BIG NEWS FOR THOSE ARE CURRENTLY SUBSCRIBING TO NEON ALLEY!!!
Neon Alley, the English-dub streaming service for Viz Media, will transition into a free, ad-supported service associated with Hulu and Hulu Plus, effective April 1st (and no, this is no April Fools Joke. They are serious as hell about this!!) which also means your credit cards won’t be on file after the end of this February and not only that, they will add more into the video-on-demand function, and they will add subtitled anime from Viz’s catalog, even some of their simulcasts (especially and mostly the newest episodes of Naruto Shippuden). There will still be World Premiere dubs (thank goodness) As for expansions, they will hit on the PS4, Xbox One, Roku, Chromecast, and most various mobile devices that support the Hulu/Hulu Plus app.
My thoughts on this is that is really unexpected coming from Viz Media to do this although I did wonder as I try to get a gift subscription for a year’s worth but couldn’t do it, the folks on Neon Alley said that they were planning a good deal that will please some people and man, it did. I’m actually kinda glad I didn’t pay for a year’s subscription but luckily if you did, don’t worry, refunds will be issued for any portion of any gift memberships that remain unused. As for current paid Neon Alley members (like myself), they will receive 2 FREE MONTHS OF Hulu Plus while first time users will have a two-week trial instead of the usual 7 days.
As for apps, the Neon Alley apps that are currently used in the PS3 and Xbox 360 will be useless after April 1st as it’ll go through Hulu and Hulu Plus, as I previously mentioned and for another change, the live stream will be no more. Now, I will say that does suck because I was getting used to it but I do think it’s for the best because nowadays, people tend to use on-demand and “Catch Up” more than actually tuning in, which really did help NA when they added that feature last fall and I got to admit, I’m glad they added that as I think it adds more to them rising as a major center for dubbed anime.
And speaking of that, for those who whined about Neon Alley not having subbed anime even though you can watch it already on VIZAnime.com, that will be included there also and I don’t mind subbed anime. I just prefer dubs over subs and I guess I can see it in a positive light as it hopefully means that Viz could license more than just one show a season and eventually if it gets dubbed, it can really help out the California Anime dubbing companies, such as Bang Zoom and Studiopolis, which I think if it wasn’t for Neon Alley, it would’ve been declared dead and I’m thankful for that to this very day.
Hell, I think Neon Alley debuting Blue Exorcist dubbed first before anyone else helped get it on Toonami.
And I know what you’re thinking, “What about Toonami?”
I’m not leaving them out of this because Toonami is still a big part of the anime resurgence as of lately as is Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, FUNimation, The Anime Network via Sentai Filmworks, Aniplex Channel, whatever service that offers either the newest stuff from Japan or the catalog stuff you know and love but Neon Alley just stepped their game up with this announcement in my eyes. People might say it’s a desperate attempt to get more subscribers but hey, they do listen to what most people say on social media and hey, they often listen. I wanted Madoka Magica to play on Neon Alley and guess what? They did.
So, as a current subscriber of Neon Alley today, I’m actually pleased with this news, considering they have come a long way from Fall 2012 to here and now. They are giving us free content and yes, you still have to pay Hulu Plus but that isn’t a major problem, that is, if you already pay for both Hulu Plus and Neon Alley.
Til’ then, I hope the best for Neon Alley to succeed not just because I like the service but just to help out promoting anime to the masses.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
Link to the Transition FAQ for more information.