Version Reviewed: 1.0
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
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Most manga lovers (dare I call us otaku?) are well accustomed to visiting onemanga.com for all our manga needs—because let's face it, manga just doesn't get localized quickly enough. However, the process of sitting down and reading manga on a computer screen is tedious, and even more so if you're on the iPhone. Nobody likes waiting for every page to load. Manga Rock aims to make that experience much more pleasant, and convenient by pulling manga from onemanga's archives into its specialized app. The full version also lets you download as many chapters as you like for offline reading. The only downside is the limits on which manga you can access, but we'll get to that in a bit.
Manga Rock's interface is easy to use and very intuitive. The main page, the catalog, displays all available manga sorted alphabetically, or by popularity, as you prefer. Once you select a manga, the app displays a page with a short summary, cover art, and other basic information, as well as a list of chapters. The viewer itself works wonderfully. Flipping between pages it smooth, and both portrait and landscape views are supported along with pinch-and-zoom. There's even a handy orientation lock. Reading manga with Manga Rock is surprisingly pleasant—more so than using the web version from my computer, even.
Manga Rock is great as a free app, but its real value lies in the $1.99 full version. With the full version, you can download as much manga as you like; add manga to your favorites so that you can receive notifications when they're updated; "skim" a chapter using a CoverFlow-like feature; and the app will keep track of your progress under your recent readings tab. Downloading chapters is easy; you can have as many queued at once as you like.
However, be warned that the entirety of onemanga.com's collection is not available here. You won't find top hits like Ouran High School Host Club or Naruto due to legal concerns; while onemanga might host those, if the developers receive an email requesting a takedown, they will remove said titles from Manga Rock's catalog. These copyright issues are mostly country-based; for example, Yen Press titles are no longer available in the US. However, the catalog is still pretty large, and you're getting unlimited manga anyway, right?
Overall, if you're a manga fan, you need the Manga Rock app. The reading experience is far superior to what mobile Safari offers, and being able to download titles is huge. Even with an incomplete selection, it's still a great app.