Comic books have always had a huge fan-following. They’re fun, light, short, and relatively easy to comprehend. Most of us have grown up reading comics like Batman, Daredevil, Marvels, and X-Men. However, Japan somehow always creates an equally awesome version of media with a slight hint of their culture.
In case you’re new to this, Manga is basically a Japanese style of comics that literally translates to “Comics”, or “Cartooning”. However, they do differ from their Western counterparts in terms of style, language, and targeted audience. Its important to note that while popular anime series like “Naruto” were created on the basis of their manga version, not all anime series are based on a manga and not all manga have an anime version. You may also like to read free anime download sites.
Despite a growing demand, manga is not easily available outside of Japan. Moreover, they’re expensive and difficult to understand owing to the language they are published in, i.e. Japanese. Fortunately, there are tons of online manga websites which bring content right to a fan’s desktop (officially translated to English). Some offer manga for free while others have a very reasonable pricing. To make things easier, we’ve curated a list of the 12 best digital manga sites in no particular order:
First one on our list has to be Crunchyroll, often referred to as the Netflix of Manga and Anime. Yes, that’s right. At only $6.95 per month, not only can you read manga, but also stream anime across a bunch of devices, without being bothered by pesky advertisements. Plus, its available worldwide. Having everything under one roof surely gives Crunchyroll an edge over most other manga sites. The manga library is decent with around 50 manga titles such as “The Seven Deadly Sins”, “Fuuka”, “Fairy Tail”, and “Attack on Titan”. What’s more? Crunchyroll is known for uploading manga chapters as soon as they’re out in Japan. The layout and design feels premium and the interface is smooth too! Overall, if you’re a fan of both, anime and manga, this is an excellent deal.
When a well-established manga publisher from Japan launches an online manga site, you know it’s legit! But that’s not even the best part; ComicWalker offers manga completely free of cost. Usually free services do appear a bit shabby with limited functionality but Kadokawa, the operating company behind Comicwalker, seems to believe in delivering the best. As of now, the catalogue boasts of over 300 published works and is updated on a daily basis. On the downside, most of the titles are from the house of Kadokawa and a few of them aren’t even seen on the site. That said, they do upload works of other publishers such as “Tell me! Gyuko chan” and “Cross Anju”. What we loved the most about this site is how simple and hassle-free it is to use.
Owned by Amazon, ComiXology is a cloud-based service that has a similar business model as Crunchyroll. For just $5.99 a month (ComiXology Unlimited plan), you get access to a mammoth catalog of over 10,000 titles which include not just manga, but also other popular comics and graphic novels. If you don’t find something in your subscription, you can always purchase a chapter separately ($0.99 per chapter). The titles are grouped under various sub-categories like “Chapters Same Day as Japan”, “New Releases”, “Watched the Anime? Read the Manga”, “Staff Picks”, and “Genre Spotlight”. There’s even a search bar wherein you can simply look for a manga by its title, publisher, creator, or genre, for a quicker selection.
Again, a Kadokawa venture, Book Walker is a paid manga service which can be accessed via web or app on Playstore/App Store. How it works is that you pick a manga by filtering the titles by their categories, genres, authors, or publishers, and pay for only that particular book. Book Walker adds it to your catalog wirelessly and you can read it whenever you wish. Their business model is quite similar to that of Kindle so if you’ve used a kindle before, you know how simple it is. As far as the content is concerned, BookWalker has the officially released, legal comic books from publishers like Viz, Kodansha, Yen, and of course, Kadokawa itself. Prices normally range between $7-$10 per book, depending upon the popularity. This might sound a tad bit expensive, but trust us, its totally worth it, considering how awesome their manga selection is. Few of the bestselling titles are “No Game No Life” and “A Silent Voice”.
Kissmanga has one of the broadest manga catalogues for a free platform. The titles can be browsed alphabetically, or as per the Series Name, or even by the Latest Chapters added. You’ll even find a “Search by status”, i.e. whether ongoing or completed, and a “Search by Genre” option to the right. An additional benefit is that you also have an option of watching anime. The tab is located on the top and once you click it, you’ll be taken to the Kissanime.ru site, which is a sister service of Kissmanga. When you click on a certain manga title, it displays information such as genre, author, status, and plot summary. Although the design may seem a bit unprofessional, it is a great site for a free service, with a pretty neat interface.
Manga Kakalot is another free service with an impressive library. You name the manga, and MangaKakalot has it! Searching for a title is painless, thanks to categories like “Latest Manga”, “Hot Manga”, “New Manga”, and “Completed Manga”, located right at the top of the homepage. You can create your account to get suggestions based on your browsing history. Aside from reading manga, you can also take a look at their “News” section in order to stay updated about Manga and Anime related events. The user-friendly interface, complete with a brilliant in-built reader, is a cherry on the cake.
ZingBox has a very well laid-out website with categories like “Popular”, “Latest”, “Directory”, and “Original” for browsing conveniently. The design looks very professional, super tidy, and is easy on the eyes with a pleasing color scheme of orange. You can access ZingBox using their web interface or their app on either iOS or Android devices. The platform has a long list of manga titles with popular ones such as “One-Punch Man”, “Naruto”, and “One Piece”, all of which can be read without shelling out a dime. What’s special about this service is that they allow novice as well as experienced manga writers to publish their work on the website. This is great for both, the manga artists as well as the end consumers.
Manga Fox is another popular free manga platform with a very unique design and layout, albeit, clean. The homepage displays all the latest additions in the form of thumbnails, in a small-sized tile-like format. Although there isn’t any navigation bar at the top, you can click on the search icon to the left. It’ll pull up a page with several categories like “New”, “Completed”, “Ongoing”, and “Updated”. Alternatively, you can also filter your search as per genres. ManfaFox can be accessed via a web browser or through their app on iOS and Android devices. Its worth noting that users can also download certain manga titles. However, you’ll have to sign up in order to do this.
MangaPanda has an extensive manga library with more than 1,000 translated titles including “Naruto”, “Bleach”, Hunter X Hunter”, and “Dengeki Daisy”. You can use browsing tabs including “Advanced Search”, “Popular Manga”, “Manga List”, and “Latest Releases” to narrow your search. The homepage also classifies titles as per what’s been added “Today”, “Yesterday”, or “Older”. Another free manga site called “Mangareader”, looks identical to Mangapanda. However, their ownership is totally different. Also, Mangapanda is completely free of malware and viruses. The only flaw is a mediocre design and layout but the reading experience was still very good overall.
Mangafreak is yet another free manga reading site which as popular in Japan as it is in other regions. Manga Freak let’s you filter your search as per “New Releases”, “Genre”, and “Random”. You can also click on “Manga List”, to pull up the entire collection of manga titles on the platform. Mangafreak is equipped with an excellent in-build reader. However, users cannot download manga for reading later. In our opinion, this website has a very straightforward interface that is devoid of unnecessary frills.
Weekly Shonen Jump is a shonen manga compilation, published in Japan in the form of a magazine. So if you love those glossy magazine pages and are also manga fans, this is your fix! For those of you who don’t know, “Shonen”, is a genre of manga that caters to young men since the plots usually involve a lot of action. You can either pay an annual price of just $25.99 or pay per issue (digital/hard copy). With your subscription, you can get access to over 23 manga series consisting of about 200 pages, each week, on iOS and Android devices, as well as laptops/PCs. Although they do publish some old classics, a lot of fresh content is available too. What we did not like however, is the web interface and design. It may seem a little complicated at the beginning but you’ll get used to it in no time.
No, we aren’t listing this last because its not as good enough as the rest. In fact, Viz is as awesome as Crunchyroll in many aspects. However, it does run a bit differently. Owned by Viz Media, Viz Manga is one of the biggest manga distributors in North America, featuring a massive range of manga series, including the weekly Shonen Jump. What’s more? Viz even offers a little preview of the upcoming manga to give you an idea about what’s coming to the platform. It may not have as big a library compared to its contenders (total 300+ titles), but whatever is there, is of high quality. You can either purchase an individual issue for anywhere for $4-$9, depending upon the number of pages and whether digital or physical. However, the pricing is quite complicated with new offers such as $0.99/chapter being introduced for certain manga titles. If you want access to Shonen Jump, the catch is that you’ll have to pay $25.99/year for the subscription. The most striking feature about Viz is its interface and web design. It is absolutely stunning and glitch-free. They also have a mobile app for iOS and Android users.
We’d like to mention that Manga caters to people of all age-groups with the content ranging across a slew of genres such as horror, romance, sci-fi, sexuality, sports, mystery, and historical drama. If you’re already sold on reading manga, we hope that you find this list useful. At the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences. Like commercially produced content and a premium interface that’s backed by a solid customer support? Go for a paid service! Most of them would have a 15 or 30 days’ free trial. Just starting out and don’t mind scantalations? Check out all the free options before you make the plunge. A lot of them are in fact bug-free. Also, here’s a little tip: Manga is normally read from right to left, unlike other comic books.
On a lighter note, we pray that you don’t fall prey to the addiction that is manga. Happy reading!