Two years of Experiments in Manga? Some days it seems like I just started writing, and other days it seems like I've been doing this forever. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose two years really isn't that long, but it's still an accomplishment. I do get discouraged from time to time, but for the most part, I am quite pleased with my work over the last year. Although there's certainly room for improvement, I think I've done all right.
Probably the one thing that I am most proud of from the past year was the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast. I have been regularly participating in the Manga Moveable Feast since beginning Experiments in Manga, but this was the first time that I actually hosted the event. It was nerve-wracking, and I stressed out about it, but ultimately it was a great experience. I've even volunteered to host again. The Furuya Feast also resulted in another first for Experiments in Manga: An Examination and Appreciation of the Works of Usamaru Furuya was the first, and so far only, guest post that I've had the pleasure to host. It actually gets more page hits than a lot of my own work.
I have had popular posts of my own, though. One post that people seem to find particularly useful is about podcasts that feature manga. This was actually a continuation of another podcast post that I wrote during the first year of Experiments in Manga. Both of these posts continue to be very popular. Another big hit was the result of my love of making lists and the publication of Paul Gravett's 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Manga. I put together a spreadsheet of the comics from Japan that were included in the book. I had a tremendous amount of fun compiling the information. It's a useful resource that I continue to refer to myself. And I do try to keep it up to date as more of the the titles in the list are licensed.
Right now, Experiments in Manga mostly consists of reviews and the My Week in Manga feature, but I'd like to try to incorporate more variety in the future. This past year I made a point to make Library Love a bimonthly feature in order to make sure that I actually got around to writing it. On the "off" months, I try to include some sort of other feature that isn't a review, whether that be Random Musings on one subject or another, or less frequently a post about Discovering Manga or Finding Manga. I like writing these non-review posts and really should try include more.
I did post two reviews that for one reason or another seemed to draw some attention: Rohan at the Louvre and Welcome to the N.H.K. They were posted within days of each other, so maybe it was just a matter of good timing. Whatever the reason, I was particularly pleased with how these reviews turned out. The translator of Welcome to the N.H.K. even stopped by to comment. I like to think that my reviews have been improving the more that I write. There are certainly plenty that only turn out okay, but I do think in general the quality of Experiments in Manga has been improving.
Speaking of reviews, I have increased the number of in-depth manga reviews that I write each month. This is primarily the result of my project to review one volume of Blade of the Immortal each month. I'm just about halfway through the series (at least of what's available in English so far) and have a little over a year of reviews left to go. Focusing on a single series has been an interesting experience. Once I'm done with Blade of the Immortal I'll probably pick another manga to receive the same treatment. Most likely it will end up being a shorter series. I might even put it up for a vote.
There is so much that I want to write about that I'm considering upping the number of posts I write each month. Actually, over the past year I've already been consistently including about one "extra" post a month and sometimes more. The problem is the more I write, the less time I have to read, which in turn means that I have less to write about. Experiments in Manga is written entirely in my free time, so I'll need to find a balance that works, but I would like to start writing more.
Finally, I would like to thank all of my readers out there. Although I started Experiments in Manga mostly for myself, I very am glad that other people have found it useful and maybe even enjoyable on occasion. Thanks for sticking with me through it all or even just dropping by every once in a while. I hope I can continue to improve what I'm doing here at Experiments in Manga. Cheers, and thank you all!