The Kidd’s Manga Chronicles
With the announcement of Crunchyroll’s new manga programme I thought now would be a good time for me to talk about my experience with manga, how I first came across it and why I haven’t read any in close to 2 years now.
Back in 2007 when I was just becoming a full fledged anime otaku some of my anime connections frequently discussed manga. At the time I never really knew that most anime was adapted from manga, so when I saw the scanlated copies of Naruto I was pleasantly surprised but kind of underwhelmed. For one thing they weren’t even in colour. I was never really a comic guy to begin with so maybe that played a role as well.
Fast forward to 2009 and my first encounter with physical manga at a Borders store (RIP Borders, we’ll miss you forever) I was kind of shocked at the numerous amounts of manga there was and thankfully they allowed customers to peruse through some of the titles on the stands which I did. Hours later I was still standing in that aisle reading Love Hina, it’s at that moment that I knew I was missing out on something special.
I went home and read all of Love Hina in about 2 days, to this day it is the fastest I have ever blitzed through manga volumes. I really enjoyed Love Hina I liked it so much that I started reading another one of Ken Akamatsu’s manga, Negima.The funny thing about this whole experience is that I really enjoyed the Negima and Love Hina manga but somehow couldn’t get into the anime versions as much. As a matter of fact I dropped the Negima anime after 2 episodes because it just didn’t have the same feel to it, for some weird reason.
I then started reading Kimi no Iru Machi and Love*Com, both of which were Shoujo manga. I also found this phenomenon interesting, I could never stand shoujo anime but found shoujo manga infinitely more interesting than the other genres available. I still don’t quite understand exactly why, maybe it was because very little was lost between the mangaka and the reader between the publishing process as compared to how many hands interfere with the product when it becomes an animated series.
I soon discovered while lurking in some forums that most shounen manga are ahead of their anime counterparts. This is where I can trace the beginning of the dip in my faith or love of manga. I started to read the Naruto and Bleach manga just to catch up and not really to enjoy the product for what it was, the fact that the quality in the Bleach manga began to dip drastically did not help at all either. It was also around this time that I started to watch a lot more anime than usual. I started catching up on old noitaminA shows, most of which scratched the itch that some of the manga I enjoyed used to. I also just loved animation a whole lot, I felt like something like Bakemonogatari could not be replicated on paper, not to me atleast.
However I didn’t entirely stop reading manga at this point, as a matter of fact I got into other genres, like 4Koma. I still got into what I believe is the best manga I’ve ever read Yotsuba&. Yotsuba is written by Kiyohiko Azuma of Azumanga Daioh fame. It feels like a much more refined version of Azumanga which is probably why I love it so much. I also got into the K-on! Manga at this point mostly because fanboy. I should also mention that this is the time when I found it very hard to find good new manga to read. Unlike with the anime fandom it seemed that manga fans took pride in the fact that the more obscure the series they were reading, the better it was. Every manga had a rabid fanbase that said it was amazing and a masterpiece I found it very hard to find legitimately good series to read, I was burned on multiple occasions because of this elitist attitude.
The final nail in the coffin came with the release of the Bakuman and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime. I realised after watching those two shows that most of the good manga, even the Obscure masterpiece kind would eventually become anime and it’d just be easier for me to wait and watch them than read scanlated copies or hope someone licences them and wait for months on end for volumes to be published. Some of the best examples of these kinds of series were Horou Musuko, Usagi Drop and Mysterious Girlfriend X. All of which were magnificent adaptations.
So in the end a combination of laziness, impatience ease of access and basic preference is why I stopped reading manga but I think I’m willing to give the medium a second chance thanks to Crunchyroll Manga. The series on offer are amazing and if the programme is handled well I feel like it will be much more accessible than any other method. The community on Crunchyroll is also pretty decent at weeding out mediocre stuff from the good so I believe it will be a lot easier to find actual good manga to read not just obscure stuff. I have high hopes for this programme I hope it works out.
So any of you guys out there like me or am I alone in this world? What keeps you reading manga and why do tell?
P.S none of this applies to H-manga I still have and continue to read those occasionally lol.