The State of Anime, Manga and Associated Merchandise in 2018 (9th Day of Anime 2018)

I.e. …an opportunity to experiment with how the new editor handles images by updating you on my merch collection. (This time with proper pics, so everyone and Shoka, get excited!)

I mentioned I got a volunteer gig in October. While that can be draining and I’d like to complain a lot more about how I don’t get paid for my effort, it just so happens there’s a shopping centre in the vicinity of where I volunteer. One with enough anime and manga merch to keep me salivating for a good long while…

Disclaimer: Since I’ve only been building on my collection for about 5 years, my idea of “lots of merch to salivate over” may be exaggerated…

That said, anime and manga are niche products, so it’s interesting to observe exactly how much related paraphernalia you can purchase at a given time and whether it gets discounted, because this speaks about the nature of the mediums in question as globally popular material.

I don’t have any concrete numbers because I don’t have access to them and I didn’t bother keeping any, but I noticed Your Name, Tokyo Godfathers and Black Clover had discounted discs at the shopping centre’s anime retailer. The former isn’t surprising given its breakout hit status, but the second is a release from a licensor that was unheard of outside that one release (although it’s close to Christmas as I observe it, so the discount makes sense) and the last one I thought was a pretty big bomb from how Asta’s screaming was taken when it debuted…

Then again, the store also ran discounts of anime that had been on TV in my country – Yu Gi Oh and Pokemon…basically big, proven hits with lots of discs.

The bookstore that doubled as a manga retailer mostly stocked releases from Viz Media, which makes sense given they’re the largest licensor with the largest pool of series to pick from. They even had (plastic-wrapped) yaoi from the SuBLime imprint, which I used to think was a lot more niche than even shoujo manga, but I’ve noted it in most of the manga-stocking bookstores I’ve checked out. There were also some big Kodansha releases, namely Noragami and Sailor Moon, but nothing from Seven Seas, Dark Horse or J Novel Club, the former two of which I’m certain have releases being sold in my country, because I’ve seen them in a specialty store. I also didn’t notice any print light novels.

Notably, both stores were able to keep up with hot releases from Viz Media (Pokemon Sun and Moon anime) and Kodansha USA (Sailor Moon Eternal Edition) before or at the same time as they arrived in my inbox or when browsing Anime News Network‘s manga guide, which shows how interconnected English-speaking countries can be on that front. Or again, that may be my inexperience with my country’s anime and manga scene talking.

The most interesting of these observations was, however, the Uniqlo Shonen Jump collab shirts. As a fairly new fashion retailer in the English-speaking world, I can speak even less about it, but strangely, I found this the biggest talking point between me and a fellow volunteer, who’d gone to purchase a One Piece shirt from there at one point. I bring this up because it gave me a low degree of peer pressure…and eventually I did cave for a Boku no Hero Academia shirt, because that’s the only series I care enough about to drop money for.

jump-ut-frame
Basically, the author of The Making of Jump UT! (guy with glasses) shares my feelings on the shirts. (Source: The Making of Jump UT! chapter 1)

On a less personal front, there was only one stack of Hunter x Hunter shirts, but two of BnHA (with one being both the blue BnHA shirt I got and another dark blue shirt, which  was from One Piece). To be honest, most were either Dragon Ball or One Piece, which makes sense considering their “cultural monolith” status. On the discounts side…it seems the rumours of Uniqlo being “fashionable but affordable” I’d heard from it, after it was discussed in Hataraku Maou-sama!, were true…when I went to purchase said shirt, I wasn’t expecting it to be cheap, but Googling proved the brick-and-mortar store price was exactly the same as the online price.

Outside of those experiences, any manga, anime or even light novel you’re looking forward to that gets licensed can be easily found in whatever format you want it (physical/digital) most of the time and those that translate and license stuff pay a lot more attention than they used to do. Basically speaking, anime and manga, plus its related merchandise is much easier to purchase and find than it used to be 5 years ago and this makes it easier than ever to support the industry. Maybe in the future, we’ll be seeing its availability increase even more…


Anyways, I know you’re only here for the merch pics, since what I was discussing was highly situation dependent, subjective and glossed over, due to fluctuation of currency and whatnot…

The black spots are to hide things that would give away my location…or in the case of that Case Closed volume, the fact I purchased it secondhand from a certain library… Most of the details on these items are in the previous post on my merch collection.
Only after I finished taking pictures of my collection did I realise I’d forgotten this how to draw manga book (which is in the pictures in the previous post)…
I don’t think I’ve taken any photos of the Detective Conan clear file for any collection posts… until now.
(Remind me never to become a professional photographer…the quality of these photos is terrible, not to mention the lighting is completely different between pictures.)
The aforementioned Boku no Hero Academia Uniqlo shirt! I don’t really like how prominent Mineta is on it, but it’ll have to do…
Someone was trying to chuck out a stack of books, so I managed to salvage this volume 14 of Black Jack from that terrible fate. It’s a bit of an oddball in comparison to the rest of my collection, though, due to my overt preference for newer series.
Update: The day this post went out, I went to a different branch of the same library and bought some more books…hence the huge black patches.

That’s all I’ve got for this post. Do you like the fact anime and manga are niche mediums, or would you be glad to see them get more exposure? Otherwise, do you have any particular questions about my merch? (As long as the questions aren’t too personal, I should be able to answer them.)

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