Here’s my dirty secret: there’s still one thing I pirate. Every month I go to a scanlation site to read the latest Attack on Titan manga chapter. I justify it to myself by saying it’s the only way I can get it in English. It’s true, but that doesn’t make it right.
Today, Crunchyroll will end my pirating ways for good. They’ve just announced Crunchyroll Manga, a partnership with manga publisher Kodansha that will allow English speakers to digitally read manga at the very same time it is released in Japan.
Crunchyroll Manga will begin with legal English translations, but CEO Kun Gao says it will eventually include every language Crunchyroll shows are currently available in (French, Spanish, and Portuguese). The first available manga chapters are of course all Kodansha titles, including Attack on Titan and Fairy Tale.
“Today’s manga audience is extremely underserved,” said Gao. “They have to either pirate, or wait a year to read books in print. Our goal is to make manga as accessible and affordable as possible.”
Believe it or not, reading new manga on Crunchyroll won’t actually cost anything. If you’re a non-paying member, you can read the latest chapter at the same time as everyone else, just with ads. (It’s a change from the way Crunchyroll does anime, where non-paying members get episodes one week after paying subscribers do.) But if you’d like to go back into the archives and read more than just the latest chapter, you’ll have to pay for it.
A subscription to just Crunchyroll Manga will cost $4.95 a month. But if you’re an all-access member of Crunchyroll, you’ll notice that manga has already been added to your account for no additional cost. Gao also said the company has no plans to raise the monthly price of an all-access membership despite the new manga feature.
Readers will be able to view manga chapters on Crunchyroll’s website and all currently supported mobile devices.
Gao said he hopes this feature will not only make it easier for fans to read manga, but to sample and try a larger volume of manga than they’ve previously been able to afford (or had the time to illegally download).
Now, I have no reason to pirate. And I’ll probably read a lot more manga now than just Attack on Titan. Do you think the announcement will have an affect on your manga consumption?