I was ready to hate Daisuki months before it even launched.
On April 15, I got a press inquiry from the anime streaming site’s agent. Although I’m not writing professionally for any anime sites right now, the blog title “Otaku Journalist” usually ensures I still get interview queries about new products in the anime industry.
The email header was just too good: “Japan’s FIRST legal Japanese anime distribution website.”
Who are they kidding? Any otaku who’s been on the Internet more than a day knows there are plenty of legal places to get Japanese anime, at least one of them based in Japan. There’s niconico, Netflix, Funimation, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and more.
I emailed several questions over to Daisuki PR. Chiefly of which was this:
“There are already four legal, streaming anime providers in the United States. How is Daisuki different or better than CrunchyRoll, Hulu, Netflix, or Funimation’s streaming anime services?”
This week, I finally got my reply:
“DAISUKI does not aim to compete with other existing sites, since our main purpose is to provide Anime legally. So, as long fans are watching Anime on legal sites, we are happy with that.”
All right, that sort of makes it sound like the original email title never happened. But it’s a good sentiment, so go on…
“What is special at DAISUKI: the Anime companies are our shareholders, so we receive long lists with Anime titles which are ready to be streamed!”
This is great, too! Some of the titles include Madoka Magica, Gundam Seed, and Sword Art Online. However, as Anime News Network has already pointed out, these titles all have something in common—they’re all available and streaming on other sites already!
Could there be more to this?
“Also, there will be a DAISUKI online store where fans can purchase limited official items. Thanks to our direct connections to the Anime studios we are able to provide exclusive footage, too, that can be only viewed on DAISUKI. For example, making-of material, video messages from the creators, etc.”
All right, so a store, same as Funimation and Crunchyroll. It doesn’t look like the store is available yet, but there is a giveaway with merchandise prizes going on.
I signed up for Daisuki over the weekend. Daisuki TV is a dead link, so I clicked on Anime Studios and was led to a video player. However, every time I tried to watch something, I kept getting a notice that “This player is unable to play this protected content at this time.” (This may be my unique problem, since Crunchyroll reviewer Humberto Saabedra was able to watch.)
At least I’m not paying for the privilege to not be able to watch shows. Daisuki told me “Watching most of the Anime content will be for free,” though they will eventually offer fee-based content. I just wish I could tell if there were commercials or not—if there aren’t, that gives it a huge edge over sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation where you have to pay if you don’t want ads.
For now, I don’t see Daisuki as a game changer or a “first” in any way. However, it is yet another way to watch anime cheaply and legally, and that makes it worth supporting. I’m just glad that Daisuki said “as long fans are watching Anime on legal sites, we are happy.” Because as supportive I am of legal anime streaming, it’s physically impossible for me to do it here.
Have you signed up for Daisuki yet? What are your first impressions?