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PRODUCT REVIEW: Mangamo App Offers Up A Lot Promise – But Why Tho? A Geek Community

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mangamo

Mangamo

As the manga market continues to grow in the west, so does demand. The market is changing, and apps like Mangamo are here to help increase access and combat piracy. Mangamo is a manga subscription service that provides unlimited, ad-free access to over 300 titles for $4.99 USD a month. The app is new and is still experiencing growing pains, but it is definitely a service to keep an eye on. It is currently only available for iOS iPhone and iPad usage, but with the assurance that an Android version is in process.

Mangamo is addressing a different audience, and that is key here. Currently, many of their titles are available for purchase by volume elsewhere. Mangamo is a service ideal for people who want to read a lot of manga, but don’t necessarily want to collect a lot of physical and digital volume purchases. For an extremely reasonable price, subscribers have legal access to a large amount of the digital libraries of publishers such as Kodansha USA, Coamix Inc, and Tokyopop. On top of that, Mangamo is working to have titles that are exclusively available on their app, even in their early days. Their first “Mangamo Original” is Japan Sinks 2020, the manga adaptation of this summer’s Netflix anime.

While all of this is incredibly promising, and impressive given how new Mangamo is, there are some unfortunate growing pains. Since an Android version is in development, that won’t count that against them, however there is no desktop version compared to other manga subscription services and webtoon readers, for those who prefer to read on a larger computer screen. In addition, small details such as not being able to rotate the phone to see two-page spread artwork wasn’t a huge negative, but noticeable when wanting to get the full impact of a scene. In the most recent update, the app finally added a search bar, which was huge considering the vast quantity of titles. The only way to know what titles are offered is by downloading the app, even if you don’t intend to pay, as their website currently doesn’t have a catalog of their library.

The library is the selling point here. From popular favorites like Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, and Fire Force, to hidden gems such as Complex Age, Arte, and Somali and the Forest Spirit the options are exciting to scroll through. The tagging system was a bit confusing as a reader. Normally, demographic tags are subjective, but if it is going to be included as a way to filter a search, it was odd to see so many titles that are known to have a certain tag not show up (i.e. Complex Age not having a seinen tag; In/Spectre listed as shojo; and BL/Yaoi being two separate tags and showing up completely different titles). If a reader wants to use the search filters to browse titles, it would probably be more confusing and not an accurate representation of offerings as it is now. The other confusing label was which series were classified as “ongoing.” Since Mangamo is a subscription service, not every series has their complete chapter list available. This can be a little more frustrating for series that have been long available in English such as Attack on Titan, but understandable given the nature of the app and need to retain an audience this early. There is no clarification why some series are “ongoing” and others are not, and the titles’ information pages don’t list how often chapters are updated.

The information pages for the individual titles were actually the major disappointment here. There are no credits for the localization team (translator, letterer, editor).  It only includes the mangaka and the publisher the series was licensed from. This lack of credit also leads to varying levels of quality. Some series do not have the sound effects translated, while others do, with no explanation.

Mangamo has a lot of promise. There is a lot to be excited about here for a bargain of $4.99 USD a month. It is nice to see an app cater to manga fans that aren’t necessarily part of the collector’s market. Unfortunately, some detail-oriented growing pains and a lack of proper credit to the localization team become noticeable disappointments the longer one spends on the app.

Mangamo is currently available on iOS and can be downloaded on the app store.

TL;DR

Mangamo has a lot of promise. There is a lot to be excited about here for a bargain of $4.99 USD a month. It is nice to see an app cater to manga fans that aren’t necessarily part of the collector’s market. Unfortunately, some detail-oriented growing pains and a lack of proper credit to the localization team become noticeable disappointments the longer one spends on the app.