First Impressions|Manta — Binge Read Unlimited Manhwa/Webtoons?

First Impressions|Manta — Binge Read Unlimited Manhwa/Webtoons?

Hi BAYOG FAM!~ It’s Minty, BAYOG’s resident manhwa/webtoon trash!~ I thought I’d drop a different-ish post today!~ That’s right, no music related post today! I have a manhwa/webtoon related post! Again, y’all know I read aloooooooot of manhwa and webtoons. Manhwa/webtoons from Korea have definitely gotten much more popular over the years. They’ve definitely changed alot over the years too. I remember when I read my first couple of manhwa series like 10-15 years ago. To be honest, I kind of found most of them meh at the time. I only started them because some K-Dramas like [Full House] were based on manhwa series. Of course, the dramas were very, I mean VERY, loosely based on the manhwa. It was basically pretty different from the source material. If I were to be honest, I preferred Japanese manga art over Korean manhwa art at the time. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started reading manhwa again, and then webtoons too. The stories and art have improved alooot. Many of them are still adapted into K-Dramas too. However, I think dramas these days stick a bit closer to the source material… at least closer than the earlier K-Dramas from a decade or two ago.

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Again, I’ve been reading manhwa and webtoons for several years now. I’ve been reading them from several sources too. I admit I’ve read many of them through fan-translations; Of course, due to it not being officially translated yet. However, I’ve also mostly read alot of them legally. I do read the officially translated versions from the official publishers like [LINE Webtoon], [Lezhin], [TappyToon], and [Tapas]. Manhwa and webtoons have definitely gained alot of popularity over the years. So we’re seeing more and more legal means and publishers for manhwa and webtoons. Other than the previously mentioned services, there are also [Pocket Comics] (The official English version of Comico), [NetComics], and [Copin Comics]. There also used to be Spottoon, but I think they’ve discontinued their English services now. Personally, I do tend to favor fan translations more. However, I’ve been sticking to reading things legally. While there are debates about fan-translations, I do like that they give exposure to different series that I would have never known about. I also just love the translator notes/comments. Fan-translations can also look so clean and professional too! However, I do want to support the authors and artists. So I do read them from the official publishers once they’re available. Yes, I also pay coins to read them. Gotta help ’em get that bread! I even pay coins for fast passes on LINE Webtoon. Out of all of them, LINE Webtoon was probably my favorite. It’s also probably the most affordable one because it is completely free. Most of these services only offer up X chapter for free. However, for LINE Webtoon it’s free to read everything. However, you are free to buy fast passes on advanced chapters that haven’t been released for free yet.

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I ain’t a rich biss, but I don’t mind droppin’ my coins if I find a series that’s enjoyable. And again, it’s great to support the people who worked hard to create and release this content. Fortunately for me, I’m a homebody who doesn’t have alot of expenses. Rather, I don’t usually spend money very often anyway. I don’t really go out. If anything, I just occasionally go out for boba or treat myself to some fast food or something. Honestly, before the pandemic, boba was probably my biggest expense. I spent like $500 on boba and Taiwanese popcorn chicken with the business card LOLOL I also used to buy my makeup and skincare like 1-3 times a year (hauls). However, I haven’t done much shopping in the past year. I also haven’t done any boba runs since I’ve just been making my own during COVID. Although, I did drop alot of that money on BTS stream concerts and merch this year LOL Anyway, point is my only consistent and reoccurring spending now is just for manhwa/webtoons.

Does it end up racking up and get pricey? Probably. Will I go check? No. You can’t have anxiety and be shocked at what you spend if you don’t add it up… LOL I’m kidding. Again, I’m happy to spend money when I can if it’s something that I enjoy. Treat yo’ self. We can go with the Korean slang and call it my 시발비용 (Sibal Biyong, or “Fuck-It Expense”).

The more well known and popular publishers: LINE Webtoons, Lezhin, TappyToon, Tapas, and Pocket Comics
NetComics and Copin Comics; Copin Comics is pretty new

I’m glad that the market for manhwa and webtoons has expanded. It’s really great that more and more series are available officially for the international readers. However, it’s also a bit of a problem? Well, not so much of a problem. Rather an inconvenient hassle sometimes. Again, we have several publishers to read from now. However, it’s alot of different sources to read from. To be honest, sometimes I get really overwhelmed trying to remember release schedules and where to read my series. It’s like, “Hmm.. Wait… Is this series on LINE Webtoons, Lezhin, Tappytoons, Tapas, or the other one???” And again, the costs for droppin’ coins can rack up.

BOOM. We got another new publisher. We now have [Manta Comics] from RIDI. RIDI publications is behind [Ridibooks]. They’re basically the ones that e-publish and distribute many popular Korean novels, manhwa, and webtoons. Manta is like freshly released. I think they kind of dropped towards the end of November? However, it seems they’ve only started to finalize everything.

As of 1/6/2021, they do have the link and more info for the app on their Twitter profile.

I only found out about them because they just suddenly followed me on Twitter. I was like, “Manta? Who dat? What dat?” At the time their profile didn’t have alot of info other than something about being a platform that allowed you to binge read webtoons. There wasn’t a link to a website or app. So I tried to do some research and found one little article about how it was a service from RIDI. The mobile app was already available. However, the link and information was not yet listed in the profile. Still, I went to my app store and downloaded it to see what it was about.

On a side note: Thanks for the follow, Manta~ It sounds kind of dumb, but I feel kind of honored that an official account thought I was cool enough for a follow? hehe~

So as I’ve said, Manta is a webtoon/manhwa reading platform from RIDI. You’d think, “Wow, another one…” Hold on though! Manta is a bit different. The difference with Manta is that it’s a subscription service. So with the other platforms that we’re familiar with, you’re typically given only up to a certain number of chapters. So you’d have to buy coins or whatever to unlock further chapters. Again, LINE Webtoons is the only one on the list where all chapters will be free eventually. However, they still use the coin micro-transaction system for if you want to use fast passes on advanced not-yet released chapters. Sometimes these platforms will give you free tickets or throw in points or something else that can be used. However, there are some restrictions to those sometimes. For example, with Pocket Comics you have to wait some time before later advanced chapters can be unlocked with a ticket. There are also cases with some platforms where episodes unlocked with tickets are also only available to be read for a certain period of time. Manta makes it easy though. It’s service is an easy monthly subscription of $3.99 USD. With that subscription, you’re able to read EVERYTHING on the platform and as much as you want. You’re given unlimited access for just $3.99 a month.

There was a free two week trial for Manta, so I gave it a go. My trial officially ends on the 7th before I’ll be charged the subscription fee. So let’s talk about what they have to offer. They do have a wide variety of series from all sorts of genres to choose from. The titles that they have also include some really well known and popular series. It’s definitely also a good alternative because they have several series that actually do appear on other platforms like Lezhin and I think Tapas and TappyToon. But for sure, alot of series that you can find on Lezhin. This includes several series that I loved on Lezhin such as Something About Us and A Compendium of Ghosts. I’m also pretty excited because I can now binge read series that I did want to read on Lezhin, but was a bit hesitant to immediately drop coins for since they were lower on my priority list.

The app itself looked nice and sleek. I also love how everything loads very quickly. It’s almost no waiting. With alot of the other apps, sometimes it takes a bit of time for the images and panels to finish loading. However, it was a bit difficult to navigate through Manta at first. I found it interesting how they named their suggestion lists from things like “Destined to Go Wrong”, “Girls Rule #GirlCrush”, “Edge of Your Seat”, “Mind Games”, etc. I think it helps people more easily find the types of stories they might be interested in. So yeah, that’s a great idea! However, I do wish they had some sort of daily calendar view for releases. They do have a “Today’s Update” section. However, I prefer looking at a calendar that shows me the whole week and what title is updated on what day. This is something all the other apps/services have. It definitely makes it a whole lot easier to navigate and see what you’re looking for. It’s something alot of readers have requested of Manta. I know since they’re still new and just recently launched, they are still trying to fix kinks and what not. They’ve been listening to feedback and updating the platform bit by bit. So it’s possible that we will eventually get that daily calendar. I also wish that there was a search feature to make it easier to find a certain series. Another big issue I had with the app at first was that there had been no way to subscribe or bookmark a series. Which is a big problem because as a reader, you want to be able to easily find and be updated on the series you’re interested in. Having to constantly manually find the series is inconvenient and not really practical. However, Manta did hear the readers and has since taken care of that issue. We are now able to bookmark any series that we’re interested in. My only real issue now is the font… I know this is a bit nitpicky, but I really don’t like the fonts for these releases. It just doesn’t look very clean. It’s harsh to say, but the font makes it look like bottom tier MTL (machine translated) fan translation releases. I also did catch a few typos in some different chapters too. However, the font bothers me more than the typos.

Honestly, those were basically the only issues I initially had. However, they are obviously still adjusting everything. I just hope they change the font for further releases. A font change would make it look alot cleaner and more professional to match that sleek looking app. The only other thing for me is that there aren’t alot of series that I’m personally interested in. Most of the ones that I would be interested in are series that I’ve already paid for and completed on Lezhin. However, there are a few that I’m most definitely interested in. I am happy to be able to read the official English releases of Lamia Orphe is Dead, Amina of the Lamp, A Bookstore Romance, Cheoyong: A Ghostly Romance, and Wake Up, Warrior. I’m for sure very excited that they’ll be releasing the official English version of the webtoon for [Under the Oak Tree] through Manta.

Honestly, I love the concept of a very affordable subscription service for my manhwa/webtoons. $3.99 a month for unlimited access is pretty dang cheap. It’s cheaper than one large boba. It’s also really convenient to have alot of the series in one convenient app. So honestly, I’ll continue my subscription for the time being. It’s a great service. While I’m personally only interested in a few series, I’m sure there will be more interesting series added to their roster. I’m looking forward to how much they improve their service, and what other series they’ll have to offer in the future. Now if only RIDI had a service for official English releases of their novels! Also, no they didn’t pay me to write about and praise them. I was genuinely curious. As BAYOG’s manhwa/webtoon trash, I wanted to see how it compared to the other services I use.

You can find Manta Comics on the [Google Play Store] and [Apple App Store]. They have a [website], but it’ll only just end up telling you to go download the app.


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Anyway, that’s all for today’s post fam! What do you all think of Manta? Are you interested? Do you prefer a subscription style service, or the old fashioned “pay coins per episode” kind of service? Where are your favorite places to read manhwa/webtoons? Tell me what some of your favorite series are, and if you have any recommendations for me! Let me know in the comments, my socials, or Discord! Come join the BAYOG Discord server and talk about these series with meee~ Stay warm, stay, safe, take care, and have a wonderful day luvs!~

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Yo’ girl is off to PTFO ‘cuz it’s past 3AM and she has to adult and work in the morning…

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Hihi! I’m Minty! I’m Thai-American~ เป็นคนไทยค่ะ~ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักนะคะ~
I’m BAYOG’s hella basic Asian chick, Real People Stuffs expert, and boba addict. I’ve been a part of the BAYOG Crew since 2017~ I fangirl and mostly blog about music, live action movies/dramas, manga/webtoons, and occasionally webnovels~ When I’m not blogging, I’m usually writing/singing Thai-English covers~

It’s nice to meet all of you lovely people from around the world! Thanks for stopping by our blog!~
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BE SAFE. BE RESPONSIBLE.
WASH YOUR HANDS. WEAR A MASK.
SOCIAL DISTANCE. PLEASE.

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Take care y’all. Please stay safe and take care of yourself. All jokes and fun aside…please, please, please, pleaaaase always wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask! It’s better to be cautious than face irrevocable consequences of health complications or death.


BLACK LIVES MATTER

AS A GROUP OF BIPOC, BAYOG strongly stands with Black Lives Matter. We are all too familiar with the racism that we, our friends, and family have faced on a daily basis. Every life is precious. However, as BIPOC, we also recognize that black people are a group of people that face extreme racism and at a higher risk for their safety. We’ve individually done several donations. Of course, donations to support the cause and support change isn’t the only thing needed. Support for the cause and change also requires conversation and understanding. Make sure to have those conversations. Please remember to be an active supporter, be it through donations, sharing information, and/or conversations and speaking up.

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Keep it up fam!

If you can, please consider donating. I’ve donated more than once as well. For one of my donations, I donated through the BTS ARMY x BLM project. I recommend that if you’re unsure of where to donate. This is because the donation will be split amongst several different non-profit organizations. Of course, you can also choose a specific organization(s) if you wish as well. You can find that [HERE].

You can also check out the following:

Stay strong. Fight racism, brutality, injustice, and bullshit. Don’t lose sight of the goal. We’re witnessing and being a part of history. Be allies and make sure change happens. Once again, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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SAY “NO! NOT TODAY!” TO RACISM Y’ALL

10 Replies to “First Impressions|Manta — Binge Read Unlimited Manhwa/Webtoons?”

  1. Once again, I am being schooled in all the platforms that have officially licensed manhwa/webtoons. I think it’ll be really interesting to see how all the other platforms response to Manta with it’s seemingly ‘flat rate’ price for unlimited chapters verses the micro-transactions you mentioned. I only read webtoons since it’s completely free and I am broke. The idea of paying per ‘chapter’ always felt off to me so I never minded waiting for updates. It’ll be curious to see how it all pans out!

    1. I honestly only just recently learned about 2-3 of them haha~ It’s definitely interesting to see the growing demand for manhwa/webtoons, and the speed that they get licensed and published. I’m quite curious about the responses from other platforms as well. Although, like I said, a good chunk of their catalogue seems to be the same titles from Lezhin, one of the major and well established platforms. Interestingly enough, it seems that alot of Korean webnovels will be going through this as well. KR webnovels have been growing popular, and also been a per chapter payment on the few existing platforms. However, there’s a new platform that will be doing both per chapter (prices based on word count) and a flat rate subscription payment models. LINE Webtoon is definitely my favorite because it’s free and probably has the best variety of series. I honestly just started paying when I started getting into series that weren’t published by LINE Webtoon. But I just see it as being the same thing as if I were to purchase a physical comic. However, in this case it’s like I can just pay for what I want. If I don’t like the series, I can just drop it and not commit to paying for x amount of chapters~ Although, constantly topping off coins can be pricey and a hassle lol

      1. I’m glad that some companies have sprouted up to meet said demand! Also, I totally missed your note that it’s in conjunction with Lezhin so that’s an interesting choice there as well. I’m wondering if they might start doing flat rate only with ‘completed’ series then, rather then on-going ones.

        Ah webnovels… I hope the Korean ones are better then the Japanese ones. I tried reading a few webnovels/cellphone novels based in Japan but the writing style was too difficult for me to adjust to. But given how popular the drama adaptations of them are, I’m not surprised. I nearly always see comments asking if the novel is in English anywhere, so it’s only natural I suppose.

        Oof, you really do bring up the good point with per-chapter purchases. If the series really goes south you can drop it so much easier then if you bought a whole book, or X amount of chapters. I’m just so use to plowing through anything I paid for to get the bang for my buck, but it makes more sense (fiscally) to do it per chapter.

      2. I’m really glad too! It’s also nice since there are now more opportunities for official translations/distribution. No worries~ haha~ I’m not sure if it’s in conjunction, but I did notice some series on Manta were ones that appeared on other platforms like Lezhin, Tappytoon, and I think even PocketComics? Most of them seem to be series that are already completed, but had been published by those previous platforms. Although, I did notice a few overlaps with ongoing series as well. From what I’ve seen the only real deals for completed series is that you might get a percentage off for buying the chapters. I haven’t seen any flat rats for completed series yet.

        I’ve been enjoying the Korean ones so far. Although, most of the ones I’ve read are because I enjoyed the webtoon adaptation. I usually start the novels when I get impatient and want to know what happens next haha~ It’s definitely interesting in that I get to see a more thorough explanation for things that happen though~ I haven’t read too many Japanese ones, but I do remember having a hard time adjusting to some of the writing style as well.

        It’s also nice when they have sales and events that reduce the price for a while. But definitely a great choice if a series goes south~ I admit I did drop a few series that ended up losing my interest. lol

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