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Legal Anime Online

Monday 16th July 2012

Andrew Osmond presents Streaming 101

So, you want to get anime that isn’t yet available on British DVD and Blu-ray? You also want to go a legitimate route, sending money to the studios which make your favourite shows, rather than stealing their product. You don’t want to go through the hassle and price mark-ups of importing American DVDs. So that leaves legal streaming as your option – websites authorised by Japanese producers to distribute anime in Britain. Here’s a guide to the main three candidates.

Kids on the SlopeCrunchyroll UK – This March, the American simulcast site Crunchyroll launched a specific UK page. At that time, the site’s CEO Kun Gao gave an interview to the website UK Anime Network. He said Crunchyroll would be “much more focused about bringing our level of service to English-speaking fans in the U.K,” aiming to maximise the titles in the territory. Indeed, one of the main frustrations for British fans with Crunchyroll in the past is that they’ve been locked out of numerous titles on the site. There are two price options: using a reduced version of the site for free, or joining for premium membership. Non-members can only watch the anime in standard definition, and cannot see the brand-new episodes simulcast an hour after their Japanese broadcast.  Membership is £4.99 a month, while an £8.99 monthly “All-Access” package covers both anime and live-action Japanese drama. According to Gao, the £4.99 price is pegged, and will not be subject to exchange rate fluctuations. New users are offered a 14-day free trial. For a list of all the anime available see here. Among the new and continuing shows simulcast are Fate Zero, Naruto Shippuden, Fairy Tail, Hunter x Hunter, Kids on the Slope and Polar Bear Café. Older titles include Gundam Wing and Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Crunchyroll also streams a selection of live-action TV drama from Japan and South Korea, including a recent Korean version of the shojo manga Boys Over Flowers by Yoko Kamio. J-drama titles range from General Hospital to the kung-fu The Legend of Condor Hero.

Tiger and BunnyAnime on Demand – Beginning last year, Anime on Demand was the first dedicated anime online service focused on the UK and the Republic of Ireland. “It brings everyone together,” said Kaze UK’s Andrew Partridge (Kaze formed AoD, supported by numerous other UK companies). “We can attend events, get feedback from the fans. We’ve also got some great chances to encourage licensing on titles that wouldn't have been picked up on DVD otherwise. From the online viewing data, the licensors can see how popular a show is. We can nurture anime online and anime on home video.” The cost is £9.99 per season (that’s season, three months). An annual pass costs £34.99. Catalogue includes Tiger & Bunny, Mirai Nikki (aka Future Diary), Persona 4 The Animation, Steins;Gate, Usagi Drop and the new mecha show, Lagrange the Flower of Rin-Ne.

RedlineNetflix – A U.K. edition of the American streaming service launched in Britain in January, with a growing selection of an anime titles on offer - see here. There were two obvious limitations; most of the titles were also available on British DVD, and the Netflix copies were dubbed only. (Though there are are a few exceptions, see below.) A Netflix representative told the Wired website that this would hopefully change, with subbed copies of anime being offered in the future.  Cost is £5.99 a month (that’s for the full service, obviously, not just the anime). The few Netflix titles not already available on U.K. DVD and Blu-ray include class-crossing London drama Emma: A Victorian Romance; the yaoi series Junjo Romantica; and Rental Magica, a comic fantasy series about a magician dispatch service. All are reportedly subtitled. Of the other titles (where there is a British DVD), there’s quite a range of material, including both seasons of Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Afro Samurai, Redline, Baccano!, Gurren Lagann and xxxHOLIC.

Legal Anime Online


The Comic Artist & His Assistants - Complete Series Collection And Bonus Ova Episodes

was £24.99
The life of an artist can be hard: Long, laborious hours working in a studio with only your thoughts and assistants to keep you company. In the case of overworked mangaka Aito Yuuki his attempts to merge the two are so far unsuccessful. With so many lovely ladies around, Aito’s stream of consciousness tends to quickly get off the rails and take a turn for the perverse. His priorities are askew and subjecting his assistants to his fantasies has taken precedent over work. Despite Aito’s blatant abuse of power, his beautiful, talented assistants are willing to play along if it means that their work will be successful. It’s all for the sake of the manga, right? At least, that’s what they tell themselves until Aito’s gets a little grabby. Thankfully, editor Mihari is there to keep him in line, from threatening to fire him to physical punishment. Will Aito’s abuse of power result in romance or rough treatment? Find out in this comedy slice of life - The Comic Artist and His Assistants!




Digital transvestite Tom Smith on the girl who’s hearing voices
Before taking on the part of Asuna, Haruka Tomatsu had accumulated over one hundred titles featuring her vocal talents, spanning anime, videos games and drama CDs. Achievement unlocked.

Birmingham Comic Con Announcements

For those that missed our panel in Brum...
Attack on Titan, the One Piece movies, Ghost in the Shell: ARISE and more...

Blue Exorcist: the Movie

Melissa Francis on the hell-spawn creature-feature
If we look back at the 25 episodes of the TV series, Blue Exorcist: The Movie seemed more cohesive in comparison – there were certainly less of those ‘for the hell of it’ moments (no pun intended) and more well-connected, relevant events.

Men Creating Women

Andrew Osmond on anime’s gender gap…
Miyazaki said that women “who are striving for their independence” despise such fantasy females. “They feel this ideal is a one-sided attack on the part of men who are trying to fit women into a mold.

Harlock Music: Tetsuya Takahashi

Tom Smith on the man behind the music
Shinji Aramaki’s digital reimaging of Japan’s classic sci-fi adventure Space Pirate Captain Harlock is serious business. Not only is it ranked amongst Toei Animation’s most expensive productions to date, weighing in with a mighty £20+ million budget, its staff is also a who’s-who of the Japanese animation industry.
Jordan and Fray choose their favourite powers from the anime world, does yours make the list?


Andrew Osmond on an anime with a distinctive look
Boy meets girl; boy and girl hate each other; boy and girl learn they’re both children of gangster families and must pretend to be lovers to prevent gang war. Naturally there are rival suitors on both sides of the fractious pair, ranging from a sweet girl-next-door type to a pistol-packing assassin.

Cosplay: Yu-Gi-Oh

Paul Jacques snaps more anime costumers
Yugioh Yami and Dark Magician Girl spring into life in the forms of Stephanie Budden and Carla Rice.

Kite: the Movie

A live-action remake of the anime classic
Right, hands up those of you who have been betting on which 1990s anime would get a Western live-action remake first. Ok, who had Ghost in the Shell? Evangelion? Cowboy Bebop? But Yasuomi Umetsu’s notorious sexed-up actioner Kite (1998) has beaten them all to the screen, starring anime fan Samuel L. Jackson.

Cosplay: One Piece

Paul Jacques rounds up the best dressed fans
With a tip of the hat to the best-selling One Piece, Fayyaz Dawda cosplays as the bendy-limbed hero Luffy.
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