***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.
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!
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.
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.
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.