This is such a great experiment and am glad to be apart of their first go at it!
I was surprisingly impressed with the titles they chose to be the test case for streaming video in America. It seems like they did not randomly select two titles out of a hat and hope they work in the U.S. They picked a fantasy comedy and a dark Tokusatsu style action show. Since they are both fairly popular genres here they just might have a chance at doing well. As I wrote this up on Monday April 7th Druaga had 44,139 views and Blassreiter had 7,625 views on You Tube. That is not even counting the number of views both shows had on BOST TV and Crunchyroll. Are these the numbers that they had hoped they would do? I can’t tell but I think it was a success in terms of getting people to watch the shows online. How much of this will translate into financial success is still to be seen.
I was surprised to see the streaming quality is very low. You can download it for free, since you can name your own price, so there is really no reason to keep the stream super crappy. Sometimes I don’t want to clutter up my hard drive with a show or some people don’t have the space, or various other reasons for not wanting it. I would like to see that change, if only just a little bit better.
I’m not surprised at all. They really want you go to that donation page and hope that your throw a few bucks their way. I guess the idea is if you like what you see in the low quality stream they hope you will pay for the high quality download but if you don’t like what you see there is almost no chance you would pay anyway.I did find it a little bit odd that while Crunchyroll and BOST TV had the streaming videos as front page news on their sites it seemed that You Tube devoted almost no effort into making people aware these shows were now available.
I was shocked to see some people shelling out $30 to $50 on Crunchyroll for the first episodes! I myself paid $1 for Druaga and I didn’t download Blassreiter. Crunchyroll also throws in cute little incentives for paying, like badges and additional extensions like a ipod version of the episode. Okay maybe I am a dork, but I thought they were fun. So now I have some cute badges! Not like I wouldn’t have paid anyway.
I paid a dollar for both episodes. I think I will continue to pay for Druaga but Blassreiter did not hold my attention enough for me to continue to pay for it. I am hoping that these people playing $30+ are not just crazy and that they are basically paying up front for the whole season. Now the fact that you can download the episode without an minimum download might be a practice they stop after a while but I assume they are trying to see what works before they demand payment for a decently quality download. I also vaguely remember there being talk that the first two episodes could be downloaded for free and that there would be a minimum price on all the episodes after that. I might also be crazy.I think we both agreed that they might want to but some sort of reasonable minimum offering like 25 cents an episode. The streaming video could still be free but the higher quality download would come with a minor price tag.
Subtitles were good! Quite good! I thought it was apparent when I was laughing so hard while watching Druaga, clearly they were doing a good job or the jokes wouldn’t have worked so well. I am the Crimson Knight: Black Knight!But I came away knowing what was going on and there was not a bit of Engrish or bad grammar. I heard the BOST TV downloads have notes, I would be curious to see that. Especially for a show full of parody like Druaga.
I think I remember you catching a grammatical error during Blassreiter but I don’t think it was anything too horrible. Heck you can sometimes catch grammatical errors in non simultaneously released shows. All in all they seemed to be professional done by someone who has an excellent grasp of both languages.I did find it slightly odd they did not translate the opening and endings song for Druaga while they translated the end song for Blassreiter. They did not need the crazy flashy fan-subber style karaoke lyrics. They just need a simple translation for the songs. I know I generally like to know what the opening and closing songs are about and I know a big J-music fan like Nartaku must be greatly saddened by the lack of opening song lyrics. It’s certainly not a deal breaker but I hope it is something the correct in the future.
I do like subtitles for the opening, but as you mentioned the karaoke ones. I’m not a fan. I hate having 40 different subs in the opening to the point I can’t see what is going on. On that end it was nice to see a clean opening for the show, well with credits. I love openings, everyone knows how much effort is usually expended on them, so I would a bit more translation to go into them. Or on the download maybe it can be optional.
I guess we should actually mention if we liked the shows or not. I think it was clear that we both really enjoyed Druaga while we both thought that Blassreiter was rather mediocre and poorly paced.
Well, as we talked we realized Blassreiter is just not our cup of tea. However, I will mention that the dude on the ads for Blassreiter appears for about 10 second in the first episode. If HE is actually the main character I think I could like it. I am curious if anyone is going to bother fan-subbing these shows. And if they do is AnimeSuki going to list them?
I am really hoping that the fan-sub community sees that they are still plenty of shows out there that are not being subbed and pick up some old school classics instead. I know that is dream up there with cold fusion but I dream it anyway. Any fan sub group with any type of ethics or good sense will just leave these shows alone. I assume that we might see the normal groups of French, Spanish, and Italian fan-subbers still working on these shows since they did not get a legitimate release. I can’t be mad at these groups. Animesuki is usually a stickler for ethical releases so I can’t see them even thinking of putting up links to any groups that would dare sub these shows.
My only other question is why did they not include Special A in this download experiment. There are four major reasons or combinations of the following reasons that this show was not put up as part of the streaming project. The first is the might have might want to still release Special A in America with a conventional DVD release. The second is they might have figured it would be a wasted effort to try and sell a shojo anime in the U.S. considering most shojo anime tanks despite how popular the manga might be. The third reason is that Maki Minami or Hana to Yume might not have allowed them to release the shown in America through online distribution. Of the three titles coming out this season I assume that Gonzo has the least amount of control over Special A because it’s based on a preexisting work. Adding the forth reason is that it seems that Gonzo co-produced this show with AIC. Gonzo might be down with streaming shows here but that does not mean AIC wants anything to do with it.
I was just disappointed about Special A because it is actually a show that has had some real buzz behind it. The manga has recently hit shelves here and is gaining a fan following, but yes shojo does notoriously poorly. Maybe they will see how Host Club fares to decide about licensing S.A. But all in all I think Gonzo has a good mind behind what they are up to. I think it was a success but we will see what Gonzo says in the next few weeks I suspect.