Xopher Reed

Viz Media iPad App – Review

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I’ve read manga for what seems like 20 years now. I’ve read it in both English and Japanese and for some reason, I’ve enjoyed reading manga much more than reading comic books here in America. This may be because I’m a stark raving mad weeaboo when it comes to Japanese culture, but for me it’s a bit more than that.

I don’t know why I stopped collecting comics, manga, books, and music. Maybe it was that all of the various collections started to eat up too much shelf space in my house or maybe how I would very rarely go back to the older items and use them again.

Thanks to the advances in the usual home network speed, availability of storage space, and the creation of some truly epic gadgets that can do a computer’s work without the need for the whole shebang I don’t feel so guilty about starting to collect again.

Just about every medium you can think of is available through some form of digital distribution which has become quite the godsend for me. I can carry around volume upon volume of comics, book, or especially in this case, manga…Viz Media’s manga to be exact.

The app, now available for iPad and iPad 2, is an electronic media direct distribution tool that lets you browse Viz’s current electronic manga offerings, make purchases, and read the volumes, all in one spot.

Currently, there are over 100 volumes of manga available in the company’s library. These series range all the way from Shonen Jump classics like Dragon Ball (and Dragon Ball Z) and go all the way to current mega-sellers like Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach. That’s not all you’ll find though, you can also get many other series that Viz carries like Claymore, Bakuman, and my current favorite…Toriko (expect a review of this in the coming week).

The greatest thing about their selection is that they treat it like a drug dealer entrepreneurial genius would think to do. This means that your first ‘taste’ is either cheap or free. They’re practically giving away 200+ page manga for only a friggin’ dollar! This is bad news for me and my bank account because in just the 2 days that I’ve downloaded the app…I’ve bought eight out of the current seventeen offerings that are only at the $0.99 mark. This might be just for this month, but I can’t complain…that’s one hell of a price for these books.

After you decide what you’d like to purchase, tapping on the red pricetag makes the app ask if you’re sure you want to purchase (a handy thing indeed for parents like me who might have little hands touching their iPad throughout the day) and if you click ok, it then asks for your AppleID password to complete the purchase. Seriously, that’s all you have to do.

I’ve used other comic devices and to pay for the books you have to store your information on their servers, but the guys at Viz were genius enough to make it come from the AppleID servers, not some unknown and untrusted computer in the boonies. Something like this might be simple to some folk, but I really appreciate that I don’t have to break out my credit card information inside every app I have.

Back to pricing. Like I said, the first volumes (at least for this month) are only $0.99 and each subsequent volume will run you a paltry $4.99 each. I say paltry because if you’ve ever bought physical manga, you know that it can run anywhere from $7 to $10 for each volume. I see myself picking up at least 2-3 volumes a week of some series until I get all caught up. I’m hooked.

As far as the navigation of the app, there are three main screens, the ‘store’ screen where you purchase your manga, the ‘my manga’ screen which contains your collection, and the ‘settings’ screen where you go to establish your Viz account and change the storage options for your iPad. There’s nothing unnecessarily added to this app to bloat the loading speeds or eat up your memory…meaning that the app is remarkably fast in delivering your favorite content to your brain.

Reading is a sheer pleasure with this app. It works great in either portrait or landscape mode with the only difference being that you can read 2 pages on one screen in landscape and only one in portrait. The books all read in the standard manga right-to-left method. But perhaps the best thing about reading on the iPad is that you can zoom in on panels with no loss of image quality and even place bookmarks so you can return to that page when you return.

All in all, I’m very impressed with this app and can’t wait to fill my entire iPad up with all of the great series they offer…hell, just getting the entire Dragon Ball Z series will eat up the entire 16gb I have on this thing. I really should have sprung for a larger model.

If you’re reading this on an iPad right now, then click on this LINK RIGHT HERE to be taken directly to the app store to download this great app for free. Even if you’re an entry level manga fan, you can’t go wrong with trying out the two free manga and the $1 issues they currently have.

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