JManga Portal To Bring Content Overseas Faster, Pick Up Discontinued Series

By Ishaan . July 24, 2011 . 1:29pm

A panel held on Friday at the San Diego Comic-Con discussed some details of the upcoming JManga.com portal. In attendance were representatives from Kodansha, Shueisha, Kadokawa and Shogakukan.

 

The digital manga website, put together by a coalition of 39 Japanese publishers, is set to launch on August 17th in the U.S., with plans to expand to other countries in 2012.  The goal of JManga is to provide more manga content internationally, and at a faster pace.

 

In addition to providing digital manga, About.com’s Deb Aoki who attended the panel reports on Twitter that “JManga.com will allow readers to interact with manga editors and manga creators, to ask questions & get behind-the-scenes stories”.

 

Pricing for the service has not been decided upon yet. At this point, it sounds like pricing will vary depending on the publisher. However, there will also be content that readers will be able to read for free. One of the goals of the service, it was stated, is to continue series that have been dropped by U.S. publishers.

 

Additionally, “JManga.com will have well-known titles & also the not-so-well-known titles that aren’t always available scanlated,” according to Kodansha’s Sam Yoshiba, who replied to a question asking what the service would provide to set itself apart from scanlations.

 

Interestingly, for certain titles, JManga.com will also allow you to toggle between languages, starting with English and Japanese.


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  • maxchain

    Well, bravo!  These guys have got the right idea about attracting more flies with honey than lawsuits.

    • Locklear93

      Yep.  The number one way to sell me something is to SELL ME SOMETHING.

  • SirRichard

    That’s…a pretty neat idea, actually. Miffed, of course, that the US will be the only ones allowed to partake for possibly up to a year or more (2012 is vague enough to mean “this time next year” in my book), but at least they say they’re trying to expand to other countries.

    Unless, of course, “other countries” is just the rest of Asia.

    • http://twitter.com/XellossMetari XellossMetari

      Theres plenty of ways to get around region restrictions.

  • M’iau M’iaut

    Be nice to see them find a way to team with Red Hawk or other top tier fan folks..they should have the juice on that side with the fansubbers they took legit.

    The dropped list I’d say is key; as every major US publisher had a Atelier, Enchanter, Narue, Couple or the like which had built an audience only to see them sh*tcanned.

    • puchinri

      This. One of the series I followed from Tokyopop luckily finished just before they shutdown, but Gakuen Alice is still going and it’d suck not to be able to follow it.

    • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

      Would they really need to team up with fan translators, considering some of those companies up there have put up some stuff in English and in JPN before on their JPN online portals?

      • M’iau M’iaut

        In order to do many multiple series at a speed this effort is going to require I would say yes. 

        Some stuff in Engrish just isn’t going to do it if this wishes to stay afloat.

        • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

          I dont know, the English in the english chapters Shonen Jump JPN has on their JPN website for the online manga is pretty nice looking, clean, and has the best English translation for series like ST&RS. So I do not think they need to reach out to fan translators.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/535519-nick-p nick price

    good news for JManga

  • ufoflash

    wait so this is Digital right? not a physical copy? hm not sure how i feel about that. i mean if im going to pay for something i would like a physical copy instead of a digital one. but on the other hand its nice just to see more manga in america. just hope that they have some kind of physical copy available to.

    • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

      Cant imagine how they would get some of the stuff physical if its been a dropped series or something. Maybe if they see a series that is popular enough they could do a demand…then again, one could just print the manga out…

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Tokyopop and a few other publishers dabbled with the print on demand market. Amazon does this with both books and some movies. It may not get you the best quality, but it certainly looks better on your shelf than a sheaf of printer paper.

        Remember in Japan the weeklies are still often done on newsprint, which is designed to go into the recycle bin at the end of the train ride.

  • Arcm

    I’ll care only if they offer some kind of print on demand service so I can finish some of my manga that was discontinued. Not a fan of digital only.

    • Aoshi00

      Books are nice, but eventually it would go the way of music from CDs to the more convenient mp3 d/ls.. just like people read news online instead of newspaper or bring their Kindle instead of carrying a thick book, or gaming mags are irrelevant now, there’s not much point in collecting them.. 

      It’s a great feeling to flip thru the manga I got 20 yrs ago (some of them are oxidized and smell kinda bad like old newspaper lol..), but if given the chance, I wouldn’t mind digitalizing all of them (like over 1000 of them) since space is not infinite.. not to mention mobility.. I still buy about 4-5 tankoubon on average every month.. but it’s increasingly hard to make room to shelf them.. I keep telling myself I should stop buying manga altogether.. and when you have tons of books, it’s hard to access them as well.. And manga are not the only thing taking up space, there’s games and DVD/blu-rays too…

      Of course it’s only nice to read manga digitally if you have a tablet, which I still don’t own yet.. as I don’t like reading from the computer monitor either. If the digital release is simultaneous as the tankoubon I might think about it..

      I still collect CDs for music though, so I’m a bit of a hypocrite lol…

      • Arcm

        Late response but I see what you mean and I get why a lot of people would love digital releases since that means cheaper prices as well as faster releases.

        But I have OCD when it comes to my hobby which is videogames/manga/anime I really like physical objects just giving the option would make jmanga a favorite of mine. Since, I would love an English copy of Devilman and Ushiro and Tora.

        • Aoshi00

          I totally understand you man, as I still buy lots of manga and game music on CDs myself.  But if you have a tablet, you could still enjoy reading books and manga w/ pretty much the same experience comfortably on your bed or sofa, instead of looking at a monitor clicking a mouse or scrolling and zooming on a small cellphone which is a big hassle and not the same as flipping thru a book.

          The main issue for me is storage because manga/games/movies/music CDs all take up space (I have shelves and shelves of manga), they might not be much by themselves but everything adds up.. if you have a place dedicated to storing things, then that’s great.. and sometimes people might need to move too, so getting bogged down is not mobile either..

          The one deterrent for me getting retail games as DLC is DRM, and not able to play on any system.. 

          I don’t know how this digital manga thing would work out, I only buy Jpn manga from Kinokuniya as soon as they come out, I wonder if they could really work out a simultaneous digital and print release..  but I have too many books :(… I actually have quite a few years of Jpn Shounen Jumps, imagine how much room those telephone sized books take.. it’s amazing to flip thru some of the old ones from the 90′s though, I couldn’t believe I was reading some stuff like Dragonball or Kenshin real time..

  • AnimeRemix

    Meh, I doubt I’ll be paying the price to read manga on the site. I’ll most likely just read the stuff that’s free (depending on how much contest you get… or whatever). 

  • Soma

    This is absolutely BRILLIANT! Honestly, it’s about time that some major publishers got together to form something like this. Most of the manga readers I know already read most of their series’ online, so this would definitely cater to them.
    I do prefer hard copy as far as books go, but if the rest of BECK will be available, I will sign up DAY ONE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Humzah-Jan/100001147084979 Humzah Jan

    STEINS;GATE!?

  • nyoron

    If they pick up Keroro, I’m in.

  • LezardValeth

    This could be potentially amazing or just another absolute flop. It’s success is dictated by how far they will interpret “not-so-well known titles & at a faster pace” as well as their pricing. There are plenty of manga series out there that haven’t been scanned/been dropped or are just being scanned at a snail’s pace. If this site can truly bring some of these issues to the light and correct them then I’m all for it. Making manga more available legally at little to no charge would do wonders for the current manga-reading community as well as spur interest in those who aren’t into manga. Let’s not even get into how this could affect the manga business in a positive way as well….

    As previously stated though, this can either go amazingly well or terribly wrong. Understanding that this new idea is also a business idea COULD spell disaster. They pledge the ability to speak with the editors & creators, but to what extent? Will it just become a monarchy that yet again ignores the little guys in manga and only brings over all of the popular stuff while truly not paying attention to what people are really asking for? Not trying to be pessimistic about it, I’m all for the idea but understand there has to be a passion for this stuff within the mix, it can’t ALL be about making money. What businesses need to understand is that if you properly balance the profit margin while tailoring to as many needs of the customer as possible it will serve both sides well in the long run. But conversely if you ignore the customer and focus primarily on maximizing profit you will simply see big return in the beginning but a dwindling of customer base in the long-run. Let’s hope they get it right; this could certainly turn out to be a revolution in the manga industry if executed and maintained properly. Bring. it. on.

    Also I’m sure the US is merely a guinea pig for the base idea. If this system fares well enough you can sure as hell bet this will pan out overseas, guaranteed.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      I’d say the smaller titles would have to be the core to bringing pay to read folks in. The niche customer has always proven themselves the most willing to spend the dollars to see their favorites get legitimate releases.

      It’s not going to do any good if one pays and only finds the DBZs, Bleaches or BeezelBs available. There’s always going to be plenty of outlets to get titles like that for free.

      • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

        Well Beezelbub one would be good considering its not available in English so there is the potential to introduce new manga readers to that series.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          *smacks the Tuna* Yes, it may be the biggest and most current hot to trot shonen series that doesn’t have a US publisher, but to say it’s not available in English is a bit of a stretch, my friend.

          By the time this gets up and operating Beezels going to be over 150 — a legit digital manga of it would be dead before it starts if you begin at 1 and follow some every week schedule.

          • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

            I dont get what you are saying. I mean how would it be dead before it starts? They specifically mentioned Naruto in the PR, does that mean Naruto is going to be dead digitally? Its almost like saying anything in Weekly Shonen Jump shouldnt be added…

            I think it makes sense to add Beezelbub simply because its not super popular. Plus who says they would add it by the chapter, why not just put each volume up there. Its honestly not even that well known in the English market. When the anime finishes airing, I believe the people interested in the service would definitely want to jump into reading it. 

          • M’iau M’iaut

            We are talking about a market with different expectations and realities than the published arena. If I want a published and printed copy of Bleach, when I go into B&N or order from Amazon, I do so knowing I am well behind the published and printed copy in Japan. The only folks I can get said printed and published copy from is Viz.

            That’s not the case with digital. Bleach and many other popular titles are done by more than one group of fan translators. If I don’t like one team’s quality, I can probably find one I do like. Now if JManga comes along and gives me an official version of Beezel, TWGOK, Magico or whatever, they will need to take into account I can already get every one of those digitally up to their current chapter. 

            Lets say I am as legit about this as you already know I am. If you give me The World God Only Knows from the start, without taking into consideration that chapter 150+ exists, you either won’t have my business for however long it takes to catch up or I’ll still be tempted to follow the temptations of the dark side.

          • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

            From my interpretation of the service it is a site that will have a whole wealth of series. So sure, YOU may be caught up in The World God Only Knows to 150 chapters, but I may not be nor even have a clue about what the series is. So there is the benefit of having that series on there even if it is behind to at least be introduced to new readers. At least in the published realm, we see that people still buy series even though they know how far ahead a series is in JPN. And well, even if you are and wont give them your business for that series, there is still a wealth of other series available on the service that could interest you, maybe similar genre, author, etc. Maybe as a result of this, it is why they said they aim to pick up discontinued series or series that no scan team is even doing.  

            Though no where does it say that currently running series will start on the service at chapter 1…

    • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

      Little to no charge? I  dont think I will get my hopes up about that. Especially when digital versions of manga still retail for just the same cost as a volume or up to a dollar off…It would be good if the service were a subscriber service read all you want buffet type deal…

      I want to know how their speed will be.

  • amagidyne

    I applaud the effort. Speaking of services that hate my country, I hope their translations are better than CR’s.

  • Locklear93

    I’m… willing to pay pretty handsomely for this, actually, if they have a decent selection, and don’t make me wait too much…  Three to six months between volumes of a manga that’s been out in Japan for ages drives me up a wall.

  • Zaku Dono

    Finally, it looks like they are starting to realize they must compete with scanlation on the market like they would for any other competitor. 

    • M’iau M’iaut

      They compete by making the best scan teams join them; they’ve worked with basically 2-3 day turnarounds, and in some cases doing work the equal of publishing house efforts. It would be far cheaper to simply bring on some of these folks, and have them bring already completed volumes with them.

      It’s something CR did so they are able to give same day releases on many of their anime titles. Ero game publishers are also now making use of existent fan translations, too.

      • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

        Id rather the companies use their own in house translators. Better cleaner scans by default and no useless pressure of doing speedy faulty scans or questionable inconsistent translation. 

        I think by offering series that scan teams are not doing is a better method of existing. Are people really going to pay for reading something they are already getting in HQ and faster than they release on store shelves in JPN series for free. (I imagine locking out countries already provides incentive for the scan team scene to continue for major series…)

        • M’iau M’iaut

          Limiting themselves to stuff not getting a scan will really reduce the market — you can pretty much find someone doing anything current, and even stuff that long since got full english print releases.

          The market this endeavor is looking to breach already has an established pattern, the midweek JP magazine releases find their way (with surprisingly competent results) to English translated and modified editions by that weekend or Mon-Tuesday of the following week. If Jmanga is going to play in this yard, those are the already established park rules.

        • Xerain

          Given the Internet’s support of interactive media… I woudl want a service that supports multiple translations. I’d like to be able to cross check multiple translations with the original Japanese and pick the one I prefer. This is basically what I end up doing with fansubs.

  • http://twitter.com/sakurairomemori Alphabet Soup

    This is pretty neat.  I’m optimistic, especially for the language toggle option.

  • Covnam

    “One of the goals of the service, it was stated, is to continue series that have been dropped by U.S. publishers” I like the sound of this.

    As for pricing, it’d really have to be a monthly fee service. I’m not going to pay per issue/chapter unless it’s far less than what is currently being offered, which is pretty much the same as print.

    I hadn’t heard of this attempt before, but I’m going to hope for good things.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OCJYEVQQAFJSGVHS4JYLAODYYI Fernando

    Nice, I’ll definitely check this out. I hope Kongou Banchou is available at launch.

  • Xerain

    As someone who’s always loved research version of famous works that include both languages side by side, I’ll definitely bite on this.

  • Guest

    If they translate the Sunabouzu manga I’m sold.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Danette-Sheron/100001563158266 Danette Sheron

    If they transate Tales manga I’m up for it.

  • Roses4Aria

    I’ll have to see which manga series they offer before I can totally get behind this.  As I’ve said before, so far digital seems to be dominated by mostly shounen fare and there are only a few of these that I have any interest in.  Offer me a wide range of genres with plenty of shoujo and I’m sold. :)

  • http://twitter.com/BlackCycFan Michael Connell

    Translate the rest of GetBackers and I’ll get this service.

  • Mister_Nep

    Oh there’s so many uncompleted stuff I’d love to see finished. Will definitely check this site out.

  • GVmanX

    Unscanned and out of print series? Ashita no Joe, Ring ni Kakero, Phoenix, Saint Seiya, Violence Jack, and better translated versions of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Parts 4 and 5 are all things I’d love to see.

    I hope I see all this and more.

  • PrinceHeir

    Maid Sama please(TokyoPop is gone now right?), though i would rather have Viz to pick that up since they also do Kimi ni Todoke.

    now to mention the Vizbig Edition :D

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