OneManga

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Website
Name: OneManga
Owner/Maintainer:
Dates: 2006 - 2010
Type: Host to manga scanlations.
Fandom: Multifandom
URL: OneManga, OneManga at Facebook, OneManga Forums
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Contents

From 2006 to 2010, OneManga (OM) was one of the most popular providers of manga scanlations and the best known of the online reading sites.

OM was founded on December 19th, 2006. In the first news post, Zabi describes its mission:

So what is OM? OM = good scans + instant online viewing = best thing since sliced bread?! Our goal is to provide a place for you, the fans, to read the latest updates of your favorite mangas online, instantly, and without hassle. [1]

By 2010, OM made Google's list of the world's 1,000 most-visited websites with 4.2 million unique viewers per month.[2]

Content

OM hosted scanlations from over a thousand series.[3] These were produced by a variety of scanlation groups. The 10 most popular were:

  1. Naruto
  2. Bleach
  3. One Piece
  4. Fairy Tail
  5. Hajime no Ippo
  6. Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
  7. History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi
  8. Full Metal Alchemist
  9. Hunter X Hunter
  10. Mahou Sensei Negima!

Out of these, eight were licensed and two unlicensed in the US at the time OneManga removed the scans.[4] Overall, about one third of the series OneManga hosted were licensed in an English-speaking market; these included many of the most popular series on the site. One common reason to scanlate licensed series is that the official translation is far behind the original version, generally indicating that the series is a long one. So while only a third of the series on OM were licensed, these accounted for approximately half of the manga chapters available on the site.[5] Chapters vary in length, and licensing statuses can be complex, but it is fair to say that OM hosted a significant amount of licensed material for such a high traffic, high profile site.

Impact

New Fans

Just as many fans discovered fanfiction through fanfiction.net, many OneManga users discovered manga or scanlations through OM. Also similarly, at the time of the closure, many OM users had never explored beyond the site and had very little idea how older parts of the scanlation community worked or, in some cases, that there even was a community beyond OM.

Many of these fans cite OM as providing free publicity and new customers to manga publishers. It is also common for them to overestimate how long they've been using the site, typically commenting on how they've used it for the past five or six years.[6] Users of other sites generally know about OM, but the reverse is often not the case.

Non-US

One group that greatly benefited from OneManga was readers far from the US who would have trouble importing official translations (either because shipping would be extremely high or because few US companies even deliver to their areas). OM's ease of use appealed to some English learners who could use the manga on it for English practice without having to be fluent enough to navigate complex sites or communities. (Some scanlation groups, for example, require that one participate in their forums for a set amount of time before gaining access to downloads of their scanlations. This would be a prohibitive requirement for a beginning or intermediate student of English.)

Impact on Sales

OneManga hosted free copies of many series currently licensed and in print, including some with completed official translations. While some fans feel that the free publicity it provided offset lost sales or that OM readers would never have bought those volumes in the first place, others feel that the site probably had an averse effect on sales, particularly in the US.

Closure

In July 2010, after much speculation about the future of manga scanlations and official license holders, OM decided to shut down:

It pains me to announce that this is the last week of manga reading on One Manga (!!). Manga publishers have recently changed their stance on manga scanlations and made it clear that they no longer approve of it. We have decided to abide by their wishes, and remove all manga content (regardless of licensing status) from the site. The removal of content will happen gradually (so you can at least finish some of the outstanding reading you have), but we expect all content to be gone by early next week (RIP OM July ‘10). [7]

Fans reacted to the removal of scanlations from the site with everything from despair to indifference. [8]

inkstone points out some of the issues surrounding OneManga closing:

Okay. Like I definitely understand why they'd be unhappy with scanlations of manga with existing English language adaptations. Because in that case, I do think sales are impacted, especially with the smaller titles. With series like Naruto and Bleach? Those are marketing machines in the U.S. The sales lost due to scanlations aren't going to impact them at all, not with Naruto dominating the NYT bestseller list every other week.
But for the other series, which will never ever have a chance of being licensed domestically? Older series, longer series, obscure manhwa... These titles will never be licensed. This is where it's gonna hurt. Most of the stuff I read on OM are these kinds of titles.
In addition, lots of people who use OM don't live in North America. This punishes them the most because some of them live in countries which do not have the resources to acquire, acquire, acquire licenses for manga titles that other countries -- like, say, the US -- do. [9]

While many fans are upset about OM shutting down--ease of access/readability is a frequently cited reason for using the site--there is also a feeling that the internet can't effectively be policed, and a certainty that there will be other sites and communities to take over for OneManga. In addition, some people hope that the crackdown on sites such as OM will keep people from making a profit from scanlations: "Scans should stay strictly non-profit, and sites that put up others' scans without permission for advertising revenue are just parasites on the scene. " [10] These differences of opinion mirror many of the changes in scanlation ethics over time.


Post "Closure"

OM has stated its intention to keep the forums open and to possibly continue in an altered form. Though all manga has been removed, the site remains up.

Forums

Though OneManga was primarily a manga reading site, it also has large forums that contain fanfiction, fanart, and discussion of various aspects of manga fandom.

As of August 12, 2010, the forums listed the following statistics:

  • Threads: 72,390
  • Posts: 4,167,890
  • Members: 107,050
  • Active Members: 14,310

References

  1. http://www.onemanga.com/news/2006/12/19/one-manga-is-born/ (Accessed August 2, 2010)
  2. OneManga among world's 1,000 most visited websites (Accessed July 22, 2010)
  3. OneManga's directory shows 1149 series, of which 37 show "0 Chapters". (Accessed August 2, 2010)
  4. Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Full Metal Alchemist, and Hunter X Hunter were licensed by Viz, Fairy Tail and Mahou Sensei Negima! by Del Rey, and Hajime no Ippo and History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi remained unlicensed.
  5. Based on the OM index and MangaUpdates' information on licensing as of the beginning of August, 2010.
  6. From the initial news post to its semi-closure, OneManga was open for 3 years and 8 months. Much longer estimates are common: Not A Basement Studio, "Farewell, OneManga!" (Accessed August 12, 2010): "This is saddening as OneManga has been with me (and you) for the last 5 years." Comments on "Onemanga closing, Square launching digital manga store" (Accessed August 12, 2010): "I remember when I first discovered Onemanga about 5 years ago. It really was amazing at the time, being able to read manga that wasn't available anywhere else." "I remember when I first found One Manga six years ago T_T It was the greatest thing I'd found since.... my birth :D " "No More Manga Scanlations!!!!" (Accessed August 12, 2010): "Onemanga has been my daily destination for my manga fix. It has been there for me for more than 5 years already." "RIP OneManga" (Accessed August 12, 2010): "You are the source that has made us sane for the past 5 years (or more, I started 5 years ago) without too much bullshit known as pop-ups and abundance of ads."
  7. BREAKING: One Manga shutting down, Square Enix opens up shop (Accessed July 22, 2010)
  8. Fellow Manga fans, mourn with me (Accessed July 25, 2010)
  9. This must be a new record (Accessed August 1, 2010)
  10. ladybirdsleeps in a comment at Fandom Lounge (Accessed August 1, 2010)
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