Although my blog seems to be all about figures, I’m first and foremost an avid manga fan. I currently own over 1100 volumes of manga that I’ve collected over the past 10 years. The hunt for the last two volumes I was missing from Basara has been consuming me for an entire year. And thanks to the good customer service at Otakufuel my soul can rest easy now that I’ve completed my collection. My biggest pet peeve when looking at the manga collections of others is seeing that they have random non-sequential volumes from a series (for example they have volumes 5, 9, and 11 of Bleach). I’d rather not own a series at all then just own bits and pieces from the middle. I’d rather be missing a figure from a set, or a video game from a series then missing a volume in the middle of a manga series.
So how does someone who hates having random volumes of a manga series missing end up with bits and pieces of a series? I waited until the month after the LAST volume of Basara released (last Spring) and went to buy the whole series all at once at OtakuFuel. Usually I research a series and their print status before I do such a thing, but this series JUST ended its new volume releases the month prior…it didn’t seem like there could possibly be that risk! Especially since it was my beloved Viz that had the series, and they had never once gone OOP (Out Of Print) on me on a series I wanted at that point. I was so so so so wrong.
That series had volumes that went OOP as it was being released…I had no idea. At the time I got my package from Otakufuel I was missing volumes 2, 19, 20, and 23. I kept my backorder status at Otakufuel on those 4 volumes and hunted down volumes 2 and 23 on my own, finding volume 2 was a challenge. But 19 and 20 proved to be extremely difficult! I ordered those two volumes at at least 5 other stores only to be told that the store can no longer obtain those volumes, and I was refunded my money. I even contacted Viz directly and they said there were no plans to print more volumes. I went to Otakufuel in a panic over this and their customer service representative told me she would (after tax season) personally hunt me down the two volumes in new condition and retail price (and in the end she pulled off that miracle). But to be honest I was doubtful (it seemed too good of a promise to be true) and every time my boyfriend and I went out and we passed a Barnes and Nobles or Borders that I hadn’t been to before, I’d ask him if we could stop in and look for them real quick. I know a lot of collectors that relish this search/scavenging process hoping to get lucky, but I think it’s hellish.
As of right now volume 19 is selling around $120 and 20 at $55, those prices are insanely low compared to the prices I was staring down every day of the past year. Basara 19 was available at $300, and 20 wasn’t available at all anywhere. I can only imagine the insane price that would be tagged onto Volume 20 it if one did pop up last year. Since these prices are a bit lower then what I saw all year it makes me think that Viz quietly spit out a small number of these volumes that a few people were able to obtain. At one point I had missed buying the two volumes on eBay at $100 + shipping and a month later I was kicking myself over not bidding higher on them (I had bid $70). You may be thinking ‘DUCKIE! are you a fool?’ But think of it this way…I own the other 25 volumes (that’s about $200 of manga) and without those two volumes I consider all those other volumes useless/worthless. And what’s worse Basara incomplete would definitely not sell well on eBay. Sure I’d make back some of my money, but I doubt I’d break even. Most people at that time looking to get into Basara were well aware that volumes 19, and 20 were scarce.
How is this manga? I have no idea personally, because I was so scared I’d never find volumes 19 and 20 at an ok price, that I didn’t crack open volume 1. If I read it and started eating it all up I’d be even more frantic when I got to the end of Volume 18 to get those two volumes. I didn’t start reading it for my own wallet protection, plus if my boyfriend found out, I’d be facing a manga intervention. When I’m really into a manga series I make very unwise money decisions in order to get the continuation of the story. I wouldn’t doubt I’d go on eBay and be on of those schmucks that buys the two volumes for $300 or something, even though the sensible side of me knows how utterly ridiculous and pathetic that is. I mean I had almost NO CASH when I started Skip Beat! and I bought the first 11 volumes in one week. But I have read reviews that rave about everything about Basara except the strange art style of the series, not to mention it won some high awards in Japan. So I’m pretty sure I’d like this series because unique art styles almost never bother me as long as there is a good plot.
Manga Series I’ve Hunted after Going OOP
~Kodocha (Kodoma no Omocha)
~Pet Shop of Horrors
~Vampire Princess Miyu
~Please Save My Earth
If you’re trying to figure out if a series is OOP or not go to Amazon and start at volume 1 and go through the WHOLE series and make sure every volume is in stock. I think looking over Amazon is the best site to use to judge if the series is going OOP or not. For example the first few volumes of Saikano are still readily available, but not the last volume and a volume from the middle. It’s awful to get into a series that you realize you may never be able to complete. ALSO a word of warning if volumes 1 and 2 of a series are selling for 1 cent from sellers on Amazon…there is a VERY good chance that there is a volume later on in that series that is a bitch to find or the series itself is on hiatus. But other times it’s just the first volume of a very long or unpopular series.
I have a friend still hunting to complete Five Star Stories, I wish him luck with that and I’m glad my OOP hunt is over (for now). Are any of you hunting for remaining columes of OOP series?