Pleasant Surpises: Britain’s Most Remote Comic Shop?

The Cave comic shop in Thurso, Caithness, Scotland

The British Isles is a vast geographic area, containing several countries and crown dependencies. There are plenty of towns and cities, but I don’t think there is any region more remote than the Scottish Highlands, which I had the pleasure of visiting in April.

My trip began in Inverness; the only city in the Highland council area. While there I made sure to have a look at the anime and manga for sale in mainstream shops like Waterstones, HMV and CeX. I have made it a habit to look out for bargains in every town and city I visit, after all it would be a shame to miss the chance to snap up a product on my wish list.

If the city I’m in has a Forbidden Planet store, that’s all the better. What kind of otaku can pass up a 3-for-2 offer on manga volumes? But still, these are all brands with abundant locations across the UK. I often prefer to browse small local comic shops and get to know the owners a bit.

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Tips For Aspiring Manga Collectors in the UK

An impressive manga collection; unfortunately not my own!

Thanks to publishers like Viz, Yen Press and Kodansha, most popular manga and light novels of the last few years have received official English releases that can be found in most major book stores in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and a plethora of other countries.

Despite this surge in availability, manga collecting remains an expensive hobby. Individual volumes can cost anywhere between £7 and £20, which adds up fast, especially if you’re collecting a popular series with dozens of volumes, such as Naruto or Bleach.

This can put some otaku off starting a physical manga collection, but I would like to offer some advice on how to fill your book shelves with your favourite series without burning too big of a hole in your wallet.

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Today’s Anime Blu-Ray Releases: Dagashi Kashi & More!

Dagashi Kashi poster featuring main character Hotaru

All The Anime / Anime Limited is releasing three popular anime series on DVD and Blu-Ray today, including everybody’s favourite sweet shop comedy Dagashi Kashi. The other series being released are Divine Gate and Haruchika.

All have been rated ’15’ by the British Board of Film Classification and come with a variety of bonus features including textless songs and trailers.

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Recent Pickups: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky (UK Blu-Ray)

The most common starting points that longtime Gundam fans recommend to newbies are the original Mobile Suit Gundam series from 1979, the resulting movie trilogy, or 2007’s spectacular hit Mobile Suit Gundam 00.

All of those are great, but if you’re not entirely sold on the franchise and want a quick taste of what it has to offer, you might prefer Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky, which is a film released in 2016 with a fairly short running length of 1 hour and 10 minutes.

The film does not require any prior knowledge of the Gundam franchise so new viewers should have very little difficulty following the story and understanding what’s going on.

I ordered the UK Blu-Ray release last week and received it today, and have been taking a look at the extras that Anime Limited / All The Anime have included.

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Recent Pickups: Belladonna of Sadness Collectors Edition (UK Blu-Ray)

This is a unique one, to say the least!

Between 1969 and 1973, a series of three adult anime films conceived by Osamu Tezuka (best known for Astro Boy) were released. These were known as the Animerama triology and consisted of 1001 Nights, Cleopatra and Belladonna of Sadness.

All three films are considered hentai, but I don’t think anyone watches them for arousement. In fact, the first two only received a ’15’ rating from the British Board of Film Classification and the pornographic scenes would be very difficult for most people to enjoy.

Belladonna of Sadness is the only one of the three Animerama films that Tezuka was not directly involved in, so we have director Eeichi Yamamoto to thank for this, and I have to say its the most extreme, weirdest and best of the lot.

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