Viz Media, manga giant, gets into the digital comics fray
“Get ready for some online manga eatin’,” says manga blog Kuriosity (which, for some reason, has a dash between the “i” and the “o” in the URL … so be careful when typing that into the address bar). It turns out that manga anthology magazine Shonen Jump is adding digital comics to its arsenal:
Subscribe NOW and next month you’ll get to read:
* Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
It seems to be one of the biggest moves for increased digital presence by Viz Media. (The article mentions that there have been a few previews here and there, available on the Shonen Jump site, but none to this extent.) From Kuri-osity.com:
Whether the chapters of the three titles will simply be the usual 2-3 chapters of manga we see each month in Shonen Jump USA, chapters running simultaneously with the Japanese edition similar to Shonen Sunday’s Rin-Ne, or simply the usual 3-chapter preview we normally get for new manga in Shonen Jump is also unclear. At the moment, VIZ simply advertises it as an “online preview for subscribers only”. As such, it might be that these previews will be rotating series, though Toriko, Nura and Bakuman would make excellent ongoing additions if VIZ is planning longer runs. As both Toriko and Bakuman have already had short runs in the magazine, one would assume these online chapters will be from later in the series.
Nonetheless, this sounds like a major step forward for VIZ, adding a number of popular series that expand their offerings to their subscibers, and finding a way to potentially capitalize on digital manga by giving subscribers both a print and digital edition of the magazine with different sets of content. Given how lowpriced VIZ’s subscriptions are, around the same as 3-4 issues of the print magazine, this looks to be an excellent value for potential subscribers, and a different take from other initiatives not just by charging a subscription fee, but also by teaming it up directly with the print edition.
Now, admittedly, I have never heard of any of these titles at all. The fine folks at Kuri-osity.com are pretty convinced that they represent three of the rising stars of manga. I got no reason to doubt them — once you start name-checking Fist of the North Star, you’re on good ground in my book. Plus an entire genre of manga devoted to cooking?
This is a small, but bold step for VIZ, considering the popularity of Bakuman, with Nura‘s anime being simulcast by their anime division, and Toriko also having a sizeable cult following. When one considers that there are only four regular ongoing series in the print edition currently, having three additional chapters online is a considerable boost, and the range of themes adds some diversity. Toriko‘s strange combination of First of the North Star style heroes and the cooking manga genre, Bakuman‘s manga about making manga aspect and Yura‘s anime tie-in make for an excellent range of titles. This will apparently be further augmented by the addition of print chapters of YuGiOh 5D‘s and Psyren, which appear to be ongoing additions rather than previews. It’s been awhile since VIZ added an ongoing series to the book, and these two should help break up the Naruto/OnePiece dominance the magazine has had lately.
(h/t to reader “algeya”)