I have a confession to make: I’m a compulsive organizer. I’ve carefully arranged my CDs by genre, composer, and opus number; I’ve divided my library into fiction and non-fiction, separating the musicology books from the historical tomes; I’ve even alphabetized my spice rack. (No, I’m not taking any medication. Why do you ask?) So when long-time reader CJ began describing her manga collection to me, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit, someone who viewed her role not as a consumer, but as a librarian or curator. CJ has generously agreed to share pictures of her collection with us, as well as to tell us a little more about herself and her manga-reading habits. Take it away, CJ!
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Hello, I’m CJ! I recently graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in Biology. Other nerdy things I’m in to include anime, RPGs, South Park and Doctor Who. I’m currently living with my roommate/sweetest cat ever Butters while job hunting! Please enjoy pictures of my manga collection, I take quite a bit of pride in it!
My first manga: Tokyo Mew Mew, which I no longer have because I no longer like it. I don’t tend to keep things I no longer like or have no plans of re-reading; I try to sell them to get money for more manga. As for the oldest series I have on my shelf (in terms of when I started collecting it and is still on my shelf), probably Maison Ikkoku.
My favorite manga-ka: Osamu Tezuka and Fumi Yoshinaga — they’re the only two mangaka whose work I actively collect everything of, and they both have mini-shrines dedicated to them. I think I have every Yoshinaga work published in English so far, but doing the same for Tezuka is proving to be much more of a challenge. However, they’re both the only two manga-ka whose work I will buy without even reading the back of the book. I already know I want it.
How long I’ve been collecting manga: 9 years or so.
My favorite series: Banana Fish, easily, though there are many worthy contenders in my top 5, which are Maison Ikkoku, Hikaru no Go, Firefighter Daigo, and Please Save My Earth.
The size of my collection: If I counted correctly, about 670 manga, though this is not counting the few non-manga I have and some omnibuses are counted as three, some are counted as one, so it’s a bit fuzzy.
The rarest items in my collection: Some of those volumes for Tezuka’s Phoenix are extremely rare; volume 4 of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Flower of Life quickly became rare right after I got mine; the earlier volumes of What’s Michael? are a pain to find; and just random volumes of some of my favorite series have rare volumes, like Banana Fish, Maison Ikkoku, Firefighter Daigo, and Please Save My Earth. I’ve been extremely lucky in keeping all of my organs while getting some of these. Since I got Monster and Maison Ikkoku as they came out, I never ran into that problem with those two series. The most I’ve ever paid for a single volume of manga though? $60 for volume 20 of Firefighter Daigo.
The weirdest item in my collection: Joan is a full-color manga. I don’t think it’s particular good as a manga; it feels like a sequel to a more interesting prequel that never was, but it is gorgeous as a full-color manga. I was also fortunate to meet a friend online who was living in Japan for a while and she got me the two Please Save My Earth and the Banana Fish artbooks for dirt cheap. I can’t read Japanese in the least, but you don’t have to read artbooks! The only artbooks I want were never released over here, sadly. I’ve also been having trouble finding volume 1 of Tezuka’s Adolf in English at a good price so I bought it in German. I might have to do the same for volume 5. I’m not fluent in German, but I can still get the gist of the story.
Series that I’m actively collecting right now: Kekkaishi, Maoh: Juvenile Remix, Blue Exorcist, Arisa, Twin Spica, Venus Versus Virus, Cirque du Freak, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bokurano: Ours, Saturn Apartments, House of Five Leaves, Bride’s Story, Wandering Son, and whatever Tezuka manga Vertical pushes out next is expected on my shelves very soon. I’m up to date on some series and a good bit behind on others.