Late last year we told you about Comico, a free online manga service available on the web, as well as on iOS and Android. At that time we mentioned that NHN PlayArt, the company behind the service, had set an initial goal of acquiring 300,000 users by the end of 2013. It appears that the company is well past that goal now, announcing earlier this week that Comico has surpassed 1 million downloads, requiring only about 100 days since its initial launch to do so . In Japan, it is now the top free iOS ‘books’ app, and the sixth ranked Google Play ‘comics’ app.
NHN PlayArt is a subsidiary of Naver Corporation, developing many of Line’s popular casual games including the recently released Disney Tsumu Tsumu, currently the top free app on both iOS and Android in Japan with over 4 million downloads in its first 14 days. So overall it has been a pretty good start to 2014 for the group, which is housed within Line Corporation headquarters in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.
When Comico launched, there were 56 different comics available to read, free of charge. The service has since expanded to include 71 comics. And as of this past December, it also allows amateur manga artists to submit comics for consideration, with prize money currently available as part of an contest. After February 17th, 30 works will be selected from these submissions, and then reader voting will take place to chose a winner.
As for the Comico app itself, it’s interesting to compare it to Japan’s other popular manga app these days, DeNA’s Manga Box. That app has seen over 2 million downloads the span of about a month after its December launch. For readers abroad, you’ll find no English interface or translations in Comico yet, so perhaps Manga Box, which has better titles available in my view, might be a better option.
Comico does have some interesting features though, most notably the fact that its manga are in color (as opposed to black and white). There is also a pretty interesting crop-and-share feature, which will let you easily select a snap of your manga to share with friends on social networks or over email (see picture above).
It’s good to see more and more services offering mobile manga solutions. As we pointed out before, Line also has its own mobile manga app, Line Manga, which is doing quite well too. It is currently ranked fifth in the iOS ‘books’ category, and second in the Google Play ‘comics’ category.
As of February 8th. ↩