By Jeremy Kahn
Comic companies are slowly moving towards the digital era. Face it, print is slowly becoming obsolete. As much as we hate to state this, more and more print based companies are making the move to digital, releasing both digital and print based works or just one or the other. Today there are many opportunities out there for comic enthusiasts to get their comic fix. From the popular Comixology, to the dedicated comic company apps (DC has one, Marvel, Archie, IDW, Dark Horse, Blue Water, Archana, Dynamite and so many more). While comic companies have been making this transaction to digital, so have companies releasing the comic’s counterpart, manga. VIZ, Square Enix, and Yen Press have all made their manga digitally available.
As many are aware, compared to the multitude of manga that gets translated and released overseas there are still tons more that never see the light of day outside their native homeland. Those interested in these types of manga usually have to resort to either learning the language the manga was written in, or finding a scanlation of it online. The latter of these two options is more often than not frowned upon. To some though, it is the only way to read some great (and not so great) stories that they might never get a chance to. This is where JManga comes in.
JManga works in a similar vein to JComi. Created by Akamatsu Ken (“Love Hina”, “Negima”), JComi, in participation with other manga artists, collects manga works old and new, making them available to read for free (the whole site is supported by an ad based payment system). Recently there has been a call for people to register and, for those willing, to translate selected manga to other languages.
JManga is an English based site-currently in its beta phase-that provides manga that would normally never be seen outside of Japan. These manga are translated and made available for a monthly fee of $10 (other payment systems available). The way this works is, each manga, or the chapters that make it up, cost points. Every month when you are credited the $10 you are given a set amount of points to spend on any manga or chapters you want. If you run out of points you can add more by buying points in $5 increments. Right now when you sign up you are given extra points as a bonus.
If at any point you wish to stop your charges you can switch over to a free account which lets you read your previously bought manga without being charged the monthly fee. The only down side is you can’t buy anything without being on a monthly charge. Still, switching between the monthly charge and the free account is as easy as clicking one button.
Manga is updated every Tuesday. The only problem is, while the manga is updated, not everything becomes available to purchase. What this means is, when new manga are added a lot of times it is just a preview of a manga. You sometimes have to wait longer for the actual manga to be added. Right now there are tons of previews but not many actual manga. Of course, the site is just in the beta phase right now. What is there does show promise. There is, or looks to eventually be, a lot of variety. The site does require a constant Internet connection, which could turn people off. But for a chance to read some obscure manga we might never had the chance to, this is definitely a good start.