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By Eugene . March 15, 2014 . 12:30pm
Publisher Kadokawa have announced that they’re going to bring the joy of reading manga legally in English to the world with the release of an upcoming smartphone and PC application called Comic Walker. The app will offer some 200 manga’s at first, including classics such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Sgt. Frog.
About 50 are intended to be exclusive to the app as well. At launch, around 40 of the manga series will be translated titles in both English and Chinese (which we assume to mean Mandarin).
A Kadokawa exec at the launch event for the app also noted to the Nikkei Asian Review that the publisher is also looking to offer manga in French “before very long”, citing a lack of a network of bookshops in some French-speaking nations such as Africa. If you’re following the math, according to Nikkei this means Comic Walker will be dishing out up to 23 of the Kadokawa group’s printed and web-based comic mags. Not a bad haul for fans, since some recent ones such as Nobunaga the Fool will also be available on the app.
How the system works is, once a new chapter is released in print, anyone with the app will be able to read that same chapter online for free an unlimited number of times for two weeks. After that, it gets archived into Kadokawa’s online bookstore, appropriately titled Book Walker, where you’ll need to cough up the dough to read it again. The hope then is to get people hooked on a series and then either pick up past volumes and expand how many people are reading their stuff.
If you’re wondering if this will give DeNA’s Manga Box a run for its money, you’re probably on the ball. Manga Box has 38 titles on offer (including still my favorite, The Great Phrases Woman Fall For) but already has over 3 million downloads. Color Kadokawa impressed.
Comic Walker will be available on PC, iOS and Android March 22nd.
Photo Credit: Nikkei Asian Revie