As someone who’s never been an avid manga reader in the past, I took a look at !Manga from Rick Murray out of curiosity more than anything.
I was expecting an offline reader that would take in some sort of file containing the manga book you want to view and then spit out the book at you in pages. How very wrong I was! Manga is actually a graphical interface and reader for all manga books hosted at mangareader.net – which gives you access to thousands of free manga titles.
Manga can be downloaded for free from the Pling Store. Installation is very straightforward, you unpack !Manga from its zip file and drop it to where you want on your system.
When run, an icon appears on the icon bar that when clicked it will bring up a menu that gives you access to a huge list of manga books that once selected, will be downloaded on the fly via an SSL connection to mangareader.net.
The main window will display details of the book, its author, what way the book is to be read (right-to-left usually with manga) and a few other details.
Flicking through pages is a little slow at times due to it pulling stuff from mangareader.net, but it’s definitely useable.
Rick has emphasised on this ROOL Forum thread that Manga is not complete yet, and does have some kinks to work out. Although from my time using it, it has only crashed once, so the program is definitely usable for reading manga for more than just a few minutes.
Compatibility-wise, Manga seems to work on most RISC OS machines you chuck at it. It works fine on my Raspberry Pi 2, it’s been reported to work fine on an ARMX6, Pandaboard and even a RiscPC running RISC OS 4.39.
Whether you’re into your manga or not, Manga is a pretty impressive project and is definitely worth checking out. It is still under development, you can keep tabs on how Rick is getting on with it on the ROOL Forums.