Dr. M: Day One--My Very First Manga

My very first manga was borrowed from Shakespeare's already hefty collection over 10 years ago. I had watched some, very little to be honest, anime at that point, and one day as I was getting my hair colored by a friend Shakespeare popped in the dvd of Gravitation. My first reaction was...What is this weirdness? But one episode in and I was hooked on the story of a hyperactive, wanna-be, pop star and the obsessive love he held for an irascible, chain-smoking romance novelist.

Opening Theme to Gravitation the anime series

So, she loaned me the first 9 volumes of the manga series, which was then still in production through the now defunct Tokyo Pop. I didn't even know how to read them correctly. I was, and still am, an American comic fan, so the right-left orientation threw me for the first few volumes. Again, I was hooked. Gravitation  was my gateway drug to the world of manga.

After Gravitation the obsession hit hard. I was making monthly jaunts to another city where the selection of manga was bigger. I started keeping track of release dates and anxiously awaiting the next volumes. I scoured ebay for deals on sets and even glanced at a few doujinshi (fan-created mangas)...where I discovered something both awesome and awful. Murikami, the mangaka of Gravitation, had done her own unpublishably smutty doujinshi. I don't recommend the doujinshi (because ewh!), but I do recommend the manga series. It's cheesy, and hyper, and impossibly goofy, but it is also sweetly heart-felt, and tragic. I cheer for the good guys, shake my fist at the baddies, and laugh my way through main character Shuichi's bumbling attempts at love and success.

Tokyo Pop may be gone, but there are still plenty of copies of this long-running series to be found.

  Now listen to that intro video above and try not to dance.

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