Robot 6

SDCC ’11 | Japanese publishers unveil JManga web portal

A panel of Japanese manga editors revealed the first details about the JManga website in Friday’s JManga panel at Comic-Con. The JManga site, which was created by a group of 39 Japanese publishers to serve as a manga portal, will launch for U.S. users on August 17 and will be rolled out for other countries after that. While the panel doesn’t seem to have spelled out the exact titles that will be carried on the site, Deb Aoki Tweeted that the images on the screen behind them (apparently the same as the image above, which was taken from Crunchyroll) included Dragon Girl, One Piece, Crayon Shin-Chan, Cigarette Kisses, and Larceny Log of Zampei the Cloud Snatcher In addition to manga, the site will include original content, social networking features, wallpapers, author interviews, and even a way for readers to text questions to the manga creators. In some cases, the reader will be able to toggle between Japanese and English text.

The idea behind the site is to increase the number of releases to foreign readers and speed them up. Manga fandom is up, moderator Saki Miyata said, as measured by attendance at cons such as Anime Expo, but sales are down. While piracy was cited as one reason, panelists also noted the lack of licensees and the loss of the Borders bookstore chain, which was known for carrying a wide range of manga. The site will include some series that were licensed for the U.S. and then dropped, the panelists said, and it will include a mix of well-known and lesser-known titles, in order to bring the latter to a wider audience. Prices have not been determined yet, but the panelists said that the site will include a lot of free content.

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5 Comments

Martin Costello

July 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Here’s hoping for No. 5, Satsuma Gishiden and more Katsuhiro Otomo.

“but the panelists said that the site will include a lot of free content.”

And THAT, right there, is probably the most important sentence out of this (from a reader perspective, at least.)

Here’s hoping “free content” includes lengthy reads and not just super-short previews or the aforementioned wallpaper-type goodies. Either way, definitely checking it out once it launches, and if it’s even halfway worth visiting I’ll send a link to anybody who’ll listen. :]

They should charge some sort of monthly rate for everything, but allow different shorter series (less than eight volumes) to be available per month for free. Cycle the free ones out. The key is having so much content that’s for-pay that the considerable free content is like a drop in the bucket, so you want it all.

Brigid Alverson

July 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I agree with Angelica. The manga publishers are up against slick, professional-looking websites that offer free manga and don’t make their users jump through a bunch of hoops (download a reader, register multiple times for a single account) to get to it. Perhaps the JManga folks can underwrite the cost of free content with sponsorships and paid upgrades, the way a lot of streaming anime seems to work these days. Overpricing the books and making them hard to get to would be a big mistake.

SageShini, that’s an interesting idea. Viz seems to be doing OK offering manga online for free for a limited time and then pulling it off the site when the books are released in print. I don’t think anyone has tried a subscription service for manga.

I agree with ” Angelica” And ” Brigid Alverson “

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