During the last few weeks, I watched a lot of Youtube videos of other people’s manga collections. I don’t really know why, because there isn’t much to be learned from this. Very few people have interesting collections, since it’s usually just the same popular titles that were released during the past five years, plus some “must-have” classics. I am really surprised by the amount of people who started collecting manga three months ago but are already at 500 volumes, which they appear to bulk-buy whether they like the series or not, in order to build a “complete” collection.
First of all, I can’t imagine that these people will be able to go on like this for years and years. One day, the bubble will burst, they’ll get tired of looking at all these books that don’t even interest them, they’ll run out of space and be forced to rethink their entire approach.
I think that completionist collections only make sense when there is a finite amount of things to be collected. A collection of all NES games makes more sense than one of all manga, even when you limit yourself to the titles released in one country/language. You wouldn’t set out to collect all novels, not even all novels in one genre or all novels from one publisher. Or all DVDs! All music CDs! Why do people do this with manga? There may be a mindset-related reason that I just don’t get, or even a cultural thing. Maybe it bled over from comics culture?
But there just isn’t that much space in my bookshelf, I couldn’t cram 1000 manga in there even if it was my heart’s desire! And it’s not: I don’t need to own every collector’s edition of Death Note, I don’t need to dutifully collect Bleach to the bitter end, I don’t keep buying a series I’ve lost interest in just so I can have the complete set (and never look at it?).
I want my collection to be personal, to reflect my interests. If want to be able to explain why any given title is granted precious space in my collection …
You know the kind of manga collectins that impress me? The ones that feature more obscure titles, the ones that have clearly been build and preserved over the course of many years and really say something about their owner. Anybody can just simply spend a shit ton of money buying books indiscriminately. This doesn’t impress me. What impresses me is when people demonstrate their good taste (which is, of course, subjective) and their familiarity with manga history, trends and so on.
*throws look at manga bookshelf* I’m obviously still really into shonen manga.