Just as our access to anime has evolved over the years, from trading copies of VHS tapes among friends (a trend that’s returned?) to DVDs/Blu-Rays to digital streaming, so has the art of anime collecting. I’ve certainly seen it in my own habits, and I’ve had stages, too, in how I’ve approached collecting. I was once committed to creating a vast library of DVDs before deciding to get rid of all but a few choices pieces*; I’m now somewhere between those two extremes, while also occasionally purchasing other otaku pieces, like figures. And with the plethora of clothing options out there these days, I can’t resist picking up a Cowboy Bebop t-shirt or a Totoro backpack or an Attack on Titan facemask (though whether I can pull it off is another story).
When I consider adding another piece to my collection, it’s always with thought these days. I ask myself a number of questions: Is this a wise use of money? Do I have the space? Will I still like this piece in five years? Ten? Am I better off just streaming? Should I use my resources elsewhere?
Ultimately, I hope to reflect on why I’m developing this collection and how each DVD set, each anime figure, fits into that idea. I’ve been more haphazard about all this in the past—and there’s nothing wrong with that—but I’m more thoughtful these days. My reasons are nothing special, and they fit among the many others that otaku have—because of the feeling that you want to own what you love, because of obsession, because of that desire to hunt down those rare pieces, or just for the fun of it.
But what of you? Why do you collect? And what do you collect (anime, figures, games, clothing, etc.)? Check out photos from my collection below and share your answers with us, and links to photos of your collection if you have them!
*A problem with getting rid of your collection is that A) you grimace when realizing you’ve wasted money (bye, bye all that money spent on Tenchi Universe, Rurouni Kenshin, and Oh! My Goddess) and B) you grimace again when you purchase some pieces back (Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain).