Okay, so we all know that growing up a weeb back in the early 2000s was just not a great time. Manga and manhwa scanlation sites really only came to exist around properly a decade ago, and even then the readability level of those scans was pretty iffy. Like, some of the subtitle work was a choice, and the actual quality of the scans was blurry at best, downright illegible at worst. So, how did we make it through? Well, it wasn’t easy.
Nowadays, we have plenty of sites that host free manga and manhwa scans that are genuinely good. They have in-house translators, pay for the copyright, and manage to deliver good quality scans for the viewing pleasure. In my opinion, the one to truly commercialize and modernize the medium for the smartphone era was Naver WebToon, also known as Line WebToon in the west. Originally a Korean exclusive with mostly manhwa and digital webcomics on it, WebToon has ushered in a new era of manga and manhwa reading alongside big names such as Crunchyroll and BiliBili.
But the thing with scanlation sites was how they were a bit of a gray area when it came to actually hosting manga and anime, especially during the days of the early internet. But I think it was just a matter of striking while the iron was hot and all. Back in the day, manga and anime were not as big, and streaming definitely wasn’t a thing. It was Shugo Chara episodes divided over 5 parts on Youtube in 240p. Like, we were fighting in the trenches here. So, when Crunchyroll came in and actually started hosting manga and anime, it quickly became popular.
We got many more sites doing same week uploads of popular manga chapters and anime episodes, following releases in Japan more closely. And then the advent of manhwa (Korean manga) and manhua (Chinese manga) became a thing with WebToon and the like, so here we are. But beyond that, what other sites can be used to read manga and manhwa scanlations online? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some great sites to get you started on your weeb journey!
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I mean, this site needs no introductions. But if you have been living under a rock, Line WebToon was a site that was mainly based in korea to host webcomics, but with how big manhwa has gotten globally, it slowly became a powerhouse where you could find both manhwa and independent webcomics that helped with the localization of plenty of popular stories.
The system it was based in is also interesting, because while you will always be able to read the scans posted there for free, you can also buy coins and skip to the most recent chapters that have been translated. Honestly, Line WebToon played a huge role in the manhwa success train, with popular titles such as Tower Of God and The God Of High School being adapted into anime.
Lezhin Comics was actually the biggest when it came to its library of various manhwa and webtoons, back in 2014. But while Line WebToon does have a censorship issue, considering its target audience, Lezhin Comics helps fill up the space for an audience that is more interested in mature stories.
Because of this, most people use this website to read more queer driven stories as it has one of the largest collections of both BL (Boys Love) and GL (Girls Love) manhwa and webcomics. Lezhin Comics started out in Korea, but became super popular in China and abroad. With its great translations and strict age policy, Lezhin Comics is perfect for those searching for more intense manhwa to get into.
Honestly, Tapas also has a bunch of manhwa and manga on it, though they aren’t always scanlations. But the format is pretty similar to Line WebToon and Lezhin Comics, which is what makes it so popular. Tapas is also like Lezhin Comics in the sense that it does host more mature content than Line WebToon.
But probably what Tapas is most known for are all the various independent comics that are posted there. If indie comics are your thing, Tapas has many underrated webcomics that are regularly updated. Think WebToon Canvas, but way more polished and a variety of stories to choose from. There are some true hidden gems there for anyone interested!
Yeah, Crunchyroll does have a manga section, which might sound surprising but that’s actually how Crunchyroll started out in the first place. Most manga and manhwa were still floating JPEGs on the internet back then, and Crunchyroll was one of the few that had a dedicated team to translate popular ongoing Shounen series.
From there, they saw how big manga and anime were going to be, and they started licensing popular titles from Japan to both translate and subtitle, all so that various titles could be found on one site. Crunchyroll was the first streaming site of its kind, and was one of the few companies focused on anime and manga distribution that became mainstream. But yeah, they still have a bustling manga and manhwa scanlation section!
Chinese manhua is just so darn hard to come across. Unlike its Korean and Japanese counterparts, the problem with manhua is that it’s often subject to rather turbulent censorship laws. If a manhua series is allowed to be published one day, it might just get banned over some new law the next.
And then there is the fact that simply accessing manhua is hard, because they are usually distributed over separate platforms that only work in mainland China, and not abroad. So, yeah, distribution is definitely a hard sell here. And that’s sad because there are some amazing series out there that are a must read if you enjoy the medium.
So, when BiliBili stepped up and started hosting all the most popular manhua scanlations, it quickly became widespread. Finally, we had a proper site that dealt specifically with Chinese webcomics and manhua.
With over 10,000 chapters of numerous popular manga and an app available on both iOS and Android, Viz stands out as one of the official media partners to bring manga into the mainstream.
Viz Media is known for licensing and distributing anime, movies and manga, and they are a veteran in the industry. Though it is mostly known for its Shonen collection, like Dragon Ball, One Piece and the like, it also hosts a bunch of different series you can’t find many places else, like Studio Ghibli comics and some contemporary adult series as well.
The manga is free to read and Viz offers simultaneous publishing of popular manga, following Japanese chapter releases closely.
Manga Dex, to me, was always the manga website. Established more than a decade ago, it is the only one that remains free to read while also giving its readers an ad-free experience. Like, do you understand how rare that is?
And if there is a manga out there you haven’t found anywhere else, Manga Dex is bound to have it. With its massive online collection, you will always find something new to get into. However, the coolest thing about Manga Dex? It hosts fan translations only.
It believes that the feel of certain manga can only be captured by its enthusiasts, rather than through general translators, and so only has fan translated works on the site. That’s dedication to your craft!
Comic Walker is unique in the sense that it wasn’t a site made for Western audiences to gain access to more manga, but rather it started out right at home, in Japan. Which is why most of the site is in Japanese.
However, it does have a translation option and, lo and behold, you now have an entire plethora of manga you can get into. Comic Walker is surprisingly easy to navigate, with a user-friendly interface and while most of it is free, you can always buy more chapters for specific manga you can’t find anywhere else.
Plus, the actual scans themselves are really high quality, which is hard to come across when it comes to free content.
AsuraScans is probably the first one to translate on a scale as huge as they did. I’m not talking just basic English, oh no. With AsuraScans, you can find a translation for your desired manga and manhwa, in multiple different languages.
All the scanlations are translated in-house, meaning they have their own team to make sure translations go smoothly. Though the site navigation leaves so much to be desired, no one can deny the impact it had on the scanlations community.
AsuraScans was the first in the game, and it has been a foundation in the community ever since. Plus, there are numerous new titles being added everyday, so there is something for everyone!
Originally launched as a community site for comic book lovers where they could discuss newly released chapters and maybe pre-order some from actual stores, ComiXology has grown into a massively popular website for reading said comics directly.
Available across multiple different devices as an app such as iOs, Android and even Kindle, ComiXology is now one of the biggest digital distributors of comics. And thanks to the advent of manga and manhwa, you can now find updated chapters of various titles such as Attack On Titan also available to read on the site.
It’s tailor made to give comic enthusiasts the best reading experience, which makes for a pretty interesting layout!
Now, I’m aware that some of us can search the internet and never find a particular manga we only heard about through stalking different Japanese manga forums that deal with that niche.
And yes, it does suck that popular Shonen is much easier to find because it’s more in demand. However, ZeroScans is doing God’s work by translating lesser known titles that you might not find anywhere else. The site is a treasure trove of various different manga and manhwa scanlations, all fresh off the press from Japan.
Like, it is very beloved because of how you can find the most exclusive titles there, right on the front page. Whether it’s scarce to find or not, ZeroScans will usually have the title listed in their library!
You know how I was talking about how certain sites cater to a specific type of manga or manhua, making it hard to find new variations of the medium in one place? Well, MangaKakalot is the one site that can, apparently, do it all.
MangaKakalot has one of the most extensive libraries of all on this list, with over 70 categories of specific genres, story styles, and even types. Not only does it have both niche and popular manga titles, but also plenty of manhwa and manhua that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Like, it can get overwhelming to see the variety of series you can find there!
Whether you’re a veteran manga stan, or a new age manhua girlie, there is a manga scanlation site out there for everyone. Let us know what’s your go-to manga reading place down below!