Manga Rock shuts down, announces new Mr Comics platform
Manga Rock, the hugely popular manga comic scanlation platform, recently told the J Japanese news site J-Cast that it plans to shut down its service following criticism from various copyright holders within the manga industry and media outlets.
The website, which famously hosts pirated manga and occasional comics, issued a statement through its parent company, Not a Basement Studio.
For those unaware, Manga Rock was launched in 2010 as a learning project by a group of college students who collected scanlations that were already released. This platform allowed users to read manga chapters online or download them for offline viewing.
With the increased popularity of the site over the years, the group decided to launch their own app for a monthly subscription of $4.99 for those who wanted access to freshly released manga. They collected more than 50,000 works over the years and 5 million downloads of their mobile app.
As the site continued to receive support and also gains from the app being hosted on the Google Play Store and the App Store, the customers were unaware that the scanlation site was illegal.
“At that time, we didn’t understand the manga industry, and we didn’t know the origin of the scanlations (including things without official licenses). As time has passed, we have come to understand the damage being incurred by manga creators and publishers. Moreover, as Manga Rock’s popularity increased more and more, the damage also increased. Therefore we are deeply reflecting on our role in accelerating the popularity of scanlations, and we give our heartfelt apologies to the victims, manga creators and publishers,” the company stated during their announcement.
“As a result, we plan to shut down our scanlation website and app. We also recommend that similar scanlation sites (there are many) shut down as well. We are truly sorry for causing problems for the manga industry.
On August 27th, 2019, On Takahashi, CEO of Irodori Comics, took to Twitter to raise an issue against Manga Rock, which also invited criticism from users in Japan and overseas against the app pushing the site to announce its closure.
Japanese Tweet thread explained in English.
— On Takahashi ????????????? (@OnTakahashi) August 28, 2019
According to a timeline published by Manga Rock, the apps were to be removed from App Store and Google Play store in the first week of September. The Manga Rock website will also get shut down in the second week of September and all visitors will be redirected to the new but unfinished platform MRComics.com.
“We planned to remove all pirated content from Manga Rock by the end of this year and rebrand the platform into MR Comics when we have acquired a sizable amount of official content. In this plan, comics creators & publishers would benefit from having millions of existing readers when we launch the “Plus Titles”. At the same time, those readers would have access to lots of official & affordable content – instead of resorting to all the other pirated sites,” reads the MRComics.com site.
“As we made contact with more publishers and creators, we realized that by keeping Manga Rock around while developing the new platform, we are still inadvertently hosting and supporting the practices of piracy. Until we can fully make the switch to become a 100% official comics platform and convert all the free readers into supporters of legitimate content, creators and publishers are being hurt by our practices & all the other scanlations sites.”
Currently, the website is inaccessible if a user’s internet browser has Japanese or Korean options enabled. However, if those browser options are disabled, the website can still be accessed.