It was not until One Manga closed that readers felt the effect of the strict campaign against manga aggregator websites.
Stricter rules imposed by the manga publishers coalition has been forcing manga aggregator websites to pull out their directory of licensed manga titles. The good news, two teams are racing toward the only plausible solution – the complete digitalization of manga publishing – Open Manga and Crunchyroll.
What’s the plan?
Their solution is simple.To continue what manga aggregator websites are doing – publish scanlated manga online.
Are you familiar with the anime series in Crunchyroll? Replace the anime with weekly manga or weekly magazine and you have a manga publishing solution.
Manga will either be available for free or through premium membership. Open Manga has discussed a magazine-like subscription similar to buying a hardcopy of weekly Shounen Jump where multiple titles are included; plus highlights and features.Crunchyroll has not disclosed its plan other than publishing.
Open Manga is promoted as a platform where artists and publishers can work with translators and scanlators to localize their manga. This initiative, if executed properly, will not only increase the number of scanlator groups but will also advance the quality of the scanlations.
I went to Open Manga’s website. The blog section laid out the ideology behind the website’s foundation. While reading through posts, three consequences came into mind:
- Interactive manga – Manga 2.0. Direct connection to artists/creators/writers. Web-comic artists have gain popularity because of this connection.
- Internationalization of Manga. The wide variety of manga titles that may be available. We may see manga titles from different countries – the US, UK, Africa, UAE, Indonesia, Philippines, France, etc and each of them will add new flavor and culture to this artform.
- Collaboration. An artist in Hawaii might want to work with a writer from Mongolia; and their work will be edited by someone from Japan. Hopefully, Open Manga will easily streamline co-production of manga with other groups or individual artists, writers, editors, translators and scanlators around the globe.
Open Manga carries the tagline “Online Manga, Digital Publishing and Social Platform.” Here are the Definition and Mission Statement mentioned on the site:
“Open Manga is an Online Manga, Digital Publishing and Social Platform where comic artists can release directly to fans, receive revenue for their content, and become part of a global art and comics community.”
“Our goal is to create a platform that allows manga authors and artists to publish and earn money from their work, while still reaching a multi-lingual global audience. A platform that promotes and allows artists (and eventually interested publishers) to work directly with translators and scanlators to publish their work while still remaining in control of their creations. A platform that supports an artist’s need for an income, with the possibility of free availability to the fan.”
Open Manga’s blog provides a detailed, and long, posts about their project. Here’s a summary from what I understood.
- Open Manga was inspired by a business draft circulating in the internet last year, which provided a model where publishers and artists can work together like in a symbiotic relationship. (They failed to specify what type of Symbiotic Relationship. I hope it’s “Mutualism” not “Parasitism.”)
- OP is connected to, yet completely independent, Manga Helpers. The same people who worked hard to bring us MH are responsible for the inception of OP.
- OP aims to create a platform ,and a complete solution, where artists and publishers can publish their work and earn.
- OP aims to bridge artists, publishers, translators and scanlators for multi-lingual releases through localization.
- There are 3 subscription models:
- By Artist
- Sitewide mobile plan.
- Access to every content in any device.
- OP will have its own currency available for purchase through credit card, PayPal, WebMoney.
- OP will have its own marketplace for digital and physical products.
- The manga may be available for free viewing, premium membership or subscription at the artists and publishers discretion.
- The website is currently in development and will undergo Beta testing. Apps will be made available for popular platform iPad, iPhone/iPod and Android.
- OP is officially incorporated in Japan and in partnership with BPS Inc. (Beyond Perspective Solutions, Inc.)
- OP’s tagline is “Online Manga, Digital Publishing and Social Platform”
- Online Manga and Digital Publishing: Read manga online like reading a real manga magazine – several titles with editorials and possibly ads. Chaptered series, volume or even Jump-like releases. Collaboration between artists (illustrator and writer), publishers, scanlators and translators.
- Social Platform: Imagine Facebook and put manga at its core instead of rambling friends.
Crunchyroll hasn’t disclose any information about its plan on digital manga publishing other than the fact that Bitway, a leader in digital content distribution in Japan and owner of Hardy Comic, has invested $750,000 on CR for this project.
This partnership puts Crunchyroll ahead of the game. It has the experience, through its current anime hosting, needed to its target readership and the offerings through Bitway’s more than 30,000 titles.