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
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.
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.
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.
|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)
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.
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.