Streaming Services & Summer Simulcast Satisfaction

With the Summer season winding down, I’ve begun to ponder how my streaming subscriptions are meeting my anime needs.

Now this might sound like yet another post comparing streaming services but my focus is a little different. Rather than looking at the current state of pricing and catalog size for each of the players, I want to focus on what I’m getting out of subscription services when it comes to enjoying seasonal anime.

At present, I have two subscriptions that I watch seasonal anime on: Crunchyroll and Amazon’s Anime Strike (Netflix US doesn’t offer simulcast anime so I cannot offer my viewpoint on it). I used to rely solely on Crunchyroll, primarily because of its vast library, though I streamed Funimation for a short while to catch a few of the shows I watched for my challenge last year.

Anime Strike launched early this year, aligning with my scheduled Winter Viewing Party. With Onihei and Scum’s Wish already on my agenda to review (and enough of a snafu getting enough shows to watch), I was forced to add this to my growing list of streaming subscriptions.

To start, the only reason I thought to get Anime Strike was because my wife forgot her half price subscription to Amazon Prime ended before the yearly renewal kicked in. If you look at that as a sunk cost, an extra $5/month for Anime Strike looks pretty good. If we didn’t already have Prime, $160 ($99 just for Prime) for anime each year would be harder to justify. Where this decision becomes harder is the increasing number of exclusive content that Amazon is hoarding providing.

To set the record straight, I’m not at all a fan of Anime Strike. I don’t approve of their strategy of exclusive licensing or their decision to make their anime channel unavailable to those without a Prime account. But from Amazon’s perspective I don’t have to like it. If I want their exclusive titles, I’ll have to pay. I had already committed to reviewing Onihei and Scum’s Wish in Winter so my hand was slightly forced there, but I had no intention of continuing the subscription once the Winter season had ended. That is, until I saw the lineup for Summer.

Umaru jumping on her brother's back demanding he buy a game
My relationship with Amazon, in a nutshell.

Where I was perfectly happy with what my $7/month was getting me from Crunchyroll before, this particular season had quite a few titles on Anime Strike that I was interested in watching. As the season progressed and I got more of an idea of which shows I was enjoying, I started to feel like if I had to choose one service, Anime Strike would have been the better one to go with.

A quick breakdown of the shows I’m still watching and the ones that I dropped (shown in the tables below) better illustrates this thought. I’ve included the current MAL score for each show as a general indicator of how well it’s been received by the public and also because my personal rating, in most cases, ends up being fairly close to the MAL average.


Watching

Umaru happily watching TV

Crunchyroll Anime Strike
Gamers! (7.53)
Aho-Girl (7.36)
Fox Spirit Matchmaker (7.16)
Fastest Finger First (6.83)
Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu (6.68)
Convenience Store Boyfriends (6.16)
Made in Abyss (8.33)
Welcome to the Ballroom (8.10)
Princess Principal (7.69)
Altair: Record of Battles (6.72)
Lights of the Clione (5.25)

The number of shows I retained enough interest to keep watching (or at least binging to keep up) from each service was about the same. The specific appeal I find in these shows is quite different, though.

I found several titles from Crunchyroll to be entertaining, but not technically strong shows. In contrast, the three titles that got the most attention from me this season were Made in Abyss, Princess Principal, and Altair. These shows get more investment from me because I think they’re just higher quality. Aside from maybe Clione no Akari, which feels more like emotional bait. I don’t care, I bit.


Dropped

Umaru looking upset rolled up in a blanket

Crunchyroll Anime Strike
Tsurezure Children (7.82)
Knight’s & Magic (7.30)
Restaurant to Another World (7.19)
Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun (6.91)
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (6.82)
A Centaur’s Life (6.30)
Chronos Ruler (6.14)
18if (6.13)
Netsuzou TRap (5.59)
The Reflection (4.70)
Vatican Miracle Examiner (6.13)

Here’s where it gets kind of interesting. I did try a lot more shows on Crunchyroll than I did on Anime Strike, so it’s not surprising to see more of them in that column. It’s not the total number that is telling here, however, but the percentage.

Keep in mind I don’t pick up every show – just the ones I think could be interesting. That said, I ended up discontinuing more than half (62.5%) the shows I tried on Crunchyroll. Most of them have an aggregate score below 7.0, but not everything I dropped can really be called bad. A few of them, like Tsurezure Children, have been quite well received by the rest of the community all season. These shows just didn’t find enough appeal with me early on to keep me watching.

While I also dropped a lot of shows simply for the sake of time, I did find many of them to have poor storytelling or execution. In any case, Vatican Miracle Examiner was the only title on Anime Strike that I gave up on. Had I picked up more shows I might very well have had more entries for the dropped column, but considering only one out of six titles (16%) didn’t go well for me compared to Crunchyroll’s percentage and I think we have a at least some reason to think one is doing better than the other.


So what does all this mean? Am I going to drop Crunchyroll for Anime Strike? Well, no. Crunchyroll still has a much more comprehensive library on top of simulcasts and, while I could still enjoy it all for free, the subscription is worthwhile to skip the ads and save my progress on the queue. But for viewers interested primarily in seasonal streaming, Amazon make a pretty good case for prioritizing their subscription; for this season at least. This is the first time I really examined this, so I’ll have to see if subsequent seasons continue this trend, but it will be interesting to see how the number of subscribers for these services vary in the future. In any case I’ll be looking forward to next season as it’s common knowledge that the best shows come out in Fall.

An ad showing Umaru-chan R premiering in October
I’ll just leave this here…

What do you think of the breakdown of Summer offerings between the two services? Do you agree that Amazon seems to be getting “better” titles? Let me know your thoughts.

16 thoughts on “Streaming Services & Summer Simulcast Satisfaction

Add yours

  1. Well I can’t really comment on this, as I only have Crunchyroll here in Holland, but so far I haven’t been complaining about them (then again with the enormous backlog on anime I have, I never have nothing to watch anyway lol😂). Netflix also still has enough enjoyable series to watch as well, which is good enough for me. And then ofcourse there are those things that they call dvds lol 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you not have any other service that picks up shows Crunchyroll does not? For example AnimeLab exists for Australia and New Zealand.

      In any case I’m definitely in the same boat as you. I have a ton of backlogged series on Crunchyroll and a big stack of dvds that I have yet to watch a single episode of 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately not. In Holland anime is just not as popular as in other countries. Wish it were different but als it is not. But on the other hand, I have so much to watch both on Crunchyroll and dvd, that I am not bored for a single second 😊
        Currently nearing the halfway point of Ergo Proxy. It’s dark, but I am really enjoying it so far 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I will absolutely drop Strike if I don’t see anything good there. It was a necessary evil this season as 5 shows I really wanted to watch were on there.

      Do you have a resource you can share for what shows CR and Anime Strike will get next season? I’ve only found maybe 3 shows confirmed for CR so far.

      Like

      1. Unfortunately, I don’t have that much of a resource. I’m just waiting for all the announcements before making a decision, but it seems like strike doesn’t have that much going for it right now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazon doesn’t stream in Australia so all their exclusive titles do is make it harder to gain legal access to a show as I can’t even pay to watch some of their titles. Fortunately AnimeLab picks up some of their content for streaming in Australia and New Zealand (so managed to get Princess Principal) but other titles just never show up. I was really happy last week because Drifters was finally available on AnimeLab and that is the first legal access people in Australia have had to that title (almost a year after the fact).
    But I’m with you. I keep Crunchyroll because it has the largest catalogue and it gets a lot of titles (while they aren’t usually my favourites there is enough variety and I certainly get to try things I may not otherwise have watched). I keep AnimeLab because it gets content Crunchyroll doesn’t stream in Australia and there are some big titles in the catalogue even if it is smallish at the moment (it is slowly growing and it is only going to get bigger if Australian fans support it). Outside of that I have Netflix but not for anime so any anime I watch on there is almost an incidental viewing experience. None of the other services are really viable for Australian viewers given how much is restricted behind region locking assuming we can get an account in the first place.
    Wouldn’t it be lovely if all the titles were available through whoever and the only differences were on video quality and user interfaces? Then we could actually just pay for the one subscription we want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah the wonderful world of licensing – a a thriving middleman market that too often sees creators and consumers alike getting the short end of the stick. Then again I have yet to actually finish Drifters even though I’ve had access this whole time so maybe I’ve complaining too much.
      Normally competition helps improve quality and keep costs under control, but with exclusive licensing you don’t get any of that. It only helps the business since the consumer has no where else to go for that content. I do wish we got Animelab in the US though. I’d much rather pay for that than Anime Strike.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think they could compete globally with their current catalogue (plus they probably couldn’t get the liscencing for the titles they have outside of Australia and New Zealand because other companies probably already own the rights). I like that they try to fill a gap for us though because other companies just kind of ignore our market.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Right, I can see that. That’s exactly why region locking is even a thing: so some company can protect their market from “foreign invasion.” Ah well, it is good that Anime Lab recognized that need and stepped in to fill it.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazon definitely has picked up the pace. What I fear is that their strategy will be buying exclusive rights to the second season of popular shows, which will basically be a few kicks to Crunchyroll’s ass.

    Take Saekano for example. Its first season was happily streamed away by Crunchyroll while the second season was taken away by Amazon. I won’t be surprised at all if Gamers! end up the exact same way.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure that eventually Amazon will change their marketing model! The have done so much to come this far and they’ll keep on learning about what we want as consumers. Basically laughing at Netflix all the while!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, one can hope I guess. At least they do understand the simulcast market that Netflix can’t seem to grasp or is willfully ignoring. I can even understand the need for exclusive licensing, just let me subscribe without buying Prime too.

          Liked by 1 person

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