Animax is one of the largest streaming sites around, rivalling Crunchyroll. For the longest time they were in separate rings though, Crunchy taking the west and Animax the east. Over the past few years however Animax have been spreading westwards, though without much fanfare. The problem they faced was the hold that Crunchyroll has on the anime streaming in the west. Crunchyroll however is heavily focused on America, with Europe being a back hander. this has lead to a lot of disgruntled European fans who would like to support legal avenues of watching anime, but are forced to fan subs because there’s no legal option available.
Yes there are several other anime streaming sites in Europe, but most of those tend to just be re-skinned Crunchyroll, sub licensing for showing in Europe.
Animax, who joined forces with Sony sought to bridge that gap, which they did; sort of.
Animax UK is pretty weak in it’s line up when it comes to current shows. For those Crunchyroll is still king, but Animax does have a few simulcasts. Where it beats Crunchyroll however is that it’s line ups are for the most part older series you can’t get on Crunchyroll anymore. Titles such as Code Gease, Berserk and Black Lagoon are all on there, what’s more they’re in dual audio format with both English and Japanese audio streams and subtitles.
However despite offering some older series i personally would like to watch again, the site has a number of problems. Firstly, the customer support is beyond terrible, your first point of call is a generic call centre who take your issue and pass it along, they’re essentially a glorified answer machine. This is passed onto the actual companies tech support who ignore you and pretend you don’t exist.
Then we have the actual website itself, I’ve never seen such a badly put together website. You’ve got mixed naming conventions, horrific layout, and a slow server. The site has several series on it, but some are set up as you would expect: series title – episode number – episode title; yet other just give the episode title and that’s it. this makes the index a cluttered mess and finding the episodes you want to watch painful.
The layout has episodes listed in different categories, and with different names, for example i found one episode listed as it should be: series title – episode number – episode title – language. However in another section the same episode was listed again with just it’s title, confusing much??
The server is slow, very slow. I’m lucky and have a 100mb connection and found that a simple page link was taking between 20-30seconds to load, sometimes even longer. Longest I’ve had was 1minute 27 seconds, and that was for the login screen.
Once you get signed up and are ready to watch the shows there’s a chance it wont work. Apparently, depending on your ISP you’re going to experience issues with the site. also depends on whether you have a static or dynamic IP. The problem seems to be the way they have their server configured, if you’re connecting from a dynamic IP the site thinks you’re using a VPN and wont let you watch anything. Ironically the only solution i found, since support never got back to me, was to use an actual VPN; so yeah something wrong there.
Once you finally get to the anime, you find the so called HD episode is in fact anything but. So is it 720p? Nope, it’s not even 480p, I’d say it’s around the 360p with a few spikes to 480p. What this means is if your using a TV as your monitor, i use my 40” plasma, the episodes look terrible.
I decided to try them again using the PS3 app that they just released, since it claims to be HD streaming. And nope, it’s not, just as bad as the website. Then there’s the app itself, it’s badly put together and doesn’t work properly. The interface is to big and goes out of bounds on my TV, resulting in certain things being below the edge of the screen. It’s extremely sluggish, and doesn’t work properly. You can not sign up from inside the app, you have to sign up through the website on a computer/tablet. For me the biggest gripe comes from the fact they didn’t make it PS3 Remote accessible. So if like me you use your remote on say the Netflix app for nice easy navigation and control; you wont have that here.
And of course the fact the supposed HD streaming is at 480p, i certainly wont be renewing after my trial and i would recommend you guys look elsewhere
Now, if this was a free service I’d be less harsh, however it’s not. At £5.99 a month it’s expensive. Same price as Netflix and £1 more than Crunchyroll. Sadly Crunchyroll still refuses to put their PS3 app on the EU store, but that’s nothing new, they love screwing over their EU users.
Netflix has a lot more shows and movies, but until recently they were all dubbed. Thankfully of late they’ve started to add dual audio to the shows. So I’d recommend using Netflix until someone can set up a proper anime streaming site in the UK