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Manga Take-Out

Manga Takeout is a branch off of Anime Takeout. Similar to Netflix, you rent manga by mail. You can have two books out ($25.95/mo) or four ($41.95/mo) at a time. The service is great for those who are low on money but prefer to keep their manga reading legal, or simply prefer holding a book in their hands.

A while back, I joined Manga Takeout. I used the 2-out plan for three months. Here’s a brief documentation of my experience:

May 27 – Joined, filled queue with about 30 titles
June 10 – Received two books (2)
June 11 – Mailed books back
June 23 – Received two books (4)
June 24 – Mailed books back
July 10 – Received two books (6)
July 11 – Mailed books back
July  27 – Received two books (8)
July 30 – Mailed books back
August  8 – Received two books (10)
August 10 – Mailed books back
August 23 – Received two books (12)
August 24 – Mailed books back and cancelled membership

Money spent – $25.95 x 3 = $77.85
Per volume – $77.85 / 12 =  $6.49

It should be noted that I live in Tennessee, and Manga Takeout ships from California. I used the quick-ship function each time, meaning that they took my word that I  had mailed my books back and sent me my next shipment. I spent $6.49 for each volume I read, so I only save a couple of dollars on each one.

Perhaps if you live closer, shipments are quicker. And if you have four out at a time, you would spend $5.24 a volume, with similar shipping times. However, if you live as far away from the shipping center as I do, I suggest you just look for bargain buys on your manga. It’ll be about the same.

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Coming This Month to Itsumo Manga

Just wanted to let you guys know what I plan on doing this month in the way of posting, in no particular order.

  • Review of Spice & Wolf light novel by Isuna Hasekura (may actually be next month, we’ll see)
  • Review of Black Butler manga volume one
  • My experience with Manga Takeout
  • Scanlations and fansubs

I’m also really hoping to get at least one shonen review from a guest reviewer. If you’re interested, please e-mail me (eleat dot yo at gmail dot com) or contact me on Google Wave (eleat.yo on there, too) and we’ll talk.

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Sick

Hey guys. I’m having a mono relapse right now, and I can’t really concentrate at the moment. If anyone wants to write a review or two in my place while I’m sick, let me know, alright?

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A Little Stormy on the Seven Seas

A short post for today. It may not sound like much, but it may affect some of your manga purchases if you shop only at physical stores rather than online.

Seven Seas Manga (publishers of Afro Samurai, Hayate X Blade, Inukami!, etc.) is having a few relationship issues with one of their distributors, Diamond. Diamond has recently instituted new shipping minimums, which Seven Seas simply can’t always meet. Diamond will still ship some of the high-profile titles through May, but besides that, Seven Seas will be gradually cutting their ties with them. They have other distributors and retailers, so hopefully there won’t be too huge of an impact.

I personally support Seven Seas’ decision to cut ties. Having worked closely with my boss when I worked in a local retail shop, I’ve seen how these things can affect companies. If we ordered from a distributor and not directly from the company, we would sometimes have to wait until a great product had been out for a few months so that we could place  a big order. Shipping minimums affect both the company making the product and the small retail stores buying the product. I understand that in this economy, sacrifices must be made, but it’s really a shame to see this happening.

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Logo/Possible Shirt Design

Hey, guys! I have a cute design that I’d like to use for the blog’s logo, as well as a possible future shirt design. I like the design and how it looks in general, but the lines aren’t nearly smooth enough, and there area  few details I don’t trust myeslf with.I think this would be a fairly easy project for anyone that knows what they’re doing in PhotoShop, but I’m pretty inept.

If you’re interested, shoot me an e-mail (eleat dot yo at gmail dot com) and I’ll send you the current PhotoShop file. Or, you can just do a whole new one based on this and send it to me! Thanks, guys!

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Shojo Beat/Shonen Jump vs. Yen+

In an e-mail, a reader asked me for my opinion on whether Yen+ or Shojo Beat was the better buy. As a subscriber to Shojo Beat and Yen+, I don’t really have a bias. Not everyone can afford to buy twoor three magazines a month plus all of their other manga each month, though, so I’m going to try to help all of you decide which fits you better. I have only read a few issues of Shonen Jump, and is about the same as SB, only with shonen manga instead of shojo. I’ll be grouping SJ and SB together, as both are published by Viz. I’ll only actually be comparing SB with Yen+. As I said, I’ve never read SJ, and at any rate, it doesn’t seem to be nearly as popular as its sister magazine.

Covers from Yen+ and Shojo Beat

Covers from Yen+ and Shojo Beat

First, I may be able to save you from having to read much further. Do you like shojo manga and only shojo manga? Pick up Shojo Beat. Do you hate shojo manga with a passion? You better stick with Yen+. If you don’t fit into either of these categories explicitely, you should read on.

Shojo Beat is more established, having been around since July 2005. It has so far serialized some of the most popular manga in the US: NaNa, Vampire Knight, Absolute Boyfriend, and more. Each issue has about 350 pages or more, and contains chapters from 6 manga, along with one or two preview chapters from other Viz shojo titles. Having read SB since August 2006, I’d say that from each issue, I tend to read chapters from 5 different series. Though this won’t sound like much when compared to Yen+, SB makes up for it with great articles. Each issue has a DIY section, a few beauty spots, a little fan interaction, some culture info, and a few special features. That’s a lot of extra stuff! When you subscribe, you also tend to get a little furoku, though nothing near the scale of Japanese magazines. Usually a sheet of stickers, a manga cover, a poster, etc. Nothing big, but hey, extra is extra!
Outside of the manga itself (which is printed in alternating pink and blue), most pages are in full color. Every other month or so there will typically be a theme issue. Whether you view this as a good or bad thing will vary, depending on whether you like that month’s theme. Sometimes an issue will focus on a particular series (this past issue was focused on Sand Chronicles, and it was pretty fantastic); there have been several great music issues in the past; a couple of issues have focused on anime; there have been a few cooking issues. The themes go on and on. For the most part, I rather enjoy theme issues, except for cooking. My cooking typically results in utter failure.

Yen+ is but a toddler beside Shojo Beat. It first hit the streets in August 2008 – over three years after Shojo Beat did. There were originally a whopping 11 series in each issue, and a preview was added to each after a few issues. Now, one series has been dropped (only from serialization – Higurashi: When They Cry is still coming out in tankoban form), but TWO were added in its place! I read and enjoy all but one or two of the series in the magazine right now, and I always read the previews. However, the only ‘extras’ in Yen+ are an editorial section, fan art, and a few manga spotlights. Unlike SB, Yen+ doesn’t only feature Japanese manga – there are also comics from the US and manhwa from Korea (though generally I’ll be referring to them as manga collectively). This is the real selling point to me. Though we see a lot of manga from Japan nowadays, most US comics are superhero-based and not all that story-based like so much stuff from Japan is. And as for the manhwa, Yen Press is the only publisher I know of that is actively putting any out.
The manga here are in plain black and white, which can be a relief from the bright colors in SB, but it’s also a lot harder to find a particular manga if you’re skipping ahead. There are more glossy pages than are found in SB, as well, but fewer extras to be shown in all color.

In the end, I love both Yen+ and Shojo Beat. Yen+ has a lot more to offer in the way of manga, but it’s also more expensive. The cover prices are $8.99 USD for Yen+ and $5.99 for SB. To be honest, if I had to give up one, I’d give up Shojo Beat. Though I am much more connected to the stories there, there is so much more to be read in Yen+. If I were short on money, though, I’d stick with SB. It’s a tough decision, and I’d regret it either way. If you can, buy both. If you can’t, I hope that this post will help you decide which one to get.

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Calling All Manga Lovers!

I’m looking for a few people that really enjoy manga to help me! I’m not into every genre of manga, so I can’t fairly review every new series that hits the streets. So I need your help! If you’re interested in helping me review manga, hit me up at eleat.yo at gmail.com. We’ll talk about your interests, how readily you can have access to new releases, etc.

Also, let me know what you want reviewed! What’s something you’ve been wanting to buy at the store, but have been afraid you wouldn’t like it? Comment on this post (or future ones that mention the release), and I’ll give it a look-see!

One last call to arms! If you’re on Twitter, follow @itsumomanga. You’ll be updated instantly whenever a new review or release list is posted!

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