I recently had a conversation online about the industry-backed digital manga site JManga that went something like this:
Guy: Man, Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru has nine volumes out in Japan, but only three are scanlated!
Me: You know, most of those volumes are available on JManga.
And then he went and bought all 8 volumes.
Sometimes you’ll hear people pushing for the manga industry who also like to draw lines in the sand between “REAL FANS” who do everything by the book and “filthy pirates who call themselves fans,” as if to say that this explains the industry’s woes. Here, on the other hand, is an example of someone who you can’t categorize as a leech, someone who is willing to pay money for the manga he likes, but simply had no idea that JManga (and its offshoot JManga 7) are actually quite up to date with the titles they carry, or that they even carried them at all. This is also a concern because Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru is actually one of JManga’s flagship titles at this point, so it’s even more curious that the guy didn’t know about it.
What this basically reveals is an exposure problem for JManga and other similar sites, one that undoubtedly needs improvement because if the site can’t reach the people who are willing to use its services, what hope does it have for reaching the people who are more hesitant towards it? This is basically why I’m writing this post: I want to make more people aware of JManga as not only a legitimate way to read a lot of manga online and, and not simply as a way to “support the industry,” but as a convenient site which carries titles that readers of manga might very well be looking for.
Did you know that Fujoshi Rumi (aka Otaku-Type Delusion Girl, a title I recommend by the way) is on Jmanga and only one volume away from finishing? How about the fact that they have yaoi and yuri sections in addition to shounen series both well-known and obscure? What if I told you that there are (for some reason) multiple titles about cougar detectives? And from the looks of their recent translation contest, Coppelion, an interesting and timely work about three girls having to traverse a Tokyo devastated by a nuclear fallout from a natural disaster, is going to be available in the future as well.
The site has its flaws, such as the clunkiness of their reader or the fact that not all titles are available in all regions, but they’ve definitely been working on improving the site. In fact, the site used to be United States-only and worked to change that over time. One “problem” I need to address in particular is the fact that I’ve heard people say before that the reason they never used JManga was because their old “pay us to give you an allowance” pricing structure was too much of a commitment, because that is no longer an issue with the site. Now you can pay volume by volume a la carte-style without commitment, but if you subscribe then you can get a little extra every month, which means there is likely a pricing structure more attuned to your needs.
My goal isn’t to push the site over other alternatives and to make you feel guilty about not using the site sooner, but mainly to say that a site like JManga is available, and that it offers some things the scanlation sites don’t. While my readership is a small fraction of the total manga readership and thus my influence limited in scope, I hope for those of you reading that you’ll at least give it a shot, whatever your reasons for being a fan of manga.