your collection?
I used to to read anything and everything that was available, which means shonen like Ore wa Teppei and very young shojo like Chibi Maruko. Now I tend to favor older shojo/josei and little of everything else. I guess you could say I’m a sucker for all things romantic.
Who are your favorite comic artists?
I may have a CLAMP “shrine” and everything, but that’s only for organization purposes. I practically worship Fujiko F. Fujio and Yumi Tamura, the former for writing my favorite series ever, and the latter for consistently writing quality series.
What series are you actively collecting right now?
Skip Beat!, 13th Boy
Do you have any tips for fellow collectors (e.g. how to organize a collection, where to find rare books, where to score the best deals on new manga)?
I’m always pressed for shelf space so I’ve had to double stack for a while now. For those who want to double-stack but don’t want to hide one series behind another, you could do what I do and hide half of one series behind its other half. I’m not exactly anal about seeing every volume of a series so this works out for me (although I am generally more anal about my stuff being in alphabetical orders). And I suspect most of us are already using these, but I really recommend IKEA’s Billy cases. They’re the best for manga because of the adjustable shelves. They’re not fancy but they’re highly functional.
Show Us Your Stuff is a regular column in which readers share pictures of their manga collections and discuss their favorite series. If you’d like to see your manga library featured here, please send me an email.