Here recently in the past few years it seems like society has become more and more obsessed with junk, or at least old second hand items. The topic of junk items have appeared in music such as Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”, TV Shows like American Pickers, Storage Wars, or Pawn Stars, and it is even prevalent in the Hipster sub-culture who proclaim how innovative they are in their style though they obtain the articles of style from second hand shops and such. It’s easy to see that rummaging has been a large part of human culture throughout time. As the saying goes one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Even anime at times has tackled the topic of junk hunting. In the anime Gundam ZZ, the main protagonist Judau Ashta is a junk dealer, and even at one point in the show as a spoof of the gundam franchise they replace the head of the Gundam from the previous series with a scrap head from a Zaku after it is damaged. In Gundam 0080, a mobile suit that was used in the last fateful battle of the series was rebuilt from junk parts. In Cowboy Bebop, the crew of the bebop hunt down a VCR from a man selling them as antiques though as Spike says, it’s just a bunk of “junk”. Junk has had its place in several different anime, and for various reasons. Though it’s usually for one episode, a character has to rummage to find something useful to them.
As anime fans, we tend to have a little bit of a collector in us. We like things, whether it is collecting DVDs, manga volumes, figures, or any other sort of anime memorabilia. The fact is that we like to have things. We like to have things so we can show it to our family or friends, or just to take the simple personal pleasure in having said in our possession. The thing about anime though, is that it can get really expensive. Anime boxsets often retail between thirty and seventy American dollars or even more depending on the rarity of the anime. For example, the licensed boxset for the second season of Big O is going for over two hundred American dollars on ebay. Needless to say, anime can be an expensive hobby.
Now you’re probably wondering how all of this relates, and what it comes right down to is an experience I had recently over the weekend, and it involves my best friend. My best friend, is a junk man, and he spends much of his days riding around in truck scouring the side of the road for junk that people have tossed. Ninety-Nine percent of the time he hunts for metal, and scraps it as a source of income, but every once in a while I receive a phone call where he says: “Hey, I found something you might find interesting.” Now before you all go to thinking: “He had to steal that” understand that I’ve been on junk trips before with him, and you would not believe some of the things that people throw away. I once found a complete set of encyclopedias on the side of the road, all in excellent condition. I’ve found a box full of toy NERF guns (darts and all) that were recent models. I also found a stack of board games, some even unopened, just tossed out for the trash man to pick up and take to the landfill.
With that in mind, I once again received that phone call where my friend tells me he found something I may like. This time though he said it was a box of video game manuals and Anime DVDs. At first I didn’t think it would be much, but I even found myself surprised with what he brought. Just have a look at this picture.
In this bundle we have the first two seasons of Ranma ½, the perfect collection Excel Saga boxset, the first three DVDs for Witch Hunter Robin, and the first DVD for Ergo Proxy. I remember seeing these boxsets on the shelf at best buy for forty dollars, but now these are all mine and I got them completely for free. Now I won’t lie and say they are in perfect condition, because the DVDs do have a few scratches on them, but other than that it’s in impeccable condition. The boxsets look as sleek as ever, and there is no damage to the cases, and they still have their inserts. I’m not certain if they play yet, but that is a venture I will look into soon. Still it is amazing enough that a treasure such as this was simply found on the side of the road.
So to all of my fellow anime fans and friends, don’t ever look down on your local junk man, dumpster diver, or pack rat. Instead befriend them, learn what they are all about, and let them learn a little about you. In the end, you’ll have a great friend, and every once in a while that friend might drop something pretty cool off at your house. Believe it’s totally worth it. Happy Hunting guys!