If I've followed the calender correctly, today should be the one year anniversary of my joining the blog with the Manga Before Flowers column. Thanks to MarkAndrew to bringing me on board and Brian for being so welcoming and supportive. I've had wonderful experiences here, as I've tried to learn how to review manga for a diverse audience but also share my thoughts on manga fandom in the U.S.
I still love manga as much as I did a year ago and I think I've definitely broadened my horizons -- I've come to really enjoy seinen titles like Berserk, Real, and Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and have found much joy in wacky-shonen titles. Reborn and Gintama probably being my favorites, but re-release of Slam Dunk has also convinced me shonen can rock in so many different ways. I also learned how to appreciate *and* love Tezuka's work. (I think I appreciated the man's craft but this was definitely the year I stopped worrying about the legend and learned to love reading Tezuka as entertainment). I'm definitely not just a hardcore shojo-lover anymore.
I've also stayed true to my own very beloved corner of manga fandom -- I've tried to mention Fumi Yoshinaga (my particular manga goddess), Kyoko from Skip Beat (my favorite manga heroine of all time), or After School Nightmare (one of the best shojo titles currently available in English) at least once a week. I may not have succeeded but god knows I certainly tried....
At times, I vented my frustration with companies who aren't doing so well with communicating with their fanbase or even publishing manga, perhaps a little unfairly. I've also tried to spot light under-appreciated companies that often put out amazing titles that can be neglected on-line or even in the bookstore (CMX, CMX, CMX!)
I've meet or electronically conversed with awesome manga bloggers, who write and produce wonderful reviews and commentary on-line (Deb Aoki, Melinda Beasi, and Michelle Smith) and continued to enjoy and try to emulate the work of others from afar (Brigid Alverson, Matt Brady, Kate Dacey, Johanna Draper Carlson, David Welsh).
I didn't get to contribute as many reviews or columns as I wanted to but found this forum a great place to share my love of manga. Thanks to everyone who read, commented, gave suggestions or just helped me mind my p's and q's. I look forward to another year of discussing great comics that just happened to be published "backwards"!