There’s a crappy tablet on my bedside table. It has a glass screen protector with long thin cracks and fan-made stickers from the anime Haikyuu! on the back. The battery takes over 24 hours to fully charge and doesn’t hold the charge well for basic tasks. It is buggy, slow and has problems streaming videos. It has an outdated version of Android OS and cannot even download certain apps. It’s about 6 years old at this point and its technology is fraying. Despite all of that, I think it’s one of my favorite pieces of tech that I own.
That’s because it’s been one of the most stable sources of entertainment for me since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it may not have the versatility of an iPad, it has become my favorite technique because it allows me to do one thing extremely well: read manga in the Shōnen Jump app. Together, the crappy tablet and the shōnen jump make for a powerful combination stronger than Goku himself.
Shōnen Jump, the popular Japanese manga magazine, has a subscription service where you can read titles digitally for $1.99 per month. Every day you can either upload online or download up to 100 manga chapters. (In my experience, hitting the 100-chapter mark is difficult, but not impossible.) Shōnen’s library overflows with titles ranging from staples like One piece and Naruto to newer popular series like Jujutsu Kaisen and My hero academy.
For me, reading the Shōnen Jump app started as a way to reconnect with old interests in new ways. I went back and read bleaching after only watching the show as a teenager. This finally allowed me to see a more satisfying ending to this story as the anime ended without adjusting the final arc. (Luckily for me, creator Tite Kubo finally announced a sequel, Bleach: Thousand Years of Blood Warless than a year after I finished the manga but I’m still glad I read it.)
bleaching ended up being just the beginning, and I continued to tear through decades of manga. One piece alone are over 1,000 chapters. Mangaka Eichiro Oda published the first chapter in 1997 and I was able to read over 20 years of history on my tablet. At the beginning One piece might seem intimidating but I really enjoyed knowing exactly what I was going to read each night. I have now read the entire series that has been published so far.
I’m waiting for One piece more chapters to collect before I pick it up again, but other series bring their own charms. I read the gory hit chainsaw man by Tatsuki Fujimoto, as well as his emotionally absorbing and devastating manga Look back. There is Jujutsu Kaisenwhose Shibuya Arc (which hasn’t been animated yet) absolutely whips. Spy x family got an anime release on April 9th, but the manga is one of the most entertaining and entertaining reads in several years — inside or outside the medium. The Shōnen Jump app has become a convenient and fun addition to my regular media diet.
The crappy tablet is the perfect way to read through all these great adventures. Sure, it can’t play games, but it has more than enough juice to load the pages or download the chapters. Even the lack of processing power comes with an unexpected tidbit: the tablet doesn’t run Discord well and I haven’t downloaded Twitter, so I now have a dedicated reading tablet where I’m not constantly bombarded with notifications. Another big bonus for me is that the tablet was free. It belonged to my younger brother who stopped using it after the charging problems started.
i won’t lie I’m not dragging this git all over town. The battery takes forever to charge, although it can hold a charge for a day or two of reading. Also, you need to prepare in advance by downloading the reading if you don’t have access to a reliable internet. However, it is there when I need it. I’ve taken it to read on six-hour car rides and ripped through years of history in one go. It also feels great as it’s not too heavy; It’s much lighter and feels better in hand than a standard iPad in the latest line. Also, I like that I don’t have to worry about protecting it since it’s already beaten up.
It’s nothing fancy and I usually just leave it tucked into the wall and sitting on my bedside table. But that’s okay! My crappy tablet has become a valuable part of my late-night relaxation routine and has been a way for me to reconnect with manga and develop new interests. So now when I meet people who are into manga or grew up watching anime, I always ask if they’ve considered getting a crappy tablet.