Viz Media, North America’s largest manga distributor, unveiled a new app, Viz Manga, which houses English versions of popular Japanese manga from Shogakukan and Shueisha. The launch marks the first time English translations will be available simultaneously with Japanese editions from these publishers on a digital platform. And fans can access them for just $2 a month.
Viz aims to create a convenient option to meet demand in North America, where sometimes the wait is as long as two years for a manga series to be released in English. The move will also help curb piracy and ensure authors and creators receive proper credit. Illegal “scanlations” have become prevalent and created a market for impatient fans seeking unofficial translations of their favorite manga. While Viz will kick off the app’s release with works from Shogakukan and Shueisha, readers can count on seeing titles from other publishing houses in the future.
Subscribers can comb through more than 10,000 chapters on the app, which is available for Android and iOS. Viz Manga has 15 titles that are being offered in English for the first time, including the latest releases from Rumiko Takahashi, Haro Aso and Tomohito Oda. As a perk, the most recent three chapters of these 15 works will be accessible for free.
Manga fans can also tap into Yashahime: Princess Half Demon and titles from creators like Junji Ito, Inio Asano, Arina Tanemura and Taiyō Matsumoto. Here’s an example of what you’ll find in the Viz Manga library:
- Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
- Case Closed
- Insomniacs After School
- Komi Can’t Communicate
- Black Lagoon
- Persona 5
- Fly Me to the Moon
- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle
Viz plans to release weekly chapters from each publisher at the same time as they appear in Japan, allowing subscribers to choose from various genres like fantasy, school life, comedy, horror, LGBTQ and drama. Users have the ability to mark their favorites, download titles, make purchases and sync content across multiple devices.
This isn’t the company’s first entry into the app world. A previous iteration of a Viz manga app enabled users to buy individual volumes, while this new version gets subscribers access to the whole library — for a single price. Viz Media also owns the Shonen Jump app, and the combined catalog between both services currently amounts to around 25,000 chapters, with more to come.
For fans of manga “streaming,” Viz Manga’s digital library can be an appealing option in a market where people are eager for English translations. Its biggest rivals right now are Crunchyroll‘s digital manga service and Kodansha’s upcoming English-language platform, K Manga.