A day after VIZ Media launched its own English-language digital reading app, another of the world's leading manga publishers, Kodansha Ltd, is unveiling K Manga, its first digital distribution service for its work outside of Japan - with new episodes of some of its leading titles being available day-and-date with their original Japanese appearance.
According to the publisher, the service will launch with just under 400 manga titles, with 60 simultaneously releasing new chapters with their Japanese publication. (By comparison, VIZ Manga has 15 titles being published simultaneously.) Initial chapters for each of the titles will be readable for free, with further chapters unlocked for three day periods via a ticketing system; 'normal' tickets will be available once a day for each title, and can only be used for said title, while 'premium' tickets can be used for all chapters of eligible titles. Additionally, readers can purchase “points” which will also unlock manga chapters.
Titles available on the service include Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, Love Hina, Vinland Saga, and The Ghost in the Shell.
"We are a publisher that serves as a link between manga artists and readers,” project leader Yuta Hiraoka said in a statement accompanying news of the launch. “We will continue to strengthen our efforts to protect manga artists from piracy and other forms of copyright infringement, including traceability of translations.”
The K Manga app will launch initially solely in the U.S., although Yuta adds, “we know that there are Kodansha manga readers all over the world who want to try K Manga and read the latest simulpub chapters. We hear you and we are doing our best to make K Manga available in your countries as soon as we can.”
Further promotion will come on June 22, when Kodansha plans to hold an online launch party, with the theme “the stories behind the stories,” including appearances from leading manga artists and editors from the publisher, with live giveaways being offered during the event. More information about that event will be released closer to the time.
K Manga is currently available as an app for iOS and Android devices, although Kodansha reports that a browser version “is scheduled to launch within days.”
Last year, Kodansha announced a partnership with Disney to co-produce original content for Disney+.