This is a huge topic, so to begin I will break it down to a tiny subset with a very limited scope, so it doesn’t run away from us right out of the starting gate. Since this is my introduction post to the topic, it will be confined to:
2) Generic Servers
3) Free Sites
There are a lot of places online to watch Anime, which is a great way to pick out the good ones before laying your money down for the DVD’s. I spend so much time watching great animated sci-fi and fantasy this way, I figured it was about time to make it part of my Blog entries. To begin, I just want to mention a few of the generic video servers, and I should also mention the updated Anime Nation App with all new functionality for watching through your iDevice.
Hulu is of course now running Hulu Plus, but it also has just added several new titles to its free Anime Network section, including Xam’d, Blue Drop, Ghost Hound, and the second season of Hell Girl, to name just a few. Outside of that company there are a ton of classic titles, like Full Metal Panic (including all series), Vandread (both seasons and the OVA), Gad Guard, and Kaze no Stigma, and the inevitable whole lot more. There is an entire additional range of recent works, including D.Gray-Man, Sands of Destruction, and Birdy the Mighty: Decode. Those titles are just the tip of the iceberg, and don’t even begin to impinge on whats available in the premium section of the video service.
It gets a bit blurry when you try to follow a given production house, even when they are importing and converting, rather than creating, their works. As an example, Funimation Online Video can point you to their own internal company servers, or the Hulu Servers (that last link was to the feature film Vexille: 2077 Isolation of Japan), or to their YouTube Site where you can watch some great new titles like Birdy the Mighty: Decode and classic recent additions including Vandread and Witchblade. The title duplication was not an accident, just serves to indicate that the edges of what is available from various sources does include a lot of overlap, and rightly so. The more formats and servers supported, the wider the potential audience becomes for a given program; which works very well for the content creators long run, since it helps create the largest possible market for their product. But at its heart, their product is stories about the human condition, whatever the media they use to present them, as all stories must be.
Another great source is Anime News Network, which maintains its own set of streaming servers. This site has a unique set of programs you won’t be able to see anywhere else, and my personal favorite series in their current collection is Oreimo. You get woken in the middle of the night to discover your little sister is an Otaku in so deep she is creating her own Manga’s which are now being turned into Anime’s. As the honorable Big Brother, you do everything needful to protect her.
Finally for today, this link is the winner: you can click to watch the US premiere of Fractal, when it becomes available.