Book: Kingyo Used Books, volumes 3 and 4
Author/illustrator: Seimu Yoshizaki
Published: Viz Signature
Pages: NOT ENOUGH
"So how many volumes are in this series?"
"I believe these are the last two translated into English."
"Not quite what I asked."
"...there are like twelve more in Japanese."
This is a series that gets exponentially more engaging as it goes along, adding defter details about how manga touches people's lives and also fleshing out the life of the manga troll in the bookstore's basement.
My favorite story here is the one where a dude is crushing on this girl who's a big "manga freak" (their words, not mine - you guys're all wonderful little weirdos to me) but he's nervous to ask her out because he's afraid he won't have enough in common to keep her interest.
But then when he finally blurts that out, she's all, "Maybe it's not about having everything in common but about being able to share our joys!"
ALL OF THE FEELS. IT'S SO TRUE.
So and then there's this great one about a tutor who wants to find something - anything - his professionally scornfully bored student will like. Nothing doing until he gives him this horror manga that scares a profound appreciation into the little bugger, and the manga clerk goes, "You know, sometimes the ugly stuff in life gives the beautiful stuff more meaning."
And then there's the story about a herd of Pointlessly Beautiful guys (again, their words, but the way they're drawn I can't argue) who are geeking out in the store and eventually make the homely dude spaz out about how they couldn't possibly be real geeks because they were too pretty. And the manga troll (who is actually one of the pretties - they just call him a troll because he camps out in their manga basement) follows him home and discovers the homely dude's huge collection of shojo and then gives him THE BEST SHOPPING BAG EVER specially reinforced with packing tape and cloth over the handles and the message is something like anybody can geek out over whatever they want but by the end I was way focused on that bag and how maybe I need a DIY project that will actually make my life more useful instead of just sticky around the edges.
And there's another story about a collection of men who have been waiting every day at the zoo to see a special wolf come out, and another story about a girl who draws a crowd of makeup enthusiasts to bond over the transformative powers of Sailor Moon, and guys, just read this series already.
Back to the library, and until I learn how to read Japanese or Viz relents and translates the rest of them for all the English-speaking used book nerds over here, this is it. But the power of books lives on!