The wonderful world of anime and manga, is that beyond the initial medium of choice, there usually also exists the other. So for the collecting types, you then have your pick of DVD’s and Blu-Rays, in additional to manga to fill your shelves. Like any good hobby with even the slightest following; those franchises sure do bank on making collectibles of any and all types. And anime and manga fans respond really well to that, since I’ve noticed a lot of us are also collectors at heart.
So the collection expands. Maybe you’re someone you’re the type that it’s all gotta be on the wall; posters, wall scrolls, proplicas, shadow boxes with animation cells. Maybe you’re all about the kitchy things, gachapon figures, can bages, buttons, and all the other knick-knacks that you can amass through blind bag and gachapon machines. We’re not even getting into the religious figure collectors, animation cell types, and the ‘I must have EVERYTHING regarding this series’ types of collectors.
So in this little listicle of mine I want to highlight some of my favorite items to buy and collect in the vast sea of merchandisable items.
I’ve talked about my largely off-line hobby of collecting washi tapes to decorate my journal and things. You can absolutely bet, that as time has passed I’ve accumulated a few with my favorite anime characters. Small enough that it’s relatively easy for me to store them. Pretty cheap on a per roll basis (usually around 300yen or less, mostly because it’s got that TM on there), and overlaps with another hobby of mine: I’m suckered, and sold.
Low-Key Anime T-Shirts
I say this to get specific, not to hate. If you want to wear a neon-orange shirt with Naruto eating ramen on it, absolutely go for it. There’s nothing wrong with having a shirt that just has an anime character on it, or a logo that just screams ‘I like this anime!!’.
Living in Japan however, I’ve noticed it’s not ‘cool’ to like anime like that. Otaku isn’t the buddy-buddy inside joke that the Western fanbase has given it over the years. There’s still a fair amount of stigma given to those who wear the more bright and ‘obvious’ anime t-shirts, walking around that typically get a fair bit of judgement. Nothing verbal, but usually that one particular stare and whisper or giggle between passersby.
Personally, I’ve never been one to really wear a lot of those brighter shirts and patterns. Hence why I’ve always gravitated towards the more neutral colors and less obvious designs I’ve featured above. At first glance most people don’t even notice it’s an anime shirt until I tell them.
As an aside: I’ve actually worn my Ghost in the Shell shirt to work. My students got a unique reading practice out of it. I then got to tell them it’s one of my favorite quotes from an anime, and we all had a good time.
I am a sticker hoe. One of life’s greatest pleasures, is using adult money to buy anything my inner child impulsively wants. I do my best to not buy an insane amount of stickers at any given time (I’ll take my serotonin where I can get it), but when I do you betcha I will go ham for stickers. Especially if they’re an anime character I really like.
Those Tezuka character stickers pictured? I bought all three on shelf packs because I think they’re THAT cute. And I like Tezuka’s charactes THAT much.
I’ve rambled about artbooks before. Mostly due to the fact, I felt the need to defend that particular purchase in my head for some reason. Artbooks are just that, books of art usually done by a particular artist or in collaboration of a particular art style, that don’t serve much of a higher purpose. You flip through the pages, go ohh-ahh at the illustrations and behind the scenes of a production, and usually they end up on a shelf that you pull them off of every once in awhile. So realistically, for a frugal fuck like me, it can be hard to justify them. I can’t wear them like a shirt, or use them like washi tape or stickers.
But I can’t help but keep collecting them, at least second hand.
There’s some part of me, it might be my former aspirating artist, might be my current state of art appreciator, most likely my inner magpie that compels me to collect them. I started with one, that Double Wind collectable, and some how it’s now expanded into seven more from various favorite titles of mine. With another four-ish on my ‘To buy when I need an immediate serotonin hit via online shopping’ list or ‘I want to buy more manga, but I haven’t finished what I ordered last time, so I’ll get this related item instead’ list.
It’s a hard life for an art book collector, especially since I would love to display them more proudly, but know exposure to sunlight will yellow the pages. Such difficult choices.
And that wraps up my improv-to list of anime and manga merchandise that I spend my non-existent disposable income on in my free time. That’s just a small sampling of stuff, as I’m not opposed to really not set to any rigid standard of collection. I will gather whatever makes me happy and as of late, it seems to be the stuff listed above. Be sure to drop me a comment down below about your favorite parts of collecting!