Expanding my horizons

Expanding my horizons

Looking back at the anime I watched and manga I read in 2011, one thing becomes apparent to me: I need to expand my horizons. I love romantic-comedy and slice-of-life shojo, but I rarely bother with other types of shojo anime and manga. The only magical girl anime I’ve watched have been Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura and Prétear, and this year I added Magic Knight Rayearth to the list. I’m fine with all-out fantasy series such as Fushigi Yugi and The Story of Saiunkoku, but for some reason I tend to get turned off when a series that is in a realistic setting or has a ‘slice-of-life’ tone has unrealistic or supernatural elements. This has definitely caused me to miss out on series that are highly acclaimed: Shugo Chara! has always intrigued me – I love the art, especially the character design of Amu, the protagonist. I’ve read several positive reviews of the manga, but the whole thing about eggs that hatch into guardian characters has pushed me away from this sweet story of tweendom. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Please Save My Earth manga but its sci-fi premise scared me off despite its intriguing tale of reincarnated lovers. And anime-wise, I’ve always been curious about Gakuen Alice, which has been compared to my favorite series Kodocha because both series are zany and have elementary-school aged protagonists. But the fact that the story is set in Alice Academy, a school for students who have magical powers, makes me wary of giving Gakuen Alice a chance.

Shugo Chara! volume one

But it’s not just mystical undertones that have influenced my decisions not to get into certain series – there have been several series I thought had really interesting premises yet didn’t get into because they were Korean. The main title that comes to mind is Goong, a story in which monarchy is in charge of present-day Korea, and the prince is forced into an arranged marriage. I really like stories about political marriages, and it seems like Goong is the cream of the crop, but the simple fact that it is a Korean manhwa has kept me from reading it. I think it may be because I’m unsure of how different manhwa are (or aren’t) from manga that I haven’t tried any out yet. Or it could be that I’m afraid of opening a can of worms by discovering how many Korean titles I’d love to read and further adding to my wallet’s misery. I think my reluctance to try new genres is because I don’t like dropping series: I dread having to debate whether I should or shouldn’t continue an anime or a manga once I’ve found myself lukewarm to it, and I hate having incomplete series on my shelf. But in limiting myself, I’m sure I’m missing out on great series that I would really enjoy. So for 2012, I would like to start looking beyond my preconceived notions and step out of my comfort zone to try different types of anime and manga – especially within the realm of shojo.

8 thoughts on “Expanding my horizons

  1. Nice New Year’s resolution! I feel the same way. I want to expand my manga reading palette a bit more too. I also wanted to get into some regular comic books too as well as manhwa, but like you I don’t have enough funds to do so. And having more things you like to read is bad when you are financially limited.

  2. It took me awhile to finish Rayearth because I found it kinda slow. It’s not bad; it’s just formulaic until a twist happens at the end of the first season. And then the second season is very dramatic, but I think the anime adaptation left out certain plot points from the second season that were important in the manga. It’s definitely not my favorite anime (even from CLAMP), but I think it has some interesting characters.

  3. I definitely recommend trying Please Save My Earth (if you can find the volumes as there are a few that are out of print -I still can’t find a decently priced third hand copy of volume 13 ;___;- or just read it online – not your fault if you can’t buy the volumes I say). I will say it starts out rather slow but it’s a real treat because of how believable most of the characterizations are and the story gets really interesting too. Although honestly I think it’s less about reincarnated lovers (although they do play a part) and more about accepting the past and moving on with your life.

    Gakuen Alice is another good one. I haven’t read a lot of it, but I did like what I read. It reminds me of CCS (but it’s not a carbon copy in any way).

    But I hear you, I’ve got too many manga I want to buy and I don’t have that much money to spend so I know some of these will probably never get bought or finished, which makes me sad. I’m sort of trying to limit buying shounen series now because they tend to be very long. ;___;

    1. Yes, it’s such a pain when you can’t finish a series even if you want to! Alongside some of the sci-fi elements, I’m also afraid to get into Please Save My Earth because so many volumes are out-of-print. Searching for cheap volumes of older series can be a real pain, and I eventually want to get into Basara, another series that is very acclaimed but also ridiculously out of print. And while I think I’d be most interested in Gakuen Alice out of all of these titles, unfortunately since TOKYOPOP went out of business, the chances of the manga being fully released are pretty slim. It makes me regret not getting into certain series years ago.

      1. Basara. Oh that’s my all time favourite manga and I love everything I’ve read by Yumi Tamura. The lady is a genius (too bad she’s so under appreciated outside of Japan. I’d love to get physical copies of 7SEEDS in English). But yes, the volumes are out of print. I got lucky and picked them all up before they got rare. I do know an online friend of mine struggled finding 19 (just how I am struggling to find a copy of 13 that doesn’t cost 50+ USD)

        Yeah, I hate when a publication stops without finishing, although the current volumes are getting pretty rare too for Gakuen Alice. I’m still hoping someone rescues it like with a few of tokyopop’s CLAMP works. But it’s definitely starting to look like a hopeless case. 😦

  4. I love Shugo Chara!, but my public library doesn’t have volume 9. :’D…it went, Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume, 4…and so on, until Volume 8, after that it skipped from 8 straight to 10, so I’ve stopped reading it in form a protest. Anyways, I’m on team Amuto (Ikuto plus Amu) and maybe she would look good with Kukai…

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