Japanese digital manga giant Comic C’moA — one of the country’s largest and most prominent e-book and manga sales websites — is planning an overseas expansion in full swing.
Comic C’moA offers free manga titles, original or otherwise, as well as time-limited manga “rentals.” A number of the website’s original titles have been adapted into live-action TV series (e.g., Housekeeper Nagisa-san).
The news has been announced by Mr. Masaki Moribayashi, the president of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West (NTT West), the parent company of NTT Solmare Corp. that operates Comic C’MOA.
Expanding on the decision, Mr. Moribayashi has said that the worldwide popularity of manga provides a business opportunity for NTT West, the company he started chairing on June 17, 2022.
Previously, Mr. Moribayashi served as vice president of London-based NTT Ltd., a company dealing with overseas telecommunications operations. Having been involved in overseas business operations for many years, Mr. Moribayashi knows what he is talking about.
He has been quoted as saying:
“Japanese comics are also extremely popular in Europe. I think overseas expansion looks promising in a considerably large area, which covers Europe and Asia.”
Other than this brief announcement, no additional information has been provided. According to The Asahi Shimbun, NTT Solmare Corp. doesn’t have any specific plans as of yet. Rather, it is planning to set up procedures for contracts and additional business matters by the end of March 2023.
NTT West has been facing a steady decline in telephone subscriptions for years, due to the widespread use of smartphones. On that note, Comic C’moA was originally launched for feature phones in 2004 but has since expanded to accommodate other devices, in an attempt to weather rapid shifts in market trends.
Comic C’moA set to follow in the footsteps of MangaPlaza
Comic C’moA is not the first digital manga content library to transition to international audiences. Scilicet, in March 2022, NTT Solmare Corp. launched MangaPlaza — one of the largest digital manga websites in the U.S.
MangaPlaza offers affordable subscription plans starting with a 7-day free trial and features numerous titles from a range of Japanese publishers, including major ones like KADOKAWA and Kodansha. In addition, the digital library also offers original titles that haven’t been released in English previously.
Unlike MangaPlaza, Comic C’moA features web- and light novels as well, so it will be interesting to see whether they, too, will be offered in English, seeing as light novels’ popularity seems to be increasing by the minute.
Comic C’moA features literally all genres that come to mind, including yaoi and yuri, and lists some of the most popular manga titles (Golden Kamuy, Kingdom, Sasaki and Miyano, and Black Butler, to name a few).
Hopefully, subscription plans will be similar to MangaPlaza’s, which charges a monthly fee of $6.99 for unlimited access or a nominal fee ($0.45-$3.99) for purchasing individual chapters. For now, however, we can only keep an eye on the developments. Stay tuned!