Sporadic Sequential
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Repeat Offenders

I was cleaning my office over the weekend, trying once again to organize my mess of a comic collection. I definitely need new bookcases to arrange all of my graphic novels, but for now I shoved most of my manga into old diaper boxes just to clear out some of the clutter. I filled five "long boxes" with manga I didn't think I was likely to reread any time soon and then reorganized the "keeper" manga on my bookshelf. Sifting through my collection like this made me reflect once again on the "re-readability" of various series. Here are several of the manga series I keep coming back to with some comments on what gives each series such ongoing appeal.

Bleach - At twenty-four volumes and counting, this series takes up about half of a full shelf, but I still like to have it on hand to refer back to. After all, who knows when some new revelation will cause me to re-evaluate old events? Also, despite the ridiculous length of the Soul Society saga, it's still easy enough to pick up a random volume and get completely caught up in the energy and intensity of the epic battles. So any time I need a testosterone boost, I can crack open a volume and witness whatever previously unattainable level of prowess Ichigo happened to master in that volume.

Akira - Actually, I keep this one carefully locked up because if I get within two feet of the series I'm liable to sit down and re-read the whole thing from cover to cover and then go back and pore over the insanely detailed scenes of destruction and devastation. I simply cannot resist Akira. And if Kodansha ever releases an unflipped version of Akira, I'll probably have to quit my job so I can spend all my time examining how the original orientation changes everything.

Love Roma - This is another dangerous one. If I try to skim any section of the series, I'll probably end up re-reading the entire thing from the beginning. I get so caught up in Negishi and Hoshino's relationship that I want to follow it all over again from the very start.

Sgt. Frog - Due to the episodic nature of the series, this is an easy one to just dive into without getting too caught up in it. I can grab almost any volume and find a chapter or two to amuse myself momentarily. (What's harder is when I'm searching for a specific story and can't remember which volume it's in.)

Club 9 - One of my all-time favorite series, this is a manga I appreciate on many levels: I love Makoto Kobayashi's artwork, particularly his caricaturized characters, so I can flip through the book just to admire his illustrations. But then I get caught up in the cast, the humor, and the storyline and before I know it I'm reading the whole incomplete series. Which leads me to the final stage of Club 9 withdrawal: composing fanfic conclusions for the series in order to come to some sort of closure.

Museum of Terror & Uzumaki - Whenever I need a good creep-out, I pull these off the shelf and open to any random page. (I also keep Gyo on the shelf just to keep all the Ito together but I hardly ever re-read it since it's more comedic than creepy in my eyes.)

So what series score high on your re-readability index? What books would you never regulate to the indignity of a old diaper box?

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