“Crunchyroll has over 25,000 videos and 12,000 hours of Anime, Korean Drama and Live-Action titles on Crunchyroll.com and Crunchyroll-powered platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple TV, TV set-top boxes, Playstation®3, Playstation®4, Xbox LIVE, and other devices.
With offices in San Francisco, Calif. and Tokyo, Japan, Crunchyroll is funded by leading media firm TCG, Japanese entertainment giant TV TOKYO and a group of angel investors representing some of the brightest and most successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.” (via Crunchyroll)
A pretty apt description, so we know who and what Crunchyroll are and all the various platforms in which you can access Crunchyroll. What has been left out of this self-description is their recent addition of Manga and Simulpub products.
Simulpub is a term used to describe the act of simultaneous publishing, much like the term Simulcast which refers to simultaneous broadcast. This works by publishing a chapter of manga digitally within a 24 hour period of the said chapter being published in Japan. Although Crunchyroll isn’t the first company to try this they have certainly started the right way.
Traditionally, as in Japan, manga in the west is collected into volumes (Tankobon) after enough chapters have been released via their respective magazines. While some companies have tried to release their own versions of these magazines in the west they have ultimately failed, but the major point here is that in Japan volumes are released some months after the chapters and so by extension their release in the west will again be some months after that. This of course leads to an increased amount of people looking to illegal scanlations to stay up to date with the Japanese releases and while over the years volumes have seen a quicker release schedule in the west people still look to those illegal scanlations.
Crunchyroll may have been early pioneers of the Simulcast system, but they have certainly taken their time entering the simulpub scene. Simlupub may be a relatively new term to most but the system has been there for a few years already, other companies made great steps in bringing in digital manga to combat that of online manga readers. Ultimately though most either died out or are rather obscure, the reason for this is that while the idea was sound they didn’t have the manga licenses that people wanted to see.
This is where Crunchyroll stands out amongst the crowd, firstly they have a huge audience thanks to their pioneering anime simulcasts and secondly they have secured a handful of major series and upcoming titles that people want to read. With a selection of manga numbering fewer than thirty their library is small but it’s still in the early stages, and with series such as Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail and new upcoming series like Seven Deadly Sins and Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches Crunchyroll’s approach has definitely been the right course of action.
Now how does it work? Your first option is the website and from here you can read some sample chapters of selected series with a free account or viewing the website as a guest. Like the anime app for Crunchyroll there is now a manga app available for both IOS and Android, again some sample chapters can be viewed but to access full series you require a premium membership. Important to note though is the fact that the sample chapters are generally the most current chapter of their respective series and are the full chapter. Alongside the simulpubs full digital volumes can be purchased via this service.
Crunchyroll’s membership options have been updated with the addition of the manga section:
Free Membership - will give you access to a limited amount of anime, drama series in standard definition with video advertisements and some sample chapters of manga.
Anime Membership - will give you access to all anime series in 1080p, 720p and enhanced 480p with ad-free videos, again limited access to drama and manga series. Price £4.99
All-Access Membership - will give you access to all anime, drama in 1080p, 720p and enhanced 480p and manga series with an entire ad-free experience. Price £8.99
Manga Membership - will give you access to the manga section and works in the same way as the anime membership except focusing on manga. Price £3.99
Drama Membership - will give you access to the drama section and works in the same way as the anime membership except focusing on drama. Price £4.99