I want to open with the last two paragraphs of my previous blog post:
This year proved to be a diffucult one for Anime Fans who use Netflix: More than half of the Anime available in January is gone. While it is obvious Netflix signing an exclusive deal with Disney is their way of getting back at Starz (who they failed to renew their contract with earlier this year), the loss of quality Anime isn’t something that can be ignored.
In my case it’s forced me to buy some of the Anime I first saw on Netflix either via Xbox Live or on DVD. The four DVD purchases were planned in advance but for those either unable to or unwilling to buy their favorite Anime losing it on Netflix is a major blow. The fact that they didn’t try to reach out to Funimation, VIZ Media, Animplex and others directly will be remembered. This is the second year in a row Netflix dropped the ball, leaving its member base to pay the price. If they have any unplayed trump cards, now would be the time to use them.
Indeed, if Netflix knows something the rest of us don’t they should think about doing something soon. Granted Instant Streaming only costs $8 a month and Anime isn’t exactly the focus but given a large chunk of their subscribers are collage age, families or Gamers having a well-rounded catalog keeps everyone happy. Last year Netflix failed to renew its contract with Starz, who handles distrbution for a the majority of the Anime now gone from the online catalog, among them many titles I now own either on DVD or via Xbox Live: Clannad (Season 1), Ah! My Goddess!, Kenichi The Mighiest Disciple, Spice & Wolf, School Rumble and Shuffle!.
When I first started using Netflix there had to be well over 250 titles. At present only 67 Anime series and movies remain. Of the remaining 67 titles there are a few rare gems, most notably Samurai Champloo, Elfen Lied, Ouran High School Host Club, Tears to Tiara and Gungrave. Samurai 7 (currently airing on Toonami) can also be found on Netflix in its entirety, allowing you to watch the Anime series in full instead of weekly. One can argue three of the biggest losses last year from Netflix are Slayers (5 series), Bleach and Naruto (both subbed). Losing Noein (Localized by Starz) isn’t as big a loss given it’s available on Xbox Live (XBL), iTunes and the Playstation Network (PSN).
Even so…I don’t know. The political cycle was the main reason I kept my Netflix Sub through all of 2012. Unlike the vocal minority on the internet, I prefer to get my Anime using legal methods and don’t mind paying for it no matter the cost. If I can get it at a discount I’ll do that of course. For example you can buy most Anime Episodes on the PSN for just $2 and $1.60 on XBL. TAKE THAT, iTunes! be warned that if you do buy Anime on your PC from Zune (XBL’s PC Client) or Media Go (Sony’s PC Client) you will need to use the client itself to watch the media. There’s also the DRM restrictions to be mindful of to boot so…yeah. The upside to Zune/XBL though is as long as you have an internet connection you don’t necessarily have to download it after you bought it to watch it.
I’m not gonna lie: I have my favorite Anime. Even so, almost all of them I saw for the first time via Netflix. I want to say I’m hopeful the lost Anime will return but given Starz is being sought after by iTunes, Amazon and Microsoft for exclusive deals I don’t see it happening anytime soon. All in all the whole thing’s forced me to look at the competition. I can stream Hulu Plus on my Xbox and Wii so it’s there if I want it. XBL also supports Amazon Instant Video. AIV costing me $79 a year prevents me from doing it since I did the Amazon Prime Trial 2 years ago an that was before AIV was introduced.
Looks like I’m just going to have to just buy DVD sets from here on out. Zune/XBL hasn’t updated their Anime Library in ages but thankfully they haven’t removed that many Anime either which is just as good. The only noteworthy Anime removed is one I planned to buy but bought at Anime Boston 2012 in DVD: School Rumnble. For all intents and purposes I own most of my Favorite Anime in one form or another.
The problem is finding new Anime. The Manga Tree App on my Windows 8 laptop promises to keep me occupied. I’ll keep looking until I find a legal means of getting good quality Anime. Since I prefer Dubbed to Subbed I already know that limits where I can look. Even so will go with what works for me.