Crunchyroll’s new manga service just went live today. Anyone with a Crunchyroll All-Access membership will be able to access their entire library of titles, while Anime and Drama members can access only the most recent chapter releases. Anyone can sign up for a Manga membership for $4.95 a month. New manga chapters will be added the same day they premiere in Japan, meaning this is the most expedient legal way to keep up with the latest manga as of right now.
Publishers have been branching out into digital manga distribution for a while now, but this is the first service that I know of that works through a sort of “streaming model” like this. Those who sign up for the service will have access to several different manga series, but they won’t be able to download and keep any for themselves at home. It seems like a great method for testing out different manga and keeping up with the newest releases, but not so great for avid collectors.
Either way, I’m excited about this service! I don’t have the All-Access membership, so I won’t be able to see the full extent of Crunchyroll’s manga selection for myself. So far though, it looks like they are offering a varied selection of titles and have more planned for the future, so this is definitely something to keep an eye on.