As an anime and manga fan, I miss 2005. The American anime industry wasn’t in the dire situation it’s in today, some of my favorite anime series were being released on DVD here, and I felt like I had many great titles to look forward to. Most of all, I miss looking forward to reading the latest issue of my favorite anime and manga magazines. Every month, I couldn’t wait for Newtype USA, Animerica and Anime Insider to be released (all of which have ended). But of all of the now-defunct anime and manga magazines, I miss Shojo Beat the most. Shojo Beat got me into so many great titles I never would have given a chance. Of the manga that were serialized in the magazine, I continued reading Sand Chronicles, Nana and Honey & Clover even after the publication’s end in 2009, and it’s hard for me not to wonder what series I would currently be absorbed in had the magazine continued its run.
Shojo Beat allowed me to expand my horizons and read series I would have never given a second thought. When I first saw that the magazine was running Honey & Clover, I scoffed. I knew the series was popular but didn’t know much about its plot, and was turned off by its art (which is rare for me), so I dismissed it. Yet after reading a few chapters in Shojo Beat, I found the series to be fun and hilarious, and I had a drastic change of heart towards the series. Several of my favorite manga were series I was introduced to through Shojo Beat’s previews, such as Love*Com and We Were There. I even miss the ads the magazine ran for non-Viz series. I first learned about Itazura na Kiss from an ad DMP ran in the very last issue of Shojo Beat. The art intrigued me; I could tell it was a classic series, and when I sought out further details of the series plot and realized that its premise is similar to Marmalade Boy, I was sold.
But I think the biggest problem I’ve encountered since Shojo Beat finished is that I’ve been pretty clueless about the latest shojo Viz is releasing. Most of the Viz series I’m currently collecting started in 2009 or before: Skip Beat, Kimi ni Todoke, Black Bird. I found myself making a list, cataloguing the shojo releases from the past two years with a brief summary because I kept forgetting what new titles that are out there. I got into Dengeki Daisy because I’ve read so many great reviews of it and had to see what the fuss was about, but aside from that series, most of the recently-released Viz shojo manga I thought had interesting premises received negative reviews. Shojo Beat allowed me an easy and legal way to check out the latest series and decide for myself whether they were any good, rather than relying on other people’s impressions. But even more simply, it was great having that feeling of excitement: not only because I anticipated what would happen in the next issue, but I also just loved going to the store and getting the latest issue in my hands. And I miss that.