Without realising it myself, I’ve always been a bookworm. I love games and anime a great deal, but if I step back and look at my hobbies it’s safe to say that the majority of my time is spent reading. I read a lot of on-going manga series, 102 at the current count, and I sometimes get into a rut and wonder to myself why I do this. Why I follow so many; what I’m looking for; what I’m searching for. The answer came to me today unexpectedly.
Being a reviewer for Anime UK News, I take a chance on manga a lot more than I did when I was younger. I’m not very picky and my tastes are fairly broad, so this approach usually works out well. I’ve come across some really fantastic manga series by doing this, like Wotakoi and Complex Age, but they’re not all winners – they just can’t be. Over the weekend I had a couple of new series to review for Anime UK News and neither of them sparked my passion much at all. It was unfortunate, but not wholly unusual.
Shortly afterwards I started reading Black Torch, a series which had recently appeared on Weekly Shonen Jump’s app. It didn’t sound all that special and I picked it up on a whim knowing it was (a finished in Japan and (b short. However, while reading it I had a moment where I thought ‘wow, this is so cool’ – or my accurately my brain thought “すごい” (sugoi). Despite the fact the story is fairly average and the main character is an idiot (albeit a somewhat loveable one), what really struck me was the artwork. It was just so cool. So detailed and vivid. The kind of thing that left me with boundless enthusiasm and a smile on my face like 13 year old me first discovering the world of Naruto and manga on a whole.
Because of this I finally realised why I read so much manga and why I forever will; why I love this medium so much and where my boundless enthusiasm for it comes from – even during the ruts of mundane series. I’m just chasing after those moments of pleasure, the moments that reduce me to nothing but pure passion – that captivate and stir my imagination in a way nothing else can. Without realising it, I have developed an incredible commitment to manga and finding these unexpected periods of wonder.
In these moments it doesn’t matter if a series is good or bad. It doesn’t matter if it captures me once and then falls off a cliff. Whatever happens, for those brief periods, I am incredibly grateful that these stories exist for me to lose myself in.
As a reviewer my writing is made better by being able to experience these feelings and I hope I never get to a point where this stops. It has been over a decade so far and it hasn’t let up, so I’m sure it won’t.
People say I’m crazy to follow so many series but I feel like today, finally, I can put into words why I do. So this is one manga fan just having finally worked out why this world is so important to her, leaving something for me to look back on in the future.