Manga Time has been having a pretty good time with their “Kirara” line of manga magazines recently. Capitalizing on the recent “cute girls doing cute things” trend while still utilizing a tried and tested, easy to digest format of 4-Koma, or 4-panel manga, the various Kirara magazines have seen considerable success.
This has also been boosted considerably by the amount of Kirara properties that are being turned into successful anime series. After all, when I and many others think of the aforementioned “cute girls doing cute things” genre these days, such series as K-On!, New Game!, Kin-iro Mosaic, and Yuru Camp instantly come to mind – all of which are serialized in the Kirara line of Manga Time magazines.
Therefore, it’s no small thing that publisher Houbunsha announced today their intention to move the entire line of Kirara magazines to a digital release alongside the regular paperback releases. The three magazines of Manga Time Kirara, Manga Time Kirara Carat and Manga Time Kirara MAX will be joining the already available online Manga Time Kirara Forward as part of the new digital push.
Fans of the Kirara magazines will no doubt be pleased to hear this news. Since the magazines are monthly, they tend to be quite hefty tomes, which can take up a lot of shelf space in a country where space, in general, is regarded as a premium. Plus, the digital release will be far truer to the original artwork than the paper version, as much of the manga in the magazine (and in general) is drawn digitally nowadays.
Furthermore, this move from Manga Time seems to mirror the general trend of digitalization of manga. In the west, reading manga online is being greatly incentivized thanks to the rework of the English-language Shonen Jump and excellent services such as BOOK WALKER, and even in Japan, current editor-in-chief of Shonen Jump admitted that while paper magazine sales are falling, digital sales are through the roof – clearly showing a shift in the way that people consume manga across the world.
And while the Kirara magazines won’t be available simultaneously online like with Shonen Jump properties, instead releasing a month later, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was changed in the near future. Change is coming, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.