Publisher Houbunsha has announced their first venture into smartphone manga, which has seen serious expansion from other giants of the industry in recent years. The publisher will be launching a new manga app this spring called COMIC FUZ, which is set to launch alongside a slew of popular titles such as the recent smash hit Yuru Camp.
COMIC FUZ is Houbunsha’s first manga app, and furthers the publisher’s recent trend of digitization. After all, it wasn’t long ago that Houbunsha announced that they would begin providing digital versions of all of their current magazines in publication. Now their properties will not only be available in magazine imprints, but also through the app.
That being said, the lineup currently outlined for COMIC FUZ’s launch is decidedly mixed. While the recent hit series Yuru Camp’s original manga is taking front and center in promoting the new app alongside manga adaptations of the Madoka Magica series, some of the publisher’s most popular series won’t be making an appearance in the app – at least not yet.
The most conspicuously absent series are those such as New Game!, Kin-iro Mosaic, and Slow Start – all of which have proven a firm favorite in recent years. Even so, the app will include a fair number of old favorites though, such as Hidamari Sketch and Kill Me Baby. But the inclusion of these classic series over popular newer series draws into question the approach Houbunsha is taking to its digital lineup.
In the first place, announcing a manga app alongside digitization of currently publishing magazines seems counterproductive, as some readers may simply stop buying the magazines and use the app instead. This problem is perhaps the reason why newer favorites such as New Game! are conspicuously absent from the app’s lineup. These series are so popular that they probably drive a lot of the magazine’s individual sales, and making them available elsewhere may significantly impact each imprint – especially as mega-fans will buy the magazines simply to read that one series.
In any case, COMIC FUZ is set to launch this spring. You can check out its official website for more information, as well as pre-register.