On Monday, Viz Media announced the launch of a new manga reading service called Viz Manga which will give users access to a wider variety of manga outside of its usual action-adventure shonen series for just $1.99 a month. To further sweeten the deal, the new manga subscription service will exclusively feature Nana, the greatest shojo manga of all time.
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In the announcement video, Viz Media CEO Ken Sasaki revealed that the idea to release the Viz Manga service came from the conceptually similar Shonen Jump App’s “very successful” launch four years ago. While the Shonen Jump App caters more towards shonen fans who want to read new weekly translated chapters of popular series like One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Chainsaw Man while supporting its creators with subscriptions, the Viz Manga app’s catalog features over 10,000 chapters of newly translated romance, fantasy, horror, and slice-of-life manga series.
“The number of fans reading official manga has grown dramatically and it’s time to expand,” Sasaki said. “It’s clear you love new simulpub chapters and access to series as part of a digital subscription. There are many types of manga and I am so proud to announce a new service to meet the needs of the broader manga community.”
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Viz Manga is basically the Shonen Jump app but with more genres
According to the official Viz Manga app, the service will include rom-com series like Komi Can’t Communicate, horror series like Call of the Night, Inio Asano: Goodnight Punpun, Haro Aso’s Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead and Alice in Borderland, Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma ½, Inuyasha and Yasahime, Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, and Ai Yazawa’s mega-popular shojo series (manga geared toward women) Nana. As a Nana propagandist, Sasaki could’ve just said the app only has Nana and I would’ve folded immediately. Reader put down the shonen and read Nana.
“This is just the beginning. I promise so much more manga is coming,” Sasaki said.
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Manga reading apps aren’t created equal
Much like how streaming services have reverse-engineered cable subscriptions, the manga industry has become a hotbed of apps hoping to entice new readers with their exclusive libraries. While Square Enix’s Manga Up! exclusively offered Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa’s newest fantasy action series, Daemon of The Shadow Realm, users found the service’s US launch last July unappealing.
Unlike the Shonen Jump App, which allowed you to thumb through upwards to 100 chapters a day, Manga Up! split chapters into parts—basically incentivizing readers to purchase microtransaction coins so they can complete an entire chapter. It also featured aggressive censorship bars over any manga panel that could be considered risque to appeal to mobile platform policies for countries like Indonesia. If you’re gonna pay to not have an overabundance of physical media, it’s probably best that the service doesn’t unnecessarily censor a lady wearing pants.
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Hopefully, the Viz Manga app won’t stray from being a mirror to Viz’s Shonen Jump app service (which increased its subscription cost to $2.99 this year) in terms of allowing readers to download and read up to 100 chapters a day by locking (legally) hard to find series like Nana behind an extra arbitrary paywall.