I’m writing again after a long time, so I though I would start out by writing a few abstract articles, you know, opinion pieces which don’t really require much research. I haven’t written much of anything for a long time, and these are a little easier to write so this might be a good method to get back into the groove.
Starting out with the quite literally the hardest opinion piece for me to write, I’ll write about my relationship with manga and how I tend to be as a person.
I’ve been reading manga since I was in the third grade, though I’d been watching japanese kidie shows like Doraemon, Shin-chan, Kiteretsu and Ninja Hattori for as long as I could remember, because for quite a long period of time(to a child), these were the only shows that broadcasted on the TV. Doraemon, in fact, was the reason I even got into manga in the first place.
In third grade, with a newly acquired Dell laptop and egregiously slow internet speeds, I decided to search for a term I’d heard Nobita beg to the eponymous Doraemon about, this elusive comic that he wanted to read instead of doing his math homework or something. That one internet search kind of changed my life, for the better if I might add.
The first result to pop up on old Google was the Dragon Ball manga’s page on mangareader.net, a fairly old aggregator site which exists along the likes of mangapanda and the old mangafox. Some of us might even remember the days of taad or tenmanga, which used to be the re-direct for the then ninemanga site. Those were fun times of exploration, much before official english translations were available for manga that are considered extremely popular today and searching for specific manga was quite difficult, one had to browse through huge catalogs of names to find the one you were looking for. This actually led to the first round of innovations in the era where search bars were just accessories on your browser, the top ten or top twenty manga of each category and/or alphabet available right on the front page. This was soon rendered obsolete for the advent of decent search bars and recommendation blogs for anime delivered and unrecoverable blow to such site formats, such that only the absolute popularity rankings tend to be available for the entire site.
This was also the time before manhwa, manhua, light novels, chinese novels, etc didn’t exist in great proportions as they do now, on the internet. This was the time when the most popular manhwa was Creepescule and the only major light novel translators were Baka-Tsuki. Most of the scanlation groups from those times have also practically ceased to exist. Some examples I can think of the top of my head are Midnight Scans, who had their last update 7 years ago and were mostly active through 2009-13. Another is SZJ Scans, the people who originally picked up Black Butler way back in 2009 and started scanlating another very good supernatural series, Ruler of Nabari or Nabari no Ou, which was finished by a group called Twinscans and an individual named Izanagi.
Basically, most major manga like One Piece and Dragon Ball were started off by groups which no longer exist. In fact, groups came and went like the wind. I still consider the completed translation on Dragon Ball on mangareader as incomplete because half of the Frieza saga was done by a group which kind of messed it up a lot, re-drawing wise and translation-wise.
The thing is, with the standardization of manga publishing labels like Kodansha English and Square Enix Comics, etc, only the stable and large groups now remain, so you’ll see most popular manga are translated by names like LH Translations and Kirei Cake and even a lot of niche manga of the 4-koma format, or single column format and more casual and lighthearted manga are quickly being gobbled up groups like Eidetic Memoscans. This has both advantages and disadvantages, but my dear readers, since we have already reached quite far in terms of length(I did not intend on writing this much), I will be leaving you with a brief background into the old ways of otaku.
This type of time-period which I describe might seem to be very long ago, a lot of people do think I am much older than I actually am, so me being in third grade might seem like a long time ago, but I am not that old. I’m actually only 18 as of this year and this time I describe was a mere 8 to 10 years ago.
With this information, I bid farewell to you my dear readers, and invite you to savor the thought of the next post in this series, which will probably span three to four parts, where I will talk about the dynamics of the old manga landscape, the modern manga landscape and we will see how long that ends up being.
Farewell again my dear readers, we shall be meeting again soon enough.
P.S. I’ve kind of forgotten how to use all the wordpress thingamajigs(how the fuck does word this not elicit a red line from the editorial overlords), so excuse me for temporary confusion with tags and categories and stuff.