krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
"This actually ends" is a comment I remember being made about manga, pointing to thoughts of superhero comics running for decades as their copyright holders hand them from one creative team to another. It may also apply to anime series and the old-fashioned type of unceremoniously cancelled TV shows. Just as there's been a rise in "plot arcs" on this side of the Pacific, though, I've also come to notice criticism about "you'll just have to go to the original source material now" last episodes, undemanding manga series that run on and on so long as they're selling, and dark mutterings about other series that go in creepy, awkward directions to definitely outstay their welcome. In the case of anime I suppose I just shrug that first point off, but when it comes to manga I've called arbitrary halts in some cases and avoided some other lengthy series altogether. On reading my way through the fortieth volume of one particular series, though, I happened to think back to how struck I'd been by the thought of reading through its thirtieth volume, and then back a bit further than that...

There was a time when it seemed I was still reading manga mostly because of the efforts of Del Rey Manga. They had been caught only preparing to engage in the dark sin of retouching some panels in one of their first releases to make them suitable for North American bookstore shelves, and enough of a scandal was kicked up that their representatives had promised not to do that at all. (Their covers, on the other hand, enjoyed no such promise.) Having stopped buying from most of the other manga publishers over here due to similar scandals overheard (the company CMX in particular seemed to have been dogged to the last of its days when their retouching was spotted only with the printing of its first releases), except for a case or two where a company just didn't seem to be publishing much of anything that interested me at all any more, I suppose that in some cases I was conscious I was buying some series from Del Rey not because they specifically interested me or they'd been specifically praised, but just because they were analogous to specific titles or representative of whole genres I wasn't buying from other publishers.

The manga Fairy Tail, about a collection of magic users making their boisterous way through a fantastic world, seemed an example of the "long-running action manga," and I can't remember any complicated motives in starting to buy it. I kept buying it volume after volume, though. When the Japanese publisher Kodansha who supplied Del Rey with its manga decided to take over the publishing here more directly and apply its own branding and a good number of underperforming Del Rey titles I'd been buying just stopped appearing, I kept buying it, one "plot arc" succeeding another. It may be important that there seems no "when this is resolved, the story's over" goal built into the story; I suppose even I'd be conscious by thirty or forty volumes or so that things were being held off. The uncomplicated "determination matters!" exuberance of the characters seems something I can accept, but so does the doses of cheesecake, uncomplicated in its own way. (There's enough to some of the male character designs that I suppose I can also think the manga's keeping up "plausible deniability" about not being completely gender-imbalanced, anyway.)

How much further the manga is going to go is a question, as much as I know there are some series that have put the forty-volume mark far behind them. At the moment, I'm keeping on with things as they are.

Date: 2014-08-13 01:49 pm (UTC)
lovelyangel: (Kyoko Distraught)
From: [personal profile] lovelyangel
I’ve never wanted to get involved in a long-running manga... and I’m thankful I never got into Naruto or Bleach. Yet somehow I found myself early on accumulating the volumes of Skip Beat! And unlike many shōjo manga, the series has kept going and going. I have 32 volumes now with no sign of an end. I like the manga a lot, but some number of volumes ago I calculated how much money I’d spent on Skip Beat! and was sort of shocked. This was a pretty expensive trap to fall into. I don’t think I have any choice but to keep going. I just hope the manga ultimately ends up well, as there are a few manga which lead you disappointingly to a WTF?!? ending. (I’m looking at you, Kare Kano... and Usagi Drop... and maybe Kashimashi...)

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