Manga I’ve Given Up On

John Jakala writes up manga series that have stopped appealing to him. Like him, I also gave up on Yakitate!! Japan after book four, although he’s completely wrong about Hikaru no Go. And I’m sorry to hear about Death Note — I have most of the volumes but haven’t started them yet.

It’s a good question. Reading superhero comics out of habit at $3 a month is bad enough; buying manga series beyond the point you’re enjoying them at $10 a book is more of a pinch. And at this point, with so many good stories out there I’m having a hard time keeping up with, I’m looking for reasons to stop buying instead of starting.

It’s rare for me to keeping enjoying a title beyond about 12 volumes. (Sensual Phrase was a happy exception, at 18 books, and I’m still loving Tramps Like Us, which has just crossed the dozen mark.) I was beginning to find Aishiteruze Baby repetitive when it wrapped up at book seven. Five or six books is ideal for me, or even the Tokyopop OEL formula of two or three and leave them wanting more.

I’m only keeping up with Sgt. Frog at this point because it would be too much trouble to rewrite my series page. I feel similarly about Hana-Kimi, although I’m enjoying it more than Frog. I would have liked to have seen Fruits Basket end before now… although I suspect that if I had the time to read more volumes in a row, I might remember more of the details.

Strangely, I still like Case Closed, although I’ve stopped reviewing it. (Maybe that helps.) It’s got a good amount of variety in story lengths and approaches, which I appreciate. And I’d love to see more Kindaichi Case Files translated.


  1. Death Note was one of those I sort of gave up on, though luckily I had someone at work who was buying it so I could still read them. The movies (2 of them) was surprisingly enjoyable and had a much more satisfying ending than the books.

    I can’t believe he doesn’t like Hikaru No Go though, as that book is just such fun for me for some reason. Oddly I’ve also though Monster has only gotten better as its gone on. But then I am a Fugitive fan…

    I dropped Sensual Phrase though as I thought it was repeating itself too much. I ‘ve also dropped Case Closed, not out of dislike it just seemed like I blinked and I was suddenly 5 volumes behind.

    Oh and Ruroni Kenshin of course! I thought this series was fun adventure when it started, yet I don’t know it just seemed to take itself more and more seriously and I lost interest.

  2. I’m completely wrong about Hikaru no Go? You mean it doesn’t have “great art, solid plotting, [and] likable characters (who undergo actual development)”? ;-)

  3. […] Johanna Draper Carlson discusses some of the manga that she’s abandoned midway through the run. […]

  4. Oh, poo, John, you know I meant the part about how it wasn’t gripping and seemed to lack something.

    James, great reminder about Ruroni Kenshin. I had the same experience, conveniently when they were about to start a new long arc.

  5. I know, I was just giving you a hard time. (And I thought you were making a reference to my calling David WRONG for not liking Sgt. Frog, which was a nice touch.)

  6. […] hops on the Jump the Shark Express and lists the manga series she has stopped reading. As this is clearly the conversation of the week, […]

  7. […] Johanna offers her thoughts on the matter. […]

  8. Reading superhero comics out of habit at $3 a month is bad enough; buying manga series beyond the point you’re enjoying them at $10 a book is more of a pinch.

    I’d say there’s a slightly different dynamic at work, though. Since most manga series have an end to look forward to, Sticking with a series can be due to an “in for a penny, in for a pound” attitude, instead of the general completionist attitude found with superheroe comics.

  9. True, true… and it’s easier (and more cost-effective, postage-wise) to swap manga when you’re done than it is to swap superhero comics.

  10. Good point about the swapping. I’ve given away lots of manga series that I sampled one or two volumes of but had no desire to continue or keep, and I’m due for another round of bookshelf cleaning.

    I wonder if the lack of collectibilty with manga makes it easier for fans to part with unwanted books? Even though I’m not buying floppy comics anymore, I still hold onto my old comics with the thought that one day I’ll get around to selling them off on eBay again.

  11. I’ve got a dedicated small bookcase for manga, and when it fills, I have to store or dispose of a series to make room for new volumes I’m enjoying. It’s a nice check on “do I plan to reread this in the future?”

    Old comics I have no luck with. I don’t trust ebay at all these days, no one in town wants them, so I wind up donating them, which is probably my self-delusive substitution for “recycling”.

  12. Maybe I should just donate the bulk of my collection. Over at POWER in Comics, Tamora Pierce mentioned a couple worthwhile charities that accept old comics, so maybe I should look for local organizations I could give mine to. Where do you donate yours?

    And why don’t you trust eBay these days? Not much bidding, or deals gone sour?

  13. I had no idea there were places to *trade* manga! There are lots of series’ out there that I would like to read, but not necessarily own. I’ll have to check that out, thanks!

    I think it’s more than a lack of collectability. Manga look and are treated as paperback books. And the average person doesn’t collect paperbacks. They are meant to be read and traded/given away. It’s been pounded into our heads culturally that comics are collectables, and should be treated as such. I think that’s probably also one of the (many) reasons that manga is doing much better than comics.

    Just my thoughts on it..

  14. I was using Goodwill, John, but now we have a dedicated comic collection in town, I’m thinking they’d appreciate them more.

    ebay I hear such horror stories about, and the cost of the fees makes it not worth the risk to me.

    Lori, the more the merrier! And good point about the look affecting people’s attitudes.

  15. […] discussion in the Manga I’ve Given Up On post, combined with David Welsh’s comments, reminded me of several more titles. These […]

  16. […] pay more attention to descriptions and reviews. I became more selective, and I gave up on several long-running series because their volume count exceeded my […]

  17. I do think that a big problem with long-running manga series is repetitiveness. After 12 volumes of Ranma 1/2, I dropped it because Ryoga was always saying in every chapter, “Prepare to die, Ranma!” The Inuyasha anime and movies were kind of dry, too.

    I think people should be smart and invest in 2-10 volume series where they can fall in love with the characters, but also not have to spend too much money.

    In this day and age of manga, one-shots can be forgotten the minute they’re finished, but 30+ volume series can get unimaginative into later developments.

    Say you bought all the volumes of Naruto (about 30, now). That’s $240.00 whether you spent it all at once or over a long period of time. You could get a Nintendo DS and some games for that price or even invest into your college fund.

  18. Anybody read Cain Saga and GodChild the sequel? If not, I highly recommend it. The mangaka, Kaori Yuki, is one of my favorite. Her mangas are very gothic and intriguing.

  19. […] released in the U.S. from 2004-2009. I read and reviewed much of it about five years ago, but I quit at book 17, because the series was just running too long for me. I did review the fanbook, Fruits Basket […]

  20. […] walk through the series brought back a lot of memories from when I read it — and then gave it up back in 2007. I wish I’d had his notes then; I might have stayed with it longer. For example, […]

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