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New Poll - Legal Digital Manga

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7:51 am, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 9852

This week's poll was suggested by JustaVagabond. Legal digital ways to read manga have increased in the last few years. Even some of the the Japanese publishers are endorsing it. And there's also the explosion of webcomics, especially those of the Chinese variety. Are you satisfied with all these changes? If not, what could be improved?

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Previous Poll Results:
Question: Which of the follow best reflects how you would like scanlators to treat off-bubble SFX?
SFX are a distraction, even as notes. SFX notes clutter the margins and panels and are a drag on the typesetter and even more on the redrawer. Scanlators should ignore them altogether. - votes: 109 (4.7%)
SFX are essential for scanlation to be true to the original. They should be typeset and redrawn all the time, regardless of how it might affect release pace. - votes: 103 (4.4%)
SFX significantly increase enjoyment of reading. They should be typeset and redrawn in all cases, so long as that doesn't compromise a regular, frequent release pace. - votes: 283 (12.1%)
Some SFX are needed to understand the context of a scene. These should be typeset and redrawn. Everything else can be ignored or left as notes. - votes: 585 (25%)
SFX are part of the art and as such should be left in place, their translation being typeset in small size next to them or on the margins as notes. - votes: 1264 (53.9%)
There were 2344 total votes.
The poll ended: October 5th 2019

Looks like the majority prefer to leave the original SFX alone and just put a small translation to the side.

A just ruler amongst tyrants
Post #772200

8:26 am, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 68

It has improved, but could still use some work
I rarely read Chinese manhua, so can't really talk about it and I don't know Japanese, Korean or Chinese so I don't know how good the translations are. Still, sometimes the translation just doesn't make any sense in the official version, while the fan translation is a lot better. Kubera from Line/Webtoons comes to mind, same for TOG.

Sometimes it's just that I got used to the terms used in the fan translation, e.g. Pillars and Upper and Lower Moon demons in Kimetsu no Yaiba, instead of the official "Kizuki" (I forgot how they call the Upper and Lower Moon demons there.)

What's good is that the image quality is usually better, but I think that's not always the case (can't thing of an example right now.) And idk, but I'm grateful for a fan translation even if it has some issues, is free after all, but the official translation is meant to be sold and it feels like they are ripping me off when they have shitty translation use shitty fonts, don't take the time to typeset the SFX to the target language and if it's online, when they compress the images to save space, but the images end up looking like a turd... I went and compared the Kimetsu no Yaiba official and fan translation versions... I prefer the fan translation version.

I mean, if you are getting money from it, don't just do the bare minimum to not get outrage from your customers. And I find it quite shitty that so many good manga/manhwa/manhua are getting mass translated with only profit in mind. It's fine to do it for the profit, but some manga are just works of art and I find it annoying to see them become mediocre shitty, because of the laziness of a company.

Post #772201
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8:38 am, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 678

I think CR and Viz's method of "pay a fee a month and get access to a library of manga" is my favorite type of legal digital manga service right now. (Well, other than the free ones, of course.) Too bad CR's reader is probably the worst manga reader of its ilk. It sacrifices functionality in favor of convoluted DRM that skilled pirates manage to rip from anyway. Manga Plus has a much less frustrating reader, and I wish CR would take a page from their book.

There has definitely been improvements in legal digital manga recently. Most of them good! But, yeah, I'm in the camp that it could still use some work. Particularly those manga services that release free weekly issues of a specific manga (which is great!) but then lock past issues with no way to even buy them (looking at you, ComicWalker, Manga Box, Manga Audition) unless, by the grace of some benevolent publisher, these manga get licensed for a volume release. Which has happened, yes, but not often enough. Oh, and the sudden cessation of service without so much as a notice by the aforementioned companies is pretty frustrating too, especially since so many interesting manga is going to disappear into the ether. At least let me buy past issues so I can remember what could've been!

As for webcomics/webtoons... I'm not a huge fan of the coin system that most of these websites use. Mostly because I tend to be a volume buyer and I've never been fond of buying chapter-by-chapter. I understand the necessity for it, and I think it's great that these sites are becoming more and more accessible. I just wish there was some way to buy volume-esque releases after so-and-so amount of days have passed. Oh, but since webcomics/webtoons originated primarily as an online medium, these tend to have the best sites and readers, which I appreciate. Japanese manga companies should learn from them!

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Seinen is RIGHT

12:11 pm, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 2108

It has improved, but could still use some work. They are getting there though and anime streaming is pretty much there if I overlook how badly OVAs are treated.
The high amount of free or free for a time releases has to be praised too. That´s stuff you don´t see from US or even worse EU distributors.

Last edited by residentgrigo at 8:54 pm, Oct 6

I also read EU/US comics and am a librarian.
Manga-Masters, My ANN-Lists + Imdb
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Post #772204
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12:37 pm, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 248

It has improved, but could still use some work mmm...
Especially the availability, for some service I have to use VPN to be able to access it mmm...

I will change this world mmm...
So the world can change me mmm...
Post #772207 - Reply to (#772200) by Senrosj
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2:24 pm, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 971

It has improved, but could still use some work

The good: a lot more creators are releasing their series over the net
The bad: the same groups and companies that have been butchering series since the beginning still exist, and are currently in the process of intruding upon legally-grey sites to gatekeep and butcher even more

Quote from Senrosj
I mean, if you are getting money from it, don't just do the bare minimum to not get outrage from your customers. And I find it quite shitty that so many good manga/manhwa/manhua are getting mass translated with only profit in mind. It's fine to do it for the profit, but some manga are just works of art and I find it annoying to see them become mediocre shitty, because of the laziness of a company.

What about the fact there is zero reasons to pay for online scans because you cannot own actually own the thing you're reading? Buying magazines and volumes give you tangible, physical a thing to have. None of that exists with Western online readers, unless you circumvent the DRM and download the pictures, like Suxinn was bringing up.

Also, if there actually is a translation company worth supporting (And, I mean give the company support, not pay them under the lie of "supporting the manga industry" ), shouldn't they be making their money back with the advertisements on the site?

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Post #772208

3:20 pm, Oct 5 2019
Posts: 38

Nah, still sucks

Never a fan of not to own books. I like to pay for something I get to own not just rent with the possibility of losing everything in my library when the company closes one day (it has happen before and will happen again probably more so now since it's getting competitive). Although I tried few services from time to time and so far not liking any.

Also, why does the reader these digital companies use are so shitty. I mean the image is very grainy like aggregator level grainy where they compressed the image to save on bandwidth. People are paying for this at least let people enjoy decent quality image.

Another thing is digital companies that churn in speedy manga usually does terrible job quality wise (translation, editing, typesetting). Used to subscribed for digital release and bought print for one of manga series I follow and the print is way more polished. I guess when release digitally they have the option to "fix later" but seriously do it right the first time. Worth to note the company that works behind the scene (the company that actually doing the translation and typesetting) are the same for majority of these digital companies that's why their quality are similar.

As for webtoon they are meant as such, to read on the web and I personally treat it as cartoon strip that you read on newspaper.

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Lone Wanderer

6:59 am, Oct 6 2019
Posts: 2091

It has improved, but could still use some work.

I'd be especially happy if they could do away with the majority of those god-awful cookie-cutter Chinese and Korean webcomics that all look and sound pretty much the same. Really, they're just as much of a plague as Japanese isekai web/light novels!

Also, the cost is still too high per chapter; especially for longstrip webcomics, considering how little actual story content there tends to be in a chapter.

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Post #772234 - Reply to (#772200) by Senrosj
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12:58 pm, Oct 6 2019
Posts: 92

sometimes the translation just doesn't make any sense in the official version, while the fan translation is a lot better

This reminds me of Annarasumanara's case. The fan version was a lot better than the official one on LINE Webtoon. In that case the problem wasn't just the translation, though, but also how the editors treated the entire work. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I suggest you read Foxfire's review, especially the part where they talk about the scanlation quality. In the review, the writer takes money by way of example to show how the webtoon was edited by LINE, but money wasn't the only part that was redrawn. Furthermore, the objects that were redrawn were all symbolic. Altering the artwork is absolutly unacceptable, especially when there's symbolism in it.

Last edited by ForeignerChan at 7:54 pm, Oct 6

Post #772239
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6:40 pm, Oct 6 2019
Posts: 151

It's definitely better than it used to be, but DRM sucks. So.... It has improved, but could still use some work

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7:39 pm, Oct 6 2019
Posts: 285

Definitely agree with It has improved, but could still use some work

With that said, I find "I would never consider [...]" hilarious. Some of those methods are free, at least for a limited time, now 🙂

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1:42 am, Oct 7 2019
Posts: 49

It's still too damn expensive in many cases. Why should I pay nearly the same cost or exactly the same cost (Hello June) for a digital manga that I'd pay for a paper copy, when there's little manufacturing cost involved and the translations are freelanced out for pittance pay?

Post #772250
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6:38 am, Oct 7 2019
Posts: 1786

I dislike it.
It's either overpriced or based on a subscription model.

I don't see a point in paying paperback prices for digital data. If I'm paying the price of physical goods I expect it in that form.

As for subscriptions, that model is crap as soon as there is competition because everyone has their own exclusive stuff. I'm not gonna subscribe to multiple things just to also get more crap I didn't even want to begin with.

And then there's also the thing about quality, where translations get butchered. Sorry when I don't trust companies (especially when they boast a subscription model that cares more about quantity than quality) that don't benefit much from increased quality.

That's quite different from scanlation groups with a vested interest in the series. So for me it's an issue of trust and ownership as well as having something in the medium I want.

So until they find a reasonable compromise I'll stick to re-reading my 25+ Spice&Wolf novels.

in need of romance?
uncommon, sad, sweet
Post #772289

3:00 am, Oct 9 2019
Posts: 423

The thing that gets to me is that a lot of the official sites don't distinguish things.

Let's look at Webtoon as an example. If I want to read a Korean webtoon I just have to know that something is by looking on a site like this one, because on Webtoon it might be a korean comic. It might be an english webcomic. I don't have an issue with that, but I want to know what sort of thing I'm reading. The plot structure and tropes are different.

Then there's the quality. Especially on these free and cheap subscription services they aren't putting a lot of effort into the translations. (Physical media has become much more consistent with it's quality since the TokyoPop days) This isn't surprising, but someone being paid some low wage doesn't work as hard as someone who is doing something as a passion project, even if the Fan Translations are sometimes inaccurate.

I'm more inclined to buy en ebook from Kodansha or Yen Press than to use a lot of the web-based services.

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Scan Master

10:38 am, Oct 9 2019
Posts: 86

It's gotten better, but I a lot of sites don't let you do local downloads, and the ones that do still typically want you to use their proprietary ebook program instead of just any comic reading or image viewing program.

As somebody who typically dislikes web readers, and enjoys using a program such as ComicRack to read comics and manga, it's a shame there's no easy way for me to use it with the manga that I've purchased, yet I can use any of the pirated copies I've downloaded without any problems.

So, not only is piracy free, but in this case it's also more convenient... and the main way you reduce piracy is through making the official method more convenient, just take a look at what Steam's done for video games.

Also, image resolution has gotten better, now that a lot of ebooks are being released in 1400, 1600, etc.. but a lot of services only offer JPG instead of PNG, which would be ideal.

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Jammin' Scans

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