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In North America, Viz has chosen to go it alone with its own self-contained manga app, available for iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and the web. In fact, although almost all major comics publishers (Dark Horse being the notable exception) have signed on with comiXology, the big manga publishers (Viz, Yen Press, Kodansha Comics), as well as the smaller Vertical, have not. ComiXology does have some manga content — Digital Manga, Seven Seas and Udon, and it’s the only place you can get Tokyopop’s Hetalia — but that’s it.
The deal announced today brings Viz Media Europe and Kazé titles to French-speaking European countries, including France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Monaco.
Like Viz in the United States, Viz Media Europe is a subsidiary of two large Japanese publishers, Shūeisha and Shōgakukan. Kazé licenses manga from a wider range of Japanese publishers, and the list of manga offered by comiXology at launch is eclectic: Vampire Hunter D, CLAMP’s Gate 7 and the idol-group gag manga K-ON! ComiXology promises much more is on the way, including Blue Exorcist, Ikigami, Toriko, Beelzebub, Black Lagoon and Dengeki Daisy, all slated for this fall.
While this is good news for European readers, North American manga fans may indulge in a bit of speculation about where it could lead—perhaps if the partnership works, out, Viz Media will join up with comiXology as well.