East Lansing, MI- From the hieroglyphics etched into the walls of Ancient Egypt to the myriad of downloadable e-books on the newest Kindle model, it’s no surprise that technology continues to change reading. Page turners have rapidly turned to page clicks as the online world overtakes print.
This fact is also true for manga. From bookworms to Japanese buffs, fans of the comics are flocking to their computers to take advantage of the technology at their fingertips.
With the unlimited access to wireless internet around campus, students at Michigan State are no exception.
“I almost never buy printed manga,” said Sarah Austin, a senior at MSU and manga fan. Because online scans are free, Austin says she can “enjoy the visual representation of the story” without going bankrupt.
“The only volumes I currently own were all gifts,” Austin admitted, citing her empty wallet for her lack of consumerism. “I only consider buying a series if I find it to be good enough to merit re-reading more than once.”
Other readers, like MSU junior Mary Gebbie agreed that the affordability and availability of manga online is the largest draw.
“I generally go through manga so fast, I can't afford the $10 to $12 it takes to buy each volume,” Gebbie commented, also adding that there is normally a large time lag to get printed manga in comparison to online scans, which are uploaded after every chapter. “I'm impatient and I want to read each chapter ASAP.”
Fans not only love getting to read their favorite series earlier than those waiting on the laborious process of publishers, but also the opportunity to “shop” around.
“I don't have to already know the series; I can just pick one that's interesting and give it a try,” said Gebbie. “And if I really like it, I can just keep on reading and reading without having to return to the book store or the library every hour to pick up another volume.”
“There is a better selection of manga online,” agreed Brianne McBryde, former MSU student. For McBryde, who referred to herself as a “one night stander of manga” due to her voracious consumption of manga. Most of the titles she enjoys were never printed in English, leaving fan translations as her only means of reading some of her favorite series.
“I have no knowledge of Korean or Japanese,” McBryde mused.
For Gebbie, a Japanese major, the language barrier isn’t as much of an issue. When she does buy printed manga, she likes to get the Japanese version as her way of both supporting the author and studying the language.
But even for Gebbie, different colloquialisms and Japanese puns can be difficult to understand, so reading ahead in English or having an easily accessible translation online can be a godsend.
“For this reason, when I buy the manga, I try to get series I am familiar with and that I know I enjoy, so I can motivate myself to get through itm” Gebbie said.
Whether saving time and money, fulfilling an insatiable craving for new chapters, or aiding studies in Japanese, online manga is a priceless asset for college students everywhere.