Kodansha recently entered the digital manga distribution service market with their new K Manga smartphone application and website on Tuesday, March 21. Seemingly set to function in a similar manner to Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+ and MangaPLUS services, a teaser website for the service is currently available to visit ahead of the platform’s full release.
Kodansha is arguably the biggest publisher of manga in Japan alongside Shueisha, boasting some of the most widely celebrated titles in seinen and shonen manga history.
Boasting a wide swath of magazines that cover various genres and are aimed at various demographics, their move into the digital distribution service space is definitely an exciting and transformative one.
Kodansha’s K Manga set to directly compete with Shueisha’s Shonen Jump+, MangaPLUS services
Kodansha’s K Manga distribution service is initially set to launch exclusively in the USA on May 10, 2023 as a smartphone app and will eventually open a full website at a later, currently unspecified date. As mentioned above, a teaser website for the service has already been launched.
Per official sources, the service will have approximately 400 total manga titles available for users to read at launch. It will also include simulpub (simultaneously published) releases of 70 ongoing titles, with the K Manga service set to receive these releases before any other platform.
The currently announced manga that are set to be a part of the simulpub program include Edens Zero, Blue Lock, Rent-A-Girlfriend, The Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse, and Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro. Catalog titles on the service will include The Seven Deadly Sins, Fire Force, and Chihayafuru.
The company has stated that its editorial team is currently managing the service, also specifying that it will include a limited number of chapters for free. To quote the company, “the amount of free manga that can be ready per day is limited and varies from manga to manga.”
It is currently not specified whether or not K Manga will offer a payment method to read more chapters. There has also been no current word on the future availability of K Manga service outside of the United States and a payment structure for the app.
Kodansha’s USA Publishing ended the distribution of simulpub chapters of its manga titles on KiraKira Media Inc.’s digital manga service Azuki on January 16, 2023. All previous simulpub chapters were removed from Azuki on January 31.
Some early non-simulpub chapters of some of the series and several of Kodansha’s non-simulpub series, however, remain unaffected and fully available on the platform. A similar process occurred with Crunchyroll on January 31.