Crunchyroll Manga: “Quality control? Customer service? Up yours!”

Crunchyroll Manga: “Quality control? Customer service? Up yours!”

You know, I’ve been supportive of Crunchyroll Manga, mainly because I really like the idea of legal, online manga being published when it “officially” becomes available in Japan (for Weekly Shounen Magazine titles that Crunchyroll Manga has, like UQ Holder and Fairy Tail, that would be Wednesday at 09:00 Japan time). I’ve even offered suggestions to Crunchyroll manga on how they could make things better, a few of which they’ve done (not that I take credit for that, you understand). Yet of late, it seems that the folks that run Crunchyroll Manga have pretty much stopped caring and are telling fans, including premium members, “Up yours!”

Crunchyroll manga to fans - up yours!

So, what is it that has me on my rant horse against Crunchyroll Manga?

Several months ago, Crunchyroll Manga started becoming unreliable when it came to getting their simulpub manga chapters out at the appointed time. Since I’m there for the latest UQ Holder chapter (and I do now read the weekly Fairy Tail chapter as well, though I’m not presently chapter blogging it), the appointed time for that is 09:00 on Wednesday in Japan (whatever that translates to for your specific timezone in the world). Often, Crunchyroll will have a huge countdown clock displayed when you click the icon for the latest chapter, and when things are going correctly, when the clock zeroes out, the page refreshes and the manga you want to see appears.

What’s been happening of late is any one of the following:

  • The chapter appears for a short time after the clock zeroes out, then disappears for hours or even days.
  • A blank page appears after the clock has zeroed out. The chapter icon only goes to the same said blank page.
  • No link icon is shown for the current chapter for hours or days after the chapter is out in Japan, but you CAN access the new chapter by going to last week’s chapter (if you are a premium member), going to that chapter’s last page, and clicking to advance to the next page.
  • No link icon is shown for the current chapter for hours or days after the chapter is out in Japan and you cannot access it by any means.
  • Sometimes (very rare), a chapter is published with missing page(s).

Despite complaints to Crunchyroll, they are usually unresponsive to these problems. Once, a moderator on the forum said they’d have someone look into it, but as I know from my own days of being a moderator and an admin on FUNimation’s forums, when it is after business hours, and they don’t have support to take care of problems outside those hours, fans are pretty much screwed. One would think that Crunchyroll would have some sort of 24-7 support going on, but if they do, they obviously don’t have any monitoring going on, nor any quality control mechanisms on the website to make sure things are what they are supposed to be.

When submitting a request, a canned response is sent back with a vague promise of maybe getting to the issue in two business days, however, they kindly provide you with a link to their help FAQ. If they ever provide a proper response, I’ll have to make an update to this piece with that response.

Still, as a premium member of the Crunchyroll website (for drama, anime and manga), I am seriously angry about this crap from Crunchyroll. As I see it, this is completely unprofessional crap on their part to not provide the services being paid for. The term “simulpub” doesn’t mean, “We’ll publish it on our website, if we feel like it.” (Though in today’s world, terms are constantly redefined to mean whatever, so I suppose Crunchyroll could redefine the term “simulpub” to mean anything they want at any given time.)  I mean, how hard is it for Crunchyroll to make sure their bloody site is working properly and that manga chapters are being published on time?

It really does feel like Crunchyroll is telling its customers, “Up yours! Customer service and quality control costs money, and we ain’t spending money on such frivolity.”

So tonight, I go to bed without having gotten to read the newest UQ Holder (chapter 90 as of this post) or Fairy Tail chapters, even tough I’m paying to be able to read them. Is it the end of the world? Of course not. However, when I’m paying for something, I expect to get it, and by “it”, I don’t mean “the bird.”

Update #1: In response to the complaint someone else made on Crunchyroll’s forum, a moderator posted this BS.

Fairy Tail and Seven Deadly sins comes out tomorrow, on wednesday, so it is no surprise that they aren’t up yet. Not sure on UQ Holder, I’ll get back to you on that one.

Fairy Tail and UQ Holder come out on Wednesday in Japan. UQ Holder has always come out on late Tuesday afternoon/evening in the U.S.

Update #2: In an ultimate insult, Crunchyroll has put the countdown clocks back up and a note saying that it is simulpubed on Wednesday.

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36 Responses to “Crunchyroll Manga: “Quality control? Customer service? Up yours!””

  1. mattcgw says:

    Not a good sign in regards to the future of the industry when, Pirating still holds the upper hand compared to the legitimate route.

    By the way, I have to wait past midnight, usually around 2:00pm, to read the UQ holder chapters.Mayhaps the Translators are finding the weekly translation schedulable difficult? Or they receive the chapter(s) without due time to translate.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I highly doubt it was the translators, mainly because CR has had these kinds of issues before where they’ve had the translated work up on the site for a little while, then take it back down for inexplicable reasons. Since the manga in question is all done digitally, it is nothing for Kodansha to send the digital stuff instantly to the US, whereby it can be immediately distributed to the translators. Doing a single chapter usually doesn’t take that long to do unless is it a highly wordy chapter.

  2. arimareiji says:

    My favorite is when they assert they’ll have a chapter out, create a placeholder for it, etc… but nothing ever shows. The next day, they delete the placeholder, and who knows when the chapter will actually appear. It’s happened a few times just that I’ve seen, and I only follow a few titles anymore.

    One other thing, though it’s not all on them by any means, is what they’re letting Squeenix (Square Enix) do with their titles. They’re regularly months behind, and since Squeenix insists on doing the translation the quality is spotty at best. I wouldn’t mind so much if they found some other name for it… but they insist on calling these simulpub as well. XP

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      What really irked me with their latest fiasco was the one moderator going, “Well, of course the chapters aren’t up. They are supposed to go up Wednesday” when all this time, they’ve always gone up when the clock hits 09:00 in Japan on a Wednesday (which is Tuesday evening in the States).

  3. arimareiji says:

    Apologies for multi-commenting, but I spaced on adding this earlier and it’s a fairly long rant on a different subject anyways.

    It’s very possible I’m being too cynical, but it seems like since the Chernin Group buyout they’ve gone from actively trying to resolve problems and improve things to putting anime and manga on the back burner. Shinji outright mocked as whiny kids scared of change those of us who were worried about the company’s priorities changing (despite the fact that we were quoting multiple articles saying that the Chernin Group was publicly asserting it, and that CR was their second choice to start branching out into “all kinds of” streaming because they failed to buy Hulu), but their actions don’t seem to line up with the promises.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Apologies for multi-commenting, but I spaced on adding this earlier and it’s a fairly long rant on a different subject anyways.

      That’s not a problem. I’ve never been one who thought double-posting was a bad thing.

      It’s very possible I’m being too cynical, but it seems like since the Chernin Group buyout they’ve gone from actively trying to resolve problems and improve things to putting anime and manga on the back burner.

      I agree with you. I’ve never seen an overall positive experience when an established, successful anime/manga company gets bought out by some other company that doesn’t have anime/manga as a focus.

  4. Tim says:

    They’re all probably too busy filming themselves for their next self aggrandising “Crunchyroll is made up of anime fans too!” ad (sourly). It’s something I’ve been noticing when watching their free anime.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I haven’t seen those ads, but now that you make me aware of them, it certainly makes the efforts to get the manga up on time more disappointing.

  5. NT says:

    Hmm… I guess it’s good that I never tried actually signing up for it… not that i ever have enough money to actually pay to be a premium member since i have other stuff to say for…

    btw, that vid there, though it has Miku, was taken from a hentai(3d at that ahha) don’t know why i pointed that out but i thought it was funny.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Hmm… I guess it’s good that I never tried actually signing up for it… not that i ever have enough money to actually pay to be a premium member since i have other stuff to say for…

      And that is completely understandable.

      btw, that vid there, though it has Miku, was taken from a hentai(3d at that ahha) don’t know why i pointed that out but i thought it was funny.

      Really? I’d seen the GIF of Miku doing the final flip-off, but I was not aware of it being a hentai. Indeed, it seemed like it was taken from some comedy piece originally published on a Japanese streaming site.

  6. Tony Yao says:

    I think a huge problem is that CR Manga is only made up of 3 people doing everything (their manga manager, Danika, said this at NYCC 2013). They are so short-staffed beyond belief.

    • arimareiji says:

      I wish that were a surprise. 🙁

      When they made manga a free add-on rather than something to charge for independently, it didn’t seem like a good sign for the future. Almost like they were giving up on it except as a façade. I guess now we have a bit more certainty.

      Thank you for the information, it does add a bit of clarity.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I can certainly understand being short staffed. In my own job, I’m in the position (which is why I’m so far behind on comments). They should still have some mechanism in place to get these kinds of issues corrected though.

  7. Replica_Rabbit says:

    I’m sad that Crunchyroll isn’t doing great with the Simulpub. I really wanted it to be successful, so we could get more official digital Manga. I just glad that Viz is doing a good job with Shonen Jump, they bring it out on time and the Manga are high quality and not missing anything. The only problem Viz have is the magazine format and it limited to Shueisha titles. I really hope there be a good official digital Manga site to read, I like Shonen Jump, but I want more things to read

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’m sad that Crunchyroll isn’t doing great with the Simulpub. I really wanted it to be successful, so we could get more official digital Manga.

      Ditto!

  8. shadowofthevoid says:

    Well, ch. 90 of UQ Holder is finally up. Just got finished reading it a minute ago. Hopefully if enough people complain about it CR will finally get their act in gear and start releasing the chapters on time again.

  9. Blacki says:

    Ha…Ha…Ha….
    I dont know where to start this one. Thought i have to admit i get most my updated stuff from… lets call it from the dark side of the net LOL – i do infact go along with those official sides. But here is the point which you already ranted about. CR went down the hill tbh.
    For the international side of CR it may looks still pretty “well supported”, even with those “faults” but you havent seen the support from it in other countries. I wont name the exact name of the country which im taking here as example, but lets say it lies in middle central europe -.-” (BIT HINT LOL). This version of CR, being it premuim or not, is horrible! The translation from JP to ENG and then from ENG to said spoken language is horrible! absolutly devasting for a fan. They translated a while back a manga chapter from a famous manga which had tons and tons of explanation stuff in one of the chapters. Simular to the “travel to mars chaper” in negima where yui had that long explanation about it.
    Not only did they messed up the stuff, no, the screwed up even the meaning of said text and changed to context that it hadnt do anything related to the original anymore.
    And thats by far not the only example which happened. Thought i-self prefer JP to English translated mangas and not translated mangas into my native language, the quality which i find on CR compared to “free” translation sides of my native language is like heaven and hell, which the free translations being heaven compared to that what CR brings out.
    And sadly it doesnt stop by the mangas. I rarly watch anime thought and honestly CR killed most of my remaining mood of watching anime for years back then. Only as Log Horizion came out i got into anime again. Luckily i watched LH on a free side at first and then gave CR a last try… and was yet again disappointed.
    For me CR has lost its sight in doing things. The quality of translations and quality aswell updating went for the worst.

    No offense to anyone here if someone feels offended from this rant thought. ^^ its just a fact which i have expierenced.

    Side note:
    newest chapter of UQH – seriously??? Ken keeps slapping old fans into the fact with those “reasons” power ups for Touta… im starting to lse interest in it if Ken doesnt change things with him.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks for that information on the European method of going from Japanese–>English–>Other language. Not coming directly from the Japanese automatically is causing a degradation because of the differences between English and Japanese, and that gets further degraded when it goes from English to something else.

      newest chapter of UQH – seriously??? Ken keeps slapping old fans into the fact with those “reasons” power ups for Touta… im starting to lse interest in it if Ken doesnt change things with him.

      He is giving Touta a weakness (for now) with these power ups.

  10. […] REALLY ticked with Crunchyroll for their delay in putting out the chapter, but you can read that rant here (if […]

  11. Rob C. says:

    Could be worse, they could decide its not cost effective to publish them and shut all down.

  12. ikr wtf crunchyroll says:

    wasn’t there one time they had the uq holder chapter available and one of the pages were super pixelated? Ugh that was so annoying.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t know about super-pixelated, but there was a chapter (and I think this is still the case) where there’s a missing page in the chapter.

  13. arimareiji says:

    After two or three days of the manga section being down altogether, CR gave this wonderfully tepid response. To be fair, it’s better than the usual dead silence.

    I hope I managed to remain civil enough to be heard, but I’m not sure.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      What they told me in e-mail is that they are aware of the issue(s) and that they are short handed. 🙁

      • arimareiji says:

        But remember, Shinji promised nothing would change, especially not the company’s priorities. 🙁

        (So where is all the money going that he was bragging would be invested in improving things, then?)

        ps: Nevermind me, I’m just more bitter and jaded than usual. Thanks for listening.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          The money may have gone elsewhere. Without saying a lot, I can tell you that even when a company gets an infusion of money from a partnership or investment, if they are deep in the red, said company will still have to do a lot of cost cutting. People are the biggest cost to a company, so that is the easiest cut to make. 🙁

          • arimareiji says:

            If that’s what has happened here, it’s sad on multiple levels. I’ve thought for a long time now that CR charges far less than what they could, and if they’ve been charging too little to recover their operating costs as well… I’m sorry, but that would make no sense on their part.

            Any company starting out has to eat some initial debt, but CR’s been in business too long for that to be true. If an established company is eating so much debt that they need more cash just to reduce their debt service, and they’re not raising revenue, that smacks of a death spiral. 🙁

            I do believe it’s highly likely the money went elsewhere… but I still think the most likely explanation is that TCG did exactly what they were saying all along and gave the company new priorities, very likely to the degree of moving existing staff (particularly the IT people) elsewhere.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Any company starting out has to eat some initial debt, but CR’s been in business too long for that to be true.

            Depends on how they were managed. I’m currently living through a situation where previous company management put the company deep, deep in the red. The new management is trying to right the ship, and that has been very painful (though I love my job).

            Still, one can only speculate on what’s going on at Crunchyroll ’cause they aren’t going to say.

          • arimareiji says:

            Best of luck to them, and you. In an era where vultures make money by killing even successful companies and selling off the body parts, it’s good to know someone is willing to try to right the ship before abandoning it.

  14. […] know I’ve ranted about Crunchyroll before, but this makes things even worse for me. I’m REALLY angry about it because I’m paying […]

  15. […] Crunchyroll Manga: “Quality Control? Customer Service? Up Yours!” — AstroNerdBoy’s Anime and Manga Blog […]

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