Maybe I’m just picky, but even though I highly support the proliferation of both subbed and dubbed digital releases, I really wish there was some consistency in where all they’re releasing this madness.
FUNimation has a YouTube channel that it’s using to post previews and promos, but they’ve also said that they’re going to have full episodes on there, probably three episodes or less for some series. Now they have a deal with Sony to release titles exclusive to the PS3 online store, not to mention the exclusive release of the new BONES title. I’m assuming these titles will all be subbed. Elsewhere, iTunes has added a good bit of Viz’s dubbed Naruto and Bleach, as well as all of Death Note. And let’s not forget various deals and ideas Crunchyroll has made with and is pitching to Japanese companies. Am I the only one overwhelmed by the scatteredness of all these options?
Of course, it’s good business for companies to sign exclusive contracts with distributors; it builds up a partnership and the exclusivity can act as a boost for business as customers lack other options. This is just another reason to get a PS3 and just another reason to get an iPod Video. But if anyone’s trying to compile episodes and titles owned by various companies, it’s going to be a pain in the ass accessing anime from all these different sources. As I neither use iTunes nor own a PS3, I don’t know whether or not you can transfer downloaded files to other places, but I’m banking on a no, or at the very least, not without annoying, evasive, and legally questionable measures. So then, if you want all your files in the same place, you’re pretty much screwed?
If they’re going to go crazy with the multiplatform releases, I don’t really think there’s a point in trying too hard to keep the files exclusive to whatever they were downloaded to. After all, it isn’t like finding the fansub alternative is hard or anything. That’s what you’re trying to combat, the ease of fansubs, so why make things so complicated? But everyone is still experimenting with the digital release thing right now, trying to see if there’s a viable market for digital dub release, and how many people are really willing to go for digital sub release, so this chaos is understandable, I suppose. Nevertheless, I would love to eventually see some universal platform that all companies can release on so customers have a place to congregate their purchases. Or, at the very least, decide on a universal transferable format that all downloads can be converted to so people’s digital collections can be consistent.
I don’t even like it that my sub collection is half .avi and half .mkv with the occasional .flav or whathaveyou. And it is a little annoying scurrying around on episode air dates looking for the subgroup that releases first… wouldn’t it be great if companies actually did what I proposed with subs and then released on a single jointly-operated site with email alerts and RSS feeds so you know when a new episode for your series is out? Oh, what a day that would be…
Addendum — it seems like Amazon’s about to start a new Video on Demand service. No word on anime yet, but I won’t be surprised if someone signs on with it soon. I think of all the other downloading venues currently available, Amazon might be the most attractive to me because it’s 1) big and already well known, 2) allows for both streaming and downloading, 3) it saves your purchased library so you can stream from any computer anywhere as long as you’re logged in. …That’s pretty much just what I want. It means I don’t have to worry about lugging my external everywhere. Good deal, good deal.