This review looks at the Japanese manga app Shonen Jump +, which is only available on the Japanese iTunes store.
Shonen Jump has been the marquee name in manga for decades, and their digital presence is an interesting one. In addition to dedicated apps for hit titles like Naruto and Dragon Ball, the Shonen Jump+ app offers not only favorites from throughout Jump history, but also immediate access to titles that aren’t published in normal manga magazines.
Keep in mind that all of these manga are in Japanese, but I do want to say that manga can be a great way to learn the language.
Downloading the App
This app requires a Japanese iTunes account. Luckily, we have a guide for your convenience.
Once you’re able to access the JP store, you can find the app by searching for “少年ジャンプ.” This is what the icon looks like:
The app is free to download, but there will be in-app purchases.
How to Purchase Manga
Unlike some other apps, Shonen Jump + actually allows purchases in multiple currencies. Therefore, you can do things however you prefer. If you like having your account permanently set to Japan, you can use a Japanese credit card or Japanese iTunes cards. If you prefer to have your account set to your home region, you’ll still have to switch it to Japan to download the initial app, but then you can switch it back afterwards. This gives a really great degree of flexibility.
To purchase a manga, simply click on the manga you want. When you do, a price tag will pop up.
Click the price tag, confirm the purchase, and you’re all set. You can choose to read it immediately or save it for later.
Navigating the App
Available manga are divided into four general categories: Free, Comics, and Weekly Shonen Jump. Free comics are select chapters from older titles, Comics are collected volumes, and Weekly Shonen Jump allows you to read the latest issues of the ever-popular home of One Piece, Food Wars!, as well as titles that are normally available only to Japanese customers.
At the bottom of the “Free” section are two buttons. The left says, “Completed Works” (連載終了作品), while the right says, “Jump + One-Shots (ジャンプ＋読み切りシリーズ).” As the latter are all one-and-done titles, it’s a very nice way to quickly get your manga fix or even check out new and unfamiliar artists.
In the comics section, you can buy collected volumes. The page is divided from top to bottom into:
Newest Titles (新着作品)
Jump + Recommended (ジャンプ＋おすすめ)
Books of Currently Running Jump Comics (ジャンプ本誌連載作品).
Books of Currently Running Jump SQ Comics (ジャンプSQ本誌連載作品).
the biggest appeal of Shonen Jump+ are its original titles. These are manga that got their start in Shonen Jump+, so if you want to be on the cutting edge of manga in Japan, then this is a great way to get a closer look.
The flagship title of Shonen Jump + appears to be Emperor to Issho [Together with Emperor], about a pet Emperor Penguin. While it’s available in paper form now, the title got its start on the app. I think it’s worth checking out, and perhaps this page will convince you as well:
Another title I decided to check out is Makai kara Kita Maid-san [The Maid from the Demon World], which is a mildly disturbing but hilarious four-panel manga series.
While a fair number of titles available on Shonen Jump + are available in English and other languages, many are not. If you are having trouble accessing Japanese editions of these manga (e.g. the cost of shipping isn’t feasible), or there are titles you want that are simply unavailable where you live, this can be very useful. The app is pretty easy to use, especially because it’s possible to make purchases using non-Japanese cards.
In general, Shonen Jump + offers a window into some of the latest manga coming out in Japan, so if you’re a fan of Shonen Jump, this might be all you need.
Screenshots taken from "Shonen Jump +" App