Is Shonen Jump Subscription Good Value?

When it pertains to reviewing comics online, followers have lots of alternatives. Marvel Unlimited offers visitors a possibility to browse countless brand-new as well as timeless issues. DC Universe offers a similar subscription service that not only gives fans a way to view many of their comic book series but also grants access to DC movies, television shows, and original programming. And then there’s Shonen Jump.

Created for manga fans, Shonen Jump provides a way to keep up with the latest chapters of One-Punch Man and peruse timeless storylines from Naruto – for only $1.99 a month. If that sounds like a good bargain, let’s take a closer look at how much manga you’ll receive for your money.

Shonen Jump (or Weekly Shonen Jump) began as a popular manga anthology in 1968. Originally a physical publication that resembled a telephone book filled with original manga content, Weekly Shonen Jump introduced fans to classic manga series like Dragon Ball. Many of these serialized manga stories became so popular they were adapted into anime programs, which helped them become even more popular internationally.

Eventually, Shonen Jump was adapted into an online platform where it continued providing serialized manga chapters on its website as well as app. In addition to its original Japanese audience, the manga chapters were translated for English-speaking audiences as well. Today, brand-new manga chapters on Shonen Jump are produced in English and Japanese simultaneously, meaning international fans don’t have to wait for a translation.

The manga chapters run the gamut in terms of genre and content. While “Shonen” refers to manga produced for a young, male audience, both male and female manga fans of all ages enjoy reading Shonen Jump. The genres offered include superhero, fantasy, romance, sports, horror, drama, comedy, and much more.

Right now, readers can purchase a Shonen Jump subscription for $1.99 a month. Why so low? According to Shonen Jump’s parent company Viz Media, the low subscription price is in response to increasing manga piracy on the Internet. By making their subscription fee so cheap, readers can read their favorite manga on a legal website while supporting mangaka (manga authors/illustrators).

Just how much manga does the $1.99 subscription fee give readers? A subscription gives readers full access to Shonen Jump’s vast library of manga on its platform, as well as total access to the new manga chapters uploaded on a regular basis. Every day, readers can access 100 chapters out of any of the 10,000+ chapters available on the website. That works out to more than 3000 manga chapters in an average month!

Moreover, Shonen Jump offers plenty of free incentives for new manga fans and newcomers to their subscription program. Visitors to the website can read the first three chapters of any ongoing manga series for free. Shonen Jump also periodically selects certain popular series and offers an even bigger block of manga chapters to read online for free. (For instance, as of this writing, the first nineteen chapters of the post-apocalyptic vampire series Seraph of the End are being offered for free). Of course, those who’d like to continue to read the series will have to purchase a $1.99 monthly subscription.

As of now, new subscribers to Shonen Jump also receive their first week free of charge. This allows them to read up to any 700 manga chapters in the Shonen Jump library. After that, the $1.99 subscription fee takes over automatically each month, although subscribers can cancel anytime according to their website. Manga fans can read Shonen Jump on the Shonen Jump app (which requires a Shonen Jump subscription) or the website and can download manga to read offline.   

So, how does a $1.99 monthly Shonen Jump subscription compare to the online services of other comic book companies? Well, right now Marvel Comics’ Marvel Unlimited subscription service charges $9.99 a month to access its online library of 25,000 new and classic problems. (They also offer a 7-day free trial for new subscribers). Readers can check out their comics through the Marvel Unlimited App. The app also pre-loads or downloads comics in case you lose your Internet connection (although you’re limited to 25 downloads).

Of course, Marvel Unlimited, DC Universe, and Shonen Jump are all limited to offering content from their publishers. The same isn’t true for comiXology, an Inc. subsidiary, which supplies comics from a number of different publishers, including Marvel, DC, Archie Comics, IDW, Dark Horse, and several Japanese manga publications as well. Their membership price of $5.99 is also lower than Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe (but still higher than Shonen Jump) and grants access to a designated list of thousands of titles from multiple publishers. A comiXology subscription also grants discounts on online purchases of comic books.

Ultimately, while a Shonen Jump subscription is easily one of the lowest-priced subscriptions in the online comic reading market today, every comic fan will have to decide if it’s worth it. Manga followers will undoubtedly be able to take advantage of the deal by consuming hundreds (or even thousands) of manga chapters a month while financially supporting their favorite mangaka. On the other hand, comics fans who prefer American-style comic books may want to pay a bit more money for accessibility to their favorite Marvel as well as DC content. Either way, it's good to know that such affordable entertainment is out there for followers of Japanese manga.


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