His N Her Manga Collection and Q&A

As regular readers will know, me and Dane are both massive fans of manga and our love of it is only growing more as we start and end another manga series.

I was writing and aiming for this post to be up on my blog around World Book Day but sadly due to life and how busy it can be, I never got around to finishing and publishing it on my blog.

BUT no time like the present and I’ve accumulated more manga since World Book Day which is amazing of course! I of course have included Dane into my manga collection as with both of our books combined we have a great collection so far. I also did some questions for both me and Dane to answer in relation to manga. So it’s kind of like a his and her manga post today! I hope you enjoy it.

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Manga We Own

Dane:

Attack on Titan – Vol. 1-20

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall – Vol. 1-5

Attack on Titan: No Regrets – Vol. 1 and 2

Berserk – Vol. 1-6

Death Note – Vol. 1-6

One Punch Man – Vol. 1-10

Natalee:

Azumanga Daioh

Nana – Vol. 1-21

Nichijou – Vol. 1 and 2

Paradise Kiss – Vol. 1-3

A Silent Voice – Vol. 1-7

Sword Art Online: Progressive – Vol. 1-4

Wolf Children

Your Lie in April – Vol. 1-11

Manga We Want:

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall – Vol. 6

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls – Vol. 1 and 2

Berserk – Vol. 7-38

Masamune-kun’s Revenge – Vol. 1-3

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Vol. 1 and 2

Nichijou – Vol. 3-6

One Punch Man – Vol. 11

Sherlock: A Study in Pink

Sword Art Online: Progressive – Vol. 5

Dane Questions & Answers:

  • What was the first manga you read?

Admittedly I have gotten into manga much later than I could or should have. My first manga was (is) actually Attack on Titan. After watching countless anime I watched the first season of Attack on Titan and couldn’t wait for the next season so I began reading the manga.

  • What is your favourite manga to date and why?

Easily Berserk. I have seen and heard about it in the past but always thought it was a manga that was “edgy” for the sake of being edgy. Granted the first arc of the manga does show Guts to be an edgelord (someone, especially posting on the internet who uses shocking annalistic speech and opinions that they themselves may or may not believe to gain attention and come across as a more dangerous and unique person) but he is kept likeable and grows over the course of the manga.

The world of Berserk is a dark one, the manga is very explicit in this and does not shy away from some truly WTF moments. It is not for everyone. It begins with Guts getting freaky with a crazy demon only to kill it mid coitus which is a great way to show what is in store for you. This is one of its greatest assets the fact it is not afraid of going balls to the wall with its story, there are some truly great characters and events that will make you smile and sometimes you will be cutting onions outside in the rain whilst miraculously keeping the book and everywhere but your face dry.

One of the other assets that make this manga worth people’s time is the superior artwork that goes into it. Kentaro Miura is a master when it comes to bringing his panels to life, the character design and the detail (particular the full spreads) are just sublime and you have to see them to believe. Every artist has their moments where some things don’t look quite right but Miura can be excused when he does things like this:

Seriously, anyone should give this article (http://www.exprofundis.com/the-art-of-berserk/) a read because it helps break down the inspiration behind some of the art and showcase some of the best images.

The manga was not my first experience of Berserk. I had tried to watch the anime on a few occasions but never got into it. I have always found it difficult to watch most 90s anime because it doesn’t always gel with me. After giving the 90s season another go I surprised myself when I had a thirst for more, so, like I did with Attack on Titan I began reading the manga. I also heard about the three films which cover the golden age arc, which is the same arc as the 90s series. To me the CGI in those films works really well and I enjoyed those adaptations the most and really makes you wish they carried on making more. The problem is neither really follow the manga chronologically, the 90s anime has a few minutes of the black swordsman arc to go into the golden age arc and obviously the films skip the whole first chapter. So what you are left with is no true adaptation of a brilliant manga.

This then leads me on to why you should stick with the manga for the time being: The 2016 Berserk anime series. Since the first season has finished airing it has been greenlit for a second season. It was amazing to hear that we would finally get to see the full story of Guts in animated form. Only to be disappointed with a horribly directed and crudely animated shit show. The story was mostly there, even some moments which fans expected to be censored or cut (If you dare Google rape horse). I won’t go into too much of a critique but it had some good moments but was overshadowed by some really bad moments. It showed promise and I hope that the studio receive more time and money to give Berserk what it deserves.

  • Any online websites or phone apps you suggest for reading manga on?

If you really can’t get the physical books to read I would recommend the manga rock app. It’s free, has decent scans and is what I used to read Berserk and some works by Junji Ito.

  • What is a manga you regret reading and why?

I don’t really regret reading any not in that regards. I have looked at some and thought “nah I can’t be arsed with that” but never have I spent the time to read one and thought why did I bother.

To answer the question in a different manner I would say I regret reading some of the short stories Junji Ito has created. They leave you with a sense of uneasiness I haven’t felt from a book before. He is the master of the full spread shock and horror. The stories are some of the most unique I have experienced too, the creativity astounds me and leave you eerily excited to know the outcome but you are always left with a gaping hole because horror stories hardly ever end well.

  • What is a manga you can read over and over again and why?

All the manga I am currently or have read is still in production so the stories are incomplete. I have Death Note but that is on my to-do list. So the only manga I can legitimately say is Berserk as I am currently on my second run after finally purchasing the physical copies.

  • What is a manga you would suggest people read when first getting into it?

Attack on Titan was a very easy manga for me to get into, it has a decent story and is mature enough to keep me entertained. It is also one that lacks the typical tropes I have found with Japanese media; the fan service, unnecessary cute characters, sweat drop and so on. I don’t mind those things generally but sometimes I feel they remove you from the immersion in a story and western viewers may not appreciate too much of it.

  • Is there a manga you think is overrated?

I cannot allow myself to say a manga is overrated because I have not experienced enough to judge. Although I will bash something in my own time I would feel unfair to claim something I have little exposure to. Especially as I can understand liking something that the general public would see as weird or too nerdy just because it’s different.

  • Is there a manga you think is underrated?

Anyone who has read Berserk I hope will understand why people like it, even if they don’t themselves. I don’t think there are any that I have seen which don’t have a cult following or a new anime adaptation due out.

  • Would you read any of the manga Natalee owns? If so which one(s)?

I would definitely give Your Lie in April and Nichijou a read as I have already taken a quick look and they have peaked my interest. Nana and Paradise Kiss aren’t really my thing, both are most likely brilliant in their own right (the anime for Paradise Kiss kept me interested enough) but it’s just not my thing.

  • What’s a manga you love but hate the anime of?

Berserk, as mentioned above. Hate is a strong word for it though.

  • What is the next manga you wish to buy and read?

I am currently purchasing as many Berserk manga as possible but it doesn’t really count as one I am due to read as I already have caught up to the latest chapter.

I haven’t really thought that far ahead to be honest so I genuinely don’t know.

Natalee Questions & Answers:

  • What was the first manga you read?

The first manga I read was Elfen Lied. I had wanted to read manga for years but I never knew which one TO read. After watching the anime over a handful of times I knew it was time to find the manga to read. Physical copies are hard to come by in Japanese and I don’t think they’re available in English so I resorted to reading it online.

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  • What is your favourite manga to date and why?

This is a hard one because I love all the manga I have completely finished so far. I honestly can’t answer this question with one manga to be honest. I would like to say A Silent Voice as the story is so realistic and one that has really pulled on my heartstrings. It left me thinking too which I loved. This being said I also loved Elfen Lied and Nana, although Nana isn’t officially finished yet.

  • Any online websites or phone apps you suggest for reading manga on?

I have used a phone app in the past but I can’t remember what it was called. I hated it. It wasn’t the app itself but just the way I felt about it. I can’t remember the website I used when I read Elfen Lied. I just Google’d it to be honest when I wanted to read it.

  • What is a manga you regret reading and why?

I don’t think there’s a manga I regret reading to be honest with you. I usually check out the anime before reading the manga so I’ll always know if I’ll like the storyline or not. I don’t regret reading it because I haven’t bought it, but I do want to get Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid but the artwork doesn’t look as nice as the anime does… I could see myself regretting buying that one for example.

  • What is a manga you can read over and over again and why?

Definitely Elfen Lied as I love the story. I especially love how different it was to the anime.

  • What is a manga you would suggest people read when first getting into it?

Something light and quirky is always a good choice. Azumanga Daioh is one of the first I read and it’s an easy one to read and very funny! I suppose any anime you have watched and fallen in love with you should read the manga because the chances are you’ll love that more!

  • Is there a manga you think is overrated?

From what I’ve seen it’s definitely got to be One Piece. I haven’t read it and I don’t even know what it’s about but fuck it takes up most of the manga books in shops such as Nostalgia Comics in Birmingham and Forbidden Planet’s all over the country. I’m sure it’s amazing and all but there’s just so many volumes! Same goes to Naruto as well.

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  • Is there a manga you think is underrated?

I want to say anything by Ai Yazawa but this being said I don’t think she’s underrated. Paradise Kiss is a classic alongside Nana, which isn’t even finished yet and very much sought after these days by Ai Yazawa fans alike. I’m saying it’s underrated because of how long the hiatus of Nana has been now. People have probably given up now on ever knowing what happens in the end. I however have a little bit of faith left in me. I hope we find out sooner rather than later what happens.

  • Would you read any of the manga Dane owns? If so which one(s)?

I don’t know to be honest… I’d love to read Attack on Titan and One Punch Man but I would worry they’d involve too much action for my liking. Surprisingly I love this in Sword Art Online: Progressive but I don’t think I would like it in Attack on Titan and One Punch Man. This being said I love the anime of both of these, especially the action behind them!

  • What’s a manga you love but hate the anime of?

I recently started watching the anime of Paradise Kiss to coincide with me reading the manga and so far I’m preferring the manga a hell of a lot more! I just find that there are huge chunks missing from the anime which sucks! The same can definitely be said for Elfen Lied too, which leaves the ending in the anime in a really poor manner. There is so much more to the story than the anime lets on which is extremely frustrating. I definitely recommend reading the manga if you love the show. It’s shit loads better!

  • What is the next manga you wish to buy and read?

I don’t want to buy it because I wouldn’t be able to read it BUT I really want to print off all the Elfen Lied manga and pop them into a folder so I can physically read them. I would want to do the same for other manga that isn’t available in English.

Besides that I want to try and have a look at Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid before reading to see if I’ll like it and Masamune-kun’s Revenge as I recently started watching the anime which I’m really enjoying. I can see the manga being just as good to be honest.

So that is our lonnnng manga post! Do you like reading manga, or have you just started reading manga? Make sure to let us know which series you’re reading or have read! We’d love to hear from you all.

Until next time take care all and I hope you had a lovely weekend.

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Birmingham Anime and Gaming Con (Haul Inc.)

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On Sunday me and Dane went to the anime and gaming con which was held in Birmingham. The con ran on both the Saturday and the Sunday and although we wanted to attend both days, Sunday stood out to us the most. We’re so glad we only went for the one day though. We had a lot of house stuff to do Saturday and if we had attended both days nothing would have been done. Oh the joys of being an adult and homeowner eh? 😛

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The con itself was amazing and everything we imagined it would be like and more, so I thought I would write about it today for you all, as well as share what we bought at the con as well. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the con as we were too busy enjoying ourselves. I’m awful at getting pictures at places like this. 😦

As old readers will know me and Dane have been to a couple of conventions now including Birmingham comic con and Hyper Japan and this one was very different to those two. For a start the con as tiny in comparison to both of those, but that wasn’t a bad thing! We liked that it was small as it meant we got chance to really look at what everyone was cosplaying as and even get the chance to talk to people if we wanted to. It also meant that we could look around everywhere without having to queue, there not being enough room to walk around and even the worry of forgetting about looking at anything.

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We also never bothered dressing up for the con as we’re boring farts and never really bother with anything like that. We could have worn our South Park outfits but meh. I wore my Iron Fist dress with Dane’s plaid jacket, tights and some brothel creepers. I loved my outfit and whilst I was a little self conscious in it, I felt comfortable for the majority of the time. I of course had to wear my Sailor Moon Luna bag that Dane bought me last year at Hyper Japan. I forgot how much I love that bag!

When I mentioned to people at work that I was going to the con I got a lot of questions such as, “Ooo will there be Japanese food there?” and to be honest I wish there was. Sadly there wasn’t any food stalls there but there was food offered by the place it was held at which was good! It was lovely weather on Sunday and it would have been lovely to have an ice cream van outside of the con… But I know that isn’t the organisers fault, problem, etc.

At the event itself there was always something going on which was great. There was the main hall where there were dealers and artists, a stage and a video gaming room. A corridor away there was the activities room and bar where you could go for something to eat and drink, watch anime, chillout, have your photograph taken in your cosplay outfit, play some games (TCGing, board games and RPG) and talks and workshops. Later in the evenings in this room they held karaoke and parties which we wished we had gone to.

We attended a couple of the workshops which were really interesting! The one Dane was most excited for was about the yakuza in Japan and although Dane knows quite a bit about it, I don’t and it was very interesting for me to listen to. The guy who got up to talk about it was great too and went into a lot of detail. The workshop I was excited for was about plushie making, which sadly got cancelled due to the host of it being poorly. There is always next time!

The stalls that were around selling things were good, although a lot of them were selling fake merchandise. As readers will know me and Dane collect Nendoroid figures so we know a fake when we see one! It was sad that we spotted three fakes and then saw that they had all sold. Very sad times.

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Speaking of which lets get onto what we bought at the convention! We bought quite a few things most of them being mine to be honest. 😛

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We picked up two Nendoroid figures from a seller who was selling legit merchandise. She was reasonable with her prices too! I bought Isabelle from Animal Crossing and Dane picked up One Punch Man. They’renow living in our Dane also bought me a cute little Umaru secret figure box too! I got one of Umaru lying down on her tummy which is so cute.

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As well as fakery there were also some legit and lovely sellers at the event. Some who were selling their own work which is what we bought most of at the event. One guy was selling prints to people… A bit too heavily and forceful for us two. He was trying to get us to buy 10 prints for £40. Would have been a good deal if we wanted that many prints! We ended up buying one, this water Pokemon print for our bathroom.

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As well as that we got two artists to draw for us, one of which isn’t actually finished yet. The first picture we got drawn was this chibi picture of me and Dane which is from one of our favourite pictures that we took not long after we got together. The artist is also going to draw and colour a digital image of us too, which we’re excited about! Another artist draw a picture of Dane from when he was in his band days. He would dress up in funny costumes whist on stage. This picture is from a costume he wore in Sheffield which of course is of him in a banana. It’s perfect and he loves it!

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These are probably my favourite buys from the day, which are these two adorable Eeveelution t-shirts by Ohayou! who I’ve been a fan of for a while through Etsy. She does more designs than this which I really want to get. The two I picked up are one of a Sylveon print that says “dragon slayer” (if you don’t get it look it up) and one of an Umbreon looking sad… I couldn’t not take that t-shirt design home! The only thing I don’t like about these is the plastic feel of the print but it’s nothing serious. I’ll be wearing these all the time with some jeans, shorts and skirts. I plan to buy more of their goods in the future, or at least ask for them for Christmas. 😛

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Alongside those goodies I picked up some little bits and pieces that were dotted around. I picked up some dog and red panda stickers, three Totoro pens, a Romantic Bear peel off lipstick (which I love! I have more of these on the way so I’ll be reviewing them all then), a pack of Eeveelution stickers, an ice verion of Ninetales sticker, a Lady Rainicorn sticker, a picture of Haiku in dragon form, and various badges.

As well as my opinion on the convention I wanted to get Dane to talk about his views.

Well, we had a really good time and were amazed at the incredible cosplay on show, but i think that was the biggest gripe for me. Too much emphasis on the cosplay aspect, not enough for those not so into cosplay to do. The talks were not very well organised and I felt sorry for a lot of the speakers as they had to alter their presentations due to technical errors and last minute changes and fillers. We didn’t watch any anime which is a disappointment as I was expecting a great chill-out atmosphere to watch anime and socialise. What we got was a tiny screen and a couple rows of chairs. To make people want to watch anything at an event you have to make it an improvement to what people may have at home. Personally, I can watch any of the anime shown on a much bigger TV, on a nice comfortable sofa with amazing sound. There was no incentive for us to take part.

I completely understand it is the very first one held in Birmingham so things may not always go to plan and there may not be enough funding to create the best convention ever. For the price we paid it was completely worth it and I can only expect to see it grow. I would like to see it in a bigger space with more artists and shops, more emphasis on gaming and the talks/panels, interesting food options and a more inviting experience for viewing anime.

Overall we loved our day at the convention and it reminded us how much we love going to events like this. It’s made us realise how much we really want to go to Birmingham Comic Con in November so we’ll be booking to go to that very soon!

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