The launch of Yen Press’ online magazine Yen Plus went unnoticed by most otaku, mainly because the titles it included were exclusively Korean manhwa instead of manga. However, this month’s issue remedies that by adding two very well-known manga titles to the roster; the ever-popular slice-of-life series K-ON! and Kiyohiko Azuma’s beloved Yotsuba&!. But are these two manga really worth the subscription price?
Well, I decided to check out this month’s issue for myself. After hassling with the Yen Plus online reader’s annoying lag for a bit, I jumped straight to the first chapter of K-ON!. I must say, I find the manga to be much better than the anime, if only because they ditched the psuedo-character development and focused purely on the personality-driven gags, especially those involving Yui. The 4-koma manga essentially distills the plot, cutting out all the fluff and making for a much more lighthearted and enjoyable experience. As for Yotsuba&!, it remains one of the best manga of this decade. If you’ve never heard of it, this excellent article explains exactly why it’s so awesome. Frankly, I think the inclusion of Yotsuba&! chapters alone makes this magazine well worth the price of subscription.
At only $2.99 a month, subscribing to Yen Plus is a good way for even the poorest manga enthusiasts to support the series and artists they love. With two great new titles, I definitely think it’s worth your time and money. One Manga may be gone, but the phenomenon of online manga has a bright future.
Yen Press, the US publishing company that holds the rights to titles such as Yotsuba&, K-ON! and Highschool of the Dead, has launched the online version of their monthly anthology magazine Yen Plus this week, replacing their now-defunct print edition. To celebrate this event, the August issue of the magazine is free, while any ongoing subscriptions will be $2.99 per month. The fact that this move occurs in the same week as the death of One Manga is perhaps only a coincidence, however with other publishing houses like Square Enix also putting content online, we may be seeing the beginning of a major shift in manga content distribution. What’s your opinion: are you along for the ride?
Crunchyroll, the subscription-based anime streaming site, just announced that they’ve acquired the online streaming and digital distribution rights to all of the Haruhi series. This includes The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya seasons 1 and 2, as well as the webseries Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya and Nyoron Churuya-san. It does NOT, however, include the Disappearance film.These shows will soon be available for free to everybody in America, the British Isles, Scandanavia and the Middle East (but not Australia). However, in order to see the ad-free HD-quality streams, you have to subscribe to their Anime Membership service for $6.95 a month. Personally, I don’t think subscribing is worth it. Although I admire what Crunchyroll is trying to do, I’m also frustrated by the crappy quality of their video streams. For example, when I tried to watch Heroman, the HD stream looked so bad that the show was nigh-unwatchable. I think I’ll stick with my trusty Haruhi DVDs for the time being.