Square Enix’s new manga up service has awkward censorship and a terrible payment model

Square Enix recently released theirs manga up Service worldwide and it’s already under attack. Readers have been annoyed by the app’s ridiculous censorship and extremely high prices compared to the competition. In the week since the service launched, a growing number of fans have taken to social media to speak out against Square Enix’s seemingly incredibly effortless method of making the most money from its manga IPs with the least amount of effort.

How Manga Up Offers Inferior Manga Versions For More Money

Manga Up was released in Japan in 2018 but only recently received a global release. Users have reported that the content of the Japanese version of the service does not have any additional censorship. However, the international version has an overwhelming amount of censorship. Furthermore, it doesn’t just include nudity or violence. Instead, virtually everything that might be considered risky (and much that isn’t) has been inconsistently censored throughout the app’s library.

This means that characters who show off cleavage, like Marin from the premier My Dress Up Darling series, can spend entire chapters mostly undercover. Additionally, Manga Up doesn’t use the standard mosaic or thin stripes that we usually see. Instead, large black boxes are slammed over the offending material.

I would bet the censorship will be done by an AI. There are some results, like an exposed knee or a girl’s crotch wearing jeans that are in no way lewd or sexualized, that lead me to believe that people haven’t verified, let alone made, these changes.

Part of the push for censoring Manga Up so severely seems to be that there are only two versions of the app: Japan and everywhere else. So it wouldn’t be surprising if Square Enix sterilized all of the content on the global version, with that it could publish anywhere the one app to save money.

The Manga Up Global team actually responded to the censorship complaints with a non-response:

“Regarding censorship on the MANGA UP! apartment

Considering the policies of each mobile platform, some changes were inevitable to release the app to the whole world outside of Japan (this is not just limited to English speaking countries).

We are still in the early stages of exploration and will strive to improve while listening to your feedback.

In the meantime, some of the content is available uncensored via other official streams, so please keep supporting the artists.

Thank you for your patience.

-MANGA ON! global team”

This tweet was sent on July 27th. Since then, Manga Up has only tweeted once to promote new content on the app. This behavior is very peculiar for a service that has just launched globally.

Manga Up monetization is nonsensical

Manga Up chapters

Also weird is the way Manga Up monetizes its content. There is no monthly subscription and no way to permanently unlock manga. Instead, there are three different currencies that you can use to rent a manga “chapter” for 72 hours. You get free currency that replenishes every day, allowing you to borrow eight “chapters,” but there’s a catch. Each manga chapter in this app is divided into 4 “chapters”. So, with the free currency, you can only read two chapters a day.

To make matters worse, Manga Up’s premium currency is expensive. A user on Twitter, @LossThief, calculated that if you wanted to “purchase” all 1,055 chapters of One Piece on Manga Up, it would cost $1,043.46 (for three days, since even content purchased with premium currency expires). Alternatively, you can purchase a physical version of each individual volume at full retail price for $791.01 and keep it forever. Of course, the best deal is to subscribe to Shonen Jump for $2 a month. It has a limit of 100 chapters per day (that’s 98 more than Manga Up), but that’s the only limitation on your subscription.

Manga Up Shop Premium Currency

So why would Square Enix release a service with the worse version of every manga and charge more than MSRP for the privilege of renting it for three days? I refuse to believe anyone could be so aloof as to believe this would succeed. Either Square Enix is ​​actively sabotaging itself for some reason or trying to boost its rating through all available avenues.

Square Enix’s game release calendar has been packed this year, and the company has made some strange moves. It seems to many that the company is posing as a takeover. If that’s the case, it would make sense to start a manga subscription service and try to get as many users and sell as much premium currency as possible with the least amount of hassle.

The other news, a leak suggests more Rainbow Road is coming to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Iron Man and Thanos armor sets have been datamined.

https://www.gamerevolution.com/news/712092-square-enix-manga-up-service-censorship-microtransaction-pay-model Square Enix’s new manga up service has awkward censorship and a terrible payment model

Emma Bowman

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