OneManga Shutting Down: Manga Scanlation Scene Changing Fast

Things online may be changing faster than I speculated they would: Best-known manga scanlation site OneManga has posted a notice to their site that they will stop providing free manga online:

It pains me to announce that this is the last week of manga reading on One Manga (!!). Manga publishers have recently changed their stance on manga scanlations and made it clear that they no longer approve of it. We have decided to abide by their wishes, and remove all manga content (regardless of licensing status) from the site. The removal of content will happen gradually (so you can at least finish some of the outstanding reading you have), but we expect all content to be gone by early next week (RIP OM July ’10).

So what next? We’re not really sure at this point, but we have some ideas we would like to try out. Until then, the One Manga forums will remain active and we encourage all of you to continue using them. OMF has developed into a great community and it would be a shame to see that disappear.

You can also show us some love in this moment of sadness by ‘liking’ our brand new Facebook page. It would be nice to see just how many of you came to enjoy our ‘better than peanut butter and jelly’ invention.

Regardless of whether you stay with us or not, on behalf of the One Manga team, I would like to thank you all for your unwavering support over the years. Through the ups and downs you have stuck with us, and that is what kept us going.

The “community” thing is what Z-Cult FM said they were trying, once DC and Marvel yanked their comics from that site three years ago, and now they no longer exist.

Looking for another source for free manga online? That Google search reveals that MangaFox, Manga Volume, and various others are still operating … for now.

Update: As I was reminded in comments, the OneManga mirror site 1000Manga is also still available, although now comes word that they will shut down also.


63 Responses to “OneManga Shutting Down: Manga Scanlation Scene Changing Fast”

  1. Andre Says:

    While I know it’s part of the article, it’s still a little odd to be linking to those aggregator sites. I know you probably don’t mean it that way, but it’s almost like saying “go check out these sites before they disappear!”. Maybe name them but not link them ala how Brigid Alverson does it at Mangablog and CBR?

  2. Johanna Says:

    I know there are sites that refuse to name and/or link to certain sites, but isn’t that kind of like shutting your eyes to make things disappear? My message was not what you think — “go check them out” — but to show that they’re still out there, and publishers are fighting an uphill struggle. This is a battle between publisher wants and customer desires, and one of the most significant news stories of this year. Seeing what’s still available — and who might be next on the hit list, as popular Google options — is newsworthy, I think.

    By the way, I have blocked ads from those sites from appearing on my websites. I’m not looking to run links to them, but here, it’s part of the news story.

  3. Joshua Macy Says:

    I used One Manga to find manga that interested me, which I would then purchase once it was officially released in English (if it ever was…some of the best manga I’ve read look like they’ll never get an English release). That’s how I came across Bamboo Blade, for example, before One Manga took it down once it was licensed. Now I suspect I’ll just stop picking up new manga series. I’m not motivated enough to switch to torrents or IRC or whatever the hardcore do.

  4. Tracy Williams Says:

    But what about 1000manga, their mirror site? They don’t have the notification. Business as usual then, eh?

  5. Johanna Says:

    Joshua, there are always reviews to guide you. :)

    Tracy, excellent point. I have updated the post to mention that.

  6. takingitoutsid Says:

    I’m with Mr. Macy. I’ve significantly cut back on manga buying recently, to the point that I no longer pick up a series just because it looks interesting or I’ve heard good things about it. If I can’t read at least a handful of the first chapters in a series first, I’m not buying.

  7. Johanna Says:

    There’s nothing that substitutes for a sample, it’s true. I know I’ve sometimes wanted to browse series that I can’t find a physical copy of without buying it — the stores around here just can’t carry all of the various manga being released.

  8. Andre Says:

    Joshua-

    Tokyopop puts the first chapter of vol.1 of pretty much every manga they have on their website, so there’s still a way to sample their titles at least. I imagine Yen will do something similar given they’re launching an online service soon- their primary licensing partner Square Enix just launched a site w/free first chapters this morning for that matter [how's that for timing]

    There’s also manga review sites, and flipping through books in bookstores before you decided to buy them.

    And libraries. Still lots of options both digitally and analogue to get an idea if you want to buy a book. It’s not that hard to do

  9. takingitoutside Says:

    Andre,

    I use all of the services you mentioned, so I’ll just explain some of the problems with those options.

    I read at least a handful of chapters before buying, which means that one-chapter postings simply aren’t useful. I like that some companies are putting them online, but just one chapter won’t do. For that matter, some companies put up new chapters and take off older ones. If they want to put up new chapters that’s great, but I’m not going to start a series with chapter 22.

    Like I implied earlier, I need more than reviews to persuade me to spend money. Reviews are a great way to find out what I should consider, but I won’t decide to buy solely based on a review anymore. And I’ve got say, I have *huge* ethical problems with standing in a bookstore reading books for twenty, thirty minutes at a time when I’m not even sure I’m willing to buy the book. If I check it out online I’m giving the work a chance to sell itself to me with no negative effects for the people who bring me that work in hardcopy, but if I’m standing in the bookstore then I’m withholding the store’s merchandise from someone who might want to buy it, I’m taking up space in their aisles, I might be bending the bindings on the books…

    I do use my library, though not to test out potential buys so much as to read series in full. The main problem with the library is that they don’t have a very up-to-date collection (and won’t be getting one soon – budget cuts), so I can’t check out new series.

    So yes, these are all options. But they all have limitations and – in the case of reading the bookstore’s books without necessarily intending to buy them – ethical concerns. Now, I’ll probably always be able to find ten bucks for anything by Kaori Yuki, but that is a limited pool of properties. New artists, new series from artists that didn’t fascinate me on previous outings and even new series from artists that I like but whose plot set-ups don’t sound very interesting are not going to find an audience with me.

  10. Joshua Macy Says:

    “Not that hard” is harder than I’m willing to work to figure out whether I want to give them money. Quite a lot of money, actually. Fifteen volumes of just one series, Hayate the Combat Butler, say, sets me back $150. I don’t even like to think about how much I’m spending on something like One Piece. That’s an ongoing income stream that I would think they would be willing to spend some effort to establish. There’s plenty of choices of entertainment that I can either sample or purchase/watch/download from a single umbrella site rather than publisher-by-publisher or studio-by-studio. They’re making my “search costs” higher on a product for which there are many close substitutes; the predictable result is I’ll either switch outright or at least include more substitutes in my consumption…read more web-comics, watch more stuff on Hulu or Netflix, if I go to the library take out a book that will last me for a number of hours instead of being done in twenty minutes, etc.

  11. DeBT Says:

    Like a lot of people, I enjoyed getting the chance to read as much stuff as I could without having to worry about it. Now that I’m pressed for time, and am trying to cram as much as I can through my retinas before the deadline, I’m feeling very exhausted.

    With the crackdown on American comics, and now Japanese Manga, there’s only one major comics field that hasn’t gotten much attention – European / French BDs.
    http://sundaycomicsdebt.blogspot.com/2010/07/onemanga-rip.html

    If a scanslation site similar to the OneManga model was put up showing the wide variety of European stuff over there, would it be as popular as Manga in its infancy? I’m guessing there wouldn’t be much of anything at first, but given time, it could potentially grow a following. Once the European publishers start complaining, that’s a good sign we’ve succeeded at getting their attention.

  12. Jeffhog Says:

    There’s one thing that keeps bothering me when I read this kind of article. Sure, the fact that OneManga is shutting down is going to be one of the most bitter pills I’ll ever swallow to date, but what’s annoying me is this.

    North American publishers. The North American audience is relatively small because, frankly, the publishers aren’t even trying. A lot of people don’t even know what manga is: hence, barely any advertisement for what they’re selling. Bookstores in my town barely even have manga, and hell, I barely even have money to buy a single issue of (for example) Bleach! Basically, me having a wallet is a big stinking joke. 

    Another thing: I find it a big turn-off that the publishers are YEARS behind the works back in Japan, and while it (looks like it) takes [sarcasm]oh so long[/sarcasm] to translate and scan the manga coming overseas, scanlators can post the newest content in not even 3 days after it’s initial release.

    Besides, I don’t see why (for example again) Viz just wants to terminate these websites and end it instead of just hiring the people doing what they do. And don’t you find it weird that the scanlators (pirates) are doing a much better job than those calling themselves the pros?
    Hell, I read the French issues in my school library, and they’re closer to today’s manga than the English ones. Example: One Piece in French is only about 4 or 5 issues behind, and they come in fast.
     Thank God I’m bilingual.

    On another note, the pros can just do the exact same thing, but just add a price for reading (direct and all new) content online instead of just scaring everyone away. Heck, Funimation (a big name in the anime market) is streaming new episodes of One Piece on their website EVERY WEEK. And the anime is close (chronologically-wise) to the manga. THAT is alternative. I fail seeing most manga companies doing the same thing. Here, Funi shows that they care for the audience who wish to be up-to-date in the series.

    Right now, I’m just fearing that the big guys are killing off all the fans and scaring everyone away by forcing OneManga to close, and I’m certain more websites will follow.

  13. Nesterspants Says:

    If they create a site which allows me a to pay for manga online and have it release it closely with the japanese release…then fine. I wouldn’t mind.

  14. Ed Sizemore Says:

    First, scanlators can publish their stuff so quickly because they don’t have to worry about quality or accuracy. There a FEW good scanlators out there. But the average scanlator can’t compete with the language skill of the average professional. People like Fred Schodt, Carl Horn, and William Flanagan have been translating manga for over 20 years. They know not only the language but the culture. They can translate not just the words but the meaning and the subtext too.
    Second, the only titles that are YEARS behind the Japanese release are the historical titles. The standard delay is 6-9 months. The reason for that is the Japanese companies don’t get the material to the American company until the tankabon is finished and published in Japan. So most American companies couldn’t do a simultaneous release if they wanted to. However, that’s changing. Viz is putting Rin-Ne online the same day it comes out in Japan. If you want more same day releases, then you need to be reading Rin-Ne and getting all your friends to read Rin-Ne. That’s the only way the Japanese companies will know there is a market for simultaneous releases.
    Third, to the mangaka, the Japanese company, and the American company you aren’t a fan, you’re a liability. Scanlators aren’t helping manga they are devaluing it. You’re making hard for an American company to justify licensing a product if they think everyone who will buy it, have already read it. Scanlator numbers can hurt the chances that a manga is license in the US.
    Think about this. What does the mangaka, the Japanese company, the American company lose if you stop reading scans? Nothing. Let me repeat that. NOTHING. You aren’t doing any of them a favor by reading stolen content. There is no reason for them to care about you or your feelings. The person who is paying for content is the person they care about. The mangaka needs to pay rent. The Japanese company needs to pay the mangaka and printing costs. The American company needs to pay the licensing fees, the translation costs, and printing costs. It’s a crass and materialist world that we live in. The way to show love for a manga is to buy it. The way to make your presence known and to have a voice to the mangka, the Japanese company, and the American company is to buy product.
    Just a reminder. In Japan, the mangka holds the copyright to their work. So when you read scans you really are taking money away from the creator. Yes, there are Japanese and American companies that make money too. But the property owner is the mangaka. They are the one that works all day to produce the manga you love and when you steal their work you tell them their labor has no value. I’m old fashioned; a laborer is worth their pay. I buy manga so the mangka has the income to continue writing the stories I love. And that’s the real bottom line of this debate financially, logically, and morally.

  15. Johanna Says:

    DeBT, European comics have never been commercially successful in this country, not nearly at the rate manga has. I’m not sure there’s much of an audience for it — and price points are partially responsible. 200 paperback pages of addictive serial storytelling for $10 is more popular than $15-20 for 48 full-color art-driven pages in hardcover.

    I’m also not at all convinced that people who say “I’d pay for a site like OneManga” would really do so, or do so in enough numbers to satisfy publishers, or would be willing to pay what publishers want. When surveys on topics like this are done, the numbers rarely match, with customers saying things like “I’d pay up to $2″ when publishers are envisioning $10. There are a number of manga I’d be willing to read for free (investing only my time) but would never pay a dime for. It’s that gap that won’t be crossed in the current environment.

  16. Erica Says:

    “I read at least a handful of chapters before buying, which means that one-chapter postings simply aren’t useful.”

    ““Not that hard” is harder than I’m willing to work to figure out whether I want to give them money.”

    I buy thousands of dollars of manga a year from Japan, almost none of it is something I’ve had a chance to sample.

    Reading a synopsis or a review is too hard for you? Asking your library to get something is HARD work? Hard as in working in 97 degrees out in the blazing sun roofing hard or working 36-hour shifts in an emergency room hard? I’m not sure what your definition of hard work is.

    Please.

    Your lazy and spoiled. And you know what? It’s really okay is you *never* read a manga again. It won’t actually kill you. And think of all the extra time you’ll have to do some hard work.

  17. Johanna Says:

    I would prefer if we could discuss this topic without insulting those whose opinions differ from ours. Calling names is inappropriate, Erica.

  18. Andre Says:

    I don’t think “lazy and spoiled” are names. They’re moreso a state of being. It is lazy to not bother looking up reviews or having the patience to get a library book put on hold for you, and it is spoiled to expect a company to give you whatever you want at a moments notice without paying for it.

    They are a personality flaw that can be fixed. A personality flaw too many manga fans have and need to be called out on.

  19. Andre Says:

    Erica simply pointed out the errors in the reasoning of that post- they aren’t based in logic, they are routed in selfish behaviour and laziness, the a major reason most people, if not all, consume manga on sites like OneManga. It’s an unpleasant thing, but it’s still a fact Johanna, and it’s pointless to overlook it by demeaning Erika’s somewhat crabby but truthful remarks

  20. Erica Says:

    Looking for a synposis or review is “type a few words into Google” worth of “hard work.” However. I apologize if I offended, Johanna.

  21. Emmie Says:

    Reviews aren’t reliable because they’re based on OPINION. One chapter postings aren’t reliable because they don’t truly represent the style of a particular manga. So what if I get a synopsis? It doesn’t tell me anything else about the manga other than plot.

    @Ed Sizemore

    I disagree that scanlators aren’t as good as the professionals. Scanlators can do it better, because for one thing, they actually care about the series. And the dialogue isn’t awkward like pro-translated ones are.

    Anyway, I’m saddened by the news because I’ll never get those lesser known manga in my country. Much less translated ones.

  22. Johanna Says:

    Andre, I don’t use Inter-Library Loan very often because when I’m interested in sampling a title for potential purchase, waiting 4-6 weeks misses the point and the buying window in my budget. That doesn’t make me “lazy”, as you would have it. It means that there are plenty of other choices and companies have to work harder these days to get paid. You need to step back the rhetoric, please.

    These kinds of “us vs. them” false dichotomies are precisely why publishers and fans are at war online. If someone disagrees with you or finds value in a practice you don’t like, calling them “spoiled” does nothing to continue valuable discussion (which is what we need, as Erica so well pointed out in her post on the subject earlier this month), and I won’t tolerate that kind of demonization here. It’s not a “fact”, it’s a way to avoid talking about economic disparities and the practicalities in play today. (Similarly, I wouldn’t tolerate someone saying anti-scanlation advocates were spoiled because some of them get manga for free as review copies.)

    Erica, I also find it difficult to find real, honest reviews in some cases. A number of sites seem to be too swayed by getting free books, so they may be overly charitable or omit talking about some series’ flaws. Then there’s the problem of being sure a site matches my tastes closely enough to follow them for buying information. I’ve found a number of cases where otherwise reliable sites have pushed series that haven’t clicked for me — enough preorders based on that, and I wind up feeling burned (and out money, since there’s no good way to turn around volumes, no used market in my area).

    And I’d prefer a non-conditional apology, since it wasn’t that you offended me, it was that you weren’t treating opponents’ opinions with respect, as I require here. But I’ll take what I can get. Let’s stick to the subject, not calling our opponents names or assuming we understand their motives when we don’t.

  23. Joshua Macy Says:

    Sure, I’m lazy and spoiled…I expect manga to be as easy to consume and provide as much value as the other forms of entertainment competing for my time and money. Film producers don’t expect me to haunt review sites to even find out that a particular film is now in theaters; TV producers don’t say if you want to watch all you have to do is go to your local library and ask them to get the DVD; book publishers don’t charge $10 for a half-hour’s worth of reading material that’ll go 30 volumes for a complete story. There are some things, like the cost of producing a print volume, that manga publishers can’t really do anything about…but that just means they’re operating under a handicap. They need to recognize that, and try to improve other parts of their value equation, if they want to compete.

    I don’t think the manga publishers and mangaka owe me anything; but I don’t think I owe them anything either. I certainly don’t owe them support in the form of buying and pushing things I don’t like (Rin-Ne) in hopes that will convince them to eventually release something I do like, just as they don’t owe me the final volumes of manga that they can’t release profitably. We’re not all part of “Team Manga”, it’s all just business.

  24. DeBT Says:

    >>DeBT, European comics have never been commercially successful in this country, not nearly at the rate manga has. I’m not sure there’s much of an audience for it — and price points are partially responsible. 200 paperback pages of addictive serial storytelling for $10 is more popular than $15-20 for 48 full-color art-driven pages in hardcover.

    That’s why I think a OneBD site could potentially work well. If people were more aware of these comics existing, they would seek them out more than if they were ignorant of them. Of course, companies would have to make BDs more suitable to their audience’s liking, such as putting multiple collections into a single book, like with the Dungeon series, or reducing the size, like with the Smurfs books.

    Either way, something should be done to spread the joy around. After all, Manga didn’t start to get popular until it got widely distributed around the internet. The small sample you showed about the Bookstore guy is a good example. If there was a site that could gather all these translations together and post them online, it could increase their popularity.

  25. takingitoutside Says:

    Wow, I went home for the night and everything exploded.

    Johanna and Joshua Macy have covered the majority of what I would say far more eloquently than I would have been able to, so I’ll just add one or two things.

    Erica,

    As I wrote above, I do read reviews. Often. They point me to titles that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered, like Itazura na Kiss. I just don’t base my buying habits solely on reviews anymore. I also no longer buy thousands of dollars of manga every year, though I once did. The funds that I once spent on manga are going towards a Ph.D. that will focus on anime. Since grad school pays next to nothing, I do not have thousands to spend on manga, let alone manga I’m not even sure I will like.

    I have held a couple of “hard work” jobs like the ones you list. The benefit of those jobs is that the people who had me do them gave me money, not the other way around. Had I been asked to pay for the privilege of roofing a building in the middle of summer I would have turned that down, too. I’m happy to support those manga that I like, but I will not waste money I could spend on Helen McCarthy’s gorgeous but expensive, The Art of Osamu Tezuka, for example, on some manga that I may hate. It is not a question of hard work, it’s a matter of manga companies actually trying to sell their products to us instead of expecting us to miraculously learn about new series and hunt them down no matter how much time it takes.

    Johanna,

    I’m sorry if what I wrote above got a little snarky. Thank you for the care you’ve taken with this thread. Some online forums get pretty nasty, and I appreciate the work you’re doing to keep this one from that fate.

  26. Johanna Says:

    I’m still wondering how manga marketing is going to be affected. Manga publishers want to shut down sites that provide free online copies, that everyone understands. But are they ready to step up their promotional efforts? I’m used to seeing, when a new series is announced, a few people saying “oh, that’s good, you’ll like it if …” If publishers succeed in shutting down all scanlation sites (which won’t happen, but bear with me), those voices that serve as important bellwethers will go away, and publisher marketing will need to work harder to fill that gap and get that preorder buzz going. But then, maybe those voices will just get the information somewhere else instead, and we’ll all continue in much the same way.

  27. Johanna Says:

    DeBT, it takes a certain kind of chutzpah, in a thread about stopping copyright violation, to propose new and different forms of copyright violation. But maybe you’re just subtly making a point about the value of sites like OneManga?

  28. takingitoutside Says:

    I’m wondering about manga marketing, too. I am one of those people who suggests new series to people, and I think you’re right to worry. I have the most impact on actual volumes sold when I help Christmas- and birthday-shopping adults pick out presents. Usually adults shopping for others – especially kids – will be ready and willing to spend a fair bit of money, and they’ll pick up multiple volumes right then and there. Now, I can always suggest new titles to my friends, but my knowledge of titles for other age groups and people with other interests is dependent on my having read a handful of chapters at some point or other before deciding that I didn’t like it. If there are no scans, that knowledge will go away. For example, I can’t recommend something as appropriate for an eight year-old unless I’ve verified that for myself.

    It’s all fine and well to ooh and aah over SigIkki and the like, but one of the drawbacks of the publishers’ sites is that you have to either know which publisher has a given manga or be willing to and interested in websurfing across 7-8 sites on a regular basis. That’s a big time/memory commitment. Casual fans won’t do it and non-fans won’t get up the impetus to even think of doing it, which means that the companies are limiting themselves a lot.

    In my area (Washington, DC-ish), the bookstores often have big manga sections and some sort of eye-catching display. That’s good. On the other hand, some of them put manga into those plastic revolving bookshelves, which means different series and volumes get mixed in together at random, it becomes hard to find what you want and new volumes aren’t highlighted. I’m not sure what you could do offline that would reach as many people as the online scanlation sites, and the companies are going to have to come up with money to pay for whatever they do decide to do. That’s money they weren’t spending before, yet we’ve already had this rash of company closings.

    Now, they could get creative. Shoujo Beat and Shonen Jump were/are a gateway for some people. SB failed, but the market for magazines aimed at teen girls in general is, as far as I know, solid. Could some company pair with a CosmoGirl or a Seventeen and run one chapter of manga each month in that? You would be getting manga into the hands of a new audience, and if they took the bait they would find more manga where that one came from. It would also let you highlight your strongest property. Just think how well Vampire Knight might have sold if it were running in Seventeen during the height of the Twilight craze. The costs might be prohibitive, I don’t know. But cutting off scanlations and putting nothing in its place will have a negative effect on the industry.

  29. KrebMarkt Says:

    I find tiring how much some persons need to name good guys & bad guys in this debate. Between the copyright lesson givers and the self styled freedom fighters, i don’t think any discussion will go anywhere.

    No one should be exonerated on either side.

    On a comedic note, i happened to see an add for Mangafox on the very website of one big publisher. All i could do is facepalming.

    Now what’s next?

    I mean the concept remains the same publishing comics for which there are people “willing & able to pay for them” and more important connecting the dots between that public and those works.

    I leaves it to debate on whatever whacking scanlation would make people more “willing to pay for comics” however my personal opinion is that too often marketing teams fail miserably in connecting the dots.

    I think connecting the dots was and still remains the biggest challenge.

  30. Deinbeck Says:

    SigIkki is almost fine. I dislike that they publish full volumes at a time on the site.

    I’m a buyer. I want to spend money on these books. I’d like to see what I’m buying. A few chapters will allow me to sample what I need to sample.

    Putting up a full volume is like a movie theatre charging every second patron full ticket price, and letting everyone else watch the movie for free.

    The people that are reading full series end-to-end on scan sites do not love comics in any form. They aren’t even enthusiasts. They do not, and will never spend money on comics.

    I know these people. We’ve all known them for years. I have one buddy that has read thousands of pages of manga online. How many comics do you think he owns? How many manga volumes? What condition could they be in? Is he interested in art and storytelling at all? Can he name any comic artist that isn’t McFarlane?

    He’s that guy. You know him. He raved about Gen13. Rolls his eyes when you try to explain why the art in Youngblood is horrid. He doesn’t care about these things. That’s why he doesn’t know where his ten-odd comic books he bought in the 90’s are. That’s why he wouldn’t bother reading manga if he couldn’t do it for free.

    Take all the scan sites down. They aren’t for the people actually spending the money.

  31. KrebMarkt Says:

    @Deinbeck

    Can you point me at any credible analysis or study that assert your point?

    You symbolize how screwed is this debate. People on both side making arguments based on unproved assumptions.

    What if even after whacking scanlation the manga publishing industry doesn’t go better?

    I approve the publishers move because it is way about time that they show who is really in charge here. Whatever this will solve “all” the manga publishing problem is pure speculation.

  32. carina etania Says:

    I am really heartbroken that onemanga will be taken down. I have experienced some disappoinment where I bought a manga just becuse it’s cover looked interesting, and then get slapped because the story and the artwork inside was not good.
    It happens a lot that I find a manga is very good way too late (like death note and fullmetal alchemist. FMA rocks!) because the reviews are not selling it enough for me. now I regret it because I couldn’t find the 1st series anymore. I have my collection starts from the 2nd book up to 22 and that’s annoying.
    Also, some good manga just aren’t available in my country Indonesia. So a scanlation site is really helpful.

  33. carina etania Says:

    ah one more. I read penguin brothers when I was in elementary school. at that time I borrowed that 5 series manga from my friend, because I didn’t have enough cash to buy some.
    Now I am in my senior year of high school, finally have some money to spend on mangas, and still looking for that series. But I could only find the first two books.
    Thanks to onemanga, I can download the other rest, including the final book, which I love very much.
    Even though I have read it so many times, I’ll buy penguin brothers number 3, 4, and 5 rightaway if I find it.
    And in my opinion, that’s love. please forgive me if I don’t agree when people say those who consume manga scanlations are not real fans.
    That. Hope I can get across my feelings with this.

  34. Wendalyn Says:

    Another alternative ( at least if you live in the states ) to buying or downloading manga is to rent it. Works like netflix but for books – http://www.mangatakeout.com

  35. willowisp Says:

    i don’t think taking down online scanlation sites will help the manga industry. if someone really wanted to read manga for free then he or she would just download, right?

    if anything the guys who use online scanlation sites, at least from my experience, are those who want to ascertain the worth of what they’re buying. i simply don’t have the money to buy manga in a trial-and-error fashion. i myself would have never bought school rumble or full metal alchemist if i haven’t read the series in full.

    besides, the publishers are up against the internet. it would be a pyrrhic victory if the publishers even win.

  36. tuwLoL Says:

    I just hope the publishers aren’t stupid enough to this without having some kind of back-up plan. Manga gained huge popularity because of the illegal online scanlations. They probably won’t waste this huge opportunity to earn profit…

    I hope they’d host their chapters online, though it might be a price.

  37. Emmz:) Says:

    Sad that onemanga is closing down :(
    Well don’t come blaming us when sales aren’t as good! (I guess I’ll just stick to watching anime now…) Anyway, people are probably going to keep scanalating and re-uploading, so, ya might as well keep it legal :) Some manga is hard to find, so it’s much easier to just read online

  38. Keyblade303 Says:

    People you have to realize that Manga has been a very big part of peoples lives I mean not like without it I would die” but to the point where its like a tradition. I read most of you guy’s comments and opinions and I have to say I am diappointed. You guys act like you don’t care for Onemanga even though its been up for many years. Its like a big part of the manga family to all manga fans that enjoy it so much. I mean in my high school Onemanga has been passed down from generation to generation like a torch we passed it down to the freshmen so that they may enjoy it and spread it all over the place making it even more popular than ever. Onemanga has brought many laughs,tears,angry outbursts,and applauses because of the Grade A quality manga that it graciously uploads and without it we are missing a major part of manga loving hearts. But hey you don’t have to respond to this and don’t take it as a heart felt speech either this is just a message to those motherf***s you have nothing better to do but to be a**holes about onemanga and just cause some negative things to be said about and to make it seem like it should be forgotten.

  39. Leon Says:

    I’m sorry but this is complete corporate bullshit.

    Most people who read manga, are very into it and buy the manga’s anyway.

    I for example, only started reading manga online when I found out it’s infact about a year and a half ahead of the english release’s. eg. the Naruto manga at this minute, is just hitting the pein arc, in japan it’s already about 15 volumes past that, I still buy all the volumes as they come out.

    What about trying series our friends don’t have, that libraries don’t have etc.

    We don’t want to buy a few volumes to see if we like it!?

    By shutting down online manga sites they’re just letting themselves in for a torrent of abuse… Rightly deserved abuse at that.

  40. btw guys Says:

    have u SEEN Shonen Jump (american) lately?! There are like no more manga on it. I picked one up while getting some stuff and it went from like 8 manga to only 4, two of which im MONTHS ahead (bleach, naruto), and one i dont even like! (One Piece). And I was slightly lost reading Ultimo cuz i dont read it that often :'( Still, its nice just reading manga, i dont have to think as much cuz the pictures are there for me and they look KICKASS
    at least i got a shiny new Naruto card :3

  41. Mic Says:

    I agree that review sites have been influential in guiding me towards series that I would have dismissed initially (i.e. pluto, real, yotsuba). However, some have been a bit of a miss for me, but I only knew this from sampling some of the scanlations online. I do realize scans should not be tolerated, but there are at least some groups that do drop a series once it has been licensed, plus it does offer me the opportunity to read up some of the stuff that has yet to be licensed. Most notably, I still wonder – what with the popularity of both paradise kiss and nana – why more of ai yazawa’s work have not been picked up yet? On the other hand, there are many who abuse the scans, some even racking up gigabytes on their hard drive from downloading, simply expecting it for FREE (= stealing).

    I want to stress that I, personally, do purchase the series that I enjoy, although it would be naive for me to assume that everyone else does the same. I don’t know how viable this would be, but I hope that the publishers at least put up the first volume online for the readers to check out – not just a chapter as it would be difficult to gauge much from it.

    Also, in regards to the matter about the library, at my local one here in the UK, there is a very limited selection of manga. Of course I can ask the library to get them, but that would set me back a couple of £’s. I would rather save up to buy a couple of volumes of my own rather than to borrow.

    On a side note, when I first started reading manga, I only had the option of purchasing it in store – kinda sucked, because again, very limited selection. (I was desperately looking for Emma back then.) I was too young to have a credit card and I couldn’t ask my parents either – they hate the fact that I don’t read proper books (according to them >_<).

  42. Franzeska Says:

    Reading about all the OneManga stuff makes me absolutely enraged: not because I loved the site, and not because I think scanlations are evil either, but because everyone is acting as though it’s the be all and end all of both manga fandom and scanlations themselves.

    Maybe scanlations did help grow the potential readership of manga in the US, but those were scanlations from before OneManga was big. It’s only in the last few years that the online readers have been really entrenched, and by then, manga was already well known among nerds. Furthermore, plenty of scanlation groups that work on the obscure stuff–the kinds of series that will probably never be commercially translated, the kinds of genres that most people use to justify reading scanlations–those groups never did distribute through OneManga. Or even if they did occasionally, they didn’t primarily distribute through there. These groups are still around. If you like comics from the 70s or yuri written by and for Japanese lesbians (i.e. not the girl-girl porn for men kind) or ultra violent, arty seinen or super cute slice-of-life manga or whatever else, someone out there is probably scanlating it. If you’re actually that desperate to find them, you can. Publishers don’t waste time tracking down tiny little operations that are not a financial threat.

    OneManga was a highly mainstream site. Over and over, I see people mentioning wonderful series they discovered through the site, and they’re nearly all bestsellers that ran in Weekly Shounen Jump. Maybe they’re other shounen bestsellers that ran in another major magazine. Occasionally, they’re some shoujo romance from the top 10 current bestsellers or something. It’s true that OneManga did also have some obscure stuff, but that wasn’t the primary draw of the site for most of its users.

    I like scanlations; I think they could play a productive role in shaping tastes, building a market, and giving publishers ideas about what to license. They could. Usually, especially in the last few years, they don’t.

    The fact is, while some groups do drop licensed series, big aggregation sites like OneManga are always full of licensed material and other work by groups that scanlate it. I’ve heard plenty of lipservice to the idea of “ethical scanlation”, but I haven’t seen many big sites that even attempt to practice it. For me, that invalidates most of the justifications for why we need or should care about OneManga.

    We don’t expect to be able to preview entire novels online for free; we shouldn’t expect the same thing from manga.

    For all of you who think manga fandom is identical to the pool of OneManga users, I suggest you check out a site called Inspide Scanlation. Things have changed rapidly in the last ten years. People liked (and paid for) manga before OM; they’ll do so after.

  43. Johanna Says:

    That is an insightful analysis. Thanks for sharing your view of the history.

  44. Bunny Says:

    If anything this whole devestation blow is most likely going to make scanlators(stop calling them agragators if anyone one is a agregator it’s the stupid publishers who can’t think without money in their face), and manga sites jump back even harsher, they will fight till nothing is left. No one is winning in this fight, it’s useless and has no point; publishers have been doing this for years, closing good sites down for their own purpose: money. If half the world didn’t do things that were more meaningful like letting people read manga online, no download and no money then publishers wouldn’t have the sales they have now which I gander is preaty high considering that manga sites are the first sites that come to manga readers heads when they learn or want to read a manga so when it all comes down to it publishers would be screwed without manga sites, they would have no source of income and no manga’s to translate because they would be out of business. Of course it is hard to tell the BOSS the truth when the boss only hears half of what is being said because what is being said is not what he wants to hear. The big bomb shale is I hope publishers can keep their heads because swords are going to fly from this recent scandal of theirs’ Manga sites will fight back and even more aggressively their fans will also fight even harder;

    plus if publishers don’t listen and keep shutting sites down they better start making downloads less risky for virus’s and other stuff like that and if they are going to make volumes for god sakes get HANA TO AKUMA on the damn list already! I will so buy that damn manga after all onemanga got me started with it and after reading up to chapter 52 I want more to read and I want to own the book also. This still doesn’t mean they are not off the hook because for the time being they will stay hooked painfully by the lips until they just stop and say fine your all right we wouldn’t be where we are now if manga sites were not out there. Swallow the pride it’s what ruins a country and a entire race.

  45. Franzeska Says:

    Bunny – There is a difference between scanlators (people who create scanlations) and aggregators (sites which compile scanlations done by other people). That’s not an insult: it’s a factual description. Publishers aren’t aggregators.

    When I was buying commercial manga in the US in the mid-90s, there were no online reading sites like OneManga, but there were still customers for translated manga. People discovered it, like they do now, by seeing it on the shelves or first watching anime or hearing about it from their friends. True, scanlation became much more common before manga really took off in the English-speaking world, but OneManga was founded in late 2006, well after the US/English-speaking manga boom began.

    It is simply not true that online reading sites have created a market for manga. They’re a response, not a cause.

  46. Jake Says:

    but Franzeska, bunny was talking about manga sites in general, there were probably other manga sites being opened when manga started getting popular, not just onemanga which might even be considered late in the game because it was opened just 4 years ago. Emphasis on “might” because im speculating.

  47. Franzeska Says:

    Jake, if you mean websites that cover some aspect of manga (like, say, character shrines to CLAMP characters or all-text translations of Ranma 1/2 with no pictures), sure, there were plenty. If you mean online scanlation reading sites or even sites that link to actual downloads, those are a fairly modern part of manga fandom. When the boom was just starting (early 2000s around the time anime started showing up on Adult Swim and that sort of thing), it was still all about IRC and individual scanlation groups’ sites. Some of the early release tracking sites were just getting going around 2002-2003. The boom peaked around 2006. By the time most of the online readers were getting big in 2007-2008, the boom as such was already over. Manga Fox was founded in 2007. I can’t find the exact start dates of Manga Toshokan and the others, but they’re all around that same time. I don’t think it’s necessarily correct to blame them for the bubble bursting, but these sites absolutely did come along after manga had already achieved mainstream popularity by other means. They were capitalizing on a trend, not starting one.

    You don’t need to speculate. The people at Inside Scanlation have done an amazing job of documenting the history of scanlation. They’ve interviewed and researched; it’s about as authoritative as you’re going to get on this subject. The section (1 of 15) on the transition to OneManga type sites is here:
    http://insidescanlation.com/history/history-3-4.html

    Whichever “manga sites” bunny is talking about, s/he is wrong. Dead wrong.

    Here’s another timeline of scanlation (mostly culled from Inside Scanlation but with a little bit of new info and a more compact layout): http://fanlore.org/wiki/History_of_Scanlation

  48. Anonymos Says:

    Even though I’m only just entering my junior year of high school, I thought I’d try adding my own bit to the pile. Only about a year or two ago I had only read a few manga and watched a bit of anime (mostly detective conan for the anime). It was only when I found One Manga that I really started devouring manga. That’s right, I said devouring. I finished the dc manga in a week or less, then started on naruto. So basically, I read them fast enough to get annoyed with the load time of each page. One day it was buisness as usual when… a page showed up saying that the manga was no longer shown. In total confusion, I discovered that the manga was taken off of the One Manga site. Out of curiousity and some spare time, I found some quotes of a message that was appearently disappeared before I got a chance to see it or notice it. So now I have no manga. If I had any allowance, I would probably save up and buy manga. Unfortunatly I don’t recieve such a nicety. To tell the truth, I prefer the book version of manga, but as I have stated, no money. Until I found your article, I had no idea what onemanga’s reasoning was, so thank you for that. Btw, couldn’t the publisher’s just ask scanlation sites which manga’s are popular so they have idea’s for what they show in things such as Shonen Jump? They could also look at unlicensed manga for fresh new licensed manga, now that I think about it (that would also bring the fans of said manga to their… ummm, magazine? Not actually sure what it’s called -.-‘). Just a thought :) Anyway, I just have one question Johanna… why are ‘manga’ and ‘anime’ showing as misspelled words as I type this comment, seeing how this is about them? Just curiousity…

  49. Anonymos Says:

    As an added thing… I don’t really approve of downloading manga and the like. My view on scanlations is that it’s a grey area, but I’m not totally against it as long as the site/scanlaters have not created the site for profit. My view on downloading manga is that it’s a total black area. I suppose it’s a kind of “you can look, but you can’t touch” thing and maybe a touch naive, but manga downloads can be taken and sold or copied and given away. It’d be something to you ‘own’. Ack, it’s a bit more than naive isn’t it? Oh well, it’s my opinion. My view on anime is a little less sever, because of streaming issues, and just like the lack of manga in libraries, there is an inconsitancy in subbed anime shown and on tv, the showings are just too erratic. Unless the person copies it and sells/gives it away. I apologize to all who read this if it’s a little inconsistant, I had a major headache earlier today *sigh*. It wasn’t very… fun. Anyway, thank you for your time and for reading my opinion :)

  50. Franzeska Says:

    “Btw, couldn’t the publisher’s just ask scanlation sites which manga’s are popular so they have idea’s for what they show in things such as Shonen Jump? They could also look at unlicensed manga for fresh new licensed manga, now that I think about it (that would also bring the fans of said manga to their… ummm, magazine? Not actually sure what it’s called -.-’). Just a thought :)”

    15 years ago, 10 years ago, US publishers absolutely did look at scanlations to see what was popular. They’ve said so many times at conventions and Q&A sessions. They probably still do it now. However, these days, they also have the option of looking at what actually sold for actual money to actual customers. It’s great that you like manga, but unless you can vote with your dollars, publishers can’t afford to pay attention to you.

    “I suppose it’s a kind of “you can look, but you can’t touch” thing and maybe a touch naive”

    You think? Whether you’re reading online or downloading, you’re still pirating. Scans you can read via the web are more expensive to host, so those sites are more likely to be full of ads and to be, at least in some sense, for profit.

    Though you’re right about downloads being easy to share and copy: OneManga got its content by collecting downloads from scanlators and reformatting them for its website. Based on OM’s readership, I’d say far more people were accessing a given scanlation on that site than were downloading anything.

    The real issue isn’t what format you read scanlations in, it’s whether scanlations actually make publishers lose money.

  51. takingitoutside Says:

    >>It is simply not true that online reading sites have created a market for manga. They’re a response, not a cause.

    Online reading sites, maybe. Scanlations in general, no. Reading sites grew from the scanlation scene, which involved scanlations hosted on scanlators’ sites and in IRC groups. It is absolutely true that that scanlation scene created a market for manga. Anime hit it big before manga, and a lot of people got into manga from anime. Since anime was distributed online through the same methods as manga back then, many anime fans made the jump to downloading manga and became fans of manga because of scanlations. That’s how I did it, as did many of my friends.

  52. Anonymos Says:

    To Franzeska: ouch! As a last defense, I would buy the manga if I could. I prefer purchased manga and reading an actual book instead of scanlations. Unfortunatly, I am given no allowance and my mom won’t let me get a job. So I’ve only been left with illegal scanlations and possibly manga borrowed from friends.

  53. Franzeska Says:

    I’m not blaming you, Anon; I’m saying it doesn’t make sense for you to offer suggestions to the commercial industry when you don’t and can’t actually support that industry. Scanlators are paid in attention, fame, and gratitude: For them, it makes sense to base decisions purely on what people say they like. Commercial publishers are running a business: They get paid in money, and they’re going to base their decisions on which products people spend money on.

    takingitoutside – Yes, absolutely. My experience was similar. My friends traded fansub VHS tapes, and a lot of us eventually started wanting to read the manga those series were based on.

  54. Johanna Says:

    Anon — I’m sure your mom will be happy to take you to the library. Many libraries have growing manga collections, and they can get you almost any book in print through Inter-Library Loan.

  55. Anonymos Says:

    Franzeska, thank you for explaining. I think… I was trying to add in the opinion of a future consumer. To Johanna, my mom would be very unhappy to take me to the library, most likely because I have just over 5 dollars in late fees. Also, my library does not let you check out books for the time your account is “in the hole” by just this amount (5 dollars). As soon as I get a license, I will most likely drive there myself and possibly pay off my late fee (with saved up christmas money, of course) and frequent the library often. I believe I have about 5 months until that time so until then I will settle for my school library. The inter-library loan suggestion is appriciated though. I hadn’t even considered the idea, and even though it seems a bit impractical for me, I will try it when I can XD. Oh, and as a side note, I will not have access to the internet for three days. This is important, because I don’t want anyone to attempt a reply and get nothing in return without knowing why. Looking at the date on Johanna’s message, I’ve already done it but I wanted to let you know at least -.-‘ takingitoutside, would you give me an example of a reading site? The phrase ‘reading site’ just isn’t striking any cords for me.

  56. Johanna Says:

    An online reading site is a site like the departed OneManga, a website that puts up the work of scanlators for anyone to read easily. That’s what the manga publishing companies are fighting.

  57. Mic Says:

    Hi Johanna, I haven’t been following this news much as I’m not really affected by these hosting sites, but what I would like to ask is will anything happen to the scanlators (for the time being at least)? I do realize that there are thousands more groups out there so it would be more difficult to take action against them, whereas sites like OneManga have gotten too out of hand that they usually come up first on Google search.

  58. Johanna Says:

    That’s the assumed logic right now, that the less well-known a site is the safer it is, at least for now. Some of those working at manga companies were or knew scanlator fans, so that might provide some sympathy/protection, too. But with sales declining and companies in trouble, I don’t know that any sites will be left alone, since the companies have become determined to eliminate the unfair competition.

  59. Hsifeng Says:

    Johanna Says:

    “Anon — I’m sure your mom will be happy to take you to the library…”

    I’m not so sure. Even if Anon didn’t have just over 5 dollars in late fees…

    You might be surprised at how many “stay-at-home” parents, after they and their spouses choose to raise their children (like I and some of my friends were raised where we grew up) in places where nobody can reach a library, store, park, etc. without an automobile, oft complain “you’re treating me like a chauffeur!” when those children ask for rides to those libraries, stores, parks, etc. Of course, there are also the families without stay-at-home parents and their adults have other reasons too (like shifts at work) for not being happy to give children extra rides.

    Parents like these might be happier writing a permission slip for kids to take the school bus to the library after school (when I was in secondary school, one of the school bus routes conveniently stopped at the library on its way from house to house in the afternoon, and in high school those of us who lived on other bus routes could just hop on but in middle school we needed to show the driver permission slips to take that bus to the library), and then picking him or her up (or having the other parent/guardian, if there is one, pick him or her up) from the library on the way home from work.

    Then again, maybe Anon doesn’t even have a school bus route thanks to homeschooling, distance schooling, or attending a school which doesn’t have a school bus fleet in the first place (some private schools don’t, some charter schools don’t, I once had a co-worker who sometimes had to leave work early to pick up her son from school because he was too young to take the driver’s license test and they live too-far-to-walk from his high school in in a suburban school district that has no mass transit but still cut transportation for public schools (WTF?!)).

    Johanna Says:

    “…Many libraries have growing manga collections, and they can get you almost any book in print through Inter-Library Loan.”

    Now this, it’s always a welcome reminder. ;)

    Anon Says:

    “…The inter-library loan suggestion is appriciated though. I hadn’t even considered the idea, and even though it seems a bit impractical for me, I will try it when I can XD…”

    See, Johanna’s now got you on the path to trying out even more books! :D

    WorldCat.org doesn’t offer a way for non-librarians like us to place requests online, but it is handy for seeing what’s available where. For example, I live in Massachusetts. If the nearest library with a copy of a book I’d like to read is in Dallas or Vancouver then I’ll go ahead and fill out an interlibrary loan request form next time I go to my local library. :) If the nearest library with a copy is in London or Sydney, the librarians there would be much less likely to agree to send the book all the way here…so I’ll spare my local librarians the hassle of trying to get them to agree, and I won’t bother requesting it in the first place. ;)

  60. Anonymos Says:

    My Library is in another city (about 20-30 mins. away) making it drive up the gas prices too. I’ll probably go with getting a part-time job in that city, then drop by the library on my way home everyday. Or better yet, get a part-time job at the library XP (at least once I get my liscense,which I don’t have only because of procastination anyway)

  61. jigoku13 Says:

    i am probably much older than many who read manga, and i can easily afford to purchase them, and prefer to, when available. however, i found that the scanlations kept me far more current than publishers. i am busy, and found the access provided by onemanga to be invaluable, not to mention the ability to view and read manga that i had never heard of, nor would i. being a 38 year old woman, a mother, and a professional, slams me out of the demographic, and i suspect i am an outlier far outside of the target market. if i had not been able to keep current with “bleach”, and was forced to rely on the molasses styled english translations, i am sure i would have rivaled, my dear, little aizen, when forced to wait!:) not to mention, i was severely tickled by the punk rock spirit of the scanlators. how will i ever find another akumetsu? so sad, so sad:(

  62. Aiculik Says:

    I would love to buy original manga. But I can’t. Simply because there AREN’T ANY titles translated into my language. Mangas in libraries? Keep dreaming. In twenty years. Maybe.
    So what options do I have?
    Well I can purchase it via Internet. That means, those few titles that are offered in internet bookstores. If I’m lucky and the title is available, I can then wait till whole volume is finished and translated into English. That can take months. Then wait till the order comes. That can take 6 to 8 weeks. Means I can get few mangas only 6 months after it was published in original for a double price, because of shipment fees. Yaaaay!
    Or I can check sites like One Manga. I can read chapters just few days after they were released. And as a bonus, it’s for free.
    The reason why scanslations are so popular is the fact that English is now widely spread and understood all over the world. So until the publishers don’t understand this and make mangas legally accessible for anyone who wants to read it, thre will always be sites like One Manga.
    And the solution I think is rather simple. If publishers published mangas on
    internet, in several language variants, and people would be allowed to download it or to view it for a small fee, lot of people like me WOULD switch to it and pay. The real, high-quality translations with proper profreading would be worth it.

  63. MangaFox Scanlation Site Still Running » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    [...] summer over publishers trying to shut down scanlation sites — which caused the best-known free online manga site, OneManga, to stop posting manga [...]

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