Going Downhill: Factors Contributing To My Manga Reading Decline

Being a passionate and devoted geek/nerd is tough work when you’re an adult. Forget about having more than one hobby to choose to spend your time on. That’s only part of the challenge we deal with on a regular basis. When you factor money and time into the equation, specifically when you’re a manga fan, you may find yourself in the position of not really reading them as much as you used to.

I’ve written about the woes of being a geek/nerd on numerous occasions on my blog and elsewhere. When you’re a kid, you think you have all the time in the world to do whatever it is you want to do. When you’re an adult, it becomes more about how to use your time wisely to be able to do most of what you wish to do during your down time.

For a while, I’ve been able to get my manga fix at least once or twice a month. Working at a job with a decent salary can enable anyone to collect the volumes you want and almost read them immediately as soon as you come home. Where my manga reading hasn’t suffered a significant decline, my anime watching has. Now, I’ve been able to watch a little anime here and there (more than last year) but rarely read much manga. Why the sudden shift? Two words: money and time.

I haven’t been buying manga as much as I used to. I do have a few manga volumes I personally bought a while back lying around in my room, but they’re volumes of a series I’ve already read before, back when Shojo Beat magazine used to exist or through online scanlations. When it comes to a volume of a series I haven’t read before in another way, my pickings are slim. What’s also keeping me from buying manga at a faster rate like I used to is my expenses going to more adult things like bills, mutual funds, and other not so fun stuff.

Prioritizing what’s most important in your life becomes a constant theme you have to deal with daily. When it’s a choice between saving money for your future retirement vs. spending it on a graphic novel you may only get to read once and not read again, you’ll have to go with what will benefit you financially in the future. I like diving into the story and stimulating my imagination when I read a really great manga volume, but it’s certainly not going to feed me much less take care of me when I’m no longer able to work. Wise words from an older geek to my fellow younger geeks out there.

Vampire Knight
Vampire Knight

On the rare occasion when I do have the extra money to spend on the fun stuff, like buying manga, the next problem I have is time. My life can have days when I’m socially active and other days when I’m just not. When I’m home, my time is split among other hobbies clamoring for my attention. On the days when I don’t want to settle myself behind a glowing screen, I’d curl up with a book. This can either mean a regular book or the volume of a manga. Lately, I have found myself choosing a regular book over manga.

The reason behind my choice lately has nothing to do with a declining lack of interest in manga. It’s just the opposite. I simply want to go deep into my imagination and conjure the look of the characters myself. I want to imagine what a house looks like based on the description I’m given and add my own details to the mix. When you’re reading manga, everything is illustrated for you and it’s the kind of experience where you not only read but appreciate the art at the same time. I like to take my time savoring the details of certain panels before turning the next page. Another factor for choosing a book over manga is the lack of newly bought manga kept on hand. The ones I do have, and it isn’t many, are volumes I’ve already read through unofficial scanlation websites. The main thing I’m after when it comes to my reading material these days is a fresh experience, one where I haven’t read what’s currently in my room.

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle

There are moments when I crave having more manga to read because half the fun of reading them is being able to fall in love with the story and characters and then discussing them critically or deeply on my blog. I like getting my own thoughts out there on the internet and it’s one of the main reasons I started this blog at the tail end of 2011.

I’m not sure how I can really remedy the situation. Similar to how my anime viewing habits in the last few years have changed, I’ll have to indulge in this hobby when I can and not beat myself up too much over the changing nature of my identity as an anime/manga fan as time goes on. As long as the passion is still there, anime/manga isn’t going anywhere. I’ll just be behind on what’s hip and current in anime/manga.

8 thoughts on “Going Downhill: Factors Contributing To My Manga Reading Decline

  1. I’m totally in agreement with you. Time and money have taken priority in my life over anime and manga, though my love for them are still strong. I’ve come to appreciate manga more because I can take it anywhere–work, school, the bathroom–and still enjoy it in my spare time. I think my anime watching has suffered because of the time it takes to watch without it impeding on work, school, and, well, electricity near water (yikes). From one adult to another, I totally understand, and I hope you keep blogging about anime and manga.

    1. Thank you! It’s tough when you want to devote more time into the things you really liked to do, but simply can’t anymore. Or you can, but the amount of time you allow becomes really limited. I’m hoping I can still blog about anime/manga, but those posts might be few and far between as I tend to game or watch TV shows these days. I won’t give up though!

  2. “When I’m home, my time is split among other hobbies clamoring for my attention.”

    This is so true for me as well. At home, I’ve got dozens of (fun) projects and (not so fun) chores that need to be done. There are actually days when I’m glad to be at work, because at least there I’m able to concentrate on one task at a time. Once I’m at home, the question isn’t “what am I going to do?” it’s “what really needs to be done FIRST?” Sadly, most of the fun stuff doesn’t qualify as priorities, so it gets pushed to the back burner. Hopefully you’ll eventually get more time to get back into anime and manga, but being an adult is tough work!

    1. My aunt once told me that when you’re a kid you have all the time in the world but no money. When you’re an adult, you have all the money in the world but no time. There haven’t been any more truer words than those. It really does suck when the first thing you want to do when you come home is either play video games or watch a movie, but sadly, it’s not possible when there are many other things that has to be done. And while I do have a decent amount of money to get by, I really can’t use it much for manga or games these days. It really makes you wish being an adult doesn’t have to be so hard! But thank you. I’m hoping I can fit as much video games and manga as I can! Adulthood be damned! 😉

  3. I still read manga, but has less time watching anime. School and work get in the way, and most importantly, there’ s really nothing out there that I want to read enthusiastically. Even the manga where I got my signature, Renxkyoko, from Skip Beat, doesn’t appeal as much. The author is dragging the story too much, in my opinion. And stories that I used to oooh and aaaah over I now find stupid, silly, and outrageously unrealistic.

    1. Yeah, I’m finding that to be a problem with me as well with most manga now. Some aren’t as great or the formula is tired and overly done. I think I’m less inclined to buy too many of the newer manga, at least in the shojo genre. It would have to be really good for me to fork over the money these days.

  4. I completely empathize with you about this. I still love manga, but finding the time can be a challenge (as with any hobby). I stopped buying manga years ago and switched to borrowing manga from the library or hitting up used bookstores for cheap manga. That said, I do miss those days in high school when I could splurge on a couple manga books!

    1. I certainly want to keep buying manga, at least complete the ones I currently have at home, but my financial priorities have been lying elsewhere these days. It isn’t as easy as it used to be. At the very least, I’m hoping I can slowly buy manga again here and there. It does make you reminisce when life was much simpler and all you ever thought about was splurging your allowance on manga and reading them non-stop!

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