First off, I want to make it clear I’m not against more competition in the anime industry. Competition is a healthy thing it’d be rather boring if every show was handed to one distributor/streaming site it broadens the market and manages not to create a monopoly. However, there should be a balance to all of that something Amazon clearly has no idea of. I’m sure anyone who’s reading this has heard of Anime Strike but if not here’s a quick description.
It’s basically Amazon’s streaming platform for anime sounds reasonable enough but that’s before taking into account you need a prime membership (a year costing 100 dollars and a month costing 11 dollars) and on top of that an extra 5 dollars a month. That’s the main issue to take away from it Amazon is charging you more a year for anime than Aniplex does with their home video release. The problem intensifies even more when you take into account of the shows they have. Amazon this season has a lot of exclusives a lot more than last season and it’s getting people upset for a good reason.
Now to preface this I do have Anime Strike and the content they provide is decent not decent enough to plop down this ridiculous amount of cash for but if it were sectioned off into it’s own thing then yea paying 5 bucks a month for the content they provide is worth it in my own opinion. Say what you will about me that I’m feeding a beast or that Amazon has no right to get anime and supporting them means hurting the industry whatever. Competition isn’t inherently bad horrible business decisions are the reasons why Anime Strike is such a pain. Even if you disagree with me think about the anime market as a whole.
It’s relatively niche compared to mainstream movies, TV shows, and Video Games. These companies like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon “may” broaden that gap and make the industry much more approachable to a mainstream crowd in the future. However, that may is a big one since I rarely see Netflix promote the anime they have to a wide audience in fact a lot of the anime they get their hands on aren’t simulcasting instead they plop all the episodes on at once. Hulu, barely gets any exclusives and what exclusives they do get are usually buried under a lot of other shows mainly their originals and other TV series.
Amazon, is trying to do something different they want to be more involved than these companies and at least offer a middle ground between Netflix and Hulu. Have those exclusives while also making sure they are simulcasting on their while it’s still airing in Japan. Once again though the problem arises when we take into account that Prime is a luxury a luxury not everyone can afford. I believe I mentioned it on my twitter but animation is not an artform we here in the west take seriously.
Having this as a premium makes no sense since HBO, Starz, and Showtime are all readily available on Amazon Video and also have a subscription packed in. The mainstream audience will rather take that route than paying the alternative for the already niche appeal that anime already has. So then who is Amazon trying to appeal too? Well right, now no one.
Once again I have Anime Strike but the idea behind it feels forced. It certainly isn’t tantalising to anime fans since the hefty cost of entry is just way too much for some and it certainly won’t appeal to that mainstream crowd who are probably more into Game of Thrones rather than Scums Wish. Yet, we’re already seeing it’s presence be more scary than initially believed. Sentai has already given almost every show they have this season to them. Atom the Beginning, Anime Strike, Anonymous Noise, Anime Strike, Danmachi Sword Oratoria, Anime Strike.
It feels punishing to the fans that for years have supported the official release and stream only for that to be cut down and locked behind two paywalls. I can already hear the amount of people saying just go to an illegally streaming site, but that won’t prove anything. I know that many have already gone to an illegal site just to watch their most anticipated show this season.
Yet, will that prove a point to the Japanese companies who handed these titles over because Amazon paid a pretty penny for them? Probably not, in fact if Amazon has the resources to they can continue picking up shows for their streaming services regardless of what anime fans do because they can. Money talks a lot more to any company and if the Japanese company gets a good chunk out of it they certainly don’t care to an extent. I’m sure these companies are looking at how well these streaming sites (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon) preform and also look at the home video release.
I don’t know what qualifies for a success to these companies but they must know anime is a niche market compared to the ones I mentioned earlier so expectations on these platforms must be comparably low compared to sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation Now. You can disagree with everything I said here, but let me say this Amazon getting anime isn’t a horrible thing. I like the idea of more competition, it is certainly a lot better than Crunchyroll and Funimation having a grip on the entire industry, but my word to Amazon is this.
This isn’t the way to build trust with anime fans, in fact this a way to burn bridges with them. The inherent need to lock in shows behind this extra paywall is ridiculous and this will only drive people away not bring them in. The only reason I’m here is due to me wanting to support what I love. Not because I love the idea of Anime Strike and everything it currently embodies. If anything I want Amazon to improve on the issues that Anime Strike created make it separate from Prime Video have it included for free for Prime members whatever you guys can do to make it more accessible for not only fans but the mainstream as well. I appreciate the fact that they do seem to be trying by going to cons and hosting interviews with dub voice actors and industry professionals it seems they have a mindset of trying to appeal to fans. Yet, the persistent problem of it being locked behind two paywalls is an unnecessary nuisance.