Amazon has begun offering a curated catalog of popular Japanese anime. Besides blazing-fast, zero-lag streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike channel, the platform also promises episodes of anime for streaming on the same day they are aired in Japan.
After launching its a la carte marketplace for streaming services like HBO Now and NBC Universal’s Seeso barely a year ago, Amazon has delighted anime fans in the New Year by coming up with “Anime Strike” channel on Amazon Prime. The digital streaming platform is dedicated to offering episodes of Japanese anime, some of which will be ready for streaming as soon as they are made available in Japan. As the inaugural offer, Anime Strike is offering access to the brand new Season 2 of Blue Exorcist. The Season 2 premiere episode of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga aired recently, and Amazon’s Anime Strike is allowing streaming of the same. Moreover, the digital channel will offer all the episodes of the popular Japanese anime in its catalog on the same day that they air in Japan.
Popular Japanese anime has a new home. Although not all the Japanese animation series that are making waves in the News Year will be available, Amazon’s Anime Strike channel’s catalog contains an impressive number of movies and TV episodes. Anime Strike essentially features Amazon-selected programming. In other words, all the programing has been curated by Amazon.
For $4.99 per month, anime fans will have access to over 1,000 movies and TV episodes, including the much-awaited Season 2 of Blue Exorcist. Besides Rin and Yukio’s dark adventures, Anime Strike will also stream episodes of Great Passage, Scum’s Wish, Tokyo Godfathers, and other anime titles.
Amazon debuted its online streaming platform in December 2015. The eCommerce giant began offering its Prime members exclusive access to Amazon Channels. The standalone subscription currently offers a bouquet of about 100 digital channels that includes over-the-top services like HBO, Starz, Showtime as well as online-only services including Seeso, DramaFever and Tastemade, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
Despite the wide ranging offering, Amazon Prime subscribers were missing a crucial segment of programing. With Anime Strike, Amazon has offered a dedicated platform that will stream only adult anime, confirmed Michael Paull, who is VP of Digital Video at Amazon.
“Amazon Prime members have subscribed to millions of subscriptions since the service launched. They’re really loving the wide variety of programming we’re offering. There wasn’t an offering that’s been made available in other platforms that would meet our customers’ needs.”
The world of Japanese anime is fraught with several legal complications involving licensing. Although American companies like Crunchyroll and Funimation have a respectable catalog of Japanese anime, they reportedly accept whatever is made available to them. These streaming platforms have yet to make any specific demands for anime or even pitch a project to international studios for an anime original.
In order to offer Anime Strike, Amazon executives had to cleverly leverage the company’s existing licensing agreements for Amazon Video. The company also acquired new content to create a library. The Japanese anime content library will be updated on a weekly basis. assured Paull. The VP also added that besides acquiring Japanese anime series for its Amazon Prime subscribers, the company could soon produce content in-house as well. Using Amazon Studios, the eCommerce giant could produce original content. In fact, last spring, Amazon Studios did announce 12 originals, which included anime that was being prepped for Amazon Japan.
Besides Japanese anime, Amazon also appears to be gearing up to offer additional streaming services soon. The branded services could include popular titles and original content. However, Amazon hasn’t confirmed which titles it plans to license or produce. Interestingly, Netflix appears to be interested in the world of Japanese anime too. The platform recently posted a job listing for a director. The chosen person would head the international original anime division.
[Featured Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]