Viz Launch iPad Manga App

By Ishaan . November 6, 2010 . 12:01pm


Viz have launched a manga app on the iTunes store for the iPad, the company announced earlier this week. While the Viz Manga App itself can be downloaded for free, the library of manga content will, naturally, require a fee.


The Viz Manga App’s library at debut consists primarily of shounen series. Bleach vols. 1-2, Death Note vols. 1-2, Dragon Ball vol. 1, Naruto vols. 1-2 and One Piece vols. 1-2, along with the recently licensed Bakuman vol. 1 were made available on launch day.


A week from launch, Viz will add popular shoujo series, Ouran High School Host Club to the line-up with vol. 1 joining their digital iPad portfolio.


All volumes will be available for download directly within the application itself for $4.99 per volume. At present, Death Note vol. 1 is available for free, as a means to allow users to sample the app.


Viz are promising regular and frequent updates to the Viz Manga App, going forward.

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  • Darn I guess its time for me to bite the bullet and get an iPad. I guess at the start of the new year. I could finally read series that I missed out, such as Death Note, the first 22 volumes of Bleach, the first 27 volumes of Naruto and Ouran High School Host Club (the twins are too hilarious!)It would be nice if they included colored manga pages like the issues in Japan.

    • You buy every game with Naruto in it as well as any game that gets any form of hype, and buy a huge number of manga. Now you’re going to buy the iPad. How can you afford all this while being a university student?

      • thaKingRocka

        he’s either slinging crack rock or he’s got a wicked jump shot.

      • Well Im on a Fellowship in grad school, so I get a salary, so I can afford all the stuff no problem.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          What’s the Fellowship you’re in? Something like Norwegian Students of University X?

    • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

      So you’re a huge fan of Naruto but you haven’t even read part 1 of the manga series? Strange

      • Im more an anime loyalist…but for Naruto, I had bought every episode as it was coming out dubbed on iTunes, then when they finished all those, I rushed out to buy all the manga volumes of Naruto that started after the 2 year training period and then now watch and read Naruto. I just loved the part 1 of the anime so much that Ive rewatched it so many times. I did the same for Bleach as well. The animes were excellent. I just never took up the chance to buy the older volumes…especially considering Viz keeps licensing more manga so I usually buy other series (Ultimo, Bakuman, and soon Psyren, and Ive been buying Fairytail and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles to) But now I buy and follow Naruto in the monthly shonen jump, as well as buying the volumes as they are released each season or so.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          Ah, fair enough. As long as you’ve experienced the story in one way or another. I will say that the manga is far superior, in my opinion at least. If you liked the anime, you should really like the manga.

  • thaKingRocka

    I’m surprised it took this long to get going, and I’m glad for it. However, I think it is a necessary failure of a first step. The iPad is far too limited as a device and as a market. The publishers should prepare their materials for other delivery services instead of trying to control both content and delivery. If they design their content for something like Kindle, which allows users to access content across devices, then I and many others will be spending considerably more money on comics. Marvel, DC, and other heavyweight publishers need to get on this too.

    • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

      The problem with the Kindle is that it couldn’t do comic pages. It has maybe three or four colors (read: shades of gray). The iPad can display things in millions of colors (or some number like that). It’s clearly a much better choice. Besides, it has a higher install base

      • malek86

        My old Matrox Mystique could do hundreds of colors. No wait, it could do 65.536. I don’t think I’ve ever had a video card which had less than 16 bits.The iPad should be 24 bit, which is 16 million colors. Or so I heard. There are people saying it has dithering (a sign of 16 bit screens), while others say it doesn’t. The specs say it’s 24 bit though…

        Edit: actually, I’ve just discovered that the Mystique could do 32 bit. That’s awesome. Old video cards ftw.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          Yeah, it was a joke that I guess wasn’t conveyed properly. You know, like saying that hundreds of colors for a device is a huge number. Like a kid saying to an old man, “Wow, you’re really old. Are you like 25?”

      • thaKingRocka

        Kindle is not just a device. It’s a delivery service. Kindle runs on a number of different devices, including the iPad.

        Even so, the Kindle can handle manga just fine. I’ve seen it in action with a few titles. Manga generally only use two of those hundred plus colors you were referring to, and the Kindle’s screen is perfectly capable of displaying them.

        Why would a publisher create a viewing application that only works on one oft-considered prohibitively expensive and extraneous device when they could reach far more people putting their work on a pre-existing successful marketplace? Put together all the Windows, Mac OS, Blackberry, Android, iPod, and iPad users, and you have a much wider audience.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          I own a Kindle device. I’ve tried reading manga on it. It’s true, manga really only does use two colors, but the Kindle just doesn’t seem to display it very well. I mean, if I had to choose between Kindle (device) manga and no manga, I’d go with the Kindle (device) because it’s still something, but it’s not like reading it on a computer or, for instance, and iPad.

          You’re assuming they’re never going to create an application on any of the other devices. Who’s to say they won’t? I’m sure they’re just testing the waters right now. And if it works, I haven’t a doubt in my mind they’ll expand the market. Besides, the iPod’s screen is perfect for comics, which is probably why they started there. Yeah, the iPod/iPhone install base is much higher, but it’s also more difficult to read comics on such a small device.

          Think about it this way. Marvel will probably sell more comics on their app than Viz. Viz probably knows this. So Marvel goes into the iPad waters first and shows that business can be made there. If Marvel goes into other device’s waters, and shows business can be made there, too, no doubt Viz will follow.

          • thaKingRocka

            If you buy it via Kindle, you can read it on whatever device you want to read it on. If you have access to your preferred device, you read it there. If not, you read it elsewhere. That’s the beauty of the Kindle service.

            “You’re assuming they’re never going to create an application on any of the other devices.”

            Actually, I was saying that they will eventually realize that they need to reach more people on more devices since the iPad is a niche market in a niche market, and that they might as well skip this first step. It’s more efficient to work out a model for displaying comics via the Kindle service since it’s already available for all the devices. I called developing a proprietary app on iPad “a necessary failure of a first step.” However, I don’t think it’s necessary if a company would simply employ a little foresight and be willing to make money without controlling every aspect of the business model.

            As for Marvel blazing the trail, it seems to me that manga publishers should be more willing to blaze this trail since their work doesn’t require much beyond black and white. I imagine they’d be more likely to make money since the Kindle device can display manga without much compromise. I had my friend load up his DX for me to check out, and I was impressed. The transition from page to page took a little long for my liking, but once the page was up, it looked great.

            Regardless of all that, we’re moving in the right direction. I’d just like to see it move faster, skipping steps that often take a year or more.

            Oh, and five bucks was my no-hesitation price for printed manga. It’s not a no-hesitation price for digital manga for me, but it’s still more attractive than the current price of printed manga; that’s for sure. Ten bucks for volume twelve of Slam Dunk over two years after volume one released at eight and fourteen years after the series completed its original run? Slower than molasses and an increased price, this is the Viz signing its own death warrant. I hope this digital approach improves things.

          • Aoshi00

            If so, that’s pretty cool, I never imagined manga would look good on Kindle even if it’s just B&W. $189 3G Kindle is definitely much easier to swallow than a $630 16Gb 3G iPad, though it’s kind of cool to watch Netflix and browse the net w/ iPad too..

  • karasuKumo

    Why not release it on the iPhone and iPod touch too? I hope they do, also if they released individual chapters weekly as fast as the fansubbers that would be nice.

    • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

      The screen is a lot smaller on the iPhone/iPod. They way they have it, you rotate the iPad and see both pages on screen at the same time. I guess they figure people don’t want to have to keep scrolling to read on page on an iPhone

      • Aoshi00

        I never thought of reading manga on a smart phone either, it’s what, 4″? One would need to zoom in/out, move across the panels, scroll up and down, etc, how could that ever be convenient and a pleasant experience? (I guess that’s why the PSP / DS manga thing never took off). W/ iPad though, it’s just perfect. $630 is a bit pricey at this point (if I’m ever getting one I don’t want to miss out on 3G, I might not pay the monthly fees, but it’s there if need be), not to mention iPad 2 would be out soon or something.. well, eventually I would get one if it’s still the best 10″ tablet out there, for manga, movies, and web browsing. The beauty of the iPad is it really emulates the experience of reading an actual book as closely as possible.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          *liked* My thoughts exactly

        • Do you think 7 inches is big enough? I remember seeing a rumor that there would be a 7 inch iPad mini or something.

          I just dislike the idea of getting an iPad (id get the biggest GB version so I could have all my episodes of Naruto Part 1 on it), and then paying to get the volumes, but I guess thats the bullet I will have to bite in order to enjoy more manga series.

          • Aoshi00

            I think 7″ is too small, that’s what Samsung and other competitors are coming out w/, more features (like USB port) than the iPad but smaller screen. If I’m getting a tablet, I don’t want to just read, I want to stream movies or browse the internet too. But 64Gb doesn’t come cheap, w/ 3G it would cost like almost $1000. For now the price is still a bit steep to invest in a tablet though.. because I really don’t feel like paying $15-30 monthly fees to watch movies on the road (I’m usually too tired and just sleep on the bus :) Even those iPhone games haven’t made me got an iPod Touch yet.. I actually don’t read that much manga these days, but the idea of streaming Netflix movies on a tablet is quite cool, that’s why I would want a 10″.

            BTW I just came back from watching MegaMind, great movie. I saw your friend Justin Bieber lol..

        • Joanna

          I have to agree here. I already find scrolling through a zoomed in page on my PC to be a pain in the behind, so I just can’t image how annoying it would be on the small screen of a phone. :/

  • That’s pretty cool. $5 for a volume’s fairly reasonable, since they’re $8-$10 otherwise.

    Now if only I had an iPad…

    • I agree. If I had an iPad, I’d get Viz’ series that way instead of waiting to see if they show up at Half Price Books for that price.

  • malek86

    I guess $5 for a volume is an ok price. But, I take it they’re yours forever, right? Not a rental. That would kinda suck.

    • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

      No, it’s not a rental. You download the free app, buy manga or free previews, and then it’s yours to keep.

      • Yours to keep in a digital world.

      • Joanna

        I really really hope we can save the files ourselves (I mean, that the app doesn’t force you to save in a certain place to be able to recognize it) because I’d be a lot more willing to dish out 5$ if I knew I could place them safely on a USB or SD card. After I had to reformat my computer, I’ve become paranoid about losing important data.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          I don’t think that’s how it works. I’m pretty sure that you buy it and then you download it as special Viz App data that can only be opened in the App. But they probably also have it linked to your account so if it does get deleted you can redownload it. The reason they probably don’t want you to have it on a USB or SD is because then you can share it with others. Others who didn’t pay for it :O

          • Joanna

            But that’s silly. When you buy a physical book, you can share it with others as well, others that haven’t payed for it. And others can log in as you to download what they haven’t payed for.

            It’s just my own personal preference. I feel like the usb key/SD card are like a book that I can plug into my ever-changing computer. Sort of why I like my save files to be separate (love cartridge based saves or memory cards). Ultimately not having the data stored in a separate harddrive won’t break the deal for me, but may make me more reluctant to purchase digital goods.

          • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

            Yes, you can share a physical book, but that’s because there’s no way to regulate it. With digital downloads, they can regulate it so, from a business standpoint, it makes sense for them to do so. And I’m pretty sure the “log in” is linked to your ipad or itunes account. I don’t know if you can just log in anywhere.

            I agree with paragraph 2 :@

          • Joanna

            If they do lock it to each device, I could see them benefiting. But otherwise, you can give your friends your username and password and they can get everything you have and vice versa. Now I’m not really in the know, but to lock an account to a certain computer, the program itself must access the computer’s address, right? But here is the problem. What if you have two computers? And what’s the difference between you having two computers and sharing your account with a friend on their computer? To me, it’s still possible (unless they lock it to a single computer, which would be really really silly and piss people off who upgrade or have multiple computers).

  • I just wonder why there is no PC app.

    There are a lot more PCs in service than Ipads.

    • Well they are offering an online component to the monthly Shonen Jump magazine (Bakuman and Toriko).

    • Joanna

      Yeah, I sure hope they add in PC support. Ipad is cool but I refuse to support Apple (they engage in too my planned obsolescence for my liking). And 5$ per volume is a little on the expensive side, but it’s still a good price.

      • $4.99 is expensive for volumes that normally retail for $9.99 – $12.99?! If the volume has 8 chapters then you are getting them for like 50 cents each one, just how low cost do you want it?

        • Code

          Yeahh, I’m agreeing with Tsuna here, and that doesn’t happen often >w< $5 is a pretty fair price if you ask me considering in paper form there often $10-$13. But yeah seriously I'd be getting back into reading manga regularly if there was a good pay service/reader application, but for whatever reason companies seem really slow on doing anything like that.

        • Joanna

          I said it’s a little on the expensive side, but still a good price. Which means, while I feel that maybe it could be a little lower (3.99$), I’m perfectly fine with this price and feel that it is fair.

          As to why I feel it’s a little expensive. I think it has to do with my personal view on digital manga. I personally don’t see a lot of value in owning digital manga, so 5$ is still a little steep for me. I’d much rather pay 15$ and get a good quality physical book. The only reason I’m even interested in digital manga is because space is becoming an issue and I just cannot pick up series that go beyond 40 volumes. I recently got into One Piece, but 50+ volumes with no end in sight is too much of a commitment for me. I am interested in picking up the volumes digitally though, since I feel Oda deserves support….and the consumer in me would love to see a lower price…maybe like a bundle (10 volumes for 35-40 would be great).

  • shion16

    not bad
    but i don have an ipad
    its way too expensive

  • WonderSteve

    First step. Goodluck Viz.

    5 dollar is more like it for digital manga. iPad isn’t a bad platform to test this considering its popularity. Hopefully they will also move to Kindle and Sony readers in the near future.

  • what about the iphone , is it compatible ? …

    • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

      Nope. This is an iPad only app. The iPhone screen is too small

  • Roses4Aria

    As someone else said, it’s a step forward. I guess we’ll see how it goes. But 5 shounen series versus 1 shoujo series? (I’m not counting Death Note, since I’m not really sure what genre it would be considered. It’s the only one of those titles that I haven’t tried reading.) I know it’s just the beginning stages, but if they continue on like that they’re going to alienate a lot of female readers from the get-go. Not a good way to start.

    • Aoshi00

      It ran in shounen Jump, not as graphic as seinen or otona manga..

    • I bet my bottom dolloar that they will add Vampire Knight. They have all that Shojo Beat stuff, and they said adding new series weekly or something.

      • Roses4Aria

        I hope you’re right. They definitely have a good selection at Shojo Beat. I just hope it doesn’t get ignored in favor of MORE shounen. I have nothing against shounen and I know it probably sells better for them, but it sucks the way they tend to ignore the female demographic sometimes. I still haven’t quite gotten over the way they so abruptly dropped Shojo Beat Magazine…Sigh

  • Tokyo Guy

    You know, I still remember back when Viz used to charge $17.95 for their manga, though it was on much better paper stock than the current products. Though the company is absolutely deplorable in its tendency to license out manga and never finish it. To this day the Urusei Yatsura series, for example, remains open.

    I mean if you aren’t going to do anything with it, then at least let another company have the IP so they can finish what you failed to. It’s a total disservice to fans, and to the creator (in this case Rumiko Takahashi).

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