It has somewhat eluded me before but I feel that with the influx of manga in the Philippine market, I think it’s best to start thinking on what is being sold on Philippine bookshelves and what we can buy. Filipinos used to have this excuse that particular manga is unavailable in the market hence they’d rather read scanlations. While I think a part of it is true (how there’s little manga available), I think that there’s a wealth of amazing manga that are either rotting in bookstores because people didn’t know that they were there.
My answer to this problem is this bi-weekly report to help people know what they can actually start reading from the shelves of local bookstores.
Where can I buy manga in the Philippines?
Right now, there are 4 places you can buy a decent amount of manga: Fully Booked, Comic Odyssey, Planet X, and Booksale. By decent amount I meant that they have a rotating stock of manga (there are old and new titles), they have a good book shelf’s worth of manga, and their titles can range from children’s to shoujo to shounen and to seinen. I’ll investigate these comic bookstores closer sometime soon. But for now, we’ll keep those stores in mind.
As I said before, manga here is still fairly small compared to the Kinokuniya shelves in Singapore. That said, it’s still a fairly good shelf as you get a mix of old and new titles. Some titles are so old that they’re already being sold in e-bay for good hefty price (Swallowing The Earth, anyone?)
Throughout this series, I’ll be exploring these bookstores and check which manga you can buy for a reasonable price. My suggestions here are personally what I think some Filipino fans are currently enjoying or might enjoy. Hopefully, it might encourage local fans to purchase manga off the shelf.
January 2011: A Fresh Start in Fully Booked, Katipunan Q.C.
Please don’t blame me as I might be frequenting this store a lot because this is the bookstore closest to my home and I do often check this store’s shelf. Fully Booked Katipunan is a fairly exciting shop with a good mix of old, new, popular, and critically acclaimed titles. I did get my copy of No Longer Human with great ease in this bookstore so I have faith that they will be keeping their stocks well. Among the shops the sell comics, this is probably the largest bookstore for manga and comics.
I checked this store’s manga shelf this weekend and in the spirit of starting new, I looked at titles that were sold starting from no. 1. It’s quite an interesting lot.
After School Charisma 1 (Viz Signature Edition: PHP699, Chuang Yi Edition: PHP315)
This is a fairly fun but dark title from Viz that situates a bunch of historical clones who are struggling with their historical characters and roles. You will meet a high school Hitler, Freud, Joan of Arc, and others and while it can be light-hearted (Freud is lolarious!) the question of their own personal choice and their historical destiny raises the complexity of this story. There are more Chuang Yi editions in FB Katipunan, and you might be able to get at least until vol. 5.
Kurosagi Corpse Deliver Service vol. 1 (Dark Horse: PHP599)
Written by Eiji Otsuka, this ragtag crew of morticians are out to deliver some peace to some corpses. This can be a morbid read but it’s still a fun title that might be enjoyable to those who love the gory stuff. 6 volumes are available in FB Katipunan, so you won’t be left hanging for some while.
La Quinta Camera (Viz Signature Edition: PHP699)
One of the early works of Natsume Ono, this manga might be something that you will definitely want to have if you love Natsume Ono. It’s a single volume and if you love her style and art, then this is something you must read.
Black Butler vol. 1 (Yen Press Edition: PHP499, Chuang Yi: PHP315)
I think this is for them fujoshi and for those girls who love the idea of having an evil butler around. This seems to be the featured manga in the FB Katipunan bookshelf and it’s definitely something worth looking at. They have until vol. 6 of the Yen Press edition. Is there any difference between Chuang Yi and Yen Press? I’ll… get to that later.