Archive for the ‘Manga’ Category

And it’s empty…

Manga & Wine... Yum.

…Just like my dreams of ever reading all these books.

Yes, each shelf is stacked TWO ROWS DEEP. Yes, there are FOUR MORE shelves just like this one.*

In all seriousness, I will finish every one of them… As soon as my clones arrive.

*Yes, CCW*TV Blog Readers– I really did listen to you… ALL of you!

MANGA, MANGA EVERYWHERE

Close up of the latest Detroit Metal City cover

Manga books are normally released every Tuesday– just like music. They arrive in mainstream bookstores and Anime/Manga stores on Tuesdays. Comic book stores can often gets these volumes EARLIER than the other outlets… and occasionally a week late. So depending on what store you haunt– the books may have arrived last Tuesday of Wednesday or next Tuesday and Wednesday. Call in advance, save gas! (Pull Lists are also a great idea– where available.) Some books may also be new prints (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) of books already released.

This will be a REGULAR FEATURE at the SAYL Blog… As releases warrant. The bulk of NEW MANGA RELEASES come out TWICE a MONTH– with out few stragglers released during the “in-between” weeks. When there is only a few books– those will be noted in the MY PULL LIST Weekly Feature. I am also including a short list of some of next week’s Manga releases as well!

NEW MANGA

ARATA THE LEGEND VOLUME 3 GN
AX VOLUME 1: COLLECTION OF ALTERNATIVE MANGA GN


DETROIT METAL CITY VOLUME 6 GN
DOGS VOLUME 4 GN
HAYATE COMBAT BUTLER VOLUME 16 GN
LEGEND OF ZELDA VOL 10 GN
LIBRARY WARS VOLUME 2 GN


MEGA MAN MEGAMIX VOLUME 2 GN
MEGA MAN ZX VOLUME 2 GN
PANIC X PANIC VOLUME 2 GN
PEEPO CHOO VOLUME 2 GN

PINK INNOCENT VOLUME 2 GN
RASETSU VOLUME 6 GN
RIN-NE VOLUME 4 GN
ROCKET GIRLS SC NOVEL
SAND CHRONICLES VOLUME 9 GN
SUZUKA VOLUME 13/14/15 GN

TEGAMI BACHI VOLUME 3 GN
TORIKO VOLUME 2 GN
VENT VOLUME 1 GN

LATE ADDITIONS:

From this week’s Regular Release List:

Berserk Volume 34 GN
Ghost in the Shell Kodansha Volume 2 GN (2nd Printing)
Inu Yasha Volume 52 GN
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volume 11 GN
Vampire Hunter D: Readers Guide

~My OPEN LETTER to the GOD of MANGA~

Dear God of Manga,

I know I haven’t written you in while and you might be feeling a little neglected. I’m sorry about that… But I really want to thank you for any influence you may have had in nudging Dark Horse Comics into RESUMING printing of their unfinished Manga series “Eden, It’s An Endless World” and “MPD-Psycho”.

I don’t mind telling you MG, I would have been exceptionally pissed off– if I ever got around to reading these books– to discover that Dark Horse had just lamely quit publishing the damn things. Especially since I had to pay some seller in New Zealand a fairly significant price just to send me ONE VOLUME of the out of print “Eden” editions… And had to navigate through all sorts of hoops to fill other extremely hard to find, out-of-print holes in the series.

Do you think Dark Horse had to stop publishing them because they had used up their yearly allotment of trees for all the Star Wars prequels, sequels, in-between-els that they needlessly print?

Anyway, Dark Horse says that they are going to keep publishing “Eden” and “MPD-Psycho” as long as the public supports the titles. That would be really cool– especially since they have already released the first 12 of the entire 18 volumes in the Eden series and 9 of the 14 available volumes in the MPD-Psycho storyline. I really think Dark Horse should now reprint several of the hard to find volumes in these series too… So completists can get in on the action from the beginning and enjoy the stories too. If they don’t reprint these out of print books, aren’t they just wounding their efforts to renew interest in these series right from the beginning of their relaunch?

The people running Dark Horse are pretty smart… They need to understand that we– as regular, loyal customers– want to finish reading these Manga series in their entirety. So if interest in these new books start to wane– I hope that– at the very least– they’ll step up and release a couple of big Omnibus collections to finish off these titles.

I know you’ll do what you can great God of Manga. Publisher’s need to know that when several books in a completed series have already been printed like this– many consumers want to read them all… Just like they would want all the seasons of Battlestar Galactica to be released on DVD or Blu Ray. Could you imagine the uproar if the studios only released 1/2 of every Television series on discs… Leaving you to “go fish” for the other episodes? Same goes for partial Manga releases. Don’t start printing the books in an already completed series if you think you might not finish.

That would just suck!

All the Best,

Insideman

Here’s some of the great stuff we would have missed seeing to completion:

(Thanks to CCW*TV’s Jose Melendez for the tip!)

MANGA, MANGA EVERYWHERE

THIS WEEK: Silver Diamond Volume 7

Manga books are normally released every Tuesday– just like music. They arrive in mainstream bookstores and Anime/Manga stores on Tuesdays. Comic book stores can often gets these volumes EARLIER than the other outlets… and occasionally a week late. So depending on what store you haunt– the books may have arrived last Tuesday of Wednesday or next Tuesday and Wednesday. Call in advance, save gas! (Pull Lists are also a great idea– where available.) Some books may also be new prints (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) of books already released.

This will be a REGULAR FEATURE at the SAYL Blog… As releases warrant. The bulk of NEW MANGA RELEASES come out TWICE a MONTH– with out few stragglers released during the “in-between” weeks. When there is only a few books– those will be noted in the MY PULL LIST Weekly Feature. I am also including a short list of some of next week’s Manga releases as well!

NEW MANGA
Air Gear, Vol #15-17, Omnibus
Alice in the Country of Hearts Vol #4
Apollo’s Song Part 1
Apollo’s Song Part 2
Chibi Vampire Airmail Vol #1
Chi’s Sweet Home Vol #2
Dreaming Collection 1-3
Elemental Gelade Vol #12
Future Diary Vol #7
Happy Cafe Vol #4
Karakuri Odette Vol #4
Kyo Kara Maoh Vol #7
Mad Love Chase Vol #4
Negima! Magister Negi Magi Neo Vol #6
Neon Genesis Evangelion Campus Apocalypse Vol #1
Oh My Goddess! Vol #15 (2nd Print)
Panic X Panic Vol #2
Pink Innocent Vol #2
Portrait of M & N Vol #3
Ratman Vol #2
Silver Diamond Vol #7
Suzuka Vol #13-15 Omnibus
Vampire Hunter D Vol #15 (Prose)
Witch of Artemis Vol #1

NEXT WEEK’S MANGA
9.7.10

Bleach Vol #32
Gantz Vol #12
Ghost Talkers Daydream Vol #4
Nancy Drew Vol #21
Negima Neo Vol #6

NEXT WEEK: Gantz Volume #12

Tell me this kitty doesn’t have  a soul.

I DARE YOU

Be kind to animals.

They may cook your RAMEN one day!

Neko Ramen Kitty

THEY REALLY DO!

This fine young woman obviously loves her Manga.

From what we can see, she apparently has good taste too.

Now THIS is what we call Fan Service!

Thanks to the Neko Ramen Kitty for the last-minute save!

I would also like to thank the One-Handed Poster for submitting the photo of this avid Manga reader!

We are always happy to spread the word that women really DO read and support Manga!

If you have a young woman of legal age (just like this Manga aficionado)– who loves to read Manga or any other type of comics– snap a pic and we’ll post it here!

You wouldn't think this would be hard to find... But IT IS.

I couldn’t find this book. Hardly anywhere.

And if I did, I sure as hell couldn’t buy it for cover price. I have detailed this sad phenomenon in two posts now: MANGA PUBLISHERS– Why Do You H☠TE Me? and Comic Book Retailers – Update Your F****** Websites! It seems like all of the Manga publishers really don’t care about– or don’t care to cater to– the completists (like me) in their audience. To be clear, I don’t mind an occasional book hunt (in fact, sometimes it’s fun)– but I really do not want to hunt to fill holes in every frickin’ Manga title I decide to collect.

Yet, I usually have to.

Run from the Borders!

Case in point: Tokyopop’s Future Diary series. Volume 6 just came out, OK? But try to find Volume 2. This Manga title oddly seems to follow the old comic collector paradigm– as #2 seems the rarest volume so far.

Which is why I was so delighted to find that the Borders Bookstore located down the street from me had one in stock. Note to the wise: The “Check for Store Availability” links on mainstream bookseller’s websites are often a big boon to the collector of hard-to-find books… Especially if you have friends in other cities or states and can con them into picking up a copy for you and sending it in the mail. Put your Zip Code (or a friend’s Zip Code) into one of these website search boxes and BOOM– you might be able to save yourself from overpaying $20 to $30 USD (or more) for a scarce Manga title.

Luckily (or so I thought), I didn’t have to do that this time. Once I found someone to go over there and getting the book for me– I’d be all set. My friend nicely offered (around 5 pm in BIG CITY traffic no less). I felt double fortunate.

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

Possibly my new Best Friend (Unfortunately, I mean the Magnifying Glass)

About 20  minutes later she called from her cell phone. Seems she bought the book (I was having it held for me at the front desk) and when the clerk finally handed it to her– she realized it was not in acceptable condition. You may have read this in another one of my posts before but I am going to write it again: I do not care how much of a discount a mainstream bookstore, comic shop or website gives me on a book. If I buy it NEW– I expect the tome to be in new, Near-Mint to Mint condition. I’m not going to pull out a magnifying glass or anything when I buy it– but the damn thing better look– and be– right.

Seems my rep had preceded me– as my friend knew that I was very condition conscious. She told me that the book looked like it had been opened and read several times. The line where the cover was “scored” (so it will bend back easily at the spine) was WHITE– even though the cover itself was BLACK. This meant 2 things: #1 the book was severely manhandled and #2 the book had been carelessly read so many times, the black ink had fallen off the score line. That’s a lot of reading.

I apologized for her wasted time and gas and asked her to return the book.

WHAT PISSED ME OFF MOST OF ALL

Has Alfred E.Neuman taken over Borders?

My friend later told me that when she handed the book back to the clerk– asking to return it for a refund due to its’ poor condition… The clerk just looked at the book, rolled his eyes a little, sighed and said, “Okay.”

No “Gee whiz, I’m sorry the book is in such bad shape! Let me see if I can find you another one.” Just a resigned sigh that, once again, another customer had him selling a less-than-new product.

Barnes & Noble, Bookstar and Borders– This is what happens when you turn your bookstores into libraries!

You provide comfortable seating in all kinds of places throughout your store and you never stop your customers from reading your books from start to finish. Often these people will read a few chapters and then come back the next day to read a few more… And will continue this pattern until they have finished a whole novel. I’ve even seen people reading while they are eating a sloppy tuna sandwich that they’ve just pulled out of a paper sack. These folks are obviously enjoying a free read on their lunch break! Mom’s bring three or four kids into your stores and they all pick out a book to read– but rarely buy anything.

And you have the audacity to blame Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad for your flagging quarterly profit reports?!

You then add your own insult to your own injuries by selling coffee and chocolate eclairs too!

All the while allowing your customers to read, read, read. Have you ever bought a book from one of these stores and gotten home to see a big chocolate smear inside– on one of the pages of your supposedly new book? I have actually seen customers doing this horrendous act while they read a book in a Barnes & Noble. No shame, no remorse. They just flipped the page and kept on reading.

Good God Almighty! They damn well better be glad that I haven’t ever paid for and brought one of these sullied atrocities into my home. I’d race back to that bookstore and return that damn thing so violently it would take an amazing proctologist to retrieve my return!*

But I wouldn’t feel bad. I doubt my hijinks wouldn’t stop them from selling that rescued copy either.

Guess what DOESN'T mix with a NEW BOOK?

*Many thanks to Jose Melendez at the CCW*TV Blog for reminding me of my hatred of people who eat and read for free in bookstores a couple of weeks ago.

Urasawa's Modern Manga Classic

You Can Go Home Again

Anyone who follows the CCW*TV Companion Blog or watches my rants on CCW*TV will not be surprised to read that I have become increasingly disenchanted with the Big 2 comic publishers. Lame “blockbuster” events, rising cover prices, gratuitous deaths and clichéd storytelling are only a few of the problems that currently bother me. That’s not to say there aren’t any mainstream comics that I currently enjoy on a monthly basis. I do. They just seem too few and far between nowadays.

The Sentry Rips Another One!

The escalation of mean spiritedness, bloodshed and misogyny in American comics has become quite tiring. As a result of the persistent problems I’m having with the mainstream superhero books, I have rediscovered a lost love of mine: Manga.

Keeping up with Marvel. DC gets into the gratuitous violence act.

Even though U.S. comics were my introduction to the wonderful art form known as sequential art– Manga soon crept in and overtook my love for most capes and cowls… And I am quite certain that my affinity for anime had something to do with it.

Japanese produced animation has always struck a deep chord with me… Much more so than any old Hanna-Barbera “cartoon” ever could. Was it the seriousness of the subject matter, the captivating action sequences or how the animation cells meshed together so fluidly? If I had to choose between these reasons– I would choose all three.

After watching my first episodes of Battle of the Planets,  Captain Harlock– and eventually Robotech– how the hell could I ever be content to watch Scooby Doo?

In the late 80’s I was a complete, unapologetic Marvel Zombie. I did not care for anything DC offered– nor had my horizons expanded to vast and fertile area of independent comics.  That entire mindset changed one day while I was looking through a friend’s stack of books and came across a comic called Xenon.

♥ My first Manga ♥

The artwork on the cover caught my eye– feeling very familiar to me.  Not because it resembled any of the comics I had been reading but because it looked more like the great anime I had been watching.

Though the cover illustration was in color I soon realized that all the interior pages were in black and white. The concept wasn’t completely foreign to me as I had seen a couple of TMNT comics by this point… But Xenon just felt different from any book I had seen. The artwork was dark and gritty. Backgrounds and cityscapes were drawn with the precision of an architect. It had intricate robotic designs for the hero and the villain’s alter egos. All of this set against the backdrop of a Japanese high school.

Whatever this comic was about didn’t matter to me. All I knew was that I had to read it right away– along with every other issue my friend had collected.

AND THAT’S HOW IT ALL STARTED

Now Being Reprinted in Deluxe Editions

Soon I was adding all kinds of Manga books to my weekly pull list. The more Manga that became available (at the time it was a fairly slow trickle)– the more I wanted to buy. Titles like Appleseed, Ranma ½, Maison Ikkoku, Gunhed, Silent Mobius, Urusei Yatasura, Fist of the North Star and Nausicaa. As well as Ninja High School, The Dirty Pair and Gold Digger– all comics drawn by Americans with a profound influence from Japanese artists and anime.

These books gave me something that American comics couldn’t (or wouldn’t)– huge amounts of imagination. Where regular superhero comics seemed grounded in a reality populated by fantastical and impressive beings– the entire world of Manga seemed gloriously overloaded with the fantastical and the impressive. Each book had its own reality, not a shared one, and I seemed to never tire of discovering new worlds with each new manga I started to read.

Gantz-- Another great Manga

Thanks to the efforts of a growing number of companies like Viz and Dark Horse– Manga became even more predominant on comic shop shelves as the years passed. As anyone with a passing interest in the genre knows, Manga has since exploded far beyond comic specialty stores and now reaches the mainstream via national bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble.

A while ago Insideman contacted me about writing a Manga column for his Swear All you Like Blog– or maybe even a series of reviews. Whether this column becomes a reality on a regular basis remains to be seen– as life, work (and fun) always have a way of interrupting the best of plans. Still, I went back and forth concerning what topic to write about, what book to review for this post– and finally settled on letting you in on “where I’m coming from” when I am enjoying (and possibly even reviewing) manga.

Giving some background on what this art medium means to me– and the years I’ve been invested in it– may give you a better understanding of any future reviews. I was there almost at the beginning of the Manga industry in America… And to see it grow so vast in the last couple of decades simply amazes me.

Orange Jumpsuit Ninja. Not my favorite by far. Maybe it is yours.

It’s becoming tougher to find great books out there as the industry keeps growing– then contracting– and growing again. With a crowded field of books and various Manga companies starting , suspending or ceasing publication, hopefully I can steer you in the right direction. I want to help you experience some of the best the genre has to offer.

So, thanks Marvel and DC! If it weren’t for your poor attempts at keeping this comic fan satisfied– I may never have rediscovered my long-lost love.

(Besides reading Manga for more than half of his life, Jose Melendez has also been a comic book retailer for almost 18 years. He is the co-host of CCW*TV– where he attempts to make the show somewhat entertaining on a weekly basis– despite the “best efforts” of co-host Elliott who tends to ruin everything with his boring, stale personality. Jose is also the main contributor on the CCW Companion Blog.

His only regret in life is breaking up with a very cute and kind redhead 10 years ago for no good reason. Please learn from this and don’t make the same mistake yourself… Or else alcohol will most likely play a big part in your future lifestyle.)

HOW ARE THESE DIFFERENT?

What's to compare? Aren't these 2 books just different children of the SAME medium?

Recently, I came across an article entitled MANGA VS COMICSI know. I know... What’s weird– there are a ton of articles just like this out there… All comparing Manga to American Comic Books.

Truth be told, I am not in agreement with most of their content. First off, let’s make this clear– Manga MEANS Comic, okay? Second, why are people bothering to compare these?

Most people in the CCW Nation know me as Mike F. I’m a proudly confessed Manga, Video Game and Comic Book fanatic… And clearly, I have passionate thoughts on these subjects.

Here are statements made from one of the articles mentioned above (I have added a few of my own thoughts as well):

“American comics are all capes.”

WRONG.

“American comics are all about prolonging a dead franchise.”

WRONG.

Everyone knows American comics are all about retconning. (Unless you’re Geoff Johns, of course… But that’s completely different post.)

ANIME LEADS TO MANGA

I watched anime for years– never once venturing into comics. Turned out to be a good thing too. I wouldn’t have had the first clue where to start.

My first ever experience with comics was with a Manga book. And like many people– like the articles I so strongly disagree with now… At the time, I just assumed that American comics were only about superheroes.

A challenging tale that highlights the difference between lust and true love

The first manga I ever read was Chobits– by the 4 female mangakas CLAMP. I loved this unique story about a robotic female (called a persocom) named Chii whose vagina holds her on/off switch. The internal chip is located there so if someone makes love to her– the chip inside turns her off and wipes her memories.

When Hideki– the horniest of horn dogs (the subject of his vast porn collection is a focus in the first few volumes)– discovers a completely wiped Chii in the trash, he can’t believe his good luck and takes her home… Eventually falling in love.

But he doesn’t want to risk the possibility of Chii losing her memories again… So he resigns himself to never having sex with the woman he loves for the rest of his life. It’s a charming story about virginity… And the line between common lust and pure love.

The female artists of CLAMP created a challenging premise that moved me and really made me think. I’d never been exposed to a story like this before. The panel placement, the clever jokes, the stunning artwork. Chobits became an instant favorite of mine and spawned my love for comics. Wanting to experience more, I searched extensively until I found other great Manga titles like Gunsmith Cats and Battle Angel Alita.

And then, again, I was content to stay exactly where I was. Years and years would pass before I would come across an American comic book that would change me forever. That book was WE3–  a small masterpiece written by oft-praised Scottish comic messiah Grant Morrison.

As good as it gets

When I first saw this book on Amazon, I thought, “Hmmm… What in the world could this be about?”

What a joy it was to read– watching 3 captured animals used by the government attempt to escape back home. I literally shouted “Yes!” at the end of the first issue– when WE1 says: “We go home, home now.” Completely arrested by the spirit of the comic’s overall story,  I became hooked on Morrison’s other comics work. This eventually led to my reading Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.

Not too long after that,  I began reading Marvel comics too. By then, I was well into all type of comic book genres.

Which leads me back to my original question: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO INTENT ON COMPARING MANGA TO COMIC BOOKS?

Yes, Marvel and DC comics can get lost in their prolonged continuity and yes, Manga can get ridiculous with its “cute” or KAWAII random sense of humor… But why compare two things that are basically the same? Vertigo, Image– even Marvel’s Icon imprint– publish plenty of non-superhero related comics from such great writers as Brian Vaughn and Ed Brubaker… But no one is foolish enough to say those books aren’t comics.

The current Akira Reprint Series

Japanese comic legend Katshuiro Otomo (creator of AKIRA) has stated he found inspiration in some DC comics… And felt delighted when given the chance to write a short 8-page Batman story in the BATMAN: Black and White limited series.

Even more frustrating: The people commenting on this article all wrote things that proved they were as ignorant as the article’s authors.

My roommate is from Japan and was a comic reader back in the day. She confirmed the similarities for me. She even felt it foolish to compare Manga and American comics– as they are, again, the same thing.

As you can tell, I love the comics of America and Japan. Even France, the UK and other countries have some great titles.

But I feel no need to compare these two genres because really– it’s just wasting my time. Time better spent reading great books like 20th Century Boys or Daredevil and not noticing any difference.

Mike F is a citizen of the CCW*TV Nation– a regular poster on the CCW*TV Companion Blog. He reads comics because he wants to and obviously couldn’t care less if a comic was in color or black and white. While normally we would say a Guest Columnist’s views are exclusively his or her own… We totally agree with everything he’s written.

I just received the Ikki Tousen Complete Series DVD from Amazon today.

Should I be excited about watching my new purchase or prepared to take a hot cleansing shower afterward?

Ikki or Icky?

To make absolutely certain I wasn’t giving this subject the “short shrift”–  I decided to also pick up the first 15 volumes of the Ikki Tousen companion Manga series, Tokyopop’s Battle Vixens.

In my opinion, you can never be too thorough.

(Hey, I bought all of Bendis’, Millar and Loeb’s bullshit comics too!)

My Fan Service Story!

I was hanging around on the CCW*TV Blog one evening when I suddenly decided I wanted to read some Manga comics. I had thought of this numerous times before but I had never been so serious. Luckily, I was in the right place and received some excellent recommendations from CCW*TV Blogger Jose Melendez and other posters.

As I was making note of all the good suggestions coming my way, someone took issue with one of the titles floated on the board. “That series has got quite a lot of ‘fan service’ in it.” he said. Someone else replied, “Yes, it does– but it’s not overdone and it’s actually integrated quite well into the storyline.”

“Fan service?” I asked myself. “What is that?”

Coming from a long line of curious fuckers, I latch onto the term like a 3-year-old who’s just heard the word “shit” for the first time.

I had only been on the CCW*TV Blog for a short while– so I was hesitant to actually ask what “fan service” meant… Preferring to just keep reading the posts. Whatever in the hell “fan service” was– it didn’t sound like a bad thing. It didn’t sound particularly offensive… It just sounded like a personal preference. “Lots of things are a personal preference!” I thought. “Certainly someone would just come right out and say this “fan service”stuff disturbs them if it’s bad.” I thought.
So rather than look like an uninformed dick online– even though no one knew the “real” me from “Adam’s housecat” on the Blog– I decided to go to my local Barnes & Noble and inquire about this wondrous thing called Manga and see what other firsthand knowledge I could acquire.

I walk in the door. This attractive clerk asks if she can help me. I reply, “Could you direct me to your Manga section?” Better than pointing, she offers to take me there.

MANGA, MANGA EVERYWHERE

We arrive at double shelves over-stuffed with all kinds of books of various heights and bright colors.

Having never really looked at any bookstore’s Manga section before, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of books and different titles on display. (For some reason, even though I wrote down a lot of book names– the numbers had seemed much smaller when I was getting all those suggestions complied online.) The pretty clerk (I’ll call her Shari– mainly because I love the name) senses my initial shock and sweetly asks, “Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for? Maybe I could help.”

“Well, I have this long list…” I say, as I pull my CCW*TV Blog notes out of my pocket. I could start just about anywhere, I guess.”

“Wow! That IS a long list!” Shari laughs. “Think you can narrow it down for me, just a little? Maybe pick a particular genre or something?”

Then, as if struck by the most profound thought ever conceived by anyone in the universe– I am at peace. I understand the word “GENRE”! I actually KNOW a Manga Genre! I won’t look like a FOOL! This is GREAT!

“How about FAN SERVICE?” I ask– giddy as a schoolgirl going to Justin Beiber concert. “Do you have any books with FAN SERVICE in them?”

“Uh, yeah.” she confirms, a slight frown starting to form on her face. “I believe we do.”

OH GREAT!” I exclaim, “LIKE WHAT?!? I’d really like to see some FAN SERVICE!!!

“Well, we have this book.” Shari stammers, timidly pointing at Strawberry 100%. “Maybe you’ll like this one.”

Sensing I was finally circling my prey, I announce, “I don’t care what it is– as long as it has LOTS & LOTS of FAN SERVICE!

Visibly uncomfortable at my hulking fan-service-infatuated presence, Shari begins to back away from me at a polite clip. “Well, I’ll be up at the front then.” she says. “Just come up there if you have any more questions. Any one of us will be glad to help you.

Halfway ignoring her– figuring she was just spouting mandatory canned corporate lip service– I reply with a quick and happy, “Thanks!”… At the same time grabbing my first copy of Strawberry 100%.

Man, It's ALWAYS WINDY in these books!

I quickly skim the book. Then I flip through another. And another. And another. All I see is a comic book. Nothing more, nothing less. Puzzled, I pick up a different title. And then another. Finally I realize that I have leafed through at least 50 Manga books and I am no closer to understanding fan service now than I was when I first walked in.

As I turn to leave, I run into the clerk again. Shari asks, “Oh Hi. You’re still here. Did you find anything you liked?” Still not wanting to come of as a complete newbie dick, I replied, “No. But I have faith I’ll know it when I see it!”

Get home. Go on the internet(s). Do what I should have done in the first place and type “Fan Service” into Google.

To my abject horror and dismay, this is what I find on Wikipedia:

Fan service (ファンサービス, fan sābisu), fanservice, service cut (サービスカット, sābisu katto), or simply service (サービス, sābisu), is a vaguely-defined term primarily used for anime and manga  to refer to elements that are unnecessary to the storyline. Fanservice explicitly refers to material that is designed to amuse or excite the audience with sexually-derived content. When such content fits within the storyline, it would not usually be considered fan service, but excessive content is usually considered gratuitous regardless of its justification.”

Now what was so hard about that?

The next time you put your foot firmly in your mouth or stick your head up your ass– please don’t despair. Just bookmark this post now and refer to it often. Your shame can never be as great as mine.

And just in case, I haven’t made clear what “FAN SERVICE” represents– and why my faux pas was so utterly massive– please feel free to inspect the following images– reproduced here for no reason other than the scholarly pursuit of knowledge:

Is that sand in your eye or are you just glad to see me?

Seriously, why bother to wear anything at all?

A crabs-eye view!

Waitaminute! This isn't Fan Service... OR is it?

My apologies to any and all Barnes & Noble employees that may have been harmed in this innocent pursuit of geek knowledge.