Mangadex.org

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Website
Name: MangaDex, MD
Owner/Maintainer: Hologfx (former)
Dates: 17 January 2018 - present
Type: scanlation site, forums
Fandom: manga
URL: mangadex.org
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MangaDex is a popular online scanlation site, currently in early access after being taken down and rebuilt for greater security. They are the only manga aggregator site endorsed by scanlation groups, as they neither host ads nor profit from the manga hosted there.

History

Origin in Batoto

MangaDex.org was founded in January 2018, and is the spiritual successor to the now-defunct Bato.to.

Grumpy, the owner and administrator of Bato.to, announced the site's closure in a forum post made on 7 January 2018[1], stating that the 18th should be considered the site's last day as he allows servers to expire. Shortly thereafter, members of the Batoto community forums scrambled to find a suitable replacement site. One such thread, titled "New manga site like batoto", was posted by forum member evan0512 on 8 January 2018[2], with the original post reading as follows:

Hello our site is closing in a week but i want to ask i like read manga in site like bato.to whos not have spam adv, virus, not hurt scanlator like only copy from scanlator site and not tell them like mangaf*x/mangah*r*/etc pls tell me which site like that.. Thanks

Edited by evan0512, 08 January 2018 - 03:52 AM.

While there were no solid answers at first, fellow forum user Hologfx replied several days later:

I'm in the process of coding a successor to batoto. Most of the essential functions have been completed. I expect to announce the site before the 18th![3]

According to the same thread, the site was live by the next day, the speed attributed to its structure sharing a lot of overlap with one of Hologfx's other projects, AniDex.[4]

Subsequent posts in the thread expressed hope for the fledgling site, which had gone live mere days before Grumpy's expected death date for Bato.to, as popularity with scanlators is what had allowed Batoto to develop its niche within the anime and manga community.

Early Days

The earliest version of the site available on the WayBack Machine dates back to 8 March 2018, and had no forums until 11 April 2018 [5]. However, as Grumpy had acknowledged in his closure announcement post that Batoto's forums were an important community hub[1], Batoto's forums were kept alive longer than the rest of the site, and later pages in the Batoto thread originally posted by evan0512 indicate that the site also lacked features such as navigation buttons[4], the ability to import manga lists from Batoto[4], and several other popular Batoto features, such as a "recently popular" manga tab[6]. Notably, it did have a dark theme available to site members on release[4], and comments were soon enabled[6].

Discussion around site rules was had in their IRC channel, touching on topics such as the hosting of 18+ material and allowance of non-English scanlations. Further discussions about the site's direction were had in their Discord server, and by April 11th, after nearly a mere three months of opening, the MangaDex forums were opened.

Site

Mangadex is a site popular with both readers and scanlators of manga in the late 2010s and early 2020s. Readers appreciate the lack of advertisements, while scanlators appreciate the agency given to them by the site, as unlike many other manga-reading sites online Mangadex only allows the upload of scanlations by the creators of the scanlation or authorized reposters instead of reposting scanlations without the scanlator's permission. Mangadex also caters to all languages.[7]

While the site had forums starting soon after the site's launch, they went down with the rest of the site following the March 2021 have not yet been implemented for the latest v5 version of the site as of this writing.

2021 Hacking and Downtime Period

On March 21, 2021, MangaDex announced a period of downtime until further notice due to a hack four days prior[8]. At the time, the staff assumed a downtime of one or two weeks[8], though in reality, the site was unavailable for casual browsing for much longer.

On May 6, MangaDex announced a beta phase open to the public for testing[8], which allowed visitors to read manga stored in the site's database through their API. Users unfamiliar with how to do this, however, were unable to access the site until the frontend was ready and pushed out a month later on June 6[9].

Effect on Scanlation Releases

Because MangaDex was and presently continues to be the only manga aggregator site to be considered trustworthy and honorable by the scanlation community[10] due to its policy of crediting scanlators, its downtime meant that scanlation groups either put all their releases on hold to be released en masse upon MD's return, or continued to upload their releases exclusively to their personal websites and blogs.

Groups who were formed after the decline of personal websites and rise of centralized social media often did not have personal websites to release their updates to, although many had dedicated Tumblr blogs, Twitter accounts, or Discord servers. These groups, now lacking the reach provided to them by MangaDex, now faced difficulties in communicating with their audiences or hosting their content.

Black Cat Scans, who scanlated many popular romance series such as Rent-A-Girlfriend, announced the debut of their own personal site, the now-defunct catmanga.org, about a week after MangaDex went down via their Twitter[11], which included a native reader as well as series such as Way of the House Husband previously only hosted on Imgur due to copyright holders requesting its removal from MangaDex. The tweet also cited a lack of platform for expediting their site release.

Cash Money Chiyo, who exclusively scanlate comedy shoujo manga Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, simply mentioned in the footnotes of their sole release during this period that they would be posting only to their Tumblr.

By the way, Mangadex is down as of this writing icymi, so we can only upload stuff to this blog for now! You can access old CMC translations in our gsnktranslation tag and downloads page, but we can’t do anything about the other chapters unfortunately.[12]

References

  1. ^ a b Grumpy. Batoto will be closing permanently - Announcement, posted on 7 January 2018 at Batoto Forums. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  2. ^ evan0512. New manga site like batoto, posted 8 January 2018 to Batoto Forums. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  3. ^ Hologfx. "New site like batoto" (pg. 5), posted on 16 January 2018 at Batoto Forums. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  4. ^ a b c d "New manga site like batoto" (pg. 6), posted on 17 January 2018 at Batoto Forums. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  5. ^ Zephyrus. State of the Forums #1, posted 15 April 2018 to MangaDex Forums. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  6. ^ a b "New manga site like batoto" (pg. 8), posted on 20 January 2018 to Batoto Forums. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  7. ^ r/mangadex on reddit
  8. ^ a b c archived main page of MangaDex during this time
  9. ^ MangaDex. "MangaDex's frontend is finally out in an Early Access™️ state. We've implemented all the features we believe are necessary to read manga: https://mangadex.org" Tweet by MangaDexRE, 6 June 2021. (Accessed 20 May 2022.)
  10. ^ lambchopsil. Allowing Batoto - Feedback Needed, posted 12 May 2021 to MangaUpdates Forums.
  11. ^ Black Cat Scans. Announcement Tweet, posted 5 April 2021
  12. ^ Mod Grolia. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun Chapter 123, Part 1, posted 28 May 2021.