If you live in an apartment or are still living with your parents, you probably understand a common struggle: The lack of living space and places to put your manga. While owning all of One Piece or Naruto is a dream—one we will try to obtain one day—the sheer amount of volumes can eventually cause your living quarters to become a living chaos. Thankfully, omnibus—the act of taking multiple volumes of a series and compressing them to a smaller number—can usually help clear up space all while keeping a series in tact for you. However, is omnibus the best way to go all the time? Let us examine if you should be buying omnibus all the time and why it can also be a pretty bad idea at the end of the day.
Few volumes versus dozens
The first element that makes omnibus so great is as we described above. Instead of owning 10 or 12 volumes of a series, an omnibus can make that large number dwindle to 1 or 3 volumes. Omnibus are great for those who want to read several volumes of a series on the go but equally don’t want to bring several volumes with them on a bus, plane or train. Omnibus tend to be neat and compact making them perfect for travel and for reducing clutter on a neat manga bookshelf.
Let’s do some math real fast readers. Most manga can range from $12.99—in the states at least—to $14.99 or even more if the volumes are bigger. Omnibus tend to be around $20-$25 dollars but only end up usually being 1-3 volumes. Thus, if you get 12 volumes of a $15-dollar series you’re looking at a grand sum of $180—not including taxes and or other fees if you buy online—which can really eat up a paycheck or allowance. Going with the omnibus versions will save your pockets and equally save your cash for even more manga expenses if you so desire.
Here’s where the biggest issue of omnibus editions comes into the limelight. Often, omnibus are pretty horrendous in quality. This makes sense when you’re taking 4-5 or even more volumes and compressing it down into one book but if you’re critical of your manga panels looking sharp and neat, omnibus will disappoint greatly. The best example of a terrible omnibus comes in the form of Death Note’s omnibus collection. Not only does the condensed size make each panel look weaker than the original, but the manga themselves are poorly bound leaving the spine to take a lot of wear after only a few reads. Saving money might be good sometimes but quality can often triumph over quantity.
Lack of that collector’s feel
In large part, collecting a large manga series is like a victory and showing of your manga devotion. Buying a large series that goes into 20+ volumes might cost you an arm and a leg—especially if the volumes become rare—but displaying them on your mantle/shelf is a truly awesome feeling. Omnibus removes that collector feel by having you only show maybe one or two omnibus of a particular franchise and can kind of feel like a halfhearted experience. The HighSchool of the Dead omnibus look incredible due to their amazing colored art pages and displays but often, omnibus use simple images or even singular ones—again Death Note for example—which don’t look as impressive.
Omnibus are great in many ways, especially when a series you love becomes hard to collect or if you need some serious space in your life. However, as great as omnibus are, there are an equal amount of problems that arise with buying them. We advise all manga readers to check the quality of the omnibus first and make sure they really want to buy an omnibus over maybe buying a whole series singularly or in collectors’ boxes, which series like Tokyo Ghoul and Bleach have. Are you a fan of omnibus editions? Comment below to let us know and or if you despise omnibus. For more articles like this one, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime.