On Manga & This New Age
And now for a soapbox aimed at the Manga fans out there since you’re more likely to read it here than my blog! Because no one reads it! XD I’m not sure how many of you this actually affects, but as an avid manga reader myself I’m sure a few of you out there are, too.
Also, agree or not, I’m not here to argue with you and am unlikely to really discuss this in the comments–I just want you to be aware of alternatives & my opinion on the entire thing. This topic has been bothering me lately and I just need to get it out there.
Please do not use Manga Aggravators (online manga/comic readers or mass download sites that run on pirated material & ads). Don’t even visit them.
Once upon a time, Scanlations were pretty much the only way to get manga that wasn’t super mainstream like One Piece or Naruto (aka anything Viz or Tokyopop picked up). To everyone’s delight–publishers listened/noticed what fans wanted and started to print smaller run one-shot manga that were popular with Scanlators (Like DMP Books & the Blu Division of Tokyopop)–and that was awesome. The anime/manga industry is one of the few entertainment industries doing things the right way and listening to fans (which you can also see with Simulcasts on sites like Funimation & Crunchyroll).
I’ve got shelves of books I’ve purchased–ridiculously happy to have legal copies of titles that I loved in English. The best part? Scanlation groups & associated forums were/are very good about removing scanlations and stopping distribution once titles were licensed & available–even for stuff like doujinshi when the authors asked–encouraging us to buy the legal copies (and I did–I think I spent too much if I’m being honest–I’ve even got the original Japanese imports for a good chunk of them that I bought before titles were licensed). It was win-win all around for fans and publishers alike.
And then Manga Aggregators showed up. I didn’t think too much of them at first, they were just a place to put a bunch of scanlations in one place, at first just for download, and later to read online. They seemed harmless–I was naive. These aren’t groups out to support the manga publishing industry–they want to make money off content that is not theirs in any sense. Not only do they often post outright scans of English published manga, they post scanlations without permission. Many outright refuse to remove titles when asked, including both licensed titles and unlicensed titles the scanlators don’t want mirrored (so as to better control its take-down it in the event the title is licensed) or be associated with groups that host licensed work. They make a ton of money off advertising for a service that is hurting the industry and are flat out spurning the wishes of the people who translated the manga in the first place.
Need proof? I hate to break it to you folks–but Tokyopop went out of business. Out of everyone printing manga, I bought the most from Tokyopop–so you can understand how the issue would hit close to home. To make it all worse, this situation appears far worse than game or movie piracy that’s making the news–flatly, the scope of it baffles me.
When I search for a manga title (by itself without download or some other pirate keyword) on Google and three or four illegal aggravators shows up higher on the list than a legitimate, legal site–something is wrong. I know Piracy is never going to go away completely, but this isn’t right and it’s not what the original scanlation groups intended. These sites are a legitimate problem that’s threatening an industry that I love–so please, please, don’t visit them. Don’t support their ads and please do not donate.
Most importantly–this problem isn’t a service issue that the games, movies, and book companies are suffering from at the moment with ACTA and SOPA. The manga & anime industry listened and they’ve got a TON of legal venues to get manga & anime that’s hosting both old and new stuff–and they’re all very open to hearing what you want to see. JManga is even making a move to go international soon–which is great! (On the JManga note, I know that the site launch was a bit of a mess and made a bunch of fans angry–but at the moment it looks like they’ve turned things around. I’m really happy with them right now, and if the publisher lists are anything to go by, they’ll have a ton of desired titles in the near future–new ones uploaded every Tuesday).
Thank you for your time, and just in case you didn’t know–here’s four legal sites to get Digital Manga from. So take your pick and make it legal! :D
Edit: Jmanga went out of business, so I have removed the link. It’s a shame that they went under, just as things were getting better and they started to listen.