Viz Media, North America’s largest manga distributor, has unveiled a new app, Viz Manga, featuring English versions of popular Japanese manga from Shogakukan and Shueisha. The launch marks the first time that English translations will be available alongside Japanese editions from these publishers on the digital platform. And fans can access it for just $2 a month.
Viz aims to create a convenient option to meet demand in North America, where the wait can sometimes be up to two years for a manga series to be released in English. The move will also help prevent piracy and ensure that authors and creators receive proper credit. Illegal “scanlations” became widespread and created a market for impatient fans looking for unofficial translations of their favorite manga. While Viz will begin releasing the app with works from Shogakukan and Shueisha, readers can count on seeing titles from other publishing houses in the future.
Subscribers can comb through more than 10,000 chapters in the app, which is available for Android and iOS. Viz Manga has 15 titles offered in English for the first time, including the latest releases from Rumiko Takahashi, Haro Aso and Tomohito Oda. As a perk, the most recent three chapters of these 15 works can be accessed for free.
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Manga fans can also tap into Yashahime: Princess Half Demon and titles from creators like Junji Ito, Inio Asano, Arina Tanemura and Taiyō Matsumoto. Here’s an example of what you’ll find in the Viz Manga library:
- Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
- Case Closed
- Insomniac After School
- Komi Can’t Communicate
- Black Lagoon
- Persona 5
- Fly Me to the Moon
- Sleeping Princess of the Demon Castle
Viz plans to release weekly chapters from each publisher at the same time they appear in Japan, allowing subscribers to choose from a variety of genres such as fantasy, school life, comedy, horror, LGBTQ and drama. Users have the ability to bookmark their favorites, download titles, make purchases and sync content across multiple devices.
This isn’t the company’s first foray into the app world. A previous iteration of a Viz manga app enabled users to purchase individual volumes, while this new version gets subscribers access to the entire library — for a price. Viz Media also owns the Shonen Jump app, and the combined catalog between the two services currently totals around 25,000 chapters, with more to come.
For fans of manga “streaming,” Viz Manga’s digital library will be an attractive option in a market where people are eager for English translations. Its biggest rival today is CrunchyrollKodansha’s digital manga service and Kodansha’s upcoming English-language platform, K Manga.