Like most American manga fans, I was introduced to the medium through tankouban; and also like most of them, the only other way I can read manga is through scanslations. Reading manga this way, one usually goes unaware of the magazines that series come from. This leads to an interesting difference in the way that manga is consumed as a whole, and it’s a difference I’m becoming familiar with as I progress in manga fandom.
Western fans who don’t have the opportunity to read manga in it’s original publication tend to think of series individually. They’re most likely to discover manga through word of mouth or by random selection, and if they perform a concentrated search for manga, it’s likely to be a hunt by genre. It’s interesting to see people that don’t know about original publications state their interest in a certain demographic, because they’re usually misunderstanding that demographic (which ultimately has little to do with what appears in a manga. If you were to explain demographics to someone without giving them any examples, I’m sure they wouldn’t imagine that Champion Red was a shounen magazine while Manga Time Kirara Carat is seinen).
For the longest time, I’ve only looked at manga individually, and as such, it was much harder to find works that were relevant to my interests. However, as my pursuit of manga turned more to the internet and I started working to find series better suited to my taste, I began to notice a trend in the manga I like to come from the same publication.
It’s given me some food for thought. If I lived in Japan, I think my purchasing habits would be significantly different. Whereas in the past, I used to buy manga pretty randomly, constantly trying new series, and whereas now I concentrate on buying series that I’m already a fan of or that come from my favorite authors, I think if I lived in Japan, I’d focus more on buying magazine subscriptions. I’d definitely be subscribed to Champion Red, Dengeki Daioh, Jump SQ, Shounen Gangan, and more.
Lately, I’ve been working on strengthening my Japanese skills. It’d be nice if I really could subscribe to some of these magazines that have furigana and start reading right away—maybe one day.
On another note, I’ve joined a scanslation group! You may remember that last week, Riceballicious put out their first release in the form of Deus ex Machina chapter 12, which I blogged about. Soon afterward, they put out a recruitment notice, and I joined the group as a proofreader! It’s my first time working with one of these groups, so I’m greatly looking forward to how things will go. I’ve so far finished the first chapter of a new manga called Accel World, so look forward to it!