Belonging to the Japanese publishing sector, manga is a major element in Japanese culture. To be precise, this style of comics constitutes 25% of the published material. Globally, this art is found at the head of the most appreciated cultural products from Japan.
In the 90s, Shūeisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump reached its peak of weekly local airing. Indeed, 6.53 million copies of this prepublication magazine have elapsed. Following the decline of print media, Shūeisha turned to the digital version to reach more audiences.
His initiative first targeted the Asian terrain which includes China, South Korea and Japan itself. This led to the birth of Shonen Jump + in 2014, when the campaign sold ebooks of manga from the weekly Shonen Jump, readable on mobile.
In January 2019, the publishing house created MANGA Plus to establish itself in the foreign market. Thanks to this platform, fans from other countries can enjoy their favorite titles legally. FYI, France is the third largest consumer in the world of manga, just after the United States.
MANGA Plus: what is it exactly?
MANGA Plus is the perfect place to discover the world of Japanese comics. This is an official and legal website that offers digital versions of Weekly Shōnen Jump. This platform also allows online reading of manga published in other Shūeisha magazines. In addition, the content is also accessible via a mobile application.
According to Shuhei Hosono, the editor-in-chief of the platform, it is a global version of the Shōnen Jump +. “Just like in Japan, there are a lot of manga readers abroad.[…]” he said. Indeed, J + is only accessible in Japan, China and South Korea. But the site also aims to satisfy manga lovers abroad. “[…]So I want to bring Shonen Jump + to people all over the world, ”he added, hence the birth of MANGA Plus.
How does it work ?
In principle, MANGA Plus is similar to its original service. To enjoy its features, all you have to do is consult the site or the application to purchase the dematerialized version of the magazine.
Indeed, each issue of Weekly Shonen Jump is published simultaneously on two media. The physical format – which is the paper version – is marketed in Japan. As for digital, it is available on J + and MANGA Plus. From tankōbon – soft cover pocket formats – various Jump collections are also available for sale on the site.
Don’t worry, there aren’t just paid versions. For each series in the magazine, Shūeisha offers the first 3 chapters and the last 3 published for free. Short series are also available. Apart from the current titles in the Jump and the novelties, MANGA Plus offers many reissues. Moreover, due to its recent introduction in France, only free options are available there.
What languages are available?
When it was launched, MANGA Plus only offered two. Visitors had the choice betweenEnglish and thespanishl, but the Thai, l’Indonesian, the Russian and the Brazilian are now available.
After a long wait, Shūeisha Inc. finally decided to integrate the French to its platform. A translation into the language of Molière could have been done long before on the platform. But the divergence between copyright in France and Japan was problematic.
How much does Manga Plus cost?
Access to the service and download of the application are free. A selection of titles is then available for free access. But for other manga, it will cost money to read them. Nevertheless, the platform still allows you to read the first as well as the last chapter of each manga in order to make informed purchases.
In which countries is the service accessible?
MANGA Plus is designed for an international audience. It is therefore accessible on a global scale. The site is available worldwide except China, South Korea and Japan. These already have the original Shōnen Jump + service.
Before, the export of products was done through local publishers or through distribution lines. But territories likeSouth East Asia, l’North America and theEurope can now benefit from it thanks to MANGA Plus.
What kind of content can be found on MANGA Plus?
Weekly Shōnen Jump is universally known for its editions like Naruto or One Piece. Each week, one chapter per series is added to MANGA PLUS. More than 30 titles will land simultaneously with those from Japan.
Particularly for France, 8 works are available in French. You can then read the chapters of these titles at the same time as their releases in Japan. We find One Piece, Black Clover, My Hero Academia and Mashle, Kaiju n ° 8, Undead Unlucky, Jujutsu Kaisen and Mission: Yozakura Family. Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball Z, and Death Note will also join the roster.
Why was the French version delayed?
The launch of MANGA Plus dates back to the year 2019. The addition of the French language has been slow as France is the third largest manga market in the world. Indeed, despite the publisher’s great interest in the French market, the project had some difficulty in being executed. It’s only by September 2021 that the French translation has arrived on the platform. This was due to a cooperation problem between the French publishers and Shūeisha Inc.
The contracts of French publishers only issue commercial license rights. This French copyright exception states that the translator remains the owner of his translation. If in the future Shūeisha would consider exploiting the translation in any other way, she should seek permission from the interpreter. At the start of 2021, Shūeisha contacted publishers in France again. The two sides finally found common ground.
What impact on the parallel market?
Each issue of Shonen Jump is output by weekly and monthly serialization in some cases. Obviously, there is an obvious gap between local publication and that in other countries if the distribution and interpretation are handled by an intermediary. But this is not the case with MANGA Plus, which offers content pre-published at the same time than Japan for overseas fans to stay in tune.
In addition, the translation in several languages – especially in French – makes the platform a benchmark in the field. All of this makes it easy for Shūeisha to conquer the market. Shūeisha then gains a great advantage with MANGA Plus over its competitors.
Is the exercise of illegal sites really a threat? There are many sites that publish fraudulent translations of manga, the famous scantrad. Before, when official alternatives appeared, fans resorted to these options to keep up to date.
But as soon as MANGA Plus arrived, fans of Japanese comics joined the platform without hesitation.
Among the scantrad pirate sites, many welcome the arrival of these initiatives and projects promising the future of Japanese editions. Thus, some of these illegal platforms end the translation of the licenses concerned and encourage its visitors to use the legal platform.
Even so, several titles are still missing on MANGA Plus France. To fill the void, readers will always have to look for them in illicit translations. This seems inevitable for this start, but at least readers will be gradually redirected back to the right path.