I was thinking of writing about a book or a comic for this post (although I’m painfully aware that my Amnesia Later review is way overdue). As I was choosing not to decide right then and there and I had some terrible days dealing with depression and panic attacks, it hit me – Let me review Crunchyroll’s Manga service!
I used the Android app before, and recently tried their website as well, so I thought it was a good idea. I still need to decide what to review for the monthly post though.
I know. Don’t tell me. I’m not procrastinating Amnesia Later, okay? It just really takes a lot of energy and time for me to get through it. I need all of my motivation to even deal with Toma. He’s a problem, okay?
Although I’m probably just minutes away from finishing his route.
But I digress.
The manga service is part of Crunchyroll’s subscription service. They used to have more options for subscriptions, but it’s now down to subscribe or don’t – your choice. And that’s good and all, but if I want to just read their comics there, do I really have to pay for the streaming service too? Yes.
And to be completely honest, it’s more that the online reading thing is a bonus you get. A not very highly prioritized bonus too. The most “recent” titles in their manga lineup are from years ago.
How am I supposed to know what you recently release if the Winter 2019 lineup literally is the Spring 2014 lineup of titles? Wouldn’t anime fans be furious if they did this to the anime. It’s a pretty clear sign they put no priority to this. I need to hunt for the news, more or less. I don’t have that time though. I’m a mum and I’m ill and I take care of household on my own. Oh, and I write a blog, if you didn’t know. (Lol.) I know kids today want things to be real easy, and they’re probably busy reading rips from Crunchyroll anyway because of the next few problems, in addition to having no clue what they are going to add or are adding.
They offer no “reading list” like they have a queue for anime you watch online. The app does offer a list of favourites, but about half of the time I couldn’t add anything to it or I couldn’t access it through the app. To say the least, that was a pain. They need to offer this on the website as well, and it should be working on all platforms.
But seeing when something updates? Nope. You can subscribe to RSS feeds of anime and it shows in your queue that there is a new episode available if you’ve watched the most recent one to the end. They have some titles that are scheduled for release, and they are listed – similarly as the anime – in a sidebar. But in the app, I got nothing. I was blindly going through all the stuff I was reading on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays hoping for an update. But I couldn’t see them in my reading list. No, I had to go through the entire list with all their titles to see “Updated” on the title, and it only showed for a limited time to, so I was still blindly going through titles. I think it’s supposed to give notifications if it’s among your favourites on the app, but I sure didn’t get any despite making sure all my settings allowed for it.
Why make it this hard? I don’t understand. At least put some darn effort into this. People pay for this! But again, as I said, it’s just a very un-prioritised bonus, from the looks of it.
Are there upsides to the Crunchyroll Manga service though? I’ve only mentioned a bunch of problems.
Well, it’s multi-platform, just like the anime. That’s a bonus. Another bonus is that some – not all – titles are fully available from chapter one. They also often have the first chapter and latest release available for free (at least for a while), and sometimes some chapters in between. This means you could in theory keep reading any titles you started reading while subscribing. But here comes the damn issue with the lack of update notification options. I want to know when my currently readings are updated!
The app allow you to zoom in, which is a great feature and the reader online is really good, once you’re in it, because you can read it in full-screen and is very fluent. Very intuitive, both of them. It’s such a shame you can’t figure out when in the bloody hell your favourites update. YES! I’m salty about this.
The minor downside on the website is that it can be a bit unclear where you are in your reading unless you go into the reader itself when using it online. There’s no issue with that in the app, from my experience. The screenshot to the right shows when it’s like if you click on the chapter at the bottom left (see above). The greyed out is the read, and the black isn’t. It took me way too long to figure this out because nothing explains it and after deleting the app from my phone (due lack of storage) it took some time before I read anything on Crunchyroll again, so I couldn’t see the chapters I had read in the drop down… drop up? the chapter list.
The title main page also doesn’t show any indicator of where you are, which isn’t helping. The app is better with this though.
If I were to sum up my thoughts, I think the idea is good, but the execution is lacking. They need to put more effort into working and updating the reader especially on the website, but also the (Android) app.
My suggestions are:
- A reading list available, like the anime/drama queue, to see most recent updates on website
- Try to have more manga available in full, because it’s difficult to start reading them otherwise (I know this is up to their partners to some degree)
- UPDATES. I’m not kidding. RSS feed, website notifications, a big banner on the title’s. I don’t care, just something more obvious than the sidebar and potentially some sneaky updates you miss.
- Update. The. Season. Lineup. Dammit.
Which in short is: don’t make this look like a half-assed bonus to anime watchers. I’m mainly a book-lover so let me love the subscription service that allows me to nerd out on manga.
And I guess my potential future as an affiliate to Crunchyroll was just ruined, because I bashed their service? Lol. No seriously though. Please let me be affiliated with you, CR. I love you for offering these things in Sweden. Just fix your broken shit. Thanks.
What would you like to see a review of next? Let me know in a comment!
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