I’m not sure if Viz is a genius, or stupid.
So Viz has decided to take up the 24-hour anime network baton and has begun running it to… some… video game console… that they won’t talk about yet. They call it Neon Alley. It’s not styled like On Demand, like say Netflix or Hulu Plus. No, it is to be much like an actual TV channel, complete with, ahem, “limited” commercials… Even though it’s going to cost you 7 bones a month to subscribe to. It’s also going to have dubbed exclusives, like Tiger and Bunny! Oh! And er, Kekkaishi? Dubbed you say? That’s because it will only feature dubs. None of that high and mighty subtitled Japanese crap on Neon Alley, no sir! And, well…
I have no idea what the hell is going on here. This is either going make VIz and mint or it’s going to crash a burn. I think which of those two options will be determined by who signs on for it.
For the internet savvy fanboy or fanlady, it seems to be a pretty dumb move. For one thing, since Neon Alley is treating itself like an actual channel, but on a video game console, what do you do if you miss something? There’s no DVR capabilities here. That’s why most everything you see on Xbox Live and PSN, from movies, to music, to sports is all On Demand. And as far as On Demand stuff goes, Neon Alley has some competition. Not only is Netflix and Hulu Plus already on both PSN and Xbox Live, but Crunchyroll just announced it’s upcoming PSN app. And if you want to stream the latest and greatest anime out there, that’s going to be your best bet. Although granted, it will be subtitled only and that is not everyone’s bag. Oh, and Crunchyroll’s subscription is $7 just for anime.
That said, oh hey look over there, is that Funimation? Why yes it is! Do they also have an app for watching anime? Yeah, kinda! Right now it’s just for phones, but they’ve already announced upcoming Roku and tablet apps, and you can be sure they are knocking on Microsoft’s and Sony’s doors as well all too soon. And while Funimation may not get all the latest and greatest like Crunchyroll (And neither will Neon Alley for that matter), it features a pretty grand chunk of their current catalog, both streamable in subbed and dubbed formats. And it’s $8 a month, one dollar more than Neon Alley.
Now granted because they want this to be an “actual channel,” as it were, Viz is going to be doing things you probably won’t see out of the On Demand guys. Stuff like music videos, behind the scenes, news, and other supplementary stuff. And that’s pretty cool. But if you are the kind of fan that’s going to be interested in that sort of thing, I would then imagine you already get your news off ANN or CR News, and watch your AMVs on YouTube or NicoNico, right? So who’s this for?
Probably not us.
No, I’m thinking that this channel is for geek or nerd out there that has a passing interest in anime. Someone who is savvy enough to watch videos on their video game machine, but not enough to go buy DVDs of their favorite shows. Or complain on the internet that you aren’t able to buy the Blu-rays because Japan is crazy-scared of reverse importation. What Neon Alley wants are the fans that are watching anime on their Netflix app, but could use a little more. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll find some new hows they like, and since you can’t watch them On Demand, perhaps they will go buy those DVDs after all. Besides, since this technically doesn’t compete with actual TV technically, it won’t stop Viz or whomever to get some of shows on Toonami or whathaveyou. The question is then, not will this work for savvy anime fan, but will it be able to create new ones?
Find out THIS FALL. (Only on… uh… something!)