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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Top 5 Manga Box Sets You Can Still Buy in the UK

Top Manga Box Sets
Pictured: Claymore box set

Introduction

Collecting manga can be an expensive hobby – each volume tends to cost around £7, and for long series such as Claymore and Rosario + Vampire, this can add up very quickly. That’s where box sets come in handy! At first glance they can seem like a massive investment, but if you’re planning to collect an entire series anyway, the cost should be well worth it in the long run.

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Getting Into Gundam, for Beginners

Getting into Gundam

Gundam is one of the most iconic anime franchises, and I think every otaku should watch at least one Gundam series – but there are so many and it can be difficult to know where to start. You might be wondering whether they’re all connected, or whether they hold up as standalone entries, but fear not – all will be explained in this post.

While some Gundam series are connected to each other, there are several different timelines and most of them hold up as standalone watches. Don’t worry, there’s no need to watch all 900+ episodes that have aired since the 1970’s!

That said, the original Mobile Suit Gundam series from 1979 isn’t a bad place to start. Its 43 episodes long, the budget was clearly low and the pacing can be a little slow, but you’ll learn the basics and get to see what Gundam is all about. If you don’t want to commit to watching too many episodes, there are three movies that cut out all the filler.

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Humble Manga Bundle: Fantasy Edition

Preview of Land of the Lustrous

I’ve been reading a lot of manga as of late, and I was really chuffed to see Humble Bundle partner with Kodansha Comics to release a package full of fabulous fantasy manga at the end of January. I was quick to purchase the bundle myself, and after digging into some of the stories I cannot recommend it highly enough!

The full bundle is available for $20 and its in support of 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.

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