Thursday, January 28, 2010

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 01.28.10::

It's sort of a rarity to have two Directory updates in a single month, but this is a big one. Ever since I got an iPod touch last April--enjoying all of its app and video goodness--I have been debating as to whether to have a section dedicated to apps for the player in the Directory. There have been a few anime-focused programs out there, but the "stealthy" release of Crunchyroll's own app finally pushed me to go ahead with it. It may not be the Internet in the traditional, PC-sense, but it still requires it and is just as viable and important a venue as the use of a computer (I'm certainly a testament of that). It is also made all the more relevant with the big movement towards smartphones and other Net-enabled mobile devices, even with yesterday's reveal of the Giant iPo--umm, iPad (though this section's intro had that announcement beat by about a week, so take that, Apple!).

Those without an iPhone or iPod touch, sorry, but this new addition only covers apps available on those devices. However, as I have noted in the Directory, you may want still utilize it as a reference for ones that might be available on yours. Lastly, the just-added Nippon Animation Theater has been moved to the "Off Sites" section, since the videos have unfortunately been region-restricted, and I've included an anime title that I forgot to include in the earlier Update--and it's a doozy. ;)

-:..not the end of change...:-


-:Anime on the Go!!:- (New, itself!)
Anime Network Mobile
--Essentially an "all-in-one" compilation of ZooVision and TAN's singular app face value, that is, since I haven't downloaded it. It's a little pricey for my tastes and I'm not too fond of their monthly subscription model, though I assume that is partially fueled by me having seen many of their shows for free on cable VOD. For the unfamiliar, it might actually be a good plan and worth your while, though their offerings are still meager for what they're asking.

--The best app for your free anime fix out there, Crunchyroll's little secret is as good a one as you'll find. It has so much of what you'd hope for in a well-designed app: clean, sleek look, smooth and responsive scrolling, easy-to-use, organized, and appealing. As for the main attraction--video content--the quality and audio is very good and the subtitles (which I hear use the iPhone/Pod's internal software) are nicely-sized and readable (close to the bottom and slightly distracting initially, but felt just fine afterwords). It's not perfect--search bugs, more organization with listings needed, fuller support of subscriber perks--but it's pretty darn close (and free).

Curiously enough, it has only been out in the last month with no fanfare or hint from CR (though one subscriber said they got word of it a week before news broke). I came across it during a run through the App Store, but was wary of its authenticity (though I so wanted to download it). After asking about it on their forums last week with no response, I tipped ANN about it the following day. Soon after they posted about it, CR officially announced its existence (and also responded to the previous forum post), and I happily downloaded it.

I mince no words when I say that Crunchyroll has made a great app. It's hard to believe that this is its alpha version, which elicits both wonder and trepidation as to what lies with its future direction. I assume the former and hope that they keep with its strengths and not make it bloated. Watching Black Jack, Time of Eve, and Durarara!! provided to be quite easy and fun, so I'm glad for the convenience that the app provides and the effort CR put into it. Now if only FUNimation and Viz made ones of their own...

GONG Anime TV Previews
--The second best app here on the iPhone/iPod touch is also the only app that revolves around downloaded video. Because it doesn't rely on streaming, it is simple to watch a show without an active Internet connection. It might not offer a huge library like Crunchyroll, but the unique distro method alone and Cover Flow-inspired layout make it worthwhile to try.

--Don't get me wrong, I like Joost's app and its design in of itself, but Viz's departure from the site and the app's propensity for sucking up a ridiculous amount of battery power, along with the occasional video stalling, make it a cautious draw. On the other hand, the video quality is pretty good and you can get decent mileage out of it if you refrain from "rewinding" (though that's key with any video-watching). And on top of it all, it's free and still has a good amount of titles from FUNimation, Toei Animation, and The Anime Network (whose selection may not be available, for obvious reasons), along with classic Transformers episodes and Godzilla films.

--Once host of content from a decent amount of video provider, vSNAX now primarily has Manga's stuff, and it isn't that much. In any case, it's free and nice service, even if it is clip-based.

--ZooVision's distribution of Anime Network properties is a very unique one. Prior to the recent Anime Network Mobile, they released episodes of shows and movies as individual apps, which included extras like exclusive wallpaper and character bios. Like AN Mobile, it's more expensive than your usual per-episode costs ($2.99, as opposed to the more common $0.99), and personally, even the extras don't really justify it (and for the price, it isn't download-to-own, either). Still, the movie apps are a little more reasonable ($4.99+) and you do get extras, though some may want to opt for AN Mobile now instead of making per-episode-app purchases...

-:Anime Shows on Parade:-
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku -The Legend of KOIZUMI- The Animation
--This almost defies explanation, but it is pretty funny too as it revels in its off-color, exaggerated satire and macho nationalism (more joke than delusion, being a comedy and least, I hope), even with the absence of subtitles. No word if more episodes will be posted, though it looks like it is just a first episode preview.

Nippon Animation Theater
--Just a few weeks after ANN posts about it and subsequently finds its way here, Nippon Animation closed off its video to everyone in U.S., and presumably everywhere else outside of Japan, thus now finding itself in the "Off Sites" section. That may explain the lack of translation (hardly the only ones, though), but I surmise domestic broadcasting and distribution rights had a role in this. Being an old animation buff, it is really disappointing.

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