‘Tis the Season For Stuff

***That’s the gif Google suggested for “anime stuff” and who am I to argue with genius?***

We live in an increasingly digital world. I haven’t bought a physical copy of anime in years and I don’t particularly feel the urge to. However, if the internet goes down you will find me in a quivering heap on the floor unable to function and starved for entertainment.

anime no internet

exactly!

It’s not a bad thing, this drive to divest from material possessions. In fact, it has all sorts of advantages. But you see, I like stuff. I’m not sure where my wiring goes wrong but part of me just likes physical things…that put a burden on the planet to manufacture, clutter up my house and have no true advantage over digital versions.

I buy anime t-shirts despite the fact that I can start a T-shirt store (probably a chain of them), and between the weather and corporate work setting, I never really have an occasion to wear t-shirts at all. I would be able to admire the art more and in greater detail on my computer. I buy figurines, place them around my house and stop realizing they exist… This said, I figure the material component of merch is an inherent part of it. That fact that it’s a physical thing of a virtual thing is the appeal. Still, through masterful willpower, I’ve almost entirely cut down on anime merch. By the way, this masterful will power of mine may be mistaken for being to lazy to shop. The two are similar to the untrained eye.

But why oh why do I prefer physical manga so?

I have an Amazon manga wishlist which I regularly update and whenever the urge strikes, I put in an order. It’s a fun little ritual. It’s super easy, takes a few seconds and I don’t even have to leave my house. So naturally I thought to myself, there has got to be an easier way!

Gintama

my skills are subtle and difficult to appreciate at a distance

I started looking for a manga subscription box. I joked about my laziness in the preceding chapter and although it is a big factor, the other thing I was hoping for was an easy way to discover new manga. Sure I can just go through Amazon’s recommend manga and randomly pick from those but when you are specifically buying something you start feeling obligated to make a minimal effort to make sure you’ll like it. Well I o at least. Having that responsibility taken from me and getting a surprise in the mix sounded great!

I figures manga subscription box would be a natural fit! But apparently not so much because the only one I found was this one. It’s pretty cool, overpriced of course but I liked the concept. Each month 3 new volumes 1 of various manga and a bunch of snacks to booth. I was excited. Until I saw that the price of each box doubles for shipping from the states to Canada but at least you only need to wait about a month for that shipping… So I got salty and closed the site looking for more Canadian friendly ones. Didn’t find any…

As I was going through all this it dawned on me that I was…crazy…

There is so much manga available on the Internet. The legality is spotty but you can do your due diligence. Virtual copies of just about anything can be bought for a fraction of the price. I can subscribe to Jump for 2$ a month (seriously guys 2$ a month – you should all do it!) and get exactly what I wanted. Tons of new manga to discover every WEEK. But I don’t…why???? (o.k. since I wrote this I actually looked into how Jump helps individual mangakas and now I do subscribe and am planning to buy subscriptions for anyone I think might enjoy it in the slightest)

Cause I like stuff.

Nagato Yuki chan Books episode 10 again-noscale

Yuki gets it!

I enjoy holding the books in my hands flipping through the pages, lending them to friends (theoretically…). There’s something comforting about the tangible. It seems more permanent, more *real*. All of that is pure nonsense. I’m 10x more likely to misplace a book then an online subscription…

I have been trying to cut down on my consumerism and my carbon footprint. And in general, I’ve been doing pretty good. I manage to reduce most of my frivolous purchases and try to source locally whenever I can. I ask myself “will it bring me joy” or whatever it was Marie Kondo told me to… It’s been easier than I thought. I always figured I had hoarding tendencies but I think that mostly comes from growing up with a mother that throws everything away. Turns out I’m pretty good at it too.

Except for manga. In fact, it’s the one thing that’s gone way up in my purchases. And I don’t know if they’ll bring me joy until I read them so Marie is no help there. I could read first volumes online and just buy and collect series I’m actually interested in. I tell other people to do that.

anime SAO inception

SAO inception

I think it’s a great compromise. Heck you can just buy digital versions. Pretty much everyone has a smartphone and/or tablet that makes virtual libraries a cinch to carry around with you. It’s cheaper, cleaner, you can zoom in on panels and get your latest volumes earlier sometimes. You can access discontinued titles that cost a fortune otherwise. I’m telling you (me) digital is the way to go!

Christmas is coming up. I’ve asked everyone to buy me manga. I’m probably going to buy myself a huge batch as well on boxing day…

Do you have some “thing” you just need to get your hands on like that? Do you collect blue rays of your favourite series even though you watch them through stream. Do you buy dozens of key chains despite having only one key? Do you need prints you don’t have Wallace for so you keep previously in an album but look through the artist’s online portfolio when you want to show them to people? I’m really hoping I’m not the only crazy one here.

playful Rini

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

26 Responses

  1. Well, with manga the money-starved find a way…and in this case, the “way” is 1) jumping on the anime/manga collection in a library, 2) only buying series that I like or don’t have access to otherwise, 3) library sales (the only thing that’s cheaper is getting the book for free and although the copies are pretty tattered and/or yellow, they’re still good enough to keep) and 4) taking advantage of series which are free, legal and online (sometimes they’re time-limited, though, or only available by hopping the language barrier). That’s already enough to tide me over without taking into account paywalls I could bring down on streaming anime or ebooks/digital manga, which is one reason why I haven’t done so already.

  2. RisefromAshes says:

    With you on manga, with reading tons of out-of-print and pre-internet availablity (legal or not); gotta track down old used copies. Especially since my tastes are obscure lol. Since my current place is fairly small I both need to 1) invest in more shelves and 2) do ‘decluttering’ more often. If I’m not going to re-read it, it has to go. >..<

    Also my biggest weakness is still CDs… I have so many and duplicates on top of it…

  3. DerekL says:

    “Do you have some “thing” you just need to get your hands on like that?”

    Mostly due to budget, I don’t buy much anime stuff… But I’m like that with cookbooks. Even though I buy and read plenty of other stuff digitally, I just prefer physical cookbooks.

  4. I feel your pain. I have shelves upon shelves filled with books of all kinds that I have read once and will probably never read again. Some I have just skimmed and some just glanced at. I should probably place all my bookshelves against our exterior walls. It would increase their insulation value considerably.

    When I grew up, I considered physical books to be sacred. That was how one learned about the world outside my constipated little rural school and what passed for news on television. I may have inherited the desire to possess books from my adopted mother who also had many filled bookshelves – except I never saw her reading any of them.

    Today it is all on the internet. With a couple of clicks and a bit of typing, I can access almost all the total acquired knowledge of mankind. To do so only requires a few square feet of space on and under my desk. I should take all those books, lock them in a waterproof box and bury them in case of the zombie apocalypse or a nuclear war or if Fahrenheit 451 came to pass.

  5. Dawnstorm says:

    I buy lots of DVDs, but almost always stream the shows. I often don’t stream shows I own, so buying DVDs often means I don’t actually watch the shows. I mean, there are shows I’ve had for years, and still not seen (Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Planetes, Paranoia Agent, Pandora Hearts…). I just love a good boxed set, but I’m too lazy to actually unbox them put the disk in my PS3 (which is what I use to watch anime DVDs). I’ve seen around half of my Chobits disks (I’ve seen the entire thing online), and there are lots of boxed sets I bought after seeing the show (Haibane Renmei, Serial Experiment Lain, X – TV, Hataraku Maou Sama…).

    I’ve got a lot to watch should the internet disappear.

  6. Pinkie says:

    Dices and Plushies,
    As a DM i mostly roll on my laptop but I keep buying cute sets.
    Plushies is like my thing , I love to collect, I always imagine plushies crying if discarded so when someone is putting anything geeky or pink away I adopt, I know you cant collect plushies digitally, but like half of them are pokemon, who i can play with more digitally so i think it counts

    • Irina says:

      Oh now I want plushies…

    • foovay says:

      My DH keeps track of my plushies. I think he hopes it will make me realize that I’ve gone overboard. Last count was over 100. Many from garage sales and Goodwill stores because how could anyone let this adorable little plush be homeless… I’m glad I’m not alone.

  7. Karandi says:

    As much as I stream, I’m still very big on physical DVD’s (okay, I digitally back up the collection because the heat where I live has a nasty habit of killing them after a couple of years but I like having the cases and the discs and just being able to ‘see’ my collection). I also love physical books and still haven’t really gotten into reading ebooks as a common habit (saved for travel only). There’s something comforting about seeing all the books on the shelf, running your hand over the spines, and it makes choosing something to read easier than scrolling through a list of titles. At least I find it does.

    • Irina says:

      I’m still stuck on tbe fact that heat kills your dvds. My brain is sort of refusing to accept it. The funny part is that I grew up mostly in Africa but somehow it’s all surreal to me now

  8. Artemis says:

    Although I was never really one for merchandise, I used to buy tons of anime DVD sets, even of titles that I wouldn’t necessarily have ranked somewhere in my top 20 or wherever. Given that I’ve shifted countries half a dozen times in the same amount of years though, and that I’m now living in a place with very little storage space, I forced myself to sell most of those sets off, keeping only the ones that were of extreme sentimental value to me. I just no longer have the money or the space to keep up such an unpractical habit, especially when all the shows are right there in digital form whenever I care to watch them. Even so, it was a hard choice!

  9. Mari says:

    I definitely prefer having a physical copy when it comes to reading manga or just regular books. I feel like we spend so much time on our screens these days as it is, so having a break from that to just sit back and read is always nice 🙂

    I don’t do this anymore, but I used to collect CDs and vinyls. It got to the point where I had hundreds! Sadly I had to sell all of them a few years ago, and now I just listen to all my music on stream

  10. Pete Davison says:

    I am this way with 1) games and, more recently, like you, 2) manga. There’s just something my brain finds inherently pleasing about a well-organised shelf of stuff and it just so happens both games and manga have that magic combination of uniformity and distinctiveness that makes for very satisfying displays!

    I suspect this is at least partially the autism talking, but I’m happy with it.

  11. I always buy DVD/Blu Rays of the series I love, or at least enjoy a great deal. Maybe it’s just my natural paranoia, but I don’t trust streaming services. Like you said if the Internet goes down, or a service loses the license to stream something then I can’t get access to what I want and I quickly turn into a quivering wreck on the floor. I prefer to have a physical copy because that way no one can take it off of me (as long as the electricity doesn’t cut out or my TV blow up).

    As for Manga I always go out and buy a physical copy, but then I’m one of the weirdos who prefers actual books to e-books (cut to that scene from Psycho-Pass where Makishima explains why real books are better).

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