Friday’s Feature: A Brief Reflection on Streaming Anime in Australia

I appreciate that readers from elsewhere in the world probably don’t need to know what streaming is like in Australia, however with Amazon recently ditching Strike and adding their anime to Prime (and Prime being available in Australia even if much like other services the library is smaller than it might be elsewhere), it seemed like a good time to reflect on the access situation in Australia.

It used to be really hard trying to be an anime fan in Australia. Purchasing DVD’s off various websites and usually ending up with questionable quality, watching fan-subs on YouTube, or resorting to Downloads were more or less the only options.

Fortunately, we now have online streaming (and a lot more avenues for purchasing DVD’s once they finally get released).

Sure there are some barriers to online streaming. The two main ones seem to be dodgy internet or the fact that you need multiple subscriptions to access sufficient content to make it worth your while. And they are both legitimate issues still to be addressed, however for me legal streaming sites are fantastic. I’m never without new anime to watch and as much as I complain about various services, ultimately the access I have now is so far beyond what I could have even imagined even ten years ago.

So let’s go through the services I currently use and some points about them (keeping in mind some of the services aren’t for anime strictly speaking, they just happen to have some anime on them). This isn’t a definitive guide nor is it researched. Just my experience with the service. I will point out it might look like I’m tearing into Crunchyroll but it is the service that has the most anime on it so I have spent the most time on it. Obviously I’ll have found more issues with a service I use daily than one I might check in on once a month to see if anything new is out (Netflix). I will point out this is a fairly rambling post. Bottom line, all services have good and bad points and to get access to the largest range of titles you need multiple services.

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Crunchryoll

This is the big one with almost all of my current watch list for the season coming off of Crunchyroll (I have one current show from HiDive that I might drop mid-season, and I’ve picked up one on Amazon but I haven’t picked any up from AnimeLab this season). It didn’t used to have quite that many titles but after their partnership with Funimation they now get the lion’s share of the anime I end up watching. They also have a fairly massive library of older titles and for the price you pay for a yearly subscription you more than get your money’s worth in content. However, probably because I use it the most often, Crunchyroll is also the service I have the most issues with.

01. Some titles don’t get released in Australia even though they are on Crunchyroll. What makes this particularly annoying is that Crunchyroll sends out an email to tell you about this great new title you can watch and when you click the link it takes you to a page that tells you the title isn’t available in your region. Seriously, get a decent email system and send those notifications to people who are in regions with access. Ultimately this is a minor annoyance.

02. The video player is not good. It doesn’t buffer a video so any internet disruption (and this is Australia and I’m in the country so there are a lot) stops the video in its tracks. Worse, when connection is restored (even if the glitch was just for a second) the video won’t just start. You normally have to reload the page and then it might start from approximately where you were up to but sometimes it just restarts the whole video (and don’t even try skipping forward – the video will crash and you will have to start over more often than not). Again, this is my experience with it but it is actually painful some days to get to the end of an episode. But that isn’t every day, it just happens more often than I would like.

03. The ‘help’ provided is more frustrating than helpful. Without getting into too much detail in the two years I’ve been streaming and reviewing I’ve had two issues I could not solve on my end at all (and believe me I tried with the second because I did not want to contact their help again). Neither issue ended up being solved in a satisfactory manner and the icing on the cake is after not resolving the issue in a timely or helpful manner I then got bugged for weeks after to provide feedback on how I found their help only the link they sent in those emails didn’t work. Very annoying. However, I could look at the bright side that I’ve only needed to access that kind of help twice and other issues I’ve been able to resolve after spending a few hours going through the very poorly organised help files.

04. Finally, Crunchyroll has been hacked and their site goes down when popular anime stream and their customers actually try to use the service on mass. This is a problem well discussed on Twitter.

Still, if you are in Australia and actually wanting to stay current with seasonal anime, despite all of those issues, Crunchyroll is actually the service that will give you the most access for your money and given the amount of anime I’ve reviewed I’m guessing I’m not too hard done by despite feeling frustrated regularly with this service.

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AnimeLab

I used to be really, really happy with my subscription to AnimeLab. Firstly they stream only in Australia and New Zealand. The player is fantastic, navigating between episodes when bingeing is awesome. You can even tell it that you haven’t watched a series so it removes all the places you’ve stopped watching and it will start all episodes from the beginning allowing easy rewatching without being bugged about whether you want to resume an episode or not. Plus, videos buffer so you can make sure you can get to the end of a show before starting it. Very little to complain about.

My biggest issue has come about since the Crunchyroll – Funimation partnership. Since Funimation partnered with Crunchyroll… well the last two seasons have not seen much coming out on AnimeLab. Last season I was watching UQ Holder on it (and I could have watched that on HiDive), and this season the only show I’m interested in watching is Record of Grancrest War and it is available on Crunchyroll. I’m subscribed until later in the year but if they aren’t getting seasonal anime then I will probably let this subscription go.

That said, if you are a casual anime fan in Australia, AnimeLab is a great service. They have quite a selection of big titles in their library and while the library isn’t massive it does get added to fairly regularly. I was very happy when they released Drifters as I hadn’t been able to watch it prior to AnimeLab picking it up and they regularly add titles and notify their users of what is in their library.

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HiDive

Okay, I only added this one late last year and it still hasn’t made it clear what the final price of a subscription will be as we are still on their introductory price. I’ll decide whether to keep this service or not then.

HiDive was a fantastic addition though as it gave me access to titles like Made in Abyss that I’d heard a lot about but hadn’t been able to access. Like AnimeLab, the existing library isn’t that big, but is getting added to, and they’ve recently got their apps up and working so I can now view on my television or anywhere else for that matter.

For the short time I’ve had the service, I’m more or less happy with it. It occasionally glitches and the menus are not great but for the most part I’ve had no major issues watching on this service. Still, I only watched three shows on it last season and I’ve only really watched 3 or 4 older shows from start to finish, so my experience here is limited.

Scum

Amazon

This one I only just signed up for and I would not have for their anime collection. It isn’t overly impressive with what is available in Australia. While it has added 9 or so titles to my catch up viewing list for the year and I’m glad to have access, this can’t compare to the selection on any of the other services. This service was more for the movie catalogue than for anime.

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Netflix

Much like Amazon, though I’ve had this account for much longer. I watch the occasional anime title on it but the collection is not great and they don’t do current seasonal shows anyway. Netflix is definitely something you have for the other content and the few anime they pick up are just a bonus.

Watch

As I said at the start, this isn’t a definitive guide but more my thoughts on each service and my experience (or lack of it) with the services. What I do like is that there are only a few titles left each season that I can’t access, and even with all these services together, each month it is still cheaper than going to the cinema once with another person and buying a drink and popcorn combo (which actually seems pretty reasonable given how much content I watch across these services – or it means the price of cinema tickets and snacks is insane).

It is a very good time to be an anime fan in Australia as more becomes available every season and it is actually reasonably priced to get these services. The slow internet issue is something that needs to be addressed but not just for streaming anime.

So, if you read to the end of my rambling thoughts here I’d love to know if you are Australian what your experience is like accessing anime and if you aren’t Australian, what are your options?


Thanks for reading.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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20 thoughts on “Friday’s Feature: A Brief Reflection on Streaming Anime in Australia

  1. This was a great post Karandi. I was going to do one on streaming in Australia. I get you on getting those emails from Crunchyroll and saying new anime then you cant watch it. Anime lab I’m also with and have been very happy with their service. I use that to watch older titles and rewatch some favourites. Like you I’ve had no issues with it.

    Was going to ask regarding hidive how much was it a month? And is payment going through not a hassle. As i thought it wasn’t available for Australia honestly. Netflix wish they would have a bigger anime library but hopefully they’ll add some more titles. Haha people might have an idea what its like streaming wise here and. Be good to see more posts like this of other people’s streaming availability in their country

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HiDive has been no problem so far. It’s been 3.99 US per month and I’m paying via paypal (though that was their introductory price and still no news about whether that is the long term price). They had some great titles last season but this season not so much. You should be able to go to their site and see what is available even without signing up to see whether there’s stuff in their catalogue you want to see. It isn’t a massive library but like AnimeLab they’ve been adding more titles to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Streaming services definitely make life easier, though, to be honest, I miss a bit those “good ol’ days” when nyatorrents was the primary source of video — often we had a few translations and could choose the most acceptable one, and subtitles sometimes were virtually a work of art, with karaoke-style op/ed, individual colors for characters and so on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely more that could be done with subtitles by streaming services. Options would be a lovely thing to add in and, yeah, karaoke style OP/ED would be appreciated (I miss those).

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  3. I’m not from Australia but I’ve heard others also have issues too. As for me I used to have a funi account and my brother cruchy and then we’d share but now I only have a crunchyroll acct bc I never really used Funimation. But I’m curious, what exactly is the crunchy-funi partnership? I heard about it awhile back but never really looked into it. My family also has Netflix but I don’t really use it and when I do it’s rarely for anime. My brother also has Prime but again, I don’t use it for anime. I think the only time I did was for Kabaneri and I didn’t even finish the show. I also tried watching this other show but I forgot the name of it. Couldnt watch bc it wasn’t available in the US T-T I think it was only Canada Orz

    Issues with crunchy usually involve videos stopping which I blame on my spotty internet connection :/ aside from that nothing major I’ve had to contact customer service with

    If I can’t find the show I need on any of these sites then sometimes I check YT. I know I watched Big Windup from the Funimation YT channel and s2 from another industry channel. I’m also not above watching from illegal sites but I always try to use legal services first

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  4. I use crunchy roll mostly, the free version, though it doesn’t provide everything i watch. I have had it freeze mid video, but never had problems with it restarting. Not have i had problems skipping further into the video. My biggest complaint with them is that they require flash player, which i don’t have On my primary viewing device.

    I was very happy to hear about amazon, but I can’t utilize it, because my mom is using my college discount on her account. I don’t really mind, it’s no biggy. I wouldn’t be paying for it right now anyway.

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    1. Yeah, I know most of my issues with Crunchyroll are because of my poor internet connection. Yet other sites manage to deal with the fact that my internet drops out and comes back in intermittently whereas Crunchyroll just kind of stops.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wasn’t aware of the Australian streaming situation, but that was good to know about how it differs compared to other countries (in my case, America). I use Netflix for streaming and DVDs, but I’ll rent stuff on iTunes and Google Play if they don’t have what I’m looking for on Netflix. I review a lot of older stuff when it comes to my anime posts on Iridium Eye, so it’s a bit rough when all they focus on are the newer series. Granted, anime is only a fraction of what I critique on that aforementioned blog, but it is something I’ve dealt with.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I use Crunchyroll/VRV, Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. I found a few good ones on Hulu that I haven’t found anywhere else. VRV is fine but it needs a better tracking service to keep track of when anime is released.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well you already know the troubles I have watching anime through legal ways in my country. My only two avenues are Crunchyroll and Netflix. And they at least in my country don’t have as much content as in the rest of the world. Still…it is much better than it used to be in the past. So I am not complaining….much 😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that’s the thing, for all that I might complain about not being able to watch a particular show I remember not being able to access anything until well after it was finished and usually not through any kind of legal channel so the situation is vastly improved on what it was and it continues to get better.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I did watch Devilman Crybaby and have a review coming out soon. I wasn’t a huge fan.
      Netflix just doesn’t have the selection available in Australia to make it a major player when looking at anime access. That and it doesn’t do current seasons. So while I pick up the odd show that comes out on Netflix it isn’t my first thought when I think of streaming anime.

      Liked by 1 person

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