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Something to Stream: Tales of Zestiria the X

Tales of Zestiria the X jumps straight into fantasy statecraft and combat, right from the beginning of episode 0 (yes, this series starts at the actual first integer of any numeric sequence). The artwork and animation are both quite good, although so far not spectacular except for a few fleeting scenes. The characters and dialog introduce what seems to be this series strong suit; its densely layered plot elements and action sequences, weaving together to form the basis of an excellent story, and story telling environment. Like all the other shows from this season, it is only 4 or 5 episodes along at this point, so there is no way to know if this is going to end up being one of the classics or an also ran. But I really like what it has shown us so far, and will keep watching it to the end of the season if only to find out if they can keep up the quality throughout, and deliver on the implied promise. I have high hopes, since this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tales Of family of animations, with this being the latest.

I am watching this series on Daisuki, which has a number of shows you can’t see anywhere else, which makes sense; they are a consortium of Japanese Anime creation companies, and not a North American distributor of Anime, after all. They have just entered the Premium Subscription phase of a streaming services life cycle, and I am happy to report they are following the Crunchyroll Anime Business Model. In other words, your free registration with them allows you to watch everything the paid premium service gives you, with 3 differences:

1) Premium watches 1 hour after it airs in Tokyo, Free sees it 1 week after.
2) Premium has limited commercials (Free’s more numerous commercials are currently only promos drawing you into other anime shows they are running, but that won’t last once they can market it).
3) Premium can watch in true HD, as can Free. Guest (you didn’t sign up for a log in) tops out at SD.

That last point is different than Crunchyroll, which does not differentiate between unregistered and registered free, as far as I can tell. And the second point reminds me a bit more of Hulu rather than Crunchyroll, come to think of it, because there are NO commercials on Crunchyroll Premium. And all of these differences between providers explains why I watch it on Daisuki rather than Funimation, even though I have a Funimation Premium account which I really enjoy. For the most part, they only let you watch a few episodes of any given series until you sign up for the Funimation Premium account. I understand the business model, but would rather support the others, which are more appealing to me as a consumer.

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