Last month, Kadokawa announced a new online comic portal, Comic Walker, that would debut this week. It has 116 titles in Japanese, of which 18 are also available in English. It also has an iPad and Android app, though I was only able to access the English titles on that, whereas on the website I can also see the Japanese titles. The content is downloaded to your device, similar to Viz’s app store, rather than in a Cloud setting, so you should be able to read it offline (though I didn’t test this.)
The site has a bit of fractured English when you sign up/log in and look at the Contact Info. The translations I checked, however, seem reasonably fine. So what have we got? We get the first chapters (mostly, some had 2 or 3) of 18 titles, 8 of have been released over here in North America in some print form or other – or will be soon. They are:
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (Vertical)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Viz)
High School D&D (Yen, in May 2014)
Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends (Seven Seas)
Kyo Kara Maoh! (Tokyopop)
Takasugi-san’s Obento (DMP)
Sgt. Frog (Tokyopop)
The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya (Yen)
As you’ll notice, some of these already have digital editions over here from their respective companies. I spot-checked some of the titles, and they seem to be using the same text/translation that we’ve seen before. Fans of the Tokyopop titles will be interested, as both of those are out of print here now.
So, what’s as yet unlicensed over here?
Anime fans will be familiar with Log Horizon, which is just finishing up and has already had a 2nd season announced. This is the manga version, which runs in Enterbrain’s Comic Clear. The ‘sucked into an RPG’ plotline may seem a bit over-familiar to folks, but I know it has fans.
There are two other Gundam titles from Kadokawa’s Gundam Ace. Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin: Special Edition seem to take place after a lot of the current origin comic, and I’ll warm you, there’s a spoiler that I was unaware of, though I imagine most Gundam fans knew it already. (It involves a romantic pairing.) It seems to be in the style of the original, and takes place in Japan (so far – remember, all these are just brief chapters.)
And for the wackier side of Gundam, there’s Gundam-san, the superdeformed 4-koma version, similar to Haruhi-chan. This is for Gundam fanatics only – I admit I didn’t get a lot of the otaku humor. But it looks funny, so I will pretend I get it. LOL!
Kagerou Days comes from Media Factory’s Comic Gene, a magazine I expect to see more titles from in the future. This intriguing title deals with a social shut-in who stays on his computer, who meets a cyber-girl named Ene. Can she convince him to go outside? This is apparently based on a series of songs by the artist Jin.
Tokyo ESP is a Shonen Ace title, and if Tokyopop was still around it would surely have licensed it by now. It features a girl who develops psychic powers after seeing a flying fish, and how she adapts to being telekinetic, especially as it transpires she’s not the only one to gain superpowers. This seems like something X-Men fans would enjoy.
The second-best title in terms of verbiage goes to New Sister Archfiend Testament, aka Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha. It is also a Shonen Ace title, and is based on a light novel. Indeed, the premise SCREAMS light novel. Average high school student ends up with two new sisters, who are a demon lord and a succubus, and he invariably ends up as the master of one of them. Ecchi shenanigans no doubt ensue.
Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya Drei! is the sequel to two other Fate/Kaleid titles, which are themselves part of the giant Fate/Stay Night multiverse. This runs in Comp Ace and is also, I suspect, quite ecchi. It’s a pseudo magical girl title.
Nobunaga the Fool is a brand new title running in Kadokawa’s Niconico A, and also had an anime coming out this past winter. I wonder if this fool is anything like The Irresponsible Captain Tylor? Probably not.
Non Non Biyori runs in Media Factory’s Comic Alive, a magazine that you never know when you’re going to get pure fanservice or something really worth your time. (Usually, it’s the former – its fellow magazine Comic Flapper has the same problem, but reversed.) It’s the slice of life seinen manga that you KNEW a rollout like this had to have, involving an elementary school girl who moves to the country from Tokyo, and has to adapt to rural life.
Lastly, and by far the longest title, goes to Archenemy And Hero – “Be Mine, Hero” “I Refuse!”, a Comp Ace title based around a franchise called Archenemy and Hero (Maoyuu Maou Yuusha). This seems to be an alternate telling of the basic premise, so hopefully won’t be too obscure for those who don’t know the series. Similar to Spice & Wolf, this seems to mesh together high fantasy and business economics.
That’s it for now. I briefly looked at some of the Japanese titles. A few I’d love to see. Bodacious Space Pirates has a manga there, as does Full Metal Panic!. There’s also Tonari no Seki-kun, which may show up after Vertical releases it here.
How will this do? No idea. Unlike JManga, it seems geared more to Japanese readers. That said, the titles they have are pretty good, and there’s some actual bestsellers, as opposed to the all new series approach of Manga Box. What do you think, plan to give it a try?