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Manga Up! by Square Enix App Error: Censorship, Additional Fees | Pro Club Bd

Manga Up! Square Enix’s app was criticized for its questionable content censorship and monetization practices, greatly angering viewers.

Manga fans/otakus need their fan service to survive! With the recent launch of Square Enix’s manga app, Manga Up! (July 25, 2022, in North America) caused public outrage over the “absurd” censorship of several manga content. Fans have taken their outcry and anger to social media when censored black bars appeared on questionable panels.

Censorship is common in the manga industry for NSFW content such as sexual activity or nude nudity. And usually these nude scenes were either covered with a cloud, a creative way of using objects to block breasts or genitals, or they were cropped from the panels themselves. The harshest censorship would take place in more obvious adult manga like hentai or doujinshi, where the artists intend to feature full sex scenes in their manga panels.

Manga Up! went a little too far. One of the problematic censorships that was pointed out concerned Marin Kitagawa’s swimsuit scene in the sex-positive manga series. My dress up darling who had a huge censored bar across her chest area but wasn’t even nude. The anime ran on Crunchyroll without this censorship, so that says something for itself.

Square Enix’s Run app was first launched in Japan in 2017 and featured the company’s licensed manga such as Goblin Slayer, Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist. While censorship was common, users noted that Manga Up! was way too strict with its censorship – and also uploaded screenshots to prove a point. One manga even censored a panel with a character’s thigh barely in the panel.

With increasing censorship issues, the app has started getting a string of 1-star reviews on the Android Play Store and other app stores. One fan wrote: “Too much censorship, especially in silly places where it clearly doesn’t need to be. Artistic integrity and freedom of expression have been under attack for years, and you’d think Square Enix of all people would understand, and their customer base would hate it.”

Manga Up’s direct competitor, the Shonen Jump app, has been charging its users $1.99 per month with a daily reading limit of 100 chapters. manga up! did a strange thing by including experience points and microtransactions for its users. Understanding the entire payment/incentive system gave me a migraine and made me facepalm more times than some moments in the last season of Facepalm attack on Titan.

manga up! Users have a daily reading limit of eight chapters and would earn experience points that would allow them to read more chapters. The experience points have been divided into three categories: Up Points, XP and Coins. So users must either earn enough points to read more each day or buy experience point coins from the shop. The newest chapters could only be read with XP and coins. First-time users would get 120 XP upon registration, which is about $0.99.

The kicker of the dispute against Square Enix Manga Up! Monetization setup was that a chapter could be split into separate parts. So users would have to buy coins to complete a single chapter. Imagine you had to pay for three parts of the first chapter of a book. This concept was enough to excite many fans, especially since Manga Up’s! The selling point was the exclusive rights from Square Enix Fullmetal Alchemist Manga Artist/Mangaka, Hiromu Arakawa’s Latest Fantasy Action Series, Demon of the Shadow Realm. With the microtransaction system, it would take me hundreds if not thousands to finish the series!

The Square Enix team at Manga Up! released a statement that they would be working to fix the censorship issues that have arisen since it was “inevitable to release the app for the whole world outside of Japan”. No comments have been made on the microtransactions feedback yet. It kind of begs the question if they should have waited to fix this before launching it in North America or if they intended to alienate a certain audience.

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