Kadokawa and Dwango working together to launch online manga services

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

Leading publisher Kadokawa Group Holdings Inc. and Dwango Co., which operates Nico Nico Douga, have joined hands to launch a new online manga site.

Kadokawa Contents Gate Co. will provide digital manga titles for the Nico Nico Seiga site via its Book Walker e-book distribution service, the companies said.

The move is aimed at bringing an interactive function–Nico Nico Douga’s strong point–to offer users a sense of a shared reading experience.

Nico Nico Douga is known for its unique functions, which scrolls a stream of live comments from online viewers directly onto the screen.

Nico Nico Seiga, which was originally set up to provide non-video content, comes with the same function.

In addition to the comment-posting feature, the website interacts with Twitter so that users can share their thoughts.

As a starter, some digital manga titles from Kadokawa’s Book Walker have been made available on Nico Nico Seiga. To celebrate the occasion, the first volume of “Thermae Romae” and other popular titles are currently streamed for free.

In addition, the two companies launched Kadokawa Nico Nico Ace digital manga website in November.

The online magazine is available for free, and provides popular manga titles exclusively lined up for the website. They include “Sgt. Frog,” “Tiger Bunny” and “Deadman Wonderland” from Kadokawa’s other comic magazines.

The Kadokawa Nico Nico Ace will be updated every Tuesday. There will also be an elimination tournament, under which rookie manga artists will compete for user votes.

The Nico Nico Seiga website and Kadokawa Nico Nico Ace online magazine stem from a capital and business tie-up signed in June this year between Kadokawa Group and Dwango to promote their cooperation in the field of digital media. The main purposes of the deal were to create their own e-book viewer and to work together in providing digital publications.

With the popularity of the e-book business gaining momentum since last year, companies are locked in a fierce competition to develop platforms for digital publications.

Kadokawa seems set to maintain its presence with its rich content and active involvement to provide new services. Its tie-up with the leading player in the video streaming business will likely continue to attract attention.

Visit Nico Nico Seiga at (http://seiga.nicovideo.jp/book/) and Kadokawa Nico Nico Ace at (http://seiga.nicovideo.jp/book/special/nicoace/).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.