I figured that if the "Seasonal Boxing Previews" can have dedicated update posts like "Boxing Bits", why shouldn't a frequently-updated feature like the "Free/Low-Cost Anime Directory & Guide" get ones of their own? In addition to that, it also goes a long way in doing so to bring more attention to it and the new links made available there. These types of posts will be done every-so-often when content is added, updated, or removed, with bits of information (and some personal thoughts) to go along with them.
The title listed for this post is a working one, since I haven't really come up with a suitable one just yet. Hey, maybe I'll even keep it, but in the meantime, enjoy yourselves some free anime (...legally...) on the web!
I guess one could consider this as something of Christmas present... --HD
Since this the first post, and because of the large amount of actual updates recently, it is pretty sizable. Some of the notices attached to some entries have been listed on the Directory for a little while already, but they are still plenty new (that, and I wanted something to showcase from there, so I let them stay for a long period of time than I usually do). The format style may change over time, but the overall template should remain.
--Over the last few weeks, an "Audio" section has been added to the entries, denoting the languages spoken in the video and the subtitles (if any) that are present. I've begun doing this since TRIP TREK, as the show's unique circumstances finally made me decide on mentioning something about the audio, after ruminating on it for so long. It's not present on each one yet, but it should finished soon.
--I usually like to run through every link and reread every entry every-so-often to ensure that everything is current and correct, but I haven't done that in while due to various factors. The BOST TV debacle noted below only served to highlight the problem, so if something isn't right, right now, be sure that it will very soon.
--There are some other changes and enhancements in the works, but I'm stay hush about them for the time being...
Bandai Web Theater
--A cutesy YouTube page from Bandai America (not to be confused with anime distributor and sister subsidiary Bandai Entertainment), with the primary focus of it and Bandai's other international toy divisions being on their popular Tamagotchi virtual pet and its accompanying anime properties. The posted iteration is from a 2007 short-length series, with the American page hosting English dubbed episodes with subtitles in multiple languages, while the Japanese page has it in its original language with subtitles locked to one's region. Nice to see them make good use of YT's captioning options.
--FUNimation made a big leap in digital distribution as both an anime distributor and video host by introducing a completely revamped version of its video service, featuring a whole slew of shows, a few available in their entirety, for free--some of which have not been released by them on DVD, yet! FUNimation have been at the forefront of digital distro for a while, but they have really outdone themselves this time. It looks simple and clean, and the video and sound quality's nice, to boot. It's great that there is a venue from them to check out so many of their shows, which helps tremendously in deciding to whether something is worth a buy.
-:Anime Shows on Parade:-
--The raunchy comedy raised, and furrowed, a lot of eyebrows among reviewers, but it generally received good marks. Surprising, though, is that it is streaming on ANN's site...
--The first of Media Blaster's titles to be shown on Anime News Network, which kicked off the venerable site's burgeoning efforts in using its video service as a platform for streaming actual anime (beyond trailers). Well, in the ever-growing pool of free streaming anime venues, the more, the merrier...
Let's Go! Tamagotchi
--As alluded to in Bandai Web Theater section, Let's Go! Tamagotchi is the anime tie-in to the ubiquitous virtual pet toy made by the company. It looks and sounds sacchrin sweet, so those adverse to that sort of thing may not find it their cup of tea. English dubbing of series commissioned directly by studios/producers are starting to occur with more frequency for a variety of reasons, from getting more English-speakers' attentions to taking a more active role in how their shows will sound overseas (and undoubtedly sell).
--Ah, the one title that world has awaited for/wished to avert. Sure, it's already been airing in Japan for last year or two and fansubs have been out for awhile, but that has stopped Viz Media from getting involved and making the title available to all, legally. The somewhat complex scheduling is summed up in the Directory, but to put it best here, they will be showing the last few episodes of the first Naruto series on its site, Joost, and Hulu, before showing Shippuden in batches of episodes until it catches up with the Japanese broadcast. Meanwhile, the newest episodes that just aired will also be made available for those already up-to-date on it. The fun/agony starts in early January, with the last Naruto episodes up already for viewing.
Ramen Fighter Miki
--Another Media Blasters title that can be seen on Anime News Network, a very quirky show with a title that easily conveys that description.
--A definitive love/hate series, if reviewers and fans have anything to say about it.
--A very interesting show, in that it had a English language track first before it had a Japanese one (both with Japanese subtitles). It's eclectic too, though be sure to check its Directory entry for some "bonus" material...
--Changed its woefully-outdated entry. It was embarrassing seeing how old, and now inaccurate, that information was, which I glossed over previous times, thinking was there was nothing to fix up. Just goes to show you...
FUNimation Ent. - Download to Own Videos
--Technically the original FUNimation site post before its schism following the company's debut of it its new video portal. Retouched to only infer to its download-to-own video section, whereas the "free" portion now has its own separate entry, much reflecting FUNimation's video section.
--No plug-in required anymore, so now it is more like Hulu and other streaming sites. Entry updated accordingly.
-:Anime Shows on Parade:-
--Updated the entry to replace some of its more outdated content.
Shikabane Hime: Aka
--Changed FUNimation link and some others due to aforementioned site changes.
EDIT [12.29.08]: Added bookmarked hyperlinks to make looking for the content much easier--another big change for the Directory. A long-overdue addition, there soon should be a few implementations of it within the feature itself.