I am so embarrassed. It’s true I have no soul and no shame in my pursuit of Yuri, but there are two things I have long said I could not stand. The first is Vampires. I’m just not really into them. I don’t hate them or anything, it’s just that they do nothing for me. Secondly, I have long held that I loathe and despise Akamatsu Ken’s manga. Everyone who knows me knows this. So imagine my embarrassment upon trying out Crunchyroll’s new manga feature to find that I was enjoying a 1) Vampire manga 2) by Akamatsu Ken.
But there it is, I’m enjoying UQ Holder, Akamatsu Ken’s manga and as there is the teensiest curl of Yuri, this gives me a chance to talk about Manga on Crunchyroll.
Deb Aoki has a nice backgrounder on Crunchyroll’s manga platform, so if you are interested in a straight-up journalistic look at the new platform, do read it. It comes as no surprise to me that Robert Newman is spearheading the effort, since he worked on JManga, whose architecture was also a Bitway creation. In fact, I’m more relaxed about CR’s manga platform knowing that Robert is at the helm.
Right now, manga on CR is an add-on that comes with the Premium Plan, which is $12 USD/month, and includes access to all site content, streaming for all devices and some other perqs, like a discount at their store.
Like the anime, the manga is all-you-can-eat. You don’t buy a manga title, you buy access to all the manga on the site – just as you do with the anime. At the moment, the only publisher CR is working with is Kodansha. For fans, the biggest complication is the issue of print vs digital licensing. The upshot for us is, if a print volume of a manga already exists in English, CR does not (and will not) have it digitally. To some extent, this allows CR manga to combat scanlations, as they will be “simulpub”ing new chapters as they are released in Japan, which is terrific for those people caught up on a series. For someone starting at the beginning, it’s a big of a drag. To make it easier to catch up, they have links through which you can purchase the print volume.
On the up side, CR manga looks terrific on my tablet or phone. There’s options for resizing (yay!!!), a guided view and good responsiveness at a swipe. Reading on my tablet is as perfect a reading experience as I could hope. I have a Samsung Galaxy 10.1, so the page size is just right.
So far, I have read only two series, but the translations on the two I have been reading are good-to-excellent. Your mileage may vary. CR is crediting Translators and letterers right on the series pages – something I consider quite important.
Because the one title I really wanted to read, Attack on Titan, begins on CR with Volume 11, I very much wanted to try at least one other series. Frustratingly Coppelion starts at the beginning, goes through Volume 8, then skips to whatever volume chapter 200 is in – a leap of 120 chapters. I’m hoping that they backfill those missing volumes.
I really wanted to try at least one series from the beginning that I could follow current issues on, so I picked UQ Holder for no reason.
It’s about a young guy who is surprisingly normal. He’s not creepy, powerful or socially backward. He’s just a guy, you know, with friends and a vague dream. He lives with his female teacher, with whom his relationship is comfortably combative, like siblings. What Touta doesn’t know is that his teacher is actually a 700 year old-vampire. When she’s attacked, he’s fatally injured and she offers him some of her blood to resuscitate him. The catch is, of course, he’s now a vampire – and he’ll look like a scrawny 14 year old the rest of his existence. Gah!
The art is…well, it’s good. It was never Akamatsu’s art that I had problem with. It was the extremely unfunny sexual repression expressed through a million upskirt shots and the endless, “zOMG! don’t look at me naked in the bathroom you pervert” type situations that I found utterly unbearable in his previous series. Well…that stuff isn’t nearly as prevalent here. Yukihime is an adult female, of the kind we haven’t seen in decades. She’s confident and competent and when she is actually naked, it’s a rather amusing joke.
The focus of this series is on the fighting – there is a lot of fighting. And it’s kind of fun. ^_^
Touta’s companion in all this is Kuroumaru, an assassin of the undead, sent to kill Yukihime. It’s really, super obvious that Kuoroumaru is a girl passing as a boy. So if you like Setsuna from Negima, you’ll probably like Kuroumaru, even though there are just 11 chapters and the joke is already played out.
The slight frisson of Yuri comes from Yukihime’s maid, Karin, who is crazy and violent, so of course I like her. ^_^
So far this series is fast-paced and pretty good fun, and I look forward to more chapters…
and here’s where we head back into reality….I have no idea when that will be. The series page does not give us ETAs on series updates, there’s no alert and we just have to wait. A minor bug in the system and I will trust that it will be ironed out in time. Awesome commenter Krista S. tells me that this information is available on the main manga page. So there you go, one item off the wish list.
In the meantime, I’m still cranking through Attack on Titan volumes on my Kindle app to get caught up to CR and start reading them in simulpub.
Manga on Crunchyroll – I’d say a 7 with plenty of room to improve
Overall – 8