Ever since I became an anime/manga fan back in high school, it never really occurred to me at the time how expensive this hobby can actually be. I remember only living and breathing Sailor Moon because it was the only thing I was introduced to or knew about. Then I discovered Cardcaptor Sakura followed by Fushigi Yugi followed by Ayashi no Ceres followed by Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) followed by Revolutionary Girl Utena and…you get the idea. Most of the mangas I got into happened to have an anime to go with it or vice versa. I always thought most mangas naturally became animes once it was a hit in Japan, but it isn’t always the case as I eventually learned.
Soon I found myself collecting volumes of my favorite mangas or animes as they became available in the U.S. Depending on what I was largely into, I would eagerly try to save enough money to collect them all. Kind of like Pokemon. Gotta catch ’em all! Or collect ’em all. I was obsessed with wanting to know what happens next in a story or just dying to see how the entire anime series compared to the manga. Waiting to have the next book or DVD in my hands was a test of absolute patience.
I am now 26, and I still call myself a collector of anime/manga. Except now I find myself having a hard time keeping up with all the new series coming out in local bookstores these days. Finding anime/manga in stores back then was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There just wasn’t much of a collection. Now, and I can’t say this for anime DVDs, you can walk into a bookstore or your local comic book store and find almost an entire section devoted to English translated mangas. It’s practically overwhelming now. When I walk into a Barnes & Noble or go to Kinokuniya Bookstore by Bryant Park, I never know where to look anymore.
I have the older manga series like Ceres and Boys Over Flowers that I’m currently trying to read and collect all the volumes for. Then there are the new series of mangas like Ouran High School Host Club and Vampire Knight that I want to read and collect but have to postpone for the time being. The desire to get the older series that started back in the ’90s read and collected is greater than the need to get all the volumes of the new series. I also have a fear of the older published mangas going out of print eventually. It happened to Sailor Moon until Kodansha decided to re-release it and translate it better.
Being a fan of anime/manga costs serious money, just like being a gamer costs serious money. Saner people would say, “Why bother wasting your money on silly things like this?” The answer? Because it’s fun and it’s a good way to kick back after a hard day’s work. We deserve it. This hobby may be expensive, but I can and will save money for it. Besides, there is always birthdays and holidays to get your family and friends to give you the gift of geek.