So yesterday the new service from Crunchyroll launched, Manga being simultaneously released here with it's release in Japan. This is an awesome concept in theory, but does it live up to it's premise? I gave the service a go last night to see for myself. Here's what I found.
The catalog so far, is fairly limited, but there are some interesting titles that I haven't read before so I'm pretty impressed that even with such a small selection they've done this well. For my review I took a look at the first two chapters of UQ Holder! but the Manga itself isn't important here, what is is the service.
This is the reader from my browser of choice Chrome for reference
Here's where my biggest problems with the service is, the reader, it's bad. It's not awful, or unreadable, but it has a few glaring problems that makes reading the chapters more of a chore than it has to be. First, the viewer is not as big as it could be, making the chapters harder to read at default settings. Second it tries to display two pages per page in the reader, which makes the chapter even harder to read. Third and finally, when zooming in to make it more readable, you do not scroll through the pages with the scroll, you move the page by holding down the mouse (THIS IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH THE READER!) this is a problem because the pages have navigation on either side of the page, so when dragging the enlarged picture around to read it, you will often times turn the page, not just once, but sometimes several times. Which is a pain, to be sure. This all being said, they're annoyances and make reading harder than it has to be, but it's still high quality images, and impressively done.
Now I can't speak for the accuracy of the translation because I don't read Japanese well enough to judge that, but what I can say is that the english used by the translators is great and on a professional level, which is a definite step up from anyone reading scanlations out there.
It's a good first effort. It definitely needs some improvement, in the reader area, but I'm generally impressed by the quality of the manga being put out. I've been enjoying the Crunchyroll service for a while now and I'm glad they added this for no extra cost to subscribers and even added some support for free users. I'm hoping they improve it down the line, but it's worth a look.