Not too long ago, Amazon introduced it’s ugly beast of an anime streaming service to the world and I took a shot at dissecting exactly how bad it was in it’s starting state. While the main things I were comparing back then were cost and catalogue size, there was something I failed to bring up and that many people overlooked when it came to this specific instance despite Crunchyroll and FUNimation’s partnership last year being speculated to prevent exactly what happened this season. I’m not going to pad this intro too much with a leading tangent like usual, but for this specific editorial I don’t think the opinion expressed here is an unpopular one. Frankly, Anime Strike sucks. Obviously, Amazon doesn’t care. Let’s talk about why and what we can do.
For those who have managed to avoid what exactly Anime Strike is, let’s catch you up. On January 12th of this year, Amazon Channels launched a new channel dedicated to anime. Immediately after it’s launch this service caught a bad reputation with several voices in the community expressing their distaste with model the service was putting forward: Access to Anime Strike required an Amazon Prime membership and after that you had to pay an extra subscription fee to Anime Strike to get access to all of Amazon’s anime. Overall, the cost of Anime Strike currently comes out to $160 a year, not only making it the most expensive anime streaming service out there, but also having a launch catalogue that paled in comparison to the catalogues of all of it’s competitors. January 12th just so happened to be a Thursday which gave me plenty time to push back my initially planned post and inform the world of what exactly this service was. I left off my post as an open message to Anime Strike telling them that I wasn’t opposed to them existing, only opposed to their horrendous business model. While I didn’t expect them to read the post, it still became increasingly evident to me in the time between that post and now that Anime Strike didn’t care – doesn’t care about the anime community or how their model hurts us at all.
While a lot of people shrugged off their existence as they had an extremely small presence, when winter came to close and simulcasts for spring 2017 were announced. Anime Strike happened to pick up both Atom: The Beginning and the second season of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata; once again people instantly cared about them existing and were furious. Despite Anime Strike only grabbing twelve simulcasting titles, which is significantly smaller than just the thirty-three titles Crunchyroll plans to simulcast this season, by grabbing just one or two shows that people really wanted to watch, this reminded people that Anime Strike not only existed but gave them more reason than ever before to hate them. With that history lesson out of the way, why is Anime Strike so bad?
For those new to the anime community or those who can’t tell right off the bat what’s so wrong about Anime Strike, allow me to explain. Fristly, Anime Strike is not a part of Amazon Prime but rather a part of Amazon Channels. This distinction is important to make because unlike Twitch Prime, Anime Strike is not a feature of Amazon Prime. Instead, Anime Strike is treated like a channel alongside HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and several other streaming channels. While all of the aforementioned shows also require Amazon Prime membership as a starting ground, all of the aforementioned not only have much larger catalogue sizes than Anime Strike, but all of the aforementioned are also available separately for the same price. Taking HBO for example, HBO through Amazon Channels costs $15 a month, but HBO NOW which is available through HBO entirely on it’s own also costs $15 a month. Anime Strike not only doesn’t have that luxury, but Anime Strike is made almost entirely (sans for the twelve new simulcasting shows and any shows that have been added since this post went live) of shows that used to be available through Amazon Prime for free.
But wait, there’s more! Twitch Prime is something I feel like is important talking about, but first let me explain why. Anime Strike is currently valuing itself as a $5 a month, treating itself as a proper cable channel. Alright, let’s just put aside how ridiculous I think that is for a moment and look over at Twitch Prime. Twitch Prime is a free service given away with Amazon Prime which includes the ability to subscribe to one streamer for free for 30 days and also gives you either free games or free cosmetics in others like a subscription box you’d actually care about. The reason that one streamer is important is because subscribing to a Twitch streamer just so happens to cost $5 a month. But hold on, it’s that price obviously because Twitch and Amazon take a cut, right? Of course, but Anime Strike also costs $5 to give Amazon a cut and the rest to the producers of the shows they offer. So then, why is Twitch Prime a free service while Anime Strike costs money if they’re both valued at the same price?
To recap: Amazon just took something from their existing Amazon Prime catalogue, put it into a service being weighed the same as a proper cable channel, are chaining it off only for those who pay them $100 a year for Amazon Prime to access, and then are asking for another $5 a month from those who have access to it when before January 12th they could have watched almost everything in the launch catalogue for no extra charge. Putting any sort of content behind a double pay wall is already a practice somewhat frowned upon, but when you look at everything Anime Strike encapsulates as of now, it’s extremely clear that when drafting this plan, Amazon wanted to make as much money as possible. Add this with an almost non-existent social media presence in a market where community is one of the absolute most important things, an availability locked to the United States, and a catalogue that is still not only extremely overshadowed by Crunchyroll and FUNimation but that shares many titles with both of those companies.
So far this has all been everything that’s already been said with a little bit of extra discoveries and explanation on top. What exactly made this new season and Anime Strike’s claiming of twelve simulcasting shows important is that this was Amazon displaying how much more money and power it has over Crunchyroll and FUNimation by showing that even with a horrible business model it can take Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata from Crunchyroll. In all honesty, this is the most important thing out of anything that Anime Strike could have done to show how they’re worth paying attention to because it was the biggest display of how much money they’re willing to spend. Without any doubt, Crunchyroll would have wanted to secure Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata season two as it’s the service who has the first available but also without a doubt, Amazon has a lot of money (undoubtedly more than Crunchyroll and FUNimation combined) and was able to spend it on an extremely popular show in an attempt to bring more people to their platform.
Back in September of last year when Crunchyroll and FUNimation partnered together, it was speculated that one of the reasons they did this was to avoid being overrun by the extremely overwhelming forces of the streaming media giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. But even with this partnership, it was clear that each of the aforementioned still have more than enough power to blow away the two anime streaming darlings. Amazon’s launching of Anime Strike, their acquisition of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata season two, and the fact that they show zero effort to be a part of this community or even care about the heavily negative feedback they received on day one shows that even though Crunchyroll and FUNimation have been playing fair, that doesn’t mean that everyone will and that doesn’t mean they have any reason to.
So, what can we do? Clearly we’re the demographic and clearly we aren’t dumb enough to fall for what Anime Strike is trying to sell us, so what power do we have? Luckily, a lot. Remember earlier when I said Anime Strike has a piratically non-existent social media presence? Well, it’s clear that whoever runs their Twitter reads notifications on the rare occasions that they actually remember to log on and advertise the mess they have running over there, so I want to try something and I feel like I have the perfect audience size to do it. I encourage every single person who reads this, whether you be a regular Anime Corps reader, a fan of my editorials, a newcomer who’s read this post before everything else, or someone who’s disagreed with me in the past: If you agree with me here, let’s be heard, shall we? It’s time to voice your concerns with how Anime Strike is being run and it’s time to do it together.
This week I decided my new goal in life is to become wholeheartedly hated by whoever was put in charge of running Anime Strike. Every time you have a problem with Anime Strike, every time you rant about them or start complaining about them on Twitter, mention them. They don’t have a subtweet finder so they don’t read anything just containing their name in plain text, only things you directly @ mention them with (@animestrike is their handle). Bring every last complaint and rant to their front door so eventually they’ll not only learn who you are but learn that you don’t like what they’re doing. On top of that, I encourage everyone to share the problems you have with Anime Strike with absolutely anyone you think will care. Write your own blog posts, link this one to people, and even bring up the topic in your anime group chats. Lastly, absolutely under no circumstances whatsoever should you support Anime Strike if you disagree with their current business model. Similarly to my Crunchyroll post a few weeks ago, this isn’t saying pirate the shows, but rather to avoid supporting them and show Amazon that this corporate weeaboo wet dream isn’t worth funding in it’s current state. Demand change, and do it by making your voice heard, by making sure the people who will care know, and do it by refusing to give them any money; effectively removing their key form of funding. Let’s make them hate us.
Fuck yourself, Anime Strike. Love, Tsuyuki.
Thank you so much for reading today’s post! I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it got a bit of a fire burning inside of those who disagree with Anime Strike’s current business model as much as me to actually start getting our voices heard. I have no doubt if we flood their notifications with our condolences we’ll get heard at least to some degree until they stop reading notifications, in which case I’ll have to come up with another way to get their attention, but we’ll worry about that problem when it arrives. As always, if you’d like to see what I’m up to when I’m not writing for this blog feel free to follow me on Twitter. If you have any comments, by all means leave them below, I promise I read every last one. I used a handful of sources for this week’s post, so if you’d like to, you can find all the places I got my information below the artist credit for this post’s lovely featured image. I’ll see you all in seven days!
The featured image for this post was drawn by pixiv artist あきま.