I think I’m going to have a good time making fun of Daisuki. Daisuki, the international effort of a Japanese congolmerate trying to promote digital streaming distribution overseas, opened its doors last Thursday and featured a sampling of free streaming anime with both new shows like Gundam Seed HD and Lupin the III 2nd season. I mean, that’s quite a range; you could be crawling in your skin watching Sword Art Online one moment and slapping away with Zeta Gundam the next.
Launching the site also means playing most of its hand. The design of the site seems to break down into a video section and a store section. The FAQ page lists various generic Q&As that a retailer site would have. It also answers questions about a potential pay-subscription service. None of those things are available yet. In fact, other than some hiccups, there’s not much to say about Daisuki itself right now.
The one thing that can be said is DRM. At least, I am assuming this is why Daisuki’s video playback require flash, and local storage via flash. So if you can’t get that to work, no video for you. Which also means no video for most devices running Android 4.1+ or any iOS devices.
A very different story happened 2 days earlier when AnimeSols launched. The half-kickstarter, half-free-streaming site launched with 8 titles from the wayback machine. I watched an episode of Creamy Mami and I am like, hey this is not entirely terrible. It uses only HTML5 which means it works on everything other than Firefox and some versions of IE. They are essentially streaming without DRM.
It isn’t to say AnimeSols don’t have (serious) problems. The website looks like a fan site from 6 years ago, the pledge mechanism could be better (eg., can’t freely cancel pledge before deadline). The fatal flaw is a general lack of understanding why successful crowdfunding projects are successful. It didn’t launch with some key components like FAQ and the like (some were added afterwards). There are simply too many launch pledge titles, there is next to zero discovery mechanism, and generally does a poor job of marketing any of their pledge drives (in fact I don’t even know how it is suppose to work, who is running them, etc). Well, it’s hard to say what is what without knowing the constraints Daisuki and AnimeSols had to work with, but AnimeSols is like that beautiful paper airplane from ef, except it’s gonna crash and burn.
I think there’s a half-empty, half-full approach to look at these two new ventures. On one hand, anime is kind of an insular business, especially since Japan can’t be counted on to produce a catchy tech business, let alone revolving around children’s cartoons. Outside of Japan, there are probably too few people to really call on in order to make something really top notch. At least, not after Crunchyroll–arguably the only legit startup in the business. That Strike Witches joke from Seizon season one, heh, strikes again–it takes more than one person to make an anime; it takes also more than one person to sell it.
But I would love to be proven wrong.
These two sites are just getting started. Time will tell. Meanwhile go sign up on Daisuki, win some prizes and vote on what you want to see. If you want junk from anime studios’ storage closets in the form of “vintage merchandise” from shows back in the 70s, go back some stuff from AnimeSols.
PS. The post topic is brought to you by this adorable twitter bot. This post is brought to you by the need to pun.
PPS. The ANNCast with Daisuki rep is unfortunate. I’m not sure anyone took note or what, but if there’s one takeaway, it’s that old Toei titles are all open game (eg., people will really daisuki for Daisuki when it becomes the one place that shows Sailor Moon), except of whatever that may be blocking their way.
PPPS. Hi there.