After just a year, Amazon has gutted its hard-to-love anime service Anime Strike, rolling the dozens of anime shows and movies Anime Strike offered into Amazon Prime’s general offerings.
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Reached for comment, an Amazon representative told Kotaku, “We have decided to move the curated catalogs of Anime Strike and [Bollywood channel] Heera into Prime Video so that more customers can enjoy this content as part of their Prime membership.”
Anime Strike, which launched early 2016, won licensing rights to much of 2016's best titles like Inuyashiki, Princess Principal and Made In Abyss. It gave fans another option aside from anime-centric services like Funimation and Crunchyroll and bigger streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu—and a well-curated option at that. This morning, fans noticed that Anime Strike’s Twitter account had disappeared, and that, although its website is still up, its “Exclusives” section is empty. Anime titles that had previously been $4.99 are now free with Amazon Prime.
Anime Strike had a lot of issues of its own. Its ticket price was $60 a year ($5 a month) on top of a $99-yearly Amazon Prime subscription—a double paywall. Typing an anime title into Amazon’s search bar often meant wading through related manga, t-shirts and soundtracks before happening upon its Anime Strike entry. It was also only available in America.
Anime fans are celebrating Amime Strike’s rollback, and questioning why they had to suffer a double-paywall to watch anime on Amazon in the first place.