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The manga fans tool kit

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the manga reader tool kit

 

 Last year I wrote the anime fans tool kit and in it I did a breakdown of some of the most useful applications that the modern anime fan should take note of and in my opinion already be using by this point. After that article I started a version for manga fans, this is that article. I have mentioned in my last ESO that I extremely critic my own writing and so I tend to write articles and not publish them.  Few people close to me have spoken to me about this bad habit of mine and so I am revisiting, editing and publishing these articles for your reading pleasure. 😉

I will like to note that if you are an avid listener of the buttonsmashers podcast you may have heard me mention some of these applications before and so you can overlook them. I will mention a few variations of applications over different platforms so I will like to apologize in advance if your favourite platforms are not mentioned due to my lack of having them or disinterest in them.

Please note I always strongly advise that you buy the official versions of your manga if you have the option to do so. It shows support to the mangaka and allows them to continue putting out new chapters and volumes for your reading pleasure.

Mangaka have to eat too

Eiichiro Oda's desk

Eiichiro Oda’s desk

Crunchyroll manga is the newest app I have used for manga and so I am not sure if my personal point of view will be the most accurate or reliable. Why I do list this option however is to give those that are fans of manga a chance to give back a bit via an official channel like this. From what I have noticed Crunchyroll doesn’t have the big 3 Naruto, Bleach, One Piece or even most of the manga I regularly read but they do have some popular ones that I know others read like fairy tail.  It has no chapter download option so if you are like me and don’t have constant data on your devices this is not the only app for you and you should only be only getting it as a supplement to another app. What it is useful for is the fact that it is an official app and so some of the money made goes back to the mangaka. It’s always important to support the mangaka for the manga that you like in any form you can so pay for CR sub and find another better app.

Other than Crunchyroll I can only think of the Viz manga app which is also limited and in my eyes from what I was able to check out via screen shots as it was not supported by my phone.

Amazon is also another fine option for buying official manga. If you need me to explain why amazon is great then I think that you may need to go back to the sea Patrick. Amazon carries quite a few physical and digital books and will come in handy for those that wish to avoid digital and prefer the feeling of real pages in their hands. I for one have a few physical manga but I do prefer the digital versions as I don’t want to log along 5 volumes in my bag pack while I’m mobile when one tab can do the job just fine (plus it saves trees).

Choose the right Tab (7″)

A primary part of any modern manga reader’s life is an android Tablet. Sorry apple and Microsoft tab owners, but those devices don’t really have manga apps that I would recommend for the idea manga reading experience. Now if you noticed the header to this section you will notice the specific size I added. This is because I believe that a 7” tab is as close in size to the actual thing that you will be trying to replicate. The good ones are easy to hold in one hand and you can buy these nice cases that make them look like books for those rides on the Bus or Maxi (it a Trinidad transport system). The best ones are the Google Nexus 7 tabs. With their memory, processors, storage and price they are the perfect choice for any fan of reading. They can also be used for gaming when you’re taking a break from reading your favourite series.  If however you cannot afford or get a nexus 7 to buy then my suggestion is to check out any 7” android tab that has at least 4gb of storage (with upgradable memory option for those of us who like to grab 100 plus chapters/manga), at least a duo core, more than 1gb of ram, Wi-Fi (3G/4G if available), and android 4.1 or higher.

Nexus 7

The Nexus 7

Below I have a few suggestions linked to help you find the one that best suits you:

Manga Watcher

Many times my previously awesome bearded bro Ryu and I have gotten into little friendly spats about which app is better for manga reading between manga watcher and perfect viewer. So here I will like to explain my case and hopefully you may understand my preference between the two a little more.

Manga watcher is an android only app (sorry all my apple and windows using friends). It is an app that has actually been removed from the play store and so it seems a bit sketchy. I believe the reason for this is that unlike perfect viewer and other manga reading apps this app allows the reader to download the manga chapters directly through it and store them on their device. This I must point out is illegal as some translators may not have official licenses to distribute the titles they upload. Manga watcher itself does not have the chapters on its own server but is rather a conduit for manga websites like manga fox and manga here. The options and choices when it comes to scanlations are varied and vast, so if you are like me and start reading (trinity 7) from manga fox only to realize seven chapters in that the subs suck arse you can easily switch to another possibly better sub. The app features a book shelf style UI that is similar to the Aldiko bookshelf. This makes for an easy to navigate yet deep app. moving through menus are easy and take little getting use too. The menus are quite self-explanatory requiring a few minutes and average understanding of the English language to find and set up whatever feature you like in the app. It uses single and multi-gesture controls allowing for readers with different preferences to have their pick. From lighting settings to the direction you change the page in, everything is here. I have fooled around with my copy of the app to the point that it is nothing like when i got it and that is good. With cloud saving and achievements you can even mistake it for an Xbox market place title, but all these features are well implemented and enhance the manga reading process. It has an auto download feature which I rather like a lot, as it allows for the reader to set his or her favourite series to be downloaded to your device as soon as it is available by the scanlation.

At this point you may be wondering if this app has any flaws, am I right? Well yes it does. It has a few actually but none that spoiled the experience for me.
The first problem I mentioned above already and it is the fact that the app is unavailable to the play store. The easy work around is to get the APK and install it to your phone or tablet, however not all people will want to do that. The official page for the app is also not that user friendly for my liking and even the apk available link for the latest update was not functional the last time I checked. This can easily be worked around by downloading the app via a Google search from another site. The last bad thing about the app that I had a bit of a problem with is that it is still a beta app and can sometimes crash without warning. This is not a big problem though as it always saves your progress so that you can just relauch it and continue where you left off. All this app needs is official support and MAL integration and I’ll be set for life.

Link

MAL

What is Mal? Well my anime list of course. It was covered in my previous article the anime fans tool kit. Mal is used as a log for us readers of manga and watchers of anime. It is a website that is managed by its users similar to Wikipedia, so you can think of it as a Wikipedia for manga & anime. It has a huge catalogue ranging from classics like Rurouni Kenshin to current on-going series like Noragami. Each series you add to your collection you can rate, review and leave comments on them for other users of MAL. The basic interface is simple and easy to use with a profile that is reminiscent of most modern social networks like Google plus and Facebook. I especially like the unique touches like a section on your profile to feature your favourite series, characters, and mangaka. If you have friends that also use Mal you can friend them and see how compatible your tastes are to theirs. It may also be a nice way for you and your significant other to see if your reading preference are similar or even better you could use it as a guide to choosing just the right show that you can share together.

My anime list also has a few third party made apps that can be installed on your phone or tab so that you can update after you finish a few chapters.

Mal

MAL manga list

Subscription to Ryusheng.com

Yes this is a plug for my bro, but not just because he is my bro but also because it was thanks to Ryu that I found some of my current favourite manga reads. You see even though he is a senior BSB editor he didn’t always write with BSB and during that time he built the amazing site ryusheng.com where to this date he still updates with manga and graphic novel reviews that are sometimes exclusive to there. It means that it’s a great place to check for manga suggestions and reviews. Ryu is very thorough in his reviews, so get a cup of coffee and a snack for the long ride into the mind of one of the best manga reviewers I know. If you have ever read any of his work here on BSB then you will have a bit of an idea of what you can expect from a ryusheng review.

Qudduws Campbell
That messy hair bloke: Romantic, Food lover, Gamer, Sports Fan, Manga Reader, Tech Head, Podcaster... Pretty much do a bit of everything.

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