Views on manga scan sites


School Idol
I know it's abit of a grey area but I was have a chat with a few people I work with today who are in to manga and anime and the subject of scans and reading manga online

I was just thinking it's an interesting subject it here what people's opinions are


Captain Karen
Totally depends if a title is licensed or not. Scanlations are fine but if something has an official release there's no need for it. You do get into a gray area when the official translation is way behind the scanlations.


Karamatsu Boy
It's not even slightly a grey area. Manga sites like Crunchyroll Manga, Comixology, the Kindle store, Renta etc are performing a great service. The others are illegal, demoralising to creators and they actively harm sales. People who lap up the free manga on these scan sites seldom ever buy the original material (I wouldn't have a problem with it if they did, then used the translations to supplement their lack of language studies). Many of them directly compete with licensed material, or harm the chances for unlicensed material to ever become licensed by saturating the market with a free, illegal alternative.

I detest them.



Thousand Master
It's not a grey area but there are different shades of black. So many of these sites are the darkest shades of black around, ignoring takedown requests, making profit from hosting stuff illegally whether or not it's available through legal methods, and even claiming credit for the translation work done by someone else or slapping their own watermarks on the series, but there are sites that don't do those things. Directing those people who are using the worse sites onto the not-so-bad sites is a significant step in the right direction - and also serves as an excuse to encourage these people to get licensed stuff legally, when they inevitably complain that such-and-such a famous series isn't on there.

On those few sites that do respond to takedown requests, the whole "it's okay because it makes series available that otherwise wouldn't be" argument holds up to a certain extent. But most people who pirate go for the dirtier sites, and the list of most popular manga on these sites gives the lie to the argument, at least within the community at large - they are flooded with series that are readily available legally. And even on the sites that do respond to takedowns the overwhelming sentiment among the community is that the licensor or publisher must be the enemy of the fans whenever they make such a request, rather than simply requesting the site do something that really they should do even without having to be told to.

As for me, yes I do (very) occasionally use a specifically selected site for reading a handful of series through illegal scanlations. But of the 3 series I've read some of this year on that site, 2 of them are ones that I then buy every volume of in Japanese when said volumes come out, and the third is a series that is legally available for free in Japanese but which contains too much technical language for me to understand it without the help of an English translation. Which fits in reasonably well with the stuff Rui "wouldn't have a problem with". I certainly wouldn't use it as a replacement for reading a series legally, and view the act of doing this to be inexcusable. But I know that in adopting this approach I'm an extreme outlier among even the users of a site whose main USP is that it's not as morally bankrupt as other such sites.


State Alchemist
Yes, it's all a bit different today than it used to be. The people who translated Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (still not available in English, but I did buy all the Japanese volumes when they were re-issued - Some of them I bought twice because half of the old volumes had gone OOP) ran a fan site for the manga and encouraged everyone to buy the books - Their goal wasn't to make money but to get something they loved to a wider audience. Although I wasn't really around then, it sounds like the early fansub scene was similar to this.

When it's done on such a commercial scale that popular fansub/scanlation sites that host thousands of series' are generating millions of page-views rather than hundreds and the people who run the sites are actively profiting from ad revenue off other people's work (who they are paying no royalties to) that is really bad.

Shadow Cat

Thousand Master
While I agree that published manga, especially ones that either are, or are planning to be released in the west are a big no-no, especially from sites that use obsessive amounts of ads to generate revenue for illegal content.


The main issue with all of the larger sites is they won't take down licensed content, this puts unnecessary pressure on local companies, while most can support themselves (but shouldn't have to) more niche titles either don't get picked up, or canceled.. Best example would be Translator Discusses "Wandering Son" Manga Status

I can't name any sites that actively take down licensed content


Although my opinion does (kinda) change when it comes to Doujin material, Most of the books self-published by Doujin artists rarely get releases in America/UK. The only exception from my understanding would be the (now defunct as of June 2016) – Printing and Buying Service for Doujinshi who did get some English translated Doujin in print.

While I personally buy a number of Doujin items from groups that I follow on sites like Pixiv, being Japanese only and pretty darn costly even through sites like Melon Books, its difficult to justify the cost vs what you physically get.

So please Don't get me wrong, I think these artists 100% deserve to be paid for the work they have done but sometimes it just not justifiable or even possible to buy Doujin releases


After saying all that about Doujins,, I don't agree with Doujin sites that have things like Official Rips, I don't/wont use them as once again, I don't agree with people blatantly stealing content like this... There is a vast difference (in my eyes at least) between someone translating a doujin and someone ripping content off official, and even fan translators w/out knowledge


On the other side of things, Fan Translations can, and are used in the production of official release, DMP are working with the group behind the translation for kodomo no jikan and Yuri-Ism (A well know Yuri Group) has also released official translations

So my main hate is for

1) Sites that don't take down Licensed content
2) Sites that use a lot of Advertisement for Revenue from Stolen Content
3) Sites that go out of their way to host Rips


Karamatsu Boy
With doujinshi I (again, sorry) disagree in that they aren't meant to be read by a wide audience. It's fan art (or indie comics, for original work) and while I know it sucks to pay £10 or more for 16 pages of gorgeous ink art it's not designed to work as a mainstream infrastructure and if it did most of the truly funny/creative/awful doujinshi would never make it through the transition in the first place due to copyright drama. With parody doujinshi, there's a lot more at stake for the artist than the paltry 300yen cover price. They're drawing this stuff purely for the love of the series, in most cases, so it's even more morally bankrupt to me to scan and share their fan art without their permission.

But then I'm a lunatic who does everything the hard way. I honestly cannot believe how good we have it right now; a day and date localised version of Shounen Jump? A Black Butler simulpub? Random freebie top tier manga included with my Crunchyroll subscription even though I'd have happily paid the same price for an anime-only deal? Yet the content we can read in Shounen Jump still gets pirated because day and date is still too slow compared to the illegal scans which appear before the Japanese release date each week, people recommend the illegal sites over the legitimate ones to new fans and Black Butler/Attack On Titan etc are pirated because people don't like the spelling of some of the names in the official versions (?!). People who can't speak a word of Japanese are strangely discerning all of a sudden when nitpicking 'Levi' versus the nonsense fan-'translation' of 'Rivaille', for example, and can't sully themselves by reading the inferior (correct) edition legally.

Can agree with the general theme that the sites which monetise scanlations are scum. They always put the onus on the creators to spend the time notifying them about licenses too, rather than, like, being actual fans and doing the work themselves. I'd rather that manga creators, publishers and licensors put their money into manga, not into policing cheapskate fans who don't want to support their own so-called hobby night and day.

The reason I'm so firm (or all-out aggressive) is that the cutesy 'grey area' line of thought it just a way for fans to avoid needing to feel guilty about what is, inherently, a fairly scummy way to act unless you are one of the rare people who supplement every single illicit download/view with a purchase of the Japanese version. It's not a grey area; it's blatantly violating copyright and also hurting the creators' feelings. If people want to do that anyway I can't stop them, but when it's brought up right in front of me I will feel the need to insist that they try to understand that they're knowingly breaking the law and damaging the industry, and each person who passively helps these unauthorised sites continue to exist must reconcile that in their own way.


Shadow Cat

Thousand Master
I think I've only got that opinion of Doujin items as I do tend to buy what I read. But as mentioned, sometimes its not justifiable. Sites like OtakuRupublic can be reselling a doujin for way over the cover price and none of that money goes back to the original creator.

I think an artist should be paid for the work for what they do so prefer to buy via them. Next route would be sites like Mandarake. Other third party resellers are an option but not my preference.

The only reason I read scans is so I can understand what is going on rather than /just looking at pictures/ so I can fully understand the story the artist is trying to tell. While the argument is that I should learn Japanese, its understandable that some people find it difficult to learn and do things in their native language and it may not be possible to learn to read and understand Japanese.


As for released manga:

I've also got Japanese Volumes 1-3 of First Love Sisters as Seven Seas lost their license before releasing Volumes 2 and 3 in English.

I can't seem to find a copy of Volume 3 Last Uniform in Japanese

Got kinda bored of asking DMP every 6 months since 2013 to release Volume 2 of Sweet Blue Flowers, I have got the new release on Preorder as the cost of importing /that/ many volumes from Japan would have been crazy and would have been binned immediately due to lack of space

And I don't think Prism was ever released due to the artist getting caught tracing


Reading unofficial releases of Simulpups and weekly Shounen Jump is just utterly stupid, none of these sites are expensive. And I've seen a few people on Facebook say stuff like /Oh you can read ..../ and honestly, trying to even argue with them with /Its available on Crunchyroll/ is a waste of time. They will just go around in circles for hours saying random **** :)

st_owly (witch)

I read far fewer scans than I did a few years ago. I've always been one to download them rather than read them on dodgy websites online (years of my parents refusing to get wifi in the house so I had to use my limited internet time to download loads of stuff then cart it to my computer on a memory stick to read it... Old habits die hard). My general rule with media consumption is "if I want to watch/read this again, I go buy it." I've discovered loads of great series through scans, a lot of which will never be licensed. (particularly older material). Equally, I've gone out and bought a lot of things I first read through scans. One example is Midnight Secretary, which I first read scanned years ago because the idea of Viz releasing anything josei was laughable. A few years later they released it, so I bought it because I want to support josei in the West. I can appreciate that a lot of people who read scans never buy anything though :/ Ultimately though, I think the manga industry needs a Crunchyroll equivalent. The way Crunchyroll is trying to beat piracy is by being easier than pirating since you can't compete with free and it seems to be working. They need to massively expand their manga catalogue and make the viewer less terrible IMO. Also, I don't want to have to buy individual volumes/chapters of a digital series. I much prefer the all you can eat for £xx per month approach like streaming sites have. And Japanese publishers need to get with the programme and not be so reticent about digital media...


Completely Average High School Student
Crunchyroll Manga is frustratingly limited for anyone used to anime streaming. Big ups to Shueisha’s Manga Plus app. Hope it pans out. Shueisha said they were monetizing it with ads, however I have not see an ad. So idk how Manga Plus is being supported here.