Over the course of the last year or so, Anime News Network has been hard at work over its streaming video service, doing carryovers from other sites such as Hulu, to hosting titles themselves (i.e. Nobody's Boy Remi). The last month, however, has represented a major step forward in their campaign of streaming anime. In September, ANN announced their license rescue of the quirky, yet informative, comedy Animation Runner Kuromi and its sequel, homeless after former licensor Central Park Media went under a few years ago. Though the terms of ANN's deal only pertained to streaming rights, it was still a major score by the site to accomplish such a feat, though that would hardly be the end of their plans...
Last Thursday, Aniplex of America (aka "Aniplex USA") announced that two of their parent company's fall shows, OreImo (Ore no Imouto ga Konanni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, or "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute") and Togainu no Chi ~Bloody Curs~ would be simulcasted. Most assumed one or both shows would end up either on Crunchyroll or FUNimation Videos, but Anime News Network surprised with two announcements days later that they would be the exclusive party hosting the shows. Each series will be available for free in standard definition (360p, 480p) and for $5.00 in high definition (780p, and commercial-free)--$8.00 for both together--with OreImo airing every Saturday at 1:30 PM EST beginning on Oct. 9 and Togainu no Chi on every Wednesday starting Oct. 13. And to kick things off, there will even be a promotional contest with them.
It was great news alone to hear Aniplex USA give the two series the opportunity (especially OreImo, for reasons discussed later), but it was quite intriguing and fine seeing ANN throw their hat into the ring and have the chance to handle the simulcasting. According to Editor-in-Chief Christopher MacDonald, ANN was vying for simulcasts as long as Crunchyroll had (which started just last year), but only now has been capable enough and successful in landing a deal. With that, it is promising see someone besides CR and FUNi Vids (and Hulu, though they only host the anime, not license them), which bodes well for future new titles that don't appear at either place. And with ANN's helpful per-show subscription plan with the two shows presented, the future of simulcasting appears to look bright.
As for the two works themselves, OreImo has been on my radar for a while, ever since coming across one of its promo pictures a few months ago by total chance. After tracing it to the artist's site, there was a link to the anime's, though I didn't know too much about the title, nor had I heard anything about it. Now having bit more info on it, OreImo looks and sounds like it could be pretty good and sweet, so long it doesn't get bogged down by ecchi (or bro-/siscon). Togainu, on the other hand, has a really interesting premise, but I'm not too thrilled by its yaoi-tinged game origins (maybe it will be toned down in the anime). At the very least, both shows have strong staffs attached to them.
Whatever the case, ANN's entry into simulcasting is a welcome one and may hold a great promise if they can secure some major partnerships and anticipated titles (as well as under-the-radar ones with potential or differ from the usual) and stick with the subscription model. OreImo and Togainu no Chi are good starts.