Shueisha’s Shōnen Jump+ online manga magazine will start offering simultaneous English releases for all new manga series starting in 2023. This is great news for digital manga fans as they won’t have to wait for new popular titles to be licensed and translated over time.
The English editions will be made available via Shueisha’s Manga Plus platform, which is already offering a fair number of manga titles — including some Shōnen Jump+ titles — to overseas fans but is still lagging behind in terms of latest chapters.
According to Shueisha representatives, the move comes in an attempt to attract global subscribers as Japanese comics have been garnering worldwide attention for quite a while now.
Shueisha launched Manga Plus in 2019. The platform is currently offering various manga titles in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Indonesian, and Thai.
Shōnen Jump+ was launched in 2014 in an attempt to popularize digital manga editions and surpass the printed titles serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump, a front-runner in its field.
Shōnen Jump+ is joining the global manga expansion trend
The trend seems to be on the rise. Just over a month ago or so, Japanese digital manga giant Comic C’moA announced its overseas expansion plans.
The news was disclosed 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.
On the occasion, Mr. Moribayashi said that the worldwide popularity of manga is a business opportunity to be reckoned with.
The MangaPlaza experience shows that the estimate is spot-on. MangaPlaza was launched just recently — in March 2022 — also by NTT Solmare Corp. The platform is one of the largest digital manga websites in the U.S. and offers a fair share of solid manga titles — including some major ones published by KADOKAWA and Kodansha — coupled with affordable subscription plans.
It would seem that other publishers agree with Mr. Moribayashi. It is beyond any doubt that the number of manga fans has been increasing exponentially ever since the Internet became widely available to the masses worldwide.
Affordable digital manga titles may benefit publishers in more ways than one
To top it off, things aren’t looking too bright even in Japan.
Let us not forget that three gigantic Japanese manga publishers — Kadokawa, Shueisha, and Shogakukan — filed a lawsuit against the biggest manga pirate website in Japan, Mangamura (now defunct) for ¥1.9 billion (ca. US$14.2 million), also a month ago.
The estimated damages take into account only 14 popular manga titles — including ONE PIECE, Mushoku Tensei, Overlord, and Kingdom — over the course of 10 months (June 2017 to April 2018).
The former Mangamura operator was found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison in addition to having been ordered to pay a ¥10 million fine and forfeit ¥62.57 million.
According to antipiracy organization ABJ, the total estimated damages linked to manga piracy in Japan amounted to a stunning ¥1 trillion (ca. US$7.5 billion) only in 2021.
The time is ripe to expand the offer. Affordable subscription plans just may kill two birds with one stone: attract manga fans abroad and curb piracy at home.