PSN: a new way to discover anime

Watching anime has always been something that has brought me great personal joy. Be it following the journey of the Elric brothers and their search for the Philosophers Stone, seeing the odd personalities of the Tachikoma play out in Ghost in the Shell, or the odd setting of The World in .hack//sign. They’ve all played key parts in both my teenage years, as well as my life now.

I recently got to check out an anime streaming service called Neon Alley, which happens to now have an app available on PlayStation Network.

Many people who are used to the a la carte style of Netflix may be put off by the TV offering of Neon Alley, but it brings back a source of nostalgia that I haven’t felt since watching Toonami on Cartoon Network. I had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Ige, VP of Animation at VIZ and got his thoughts on Neon Alley, as well as a few other things.

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PSU: What was the decision behind going a format that resembles a television channel in nature instead of something a la carte?

Ige: The decision behind this is all about "discovery,” which is one of the main reasons why most major studios continue to release new content via traditional broadcast. It gives us an opportunity to highlight NEW series that fans may have never discovered otherwise. It also allows us to provide specific time sensitive information to our members, in between shows we run segments on new releases coming this week (Video games, DVD, Manga, Digital), fun facts, upcoming conventions, and other information related to the audience.

PSU: The majority of casual anime watchers will love the decision to go with dubs on all of the content, but are you planning to do anything with subs and the original Japanese audio tracks? Was it a business decision, or did you feel that your market just wanted dubbed content over subs?

Ige: There are actually a few different destinations that already offer content in Japanese w/ English subtitles like VIZAnime.com, Hulu, etc., we didn’t want to create a competing business, instead we wanted to supplement the piece of the market that we felt was underserved. We know that there are audiences for both subtitled and dubbed content as well as consumers that enjoy both. Since there are already a few different places for subtitled content we wanted to establish a destination for dubbed content.

PSU: I applaud airing some of the classics like Inuyasha, but why show older anime series? Is there still a big market for them?

Ige: Older series are still very popular and bring back a feeling of nostalgia especially for fans that grew up on those series. The hope is that the channel will help to expose some of this great content to casual fans of anime that may have never had an opportunity to see them before, which goes back to the whole notion of discovery. We also know that every year brings a new set of anime fans that may have never had a chance to see some of the older series since they are no longer on TV. Given the total amount of episodes for some of the more popular series it may not be feasible to purchase all episodes so this gives that new generation of anime fans an opportunity to check them out.

Neon Alley is available now on PSN for $6.99 per month.