From the moment I started watching the first episode of Phantom Blood, I fell in love with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. The characters were well-written, the Victorian England setting was relatable and the interactions between Jonathan and Dio really fueled my emotions.
I marathoned all nine episodes in a day, and finished Battle Tendency that same weekend. I’ve seen plenty of shounen anime, but none touched me as much as JoJo. The idea of an adventure across real world locations resonates with me as a regular traveller, and the show’s quirkiness fits my sense of humour to a T.
A few months later, the manga volumes started releasing in the UK and I made sure to pick them up. They did not disappoint – we really are incredibly lucky to have beautiful hardback editions of such an iconic series.
After becoming so invested in the series and adoring the first four parts, I was somewhat apprehensive about the fifth: Golden Wind. After all, it was so different to the previous parts in terms of art style, characters and setting.
We’re now two weeks into the Summer 2019 anime season, and I have seen enough to say it has one of the best lineups of the last few years. We have a few long anticipated manga adaptations as well as some original series from a large variety of genres, and I’m watching nine currently airing shows.
Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest
The elephant in the room that I should address first is Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. This is an isekai light novel adaptation and is probably the biggest disappointment of the season. The source material has a cult following, so I was rather excited to see how the anime would play out, but I’m afraid the first episode was a bizarre, poorly directed, confusing mess.
Arifureta‘s anime adaptation begins in the other world, unlike the manga and light novel, and the show utterly fails to explain how the protagonist ended up in his situation. The show constantly uses flashbacks in poor attempts to explain what’s happening, and the CGI animation actually made me laugh out loud.
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.
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.
Every so often, Humble Bundle releases collections of manga that can be purchased at a price you choose. This month they have released the ‘Manga 2 Anime’ bundle, which mostly features manga series that have been made into anime already.
The full bundle costs $20 USD and is in support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Comic Book Legal Defense fund, which is an American non-profit organisation taking a stand against censorship and protecting the freedom to read comics across the world.