I was surveying my collection of incomplete manga recently and I noticed how I have quite a few series no longer being printed. Among the incomplete sets are series that used to be published by Tokyopop like Fruits Basket and Pita Ten. I realized how annoying it is to own an incomplete set of series. Even more so when it’s a series you had every intention of reading and collecting but never got the chance to. It’s worse knowing the publisher has either lost the rights to producing it or in Tokyopop’s case, a company has shuttered and stopped production of several series all together.
I enjoyed the several volumes of Fruits Basket I was able to read and have in my possession. It had an intriguing story with a wealth of interesting characters with back stories to explore. Collecting several series at once is not only time consuming but financially taxing. My logic was to collect the oldest and longest series to be published in the U.S. first before deciding to collect the “newer” series or series still coming out with volumes in the U.S. market. I ended up prioritizing titles like Fushigi Yugi, Ceres, and Boys Over Flowers as my main manga titles to collect on the off chance that all these series started going out of print. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Tokyopop would become defunct.
Trying to find these out of print mangas becomes the equivalent of going on a treasure hunt. The same goes for halted manufacturing of anime DVDs. It becomes difficult at times to find the volumes you are missing and at an affordable price. I have bought slightly used books and DVDs on Amazon from the Marketplace sellers. For the most part you can find the used goods at a decent price. Other times you have those sellers who exploit the fact that a product is out of print or no longer being manufactured by raising the price sky high. As much as I want to collect things that are no longer being produced, I’m not willing to spend my entire life savings on it either. Seeking out of print goods for a good price is treasure hunting at its finest. You are lucky to find what you want without breaking the bank.
If it were a case of an entire series no longer being printed and I never got the chance to buy a single volume of it in the past, it doesn’t bother me half as much. Am I disappointed that I didn’t get to collect and read the series? Absolutely, but I’m not missing much if I don’t own it anyway. It’s much more irritating to be a manga/anime fan and knowing you have volumes or DVDs missing of a series in your personal collection.
This happened to me when I was buying the anime DVD set for Ceres: Celestial Legend late in the game. For some odd reason, the first season of the series was available as brand new and being sold directly from Amazon. I bought it when I had the money. Then I waited until I had enough money to get the second and final half of the series. When I went to look for it on Amazon, the second season was considered no longer being manufactured but available with other sellers. I don’t get why this became the case. Why continue manufacturing one DVD set and not the other when they are part of the same series? I hate when I discover that. In any case, I was lucky to find the other half of the series through the Marketplace at a reasonable price as used but in very good condition.
The euphoria of being able to hold an item considered rare is overwhelming. Bonus points if you didn’t spend a lot for it. Others may think you are silly for being happy to own a hard to find item, but as a fan it is your treasure. It’s like your reward for searching endlessly for something only to be victorious in the end and clutching the precious thing in your arms. I don’t know if I’ll be able to collect everything that is no longer in print or being manufactured, but I do my best. I suppose when you are an anime/manga collector there is the completionist in you that wants nothing missing from your collection.
Does anyone have the same problem like me? Do you find yourself acting as treasure/bargain hunter for those things you didn’t get to collect when they were still in print or being manufactured?