This post is my review of the Japanese manga app “MangaOne” from Shogakukan. Here, you can learn the ins and outs of the app, and see my picks for the manga titles worth checking out. I’ll be looking at the iOS version, but there’s also an Android version available through Google Play.
Not everyone wants to read manga in Japanese, but if you’re someone who is literate in Japanese (or are learning and would like to practice), can appreciate manga in terms of its visual style, or just want to directly experience the sheer variety of titles available, then a service like MangaOne can be worth your while.
Better yet, MangaOne is a 100% legal manga app, supported by one of Japan’s largest publishers. The fact that its name resembles the old pirate manga site “OneManga” is perhaps no coincidence.
Downloading the App
MangaOne can be found by searching for マンガワン, or by going to its official download page. The app is free to download.
MangaOne is only available on Japanese app stores, and it requires you to either have a Japanese credit card or access to Japanese iTunes cards. Luckily, you just happen to be on a site that sells Japanese iTunes cards!
Titles on MangaOne
The MangaOne app provides both popular and niche titles, such as the classic Ranma 1/2, the long-running baseball manga Major and a bizarre comedy called Bishounen-ness. It’s also home to a manga version of the current anime The Lost Village (aka Mayoiga). Personally though, what sold me on the app are two titles in particular.
The first is a manga version of The Anthem of the Heart (aka Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.), an amazing anime film. The comic version is no slouch either.
The second is, of all things, a manga about the sport of Kabaddi: Shakunetsu Kabaddi. It’s sort of a crossover between tag and dodgeball where the key feature is literally how long you can hold your breath. Kabaddi has made an appearance in the anime Durarara!!
If those aren’t your kinds of titles then there’s plenty more, from adult comedies to stories filled with attractive ladies. MangaOne even has top rankings for “female-oriented manga,” “male-oriented manga,” and “both.” One interesting note is that it starts off on “female,” which might imply that the service is used more often by women (or was expected to be).
Speak to Manga Creators
The titles on MangaOne are generally ranked, and it’s by the readers’ own votes that they can rise up the charts. Readers can give likes, and even drop comments for the creators themselves, giving them a chance for communication and interaction with the people responsible for the manga they enjoy. You’re limited to only 60 characters, plenty of room for comments in Japanese (or Chinese), but it can be rather restrictive for English writing.
Manage Your “Life Bar”
Another quirk of MangaOne is that it takes a page from mobile games by giving you a “life bar” of 4 hearts that fully replenishes twice per day. One heart equals one chapter of manga, so you’re limited to how much you can read for free. However, if you want to exceed the limit you can purchase tickets in bulk to read even more.
The least expensive purchase is 6 tickets for ¥120 (meaning about $0.20 USD per chapter), and the most is 1000 tickets for ¥9800 ($0.10 USD per chapter). Purchases are made through your Japanese iTunes account.
Compared to English-language digital manga services MangaOne can be kind of confusing, but it’s interesting to treat it as a kind of “mobile game” with the replenishing hearts and all. The price of manga on there is pretty affordable, especially if you go with the largest bulk purchase option.