Monday, May 1, 2017

Hobby Highlight (April 2017)

Anime / Manga

Anime, and manga have been around longer than you may think. In fact the earliest Japanese animation dates back to 1917 in a commercialized form. It wasn't until the 1960's though that the anime style we know, and appreciate today emerged via the talent of Osamu Tezuka. Since it's early entries anime has evolved into various presentations including that of the theatrical releases, at home viewings, and on the web streaming experiences. Through it's ever growing popularity it has also spawned merchandise of different sorts including high end, and low end series related merchandise, collectibles, and even sub-genres of anime that range from child friendly to adult only. While not all anime makes it across the globe due to censorship reasons viewers from all allowing nations can usually view their favorite anime with fan provided subtitle translations on the internet keeping the original voice-overs, and their accompanying range of emotions intact for a more genuine experience.

In a similar light as that of anime, manga also started off early in Japan, and has since gained popularity among collectors across the globe. Beginning in the 1950's in Japan specifically, and continuing on to this very day among Western outlets manga has provided artistic story driven entertainment to fans that in some ways resembles the West's comic books we in the west know. In fact manga, in retrospect is a comic book in itself. Unlike it's Western counterparts though the way Japan publishes them is anything but Western influenced. The way the book reads, from right to left, and even the size of the of the publications are vastly different from what Western comic books have to offer. Often times manga also treads where Western comic books won't in regards to mature subject matter. Rest assured you'll find a lot more intense violence, and even more sexually provocative content in Japan's serial manga. Like anime there are genres, and sub-genres within manga catering to the more innocent readers as well as the more mature adult consumers.

As a collector of both anime, and manga I've personally been drawn to a wide variety of artists, and genres within the form of entertainment throughout the years. My collection, as many of yours might have, started off humbly with the purchase of expensive, and hard to get items. My first anime purchases were of VHS releases of Lensman, Robot Carnival, and even Ninja Scroll. From that point I got hooked on anime, and couldn't stop seeking it out. In regards to manga I sort of started off arse backwards though by buying Americanized Viz publications of Mermaid Forest, Ranma 1/2, and Bio-Booster Armor Guyver. From there I discovered Rightstuf, an online anime/manga warehouse that shipped anime (even Hentai), and manga to the states for affordable prices. This was well before standard department stores began carrying anime dvds, and manga. To this day Rightstuf is still in business providing discounted anime, and manga related merchandise for a fraction of what it would have cost prior to the rise of the industry's Western interest. Nowadays it's not hard to get a hold of the anime, and manga you like for a reasonable price. Even the collectibles, and Japanese exclusives can be bought by customers outside of Japan. Website shopping services like that of Amazon, and Ebay definitely give customers, and fans alternative options to obtain the more obscure items that still happen to be just out of reach. Recently even Walmart has begun carrying limited offerings of anime for those looking for actual anime dvds/blu-rays in stores in the United States. In fact in a recent stop by Targets I bought a Mondo steelbook Blu-ray release of 'Ghost in the Shell' for $24.99. They even sell blu-rays of all the Studio Ghibli features that the younger generations of anime enthusiasts can enjoy. Spirited Away, included.

In closing, I'd like to say anime and manga collecting are both hobbies worth getting into. The hobby can be as expensive, or as affordable as you like, but will no doubt inspire you in some form or fashion. You merely have to shop around, and find the items you can afford. Just be prepared for the sometimes emotional roller coaster rides that the directors, and creators bring your way as often times anime and manga evokes emotion unlike a lot of films and comic books can.

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