Anime Magazines

awadama fever

Za Warudo
I know it's 2021 and magazines aren't really a big thing anymore (now we have all that fancy technology like blogs and podcasts and MySpace), but I still get Neo and Otaku USA so I guess maybe someone else might too (unless my subscriptions are singlehandedly keeping the anime print industry afloat).

Or maybe people liked reading all the anime periodicals (great word) of years gone by - MyM, Animerica, Anime Insider, that Newtype one that was about £40 per issue?

I've been reading some of my old issues of Anime Insider from 2006-2007 - it's pretty wild going back to a time when the likes of Haruhi, FMA, Naruto, Bleach and Gundam Seed were still pretty new (though there are a lot of series in them which I've completely forgotten about, so maybe it wasn't such a golden era). It's also pretty nice seeing a hype for a load of early Wii/PS3 games too.

A lot of the stuff in these magazines is what people were talking about when I first joined this site (in 2006), so it's a nice trip back in time for me!

Does anyone else here still buy any of these magazines? I'm sure most people will have at some point in the past, so maybe...which ones did people used to like (if any)? 😅
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
OtakuUSA always seems like something I would enjoy, but I feel like I’m just not reading magazines nearly as much as I used to. I think largely it’s because I had to stop myself buying physical magazines - I always have trouble chucking these things away - and with not commuting or otherwise travelling away from home at the moment, I’m not looking for something to read on my iPad to the same extent.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
I don't really collect magazines any more, other than fan club newsletters, but back in the day the highlight of my month was taking a train to London (or another big city) to buy my usual comics, books and copy of Animerica. I also collected Manga Mania/Max and Anime UK when they were around. A few years back I would read Japanese language magazines (usually as and when I felt like it, but I had a physical subscription to Newtype and a digital standing order for Famitsu for a few years) but again, it's dropped off. Whenever I have tried buying a UK magazine recently it's turned into a big ordeal with phone calls to multiple book shops to locate stock or ordering straight from the publisher because there's such a glut of nonsense filling shelves that niche titles often come and go too quickly for me to buy them.

It feels as though recent UK magazines have nosedived in quality compared to the glory days with a lot of the parts I found most engaging transitioning to the Internet, leaving behind a jumble of reviews and outdated memes with the odd dodgy pinup image of some popular show or other. I've still got most of my magazine collection in boxes and leafing through them is a wonderful snapshot of an era.

I never got on with MyM and the issues of Neo I bought in the past didn't exactly rock my world; how's it doing these days? Would you recommend Otaku USA? Sometimes it's nice to just get something in the post and curl up in a duvet to absorb every page instead of flitting around between the most clickbaity articles online. I discovered a lot of new content through Animerica back in the day when trying each new show was a significant personal investment (it was a huge advertising medium for Viz titles!) but nowadays it's so easy to sample everything via streaming that I need other reasons to get excited.

R
 

awadama fever

Za Warudo
@Professor Irony I know what you mean - I struggle to get rid of magazines, because I always think I'll regret it and won't be able to get them again. 😅

Years ago, I got rid of a load of old Neos (from #1) and now I wish I'd kept them. I've got a few boxes of old Nintendo magazines that I haven't looked at in ages and I know I should probably offload them - but then I convince myself that I'll wish I still had them in about 10 years.

@Rui TBH, Neo isn’t really much different nowadays (they’ve only mildly tweaked the formula over the years). I think they probably have a bit more focus on Asian cinema than they used to (there was a feature on Korean movies recently), but in general it’s pretty standard stuff.

It doesn’t try to be funny or cool or anything like that, but it does have quite a few interesting features and the presentation is very slick and professional.

I think it’s nice to just have a change from staring at a screen sometimes, which is part of why I like getting it (though the font size seems to be shrinking every year 😅).

Subscriptions are also pretty reasonable. I got a 12-issue sub for £35, with a free Blu-ray thrown in. The BD is currently £20 on Amazon (and I would have got it eventually), so it’s like I’ve paid £15 for a whole year of the magazine (it’s £4.99 per issue), which is pretty nice.

Otaku USA is enjoyable, but it recently went up from £4.99 to £6.99 (just after I subscribed, thankfully). I personally don’t think it’s really worth £7 per issue - especially because it comes out every two months now, so it ends up feeling a bit out of date with news and stuff.

It’s still a nice way to pass an hour or two and it’s probably the most similar to Animerica (but it’s not just a Viz promo catalogue!). Every issue has some manga in the middle too (usually a chapter from one or two series), so that’s something nice to check out.

It’s pretty hard to find though - I’ve only ever found it in one branch of WH Smith and UP1 stopped selling it because hardly anyone was buying it. 😅
 

CommanderZx2

Great Teacher
I don't think I've ever seen an anime magazine in person, long ago I used to occasionally buy magazines but I don't ever recall seeing an anime centric one within the various outlets like WHS. Pretty much every magazine I bought in the past has gone out of business.

It's a shame but is entirely inevitable as anything printed is already old news by the time it is released unless they some how manage to have exclusive information.
 

Dai

Straw Hat Pirate
I used to read Manga Mania religiously in the 90s. It started publication a few months after I first saw Akira, so I have the full set, except for maybe one or two issues at the end when it underwent a disastrous shift in editorial direction and tried to be 'edgy' with a cringe-inducing mix of pin-up photo-shoots, articles about John Carpenter movies, and almost nothing about anime or manga. Up until then it was fantastic though, and I owe practically all of my early anime knowledge to that one publication. The first time I saw a picture of a Gundam was in Manga Mania issue 1, and I remember thinking that it didn't stand a chance of being released in the UK, which remained the case for the next couple of decades.

I switched to Animerica for a few years after Manga Mania died, then Manga Max, and Newtype USA when that started. Newtype USA seemed like a dream come true at first, since I'd previously only ever owned one issue of the Japanese Newtype that I bought at a convention. Unfortunately, a review that made some dismissive remarks about Evangelion in the first issue caused a reader backlash, resulting in an overly cautious reviewing style going forward. Even the worst anime on the market ended up with glowing puff piece reviews, which made it useless for informing purchases. Between that and the easy availability of anime information and reviews online by the mid 00s, I dropped the last of my magazine subscriptions and never looked back.
 

Shadow Cat

Stand User
Only one I've read is Neo Magazine and it was... ok quality. The problem with Anime magazines is most of the info is out of date by the time its published and unlike other hobbies (Example, model railway that have a lot more diverse content) the content in Anime Magazines are usually covered in far better ways online.

Rather than a 4 page spread of airing Anime in a Magazine, post like Grav's Seasonal Anime gives far more up to date information in an easy to read format. General information about upcoming releases, delays and reviews on this site are amazing. And the community as a whole here is more than enough that I would never feel the need to read Anime Magazines for information

Bit off topic but @Rui you've managed to find some really great people to help with the site, writing this post has made me think just how much you folk have done for the community. Thank You Team AUKN

And things, including 2012 is the reason I wouldn't be interested in picking up another copy of Neo, but thats a whole different story alltogether
 

Girls with Guns

Dragon Knight
The only anime magazine I get is the Japanese Newtype magazine, but only when I order anime from Amazon JP, about 3-4 times a year. I purchase the magazine mainly for its size, so that when the anime ships with it, Amazon will shrink wrap the anime and the magazine to a sheet of cardboard and glue it to the bottom of the box, so the anime is much better protected from shipping damage. I refer to this as Amazon JP's plank-in-a-box shipping, lol. Even though I can't read the Japanese in the magazine, there are lots of posters, calendars, clear files, and foldout artwork that still makes the magazine worthwhile to get, and not just useful for shipping!
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
I used to read Manga Mania

I have a few Manga Mania issues as well, now that you mention it. I think a big part of the appeal with it was that they used to print actual manga, which I seem to remember went away when they tried to rebrand, so perhaps the rebranding was an attempt to compensate for the lack of comics.

The US Raijin magazine did a similar thing by printing older manga from the Jump in the mid/late 00s, but I only ever managed to get one issue of that, and I think it didn't last too long (maybe two years?). If they still ran something like that, I might be tempted to buy it, but I get the impression that probably the profit from sales just wasn't enough to justify paying for the rights to run the content.
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
Bit off topic but @Rui you've managed to find some really great people to help with the site, writing this post has made me think just how much you folk have done for the community. Thank You Team AUKN

I wish I could take credit but I'm mostly just the forum police, the reviewers, news posters, editors and overseers never get as much credit as they deserve. We have been blessed with an unusually wonderful team here (and an unusually respectful community, making my job super easy!)

R
 

Dai

Straw Hat Pirate
I have a few Manga Mania issues as well, now that you mention it. I think a big part of the appeal with it was that they used to print actual manga, which I seem to remember went away when they tried to rebrand, so perhaps the rebranding was an attempt to compensate for the lack of comics.
It was way ahead of its time in being a UK-based manga anthology. They printed the complete run of Akira, for example, and parts of some other high profile series like Appleseed.
 

awadama fever

Za Warudo
I forgot all about Raijin! I only managed to get one issue of that too - I've still got a load of the American version of Jump though.

It was pretty hard to get hold of at first (I had to get it via some kind of special order with Forbidden Planet), but eventually Borders started selling it.

Jump was absolutely amazing (I thought it was anyway) when it started. Before that, I'd been buying the monthly Viz Dragon Ball and DBZ comics (I think the stories would still be running now - 20 years later - considering the pace they were going at) but Jump was a massive...uh...jump up from that. It had DBZ and Yu-Gi-Oh and One Piece and Yu Yu Hakusho (and Sandland) and it was just the absolute coolest thing at the time.

The occasional free Yu-Gi-Oh card helped too.

I never got Manga Mania (it looks like it finished just before I got interested in anime), but I remember seeing it in shops. I'd never even heard of Anime UK until now! 😅
 

Neil.T

Titan
Does anyone else here still buy any of these magazines?
I do, yeah; NEO magazine on occasion. I've had to resolve not to buy any more issues for the time being, though. I've got one that I've barely started on and another two I haven't. 😬

But yeah, I'm kinda spoiled with AUKN now; I get my anime news hot off a still-smoking press, while newly airing shows don't get a mention in NEO until a couple of months in.

I used to only know what anime was available in the UK from what was on the shelves in HMV, then discovering NEO magazine shifted that point further upstream with their reviews of titles that weren't yet released, along with a look at shows that were currently broadcasting on Japanese TV, and now thanks to the Internet I'm reading about a new anime before it's even begun production. 🤷‍♂️

Print media will never be able to compete with that, but it has its own strengths — Jonathan Clements' contributions to NEO, for example, or their current Man in Japan, Mark Guthrie. I like him.
 

Doctorkev

Brigade Leader
I also got into Manga Mania at about the same time as Akira was broadcast on BBC2. I think the first issue I bought was 15 or 16 - when they switched to a square bound format. I eventually picked up all the issues I’d missed in a job lot from eBay. I still have them all in my attic!

I recall the disastrous rebranding exercise in the final issues too. Some of those horrible photo covers still give me the shivers even now when I think about them. Manga Max was a good reboot of the title, but it didn’t last any more than about 20 issues. I think Manga Mania ran for 46.

Manga Mania ran all sorts of stuff, mostly sub-licensed from Dark Horse, with a few Viz titles in there too. Every issue from 1-37 included a lengthy Akira chapter. They also ran some Appleseed and a few chapters of Ghost in the Shell. They even ran a couple of issues of Mamoru Oshii’s Hellhounds manga, part of his multimedia Kerberos saga. Some issues even experimented with their own translations of a few Lupin III chapters. Adam Warren’s manga-style Dirty Pair comics were also featured (they were hilarious).

Anime UK had 2 volumes - the first was more like a fanzine and was before my time, but I got every issue of the second volume before it ceased publication. Its articles tended to be more in depth than Manga Mania’s, but it didn’t reprint manga.

Neo Magazine was a good replacement for Manga Max, though the past few years I have subscribed to it digitally rather than buying it in paper form. My house is running out of space! My local corner shop and Tesco both sell Neo, though, so there is no difficulty buying it where I live in Aberdeen.

MyM always seemed a bit juvenile to me, so after the first few issues I stopped bothering with it.

Raijin Comics was a bit odd. It didn’t last that long - it was initially weekly, but the final few issues were monthly. I don‘t think they managed to attract anywhere near the readership they needed to remain viable. They ran Fist of the Blue Sky and Slam Dunk, among many other titles.

Viz’s Manga Vizion was pretty good, filled with some fairly obscure manga most folks will have forgotten about now, like Ogre Slayer and Steam Detectives. I think it was the first US manga anthology, though Mixxzine was around at the same time. I never ever got that one though, my local comic shop didn’t stock it.

Viz’s original magazine Animerica was ok, but I found the articles in American magazines to be overly positive fluff pieces that weren’t always that informative. I much preferred the manga-filled spin-off Animerica Extra, though due to licensing reasons it became unavailable in the UK towards the end of its run. I had to buy a huge bulk order of back issues from the US and have them shipped over to the UK at great expense.

Viz’s Pulp Magazine was fantastic - though similarly difficult to get in the UK. I visited Canada in 2001 and spent a fortune scouring comic shops in Ontario for back issues. I managed to find them all eventually. This was where Banana Fish started its serialisation and also my first exposure to Junji Ito via the incredible Uzumaki.

Dark Horse’s Super Manga Blast had some great manga, though some of them were left sadly unfinished after it folded. Shadow Star (Narutaru) in particular got very interesting - but extremely dark later on, and having read scanlations since then I struggle to see how Dark Horse could have continued with it.

By the time Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat were being published, they were almost impossible to get in the UK due to Viz Comic’s awful licensing restrictions (the same fate befell Dark Horse’s manga like Blade of the Immortal‘s single issue comics) so I gave up trying to track down international sellers willing to send overpriced issues to me. I did get all 24 issues of Yen Press’ Yen+ anthology before it went down an all-digital route though. It had an interesting mix of Japanese and Korean comics, including Higurashi - When They Cry and Black Butler.

One day I’ll probably write some detailed overviews on my blog about all of these magazines, because they contained a wealth of material that have mostly been forgotten. That might be a lot of work though!
 

Doctorkev

Brigade Leader
Oh yeah, I quite liked Video Girl Ai - not sure if I ever read the end of it though. Did it continue after the end of the magazine?

Revolutionary Girl Utena‘s manga ran in Animerica Extra too - it took me almost 20 years to see the anime because it wasn’t released here until last year! By then I’d forgotten most of what happened in the manga. I keep meaning to go back to my old issues to read it again but I’m scared I’ll be sucked into a Classic Manga Vortex and may never be able to escape. Whole entire days tend to disappear when I start leafing through these old things...
 

cudwieser

Student Council President
It's been time since I last read an anime mag. As it stands the only Mag I've any involvement with is Otaku USA and it's their newsletter more so than the mag. The last I read Neo was years ago now. I'm actually content not to by physical media as while I still keep a few choice issues, there comes a time to let go.
 

Ian Wolf

Symphogear
AUKN Staff
My favourite anime magazine was MyM for one very simple reason: I wrote for it. I was their manga critic for all 71 issues. I did have one cover feature which was for Haruhi Suzumiya. For some considerable period, it was the only paid job I had, but it was not enough to keep me off the dole what with the work basically being part time.
 

awadama fever

Za Warudo
Oh yeah, I quite liked Video Girl Ai - not sure if I ever read the end of it though. Did it continue after the end of the magazine?
I found this site with loads of information (and some scans) about Animerica (and Extra) - it looks like VGA stopped appearing in the magazine with the last issue of 2003 and didn't continue into 2004.

I can't figure out if that was the end of the series or if they just lost interest, because the contents page just had vague one-sentence descriptions instead of chapter numbers - and I'm not sure if they only ever printed a single chapter per issue or not, so I can't really count along the issue numbers 😅

It was a really great series anyway - the printed books are pretty hard to find now, but I read the whole thing digitally. if you haven't already read it, you might like I''s too (from the same guy). It hasn't got the supernatural video tape element, but it's pretty similar to Ai other than that!
 
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