A Review of Azuki.co

What is Azuki?

Azuki is a subscription service offering manga to read for a monthly fee. Quite similar to what Viz's Shonen Jump offers. According to its about page Azuki was started by Abbas Jaffery, Evan Minto, Adela Chang (all former Crunchyroll software developers), and Krystyn Neisess. That makes sense since currently mostly Kodansha owned series are on offer as is the case with Crunchyroll's manga section.

Is Azuki Good For Reading Manga?

My first impressions of Azuki were strong. Creating an account was painless and I very much appreciated that there were no weird password restrictions. Once an account is created you are sent to a page to enter in your payment information. Azuki processes payments using Stripe and the cost once your free 30 days end is $4.99 USD a month. Right now it looks like they only accept credit cards.

If you want to checkout Azuki without entering in your credit card details you can read the first three chapters of many series for free. You will have to see ads though. I tried to view the free chapters when logged out, but having an ad blocker turned on prevented me from seeing the actual manga pages.

I have been subscribed to the Shonen Jump subscription service for awhile now so I'll compare the two. Both offer simulpubs where the latest chapters of certain manga are released in English once they are published in Japan. For me, Shonen Jump offers a lot more manga that I both haven't read yet and am interested in.

On the other hand the actual experience of reading manga is much better when using Azuki. Using the Shonen Jump web reader has always felt a tad clunky whereas Azuki works great both using a browser and on an iPad. Azuki gives three different reading modes: single, spread (viewing two pages at once), and vertical. I think that the vertical reading mode works best for me.

I did download the Android version of Azuki onto my phone just to check it out. When I selected a random manga an ad for Audible appeared, but I couldn't figure out how to close the ad and get to the manga.

Should I Subscribe?

Right now I'd say to check it out, but Azuki is probably best for people new to manga and those who want to stay updated with specific series. Azuki is not entirely ready for primetime in terms of content but has a lot of potential and is still early on. There are still feature that could be added that would improve quality of life when using Azuki. For example, the search function doesn't work when searching an author's name. I think you can only search for manga by title. One extra thing that is offered once you sign up for an account is a discord server. It seems pretty chill there, but is not super active.

So those are my thoughts on Azuki! Thanks for reading!


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