It’s Thursday, which means that it’s time for another installment of Show Us Your Stuff. Our featured otaku is NightRose, who’s been collecting manga since 2008. She counts Arina Tanemura, Svetlana Chmakova, and Natsuki Takaya among her favorite artists, though she reads all kinds of manga: shojo, shonen, seinen, josei. Among the more unusual items in her collection is an art book for Alice in the Country of Hearts. Here’s what she has to say for herself, and her growing manga library. -Katherine Dacey
Hi, I’m NightRose, or Night, or Rose, or Chibi-chan, or Mili-chan, or… you get the point. I’m your typical shy girl with a love for manga and anything related to Japanese shtuff. I live in the USA currently and am a senior in high school, where I lead my school’s anime club. I’ve tried cosplaying, I’ve been to anime conventions (if you’ve been to ACen, I’m the girl with the big “Free Hugs” sign), and I’m trying to improve my drawing skills. Oh, and I like gaming and all that fun stuff. I also read anything that’s everything — I’m not that picky.
What first got me started into anime/manga was anime on TV. When I was little I was addicted to Cartoon Network (and some other cartoon channels I forgot the names of); I loved Cartoon Network with a passion. (Now I don’t have cable and Cartoon Network sucks anyway.) Then going into grade eight, my library had a “read 5 books get one free” program. I looked at the free books they had and I found Fruits Basket. I thought, “What the hell, why not?” I read it and loved it. I went back the next day to get more of the series and other manga. After a while I wanted to collect manga for myself, and here I am today with a mom nagging me about my collection.
How long have you been collecting manga?
I started to collect manga in 2008. When I almost finished all the manga series in the library (over 40+), I started to seriously collect in 2009.
What was the first manga you bought?
The first one I owned was Fruits Basket, but that was free from the library. The first one I bought… I think it was either Full Moon, Naruto, or Cherry Juice. I’m pretty positive it was Full Moon, though.
How big is your collection?
404 volumes at the moment.
What is the rarest item in your collection?
I’m not sure what you mean by “rare”. But what I think of it, it would be my Alice in the Country of Hearts art/guide book. My then-boyfriend got it for me when he went to Japan. I also have several volumes of Kingdom Hearts manga that are hard to find. Another rare item I have is my Final Fantasy VII PS1 Video Game. That game is what made me start collecting all the Final Fantasy games for the PS1.
What is the weirdest item in your collection?
My maid dress! My ex-boyfriend got it for me as a joke. In terms of manga, I have The Otaku Encyclopedia. Sadly enough, it helped me with a lot of terms I didn’t know.
How has your taste in manga evolved since you started your collection?
When I first started to collect, I would just get anything I found at the store. I didn’t care what it was; I just wanted a lot of manga and to read more in different genres. When I discovered Half Price Books, I started to get different series that you don’t really see in stores. After I’d been collecting for a while, I started to get picky with what I bought. That said, I’m open to any genre besides yaoi, yuri, hentai, or anything in those categories.
Who are your favorite comic artists?
I don’t really have one per se… I like Arina Tanemura’s art but not her story lines, and I also love Svetlana Chmakova’s plots but not her art. Dramacon is amazing; if you haven’t read it then go read it now!
What series are you actively collecting right now?
Anything that’s not completed yet in my collection. I don’t follow what just came out. If I see a volume in a store that I need and I have money, I’ll get it.For example, I’d get Shugo Chara volume 3 if it’s available.
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)?
When you’re first getting into manga, I suggest reading a few different genres to know what you like.
If you don’t care about the condition of your books, find a used bookstore near you and see if they have any manga. Some of them are pretty good, like Half Price Books. Manga costs $2.00 – $5.00 there! Prices vary from store to store, however. I went to a used bookstore and was disappointed to see that not-so-new-looking manga was only $2.00 off the retail price. I would recommend going to used bookstores if you can’t find something you want, especially Tokyopop or CMX titles, older series that aren’t published anymore, etc.
If you want something newer, go to the bookstore (Barnes and Nobles) and get it. You can also get some deals like 10% off or the buy four get one free. You can also try eBay; people sell manga in bulk and sometimes it’s dead cheap.
Last but not least, when you get a bookshelf, make sure there are multiple holes on the sides so that you can add more shelves or make some of the spaces smaller/bigger.
I hope these tips help! Have fun collecting.
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 follow the directions on this page.