Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump is arguably the most famous manga magazine on earth. The publication, which has more than 1.5 million readers per month in Japan, has launched a seemingly endless stream of iconic titles in its pages.
The magazine’s list of prominent properties reads like a “required reading” list for anyone that’s new to the world of anime and manga. Dragon Ball, One Piece, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Naruto, Gintama, and countless others have entertained fans for more than fifty years.
In 2002, the magazine made its grand debut under Viz Media’s umbrella. The publication and quickly claimed the crown amongst its competitors, with more than 300,000 subscribers by its second year on the market.
Before long, the publication was a mainstay in the west, bringing readers fresh chapters of manga every week. Through the high times of the bubble years, and the disastrous aftermath of the great industry crash of 2008, Shonen Jump stood as a welcome constant for western fans, bringing a steady flow of new manga chapters week after week.
With the march of technology, Shonen Jump changed its format to digital in 2012. The final print issues passed through newsstands that March.
For six years, this became the constant. Every week, a new issue would drop for subscribers, and to digital storefronts. It was familiar, and it quickly became a comfort for readers who found themselves embracing a world where manga and anime would find their home on tablets, phones… pretty much anything with a screen. And, for the most part, fans fell into a comfort zone with this format, as the culture shock faded and the new normal set in.
In December 2018, Viz Media and the Shonen Jump crew rocked the manga-reading world once more. In a video addressed to fans across the globe, Hisashi Sasaki, Vice President of Viz Media’s Global Shonen Jump division, announced that they would radically change that the publication operates.
Starting that day, Shonen Jump would be a free SimulPub service. In plain English, the service would offer The most recent three chapters of all ongoing titles going forward.
Fans who wanted to check out the very beginning of their favorites, or just explore older titles in general would be able to subscribe to Shonen Jump’s entire English archive, more than ten thousand chapters, for $1.99 per month.
“By becoming a member,” Hisashi explained, “you can support mangaka and respect mangaka. [I] hope you will join us.”
It’s been nearly three months since Viz and the Shonen Jump crew made this monumental change. With the dust settled and the manga coming at a fast and furious pace, we decided that now would be the perfect time to do a deep dive into what the service has to offer.
A Surface Level View
In addition to the main offering, the app features four sections:
- Chapter Schedule
- New Volumes
The Chapter Schedule is fairly self-explanatory in itself; the team maintains a rotating schedule chart, which notes the frequency of each title’s release, as well as the expected launch date of each new chapter.
- Keyboard Navigation
- Multi-Page or Single-Page Reading
- Full-Screen View
- Bookmarking Functionality
Overall page quality is fantastic when zoomed out. The lines appear crisp and clean, with all on-page details presented clearly. There is a degree of grey-hatching, blurring, and artifacting that can be seen in the images on zoom-in, particularly with older series, but the effect is generally negligible during normal reading.
The presentation is fairly spartan overall, between the two flavors of app. Rather than focus on additional features, the site emphasizes speed and ease of access. Manga pages load nearly instantaneously in both environments, and navigation between chapters and titles is incredibly snappy.
On the whole, the future of Shonen Jump looks brighter than ever. The sheer wealth of content on offer, combined with a subscription program that is both sensible and affordable, ensure that the platform will be a go-to source for fans of all stripes.
Though the service isn’t as feature-rich as Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the entire service feels genuinely good to use. The service’s emphasis on speed and its sheer breadth of titles create a convenient, genuinely enjoyable experience.
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