We get it. There are a trillion subscription boxes out there, and within that trillion are what seems to be a million anime-themed crate boxes that sell you surprise
junk.. erm, I mean.. collectible items. Some of the items are valuable and useful, while some, well, let’s face it, end up collecting dust in your closet. Nonetheless subscription boxes are the perfect way for an anime fan to buy a surprise gift for his or herself. But while there are many anime crates to choose from, what about manga?
So far, Manga Spice Cafe is the only subscription box service out there that caters to the manga fans of anime fandom. Sure, the other boxes may include a manga here and there to boost the value of their crate. But with this particular service, you get at least 3 brand new printed manga. And that’s not all. Let’s take a look at what MSC brings to the table and why you should give it a try:
Pristine Newly Released Printed Manga
Any manga fan who has shopped on Amazon recently may have noticed just how the bookselling giant ships their books. Poorly. We did an Amazon test of our own. 9 times out of 10, packers at the company shoved the books into bubble mailers. We had books show up nicked, scuffed, with torn and bent covers. The manga got roughed up and we weren’t happy.. For a manga collector, especially for ones who like to take pictures of their books, this isn’t a pretty sight. There are other online bookstores with better shipping habits, but chances are if you only buy 3 books at a time, they’ll still be packed in a bubble mailer.
What’s nice about Manga Spice is that the books are wrapped in plastic and packed in a box. There’s no cutting cost on packaging with mailers and your books are protected. Another plus is that you receive recently released, first volume manga. And the 3 manga you get are a mix of genres, so if you’re into the idea of surprises (what sub crates are all about), then you’ll be exposed to titles you may not have otherwise picked up. Trust me, this is a good thing as the Manga Spice Cafe team carefully curates the items in the box. You’re bound to love something in it.
Ah so what if you get manga you already own, or manga you don’t like? Simple. Sell it, return what you’ve got to the bookstore or ship it back to Amazon, and use that extra money to buy MORE manga. Another option is to gift it to a friend you’ve been meaning to get hooked on your passions. Or keep the extra as the “untouchable” collector’s item. You have options.
The only downside to getting manga through this service is that it’s only monthly. But if Manga Spice Cafe continues to grow, they may even go bi-weekly at some point.
Delicious Snacks and Drink
It really is a manga cafe in a box! The snacks are tasty, full-sized, and add to the value of the crate. From what we’ve seen in past crates, the books pretty much equal the cost of the box service itself and the snacks are a nice freebie. At real-life manga cafes in Japan, you can check out manga and also buy food and drinks to devour while you read. Some places even have cubicle-like rooms with couches and showers so you can stay overnight. But if you can’t make it to Japan, when this box shows up at your door, you can literally create your own manga cafe. Past crates have included flavored Ramune sodas, milk tea, powdered fizzy drinks, packs of gummy and hard candy, jello, cream-filled cakes, Pocky, Panda cookies, chips, and even full Yakisoba noodle meals with chopsticks and straws. They don’t limit themselves to just Japanese snacks either; you get to taste Korean, Chinese, and other Asian brand name goodies as well.
As if getting new manga and yummy snacks and drinks weren’t enough, you’re also served by an original anime maid character who greets on the cover of the info sheet. The entire contents is wrapped in tissue paper, thus the maid is the first thing you see. Manga Spice Cafe merges the idea of manga cafe and maid cafe into one. And the maids (who supposedly packed your box) have personalities that match the theme. The artwork is high-quality too. This level of consideration for the unboxing experience is yet another reason why we are recommending this box.
Supporting the Artists and Publishers
If you’ve read Kotaku.com’s article recently on illegal manga scans online and how they affect publishers and artists (it’s a good read, check it out here), you’ll understand the kind of impact you as a buyer has on the entire cycle. It’s understandable the reason translators translate manga scans to bring titles to an audience that wouldn’t otherwise see it. But it can also limit the publishers’ decisions to take on titles already illegally translated. It may also limit the number of books the publishers will have printed. If more readers buy manga, more titles may be considered and sooner. You can support the industry by deciding to buy, and put money in the pockets of the artists who create the manga you read.
Who are the manga artist you are supporting? Sometimes there isn’t even an artist bio in the book, resulting in readers never really getting to know the face behind the art. This is where the info sheet in your Manga Spice Cafe box comes in. Each month the crate team researches and writes artist bios for every included manga. You get to see their faces and what they have accomplished previously to get to the finished work of manga you now hold in your hands.
The Overall Experience
Having listed all the great reasons for trying a manga subscription such as Manga Spice Cafe, the final reason is all of these positives combined. The box itself is a well-rounded experience for manga and anime fans. It engages all of your senses, from popping open a fizzy Ramune to curling up on the couch with a bag of Korean chips to read your manga. There is physical and sentimental value throughout this crate, and this is why we highly reccomend you try it for yourself!
You can subscribe to the latest box at mangaspicecafe.com