It was with a heavy heart that I learned of the end of Amazon’s Anime Strike service. While many in the anime community had their complaints about the service (double paywall, inconsistent airing schedule), it was a great sign for the mainstreaming of anime, and provided a lot of value, both as an alternative bidder to drive up the price of modern simulcast anime, and as a service that made some of the forgotten classics like The Garden of Sinners available to all.
The anime content is not gone, of course, and is now included to anyone with a Prime subscription. The Prime subscription anime shows still carry over some of the issues of the original Anime Strike. For one thing, there’s a severe lack good tagging or genre segregation. I had to double check via Amazon search that Anonymous Noise hadn’t been pulled from the service, because there’s not an easy way to look at all of the anime on Amazon Prime at the time of this writing. Also, there are some audio/subtitle issues. Amazon’s video service doesn’t allow for audio track switching, so legacy shows with both subtitled and English dubbed versions are listed as two different shows. Japanese-language shows re-use the subtitle settings for all Amazon video content, so if, like me, you’ve been alternating between Garden of Sinners and Jean-Claude Van Johnson episodes, you end up constantly turning subtitles on and off. These problems are, if nothing else, not improved by the end of Anime Strike.
Finally, in a non-anime related note, I liked (and still like) the promise of the Amazon Video platform. One of the great failures of streaming video (for anime and everything else) is that the current environment has become a confusoply of competing services with overlapping features and shifting content. I like that, under the Amazon platform, HBO, Starz and (previously) anime were all content options for purchase, and when I wanted to I could switch between Game of Thrones, The Americans, and Welcome to the Ballroom, without looking up which streaming service carried which show.
As for the future of anime on Amazon, the service’s anime tag doesn’t currently contain all of the anime on Amazon Prime, and we’ll have to wait another three months to see if Amazon continues to bid on anime now that it’s no longer running its own anime service. But for now, here are my top 10 recommendations for simulcasted anime currently available on Amazon Video. If you have not seen Garden of Sinners yet, stop reading this post and watch that.