Kodansha launched their digital manga app during New York Comic Con of last year. I had no idea they were looking in to the digital arena, so this was a welcome surprise. Considering they took over the Del Rey label, they were working with a good size catalog of titles to release to their readers digitally. While Viz Manga and Yen Press have you create an account, Kodansha just lets you download the manga without the need for one. This worries me a little as this will limit the ways I can read the content I purchase.
Kodansha released its digital app with a decent selection. Currently it is only four series, which are Arisa, Fairy Tail, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Until the Full Moon. Arisa only has about four volume available currently, and Until the Full Moon has two volumes. What was surprising was the amount of volumes Fairy Tail and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei had available at launch, which were fifteen and ten respectively.
Unfortunately there is no release schedule, considering outside of launch nothing has been added. I saw a banner advertising Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei volume eleven at one point, but it failed to materialize. With all the hope I have for more, I have many concerns about Kodansha having launched this app and already giving up on it. To not have any more releases six months later is disheartening.
Browsing of titles is very easy, and I feel that their app is the fastest out of all of them to maneuver around. The quality of the pages and artwork is what one would expect. Each page and the artwork look crisp and clear, but Kodansha’s titles suffer from each page having the need to come in to focus. This really is bothersome at times as it breaks up the pace while reading. Considering you download these titles directly to the iPad, there is no excuse for this. Kodansha needs to fix this issue as it really does hinder the experience.
The pricing of the manga is right on par with Viz Manga, at $4.99 per volume. They even launched with a special on all Fairy Tail volumes at only $2.99 each. As I stated in the Viz Manga review, $4.99 a volume helps to make it easier to sway me in to an impulse purchase. This price point will also make it easier to re-buy a series like Negima! that I own physically but would rather own digitally and downsize my physical media collection. Each series also has a preview volume of each series that is available for free.
Kodansha overall has done a good job with the initial launch of their app when it comes down to a decent library of titles, and the quality of the pages. The major issues at this point are the lack of a further additions to their catalog, personal account and the brief loading of each page. I still hold hope that Kodansha will renew interest and commitment in expanding the number of titles available in the future. Kodansha’s app is only a few upgrades and some commitment away from being an excellent experience overall.
Top 3 Recommended Manga (Almost by default):
- Fairy Tail
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Top 3 Most Wanted Manga:
- Sailor Moon
- Love Hina