Monday, January 30, 2012

Not-Quite-Ready-For-Prime-Time: Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha #1

Today is the day that Viz's digital-only anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha was set to launch and it has, kind of.  The first issue is available for purchase rental via the site but it's currently unavailable via the iOS apps.  [UPDATE 2/2/2012: WSJA now available via iOS!]  I updated the Viz app for the iPad a couple days ago and it said that the update to version 6.0 was to provide "Support for Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha" but WSJA isn't available through the iPad app yet.

According to Viz's press release, WSJA "will also be part of the upcoming update to the VIZ Manga apps" for iOS but no dates are given.  Later in the same press release it states "Each issue may be read on, and once available, on the updated VIZ Manga App" so I'm assuming even Viz doesn't know at this point when all the details will be hammered out.

I spent 99 cents to try out the first temporary issue and so far it's only viewable in the VIZ Manga web viewer -- it does not show up afterwards in the "My Manga" section of the Viz app.

It's also interesting to note how far WSJA skips ahead:

Series Chapter from latest digital volume Chapter from WSJA #0 Chapter from WSJA #1
Bakuman 070 156 162
Bleach 464 424 476
Naruto 555 564 569
Nura 047 180 185
One Piece 620 647 652
Toriko 061 165 171

I had thought that the whole point behind Viz's announced "Digital Manga Warp" was to synch up each series by the time WSJA launched but, as can be seen above, that's far from happening yet.  Nura is a daunting 138 chapters behind in serialization.

Even if fans were interested in trying out WSJA, it's hard to see how they're supposed to do so as each series has a gap of untranslated material blocking the transition from digital volume to the latest chapter in WSJA.  In fact, at this point about the only way for frustrated fans to catch up with the current storylines in WSJA would be to read the material on scanlation sites, which is probably the exact opposite of what Viz hoped to encourage with this whole initiative.

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