To The Green Lanes Fish Bar for chips and a chat about manga with the comics-loving husband and wife team who do the frying. You know that these folks are into their manga and anime, because the walls of their chippie are covered in framed pics of manga characters. They also do a neat little sideline in toys and statues, lining up Japanese action figures for sale alongside the onion vinegar and ketchup. It's a strange combination. I wonder if they ever sell any of the toys.
The fellah is the real comics nut in this relationship. He tells me that he has been collecting since 1969 and fondly recounts the days when he used to go down to Forbidden Planet in Denmark Street for his fix of American comics. His interest in superheroes has waned since then, but he's still crazy for the manga, especially the Chinese stuff that he used to pick up in Hong Kong as a lad. I brag about the piles of comic-related tat that clog up my house, and his missus rolls her eyes as he tells me of his huge collection. He recommends something called Storm Riders to me, his favourite series, it's been going since the '60s apparently.
I confess that I don't know much about manga but recommend Uzumaki and The Drifting Classroom to him. He hasn't heard of either, and to be honest I doubt whether they'll be his cup of tea, but you never know. He has read 20th Century Boys and tells me that the film adaptation is also worth checking out.
I'm tempted to buy one of his robot man-toys, but I don't. I must resist the lure of man-toys. I pay for my chips - very nice they are too - and say goodbye.
Here are some exciting pics of the manga chippie...