Kadokawa Launches Free, All-You-Can-Read Service ComicWalker in Three Languages

ComicWalker Press Conference

The comprehensive entertainment company Kadokawa––which covers publishing, videos, and more––is launching a new service in the realm of manga. On March 3 in the second floor hall of the Kadokawa building in Fujimi, Tokyo, a press conference was held for the new service ComicWalker. ComicWalker is a new manga service that will begin on March 22. During the press conference, Shinichirō Inoue, senior managing director of Kadokawa, and Hideaki Kobayashi, executive manager of ComicWalker, took the stage, and their enthusiasm for ComicWalker was clear to see. The two talked about the possibilities of the new service to the press. Also appearing on stage were the well-known Tōru Furuya, the voice Amuro in Mobile Suit Gundam, and Saki Fujita, the voice of Akagi in Kantai Collection - Kan Colle, which made this big announcement that much more spectacular.

With the sudden spread of smartphones and tablets, as well as the new players and services appearing one after the next, the digital comic market is entering a tumultuous age. ComicWalker incorporates various functions and services with these newest circumstances in mind. It’s three biggest selling points are device diversification, internationalization, and that it’s free. For these reasons, ComicWalker is poised to become the cutting-edge service of 2014.

To start with, 150 titles from Kadokawa’s 23 manga magazines and web magazines have been selected. Many of these are popular works like Kantai Collection - Kan Colle, Kagerou Days, Tonari no Seki-kun, and Char no Nichijō. In addition to these will be 50 ComicWalker original works. All of this content can be enjoyed for free. The original works will be announced as individually volumed works and digital publications under Kadokawa’s newly launched comic label. After the free service blows up, they aim to introduce a paid premium service. This follows with the current trend of bringing together the creation of new works with free digital services and paid premium services. Also, the service will be accessible on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets as well as PC. This allows for being able to read on a variety of devices, anytime and anywhere.

It seems that they are also being very conscious of overseas markets. The serialized works on ComicWalker won’t be available in just Japanese, but also English and Chinese. This is in response to those wanting to read the newest works from Japan in their native language without having to wait. At the outset, 40 titles will be available in English and Chinese, but this number is planned to steadily increase. By providing legitimate content, fans of Japanese manga will increase as well. At the same time, an experiment to provide existing manga in full color is likely to be bathed in popularity by those overseas who prefer colored works. The first works to appear in color are Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. There is no doubt that these will become popular once they are dispatched overseas.

In the world of digital comics, MangaBox, a free manga magazine app that started on DeNA, broke through 3 million downloads in only three months. This type of response is likely to continue. Being from such a well-regarded company as Kadokawa, there is little doubt that ComicWalker will gather great interest from other companies.

Start Date: 3/22/2014
Teaser Site: http://cw-start.com/

Languages: Japanese, English, Chinese
Price: free (paid premium service forthcoming)

Source: animeanime

ComicWalker Press Conference
ComicWalker Press Conference
ComicWalker PC screenshot
ComicWalker PC screenshot

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