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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.

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Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods

£14.99
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was £19.99
Stunning animation and epic new villains highlight the first new Dragon Ball Z feature film in seventeen years! Beerus, the God of Destruction, travels to Earth in search of a good fight. Only Goku, humanity’s greatest hero, can ascend to the level of a Super Saiyan God and stop Beerus’s rampage!
This double disc edition includes both the 85 minute Theatrical Cut and the 105 minute Director’s Cut. Both versions include the English and Japanese dubs and English subtitles. This edition also includes bonus content including “The Voices of Dragon Ball Z: Unveiled” and “Behind The Scenes: Battle of Voice Actors!”.

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The history of Dragon Ball Z

Matt Kamen on the history of Dragon Ball Z
Launched in 1984 in the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball was a very different beast to the one western viewers would eventually meet. introduced the boisterous Son Goku, an adventurous and unusally strong boy with no social graces whatsoever. Raised in seclusion by his adoptive grandfather, he doesn’t even that know what girls are – making for some prime gag moments when he meets treasure hunter Bulma. Soon teaming up, the pair track down seven rare ‘Dragon Balls’ – powerful items that can summon the wish-granting dragon Shenron. These early stories were very loosely based on Chinese fables but Toriyama gave them a fresh twist, his distinctive art style and perfect balance of comedy and action making the series a hit.

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #1

A first look at the who'z who in Dragon Ball Z

Son Goku. Goku was originally cast as a naive but powerful young boy who was spurred onto the path of adventure following the death of his grandfather. By the time Dragon Ball Z rolls around, Goku’s a full-grown adult, the victor of several martial arts tournaments and a married man. He’s only slightly less naive though, and his strict wife Chichi frequently has to rein in his less socially acceptable habits and wilder impulses. The first arc of the series marks Goku learning of his alien origins for the first time – before meeting other Saiyans, he thought he was just another average monkey-tailed boy!

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #2

The next instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
Yamcha. One of Goku’s oldest friends – even if they did first meet as enemies! A reformed desert bandit and an ex-boyfriend of Bulma, Yamcha is one of the strongest human fighters in the world. Having regularly entered World Martial Arts Tournaments and fought against a multitude of foes, he’s earned his place as one of the core Z-Fighters. However, he was overpowered and killed by one of Nappa’s drones in the Saiyan invasion of Earth. Luckily, death is rarely the end in the world of Dragon Ball, and Yamcha’s path continues as he trains under King Kai in the afterlife, preparing for a return to the living world to help his friends against the threats they’ll face on the distant planet Namek.

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #3

The third instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
And so we continue filling you in on the heroes and villains to keep an eye on in the latest super-charged volume of the famous action epic!

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #4

The fourth instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
With a cast of dozens, there still more to fill you in on the heroes and villains to keep an eye on in the latest super-charged volume of the famous action epic!

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #5

The fifth instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
Cell. The deadliest enemy the Z Warriors have ever had to face – themselves! Cell is a hyper-advanced android from the future, created using the DNA of the present day heroes and possessing all their skills and abilities thanks to genetic memory. Goku’s Kamehameha? Cell can use it and counter it. Tien’s Solar Flare? Just one of Cell’s basic attacks. Piccolo’s regeneration? That serves to make Cell even more difficult to defeat. Already an incredibly powerful figure, Cell has travelled back in time to physically absorb more fighters and add their powers to his own repertoire. His goal? To achieve his Perfect Form and become the mightiest figure in the Universe – and he won’t let anything or anyone stand in his way.

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