So recently I subscribed to Viewster’s new service Omakase. What is it you may ask? Well it is basically a combination of Loot Crate™ and Crunchyroll, since it provides subscribers a box filled with anime themed merchandise and lets you use their video service (Viewster), which seems to have recently made a push for anime. To kick of the launch of the service, their first box will be Kill La Kill themed, so it’s probably not a surprise to anyone, but I just had to buy it (despite the fact I’m supposed to be saving my money for a new console). The idiot who spent $70 on one thing is now spending half as much to get multiple things valued at $60. Though in my case, I spent an extra $6 having it shipped to my dorm from home in one day because I could not wait until after finals to get it. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the experience I’ve had with Omakase. I will discuss the box later, but for now, let’s talk about the using the other half of Omakase, the anime streaming.
The Actual Experience
So far, I have not had too many problems streaming anime using their app on my iPad mini. In fact, I would say it is the third best experience I’ve had legally streaming anime on an app (calling you out Daisuki). The interface is not as initially intuitive as Crunchyroll to use, but it’s not too hard to understand either.
Your queue is called “Watch it later.” You can put an entire show on this list, or a specific episode. I just wish it would keep track of what episode you’re on if you added a whole show on it. Instead, you’re forced to manually mark the next episode of a show in “Watch it later” in order to keep track of where you are. Otherwise you’re just going to have to memorize where you left of. At least when an episode ends, it automatically goes to the next episode.
Trying to rewind some parts or skipping did have some problems. It could be better, but overall worked fine.
Note that as of the time of writing, HD streaming is a feature that is not yet available, but according to the site is coming soon. At least it’s all ad-free.
What is weird to me is both on computer and the Viewster app, when browsing nothing is set up in alphabetical order. For example anime is near the bottom when browsing genres. I typed in Fate on the app and it gave me a random episode of Demon King Daimo as the first option; instead of something like Fate/Stay or Fate Kaleid.
For now, since they don’t have a massive selection of anime (yet) I guess this is fine since it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the anime you want to watch, but the inner neat-freak in me hopes it will be more organized in the future.
So let’s talk about what they have for you to watch. In addition to anime, Viewster has other shows and movies (usually old B movies or independent movies) from all parts of the world, like Testees or Night of the Living Dead. Overall, you have a variety-filled selection of shows and movies to watch, so that’s a bonus if you’re looking to watch something besides anime as well. But this is AniTAY, so that’s not what really matters. What I really cared about is the type of anime they have.
Due to not having a specific focus on anime, Viewster doesn’t have a big library like Crunchyroll or Funimation. What they do have anime wise though is really varied. They have anime from the 90’s, like Key the Metal Idol and Golden Boy, up to relatively newer ones like Charlotte and Classroom Crisis. I’ve mainly been using it to watch some anime I have never heard of, like Niea_7.
From what I can tell, they pretty much have at least one show from every genre of anime. Having used every imaginable legal streaming service that has anime, I’d say Viewster’s anime library is combination of Crunchyroll (in that it has some new anime) with Amazon Prime (they have older anime from the late 90’s up to the mid 2000’s.)
Here are only some of the anime they have:
Kill La Kill
Fate/Stay UBW (series and movie)
Maria Watches Over Us
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex (Dub only)
I subscribed in late October, and in the almost two the months I’ve had it, they have added 3 shows. They were Fate/Stay 2006, Danmachi, and No Game No Life. So it seems you can expect at least one new anime added about every two weeks.
What I do love is their honest-to-God descriptions of their anime. Instead of just putting a general synopsis for their anime, Viewster seems to have written some of their own. For example they describe High School of the Dead as “The Breakfast Club meets the Walking Dead.” How accurate that statement is, is a matter of opinion. If anything, one of my favorite things to do was reading some of their descriptions.
Here are some of my favorites
Hey remember that episode of K-On! where they talked about boys? Cause I don’t (or maybe I just need to watch it again.):
One funny thing that happened was when I saw there was an LGBT section. Out of curiosity I looked to see what they had. All there was, was one thing.
This is literally just an exercise tape. It’s weird that they did not include series like Maria Watches Over us or Strawberry Panic, both of which are yuri series and would make the most sense to add to this section.
What’s in the Box?
Now let’s get to the real reason I actually subscribed to Omakase. To get a box filled with Kill La Kill goodies.
One thing I want to say is that I really love the box. I’m probably never going to throw it away. I like the blue color, the inside, even wrapping has a nice design
.Any way here’s how it came packaged in:
Here’s the menu and everything the box came with:
Gotta say I dig the art on this:
Here’s the whole towel, which is probably my favorite item of the entire package:
I cannot for the life of me figure out the right way wear this (but it still badass):
I really love the limited edition gold foil hard cover of the 1st volume of the Kill La Kill manga (what a mouthful):
It feels really nice to hold and looks really cool. My only problem is now I have the first volume gold, what the hell do I do about the rest? I can’t have only one of the volumes be gold and the rest not, that would look stupid. Which is precisely the same logic I used when I bought the Kill La Kill limited edition Blu-rays, and ended up spending $300 over the course of one year ($330 to get it signed by the English cast). According to their subreddit, they are thinking of having the rest of the volumes be a special gift to those who subscribe to Omakase for a year, which I hope isn’t the case. If anyone from Omakase is reading this, please I beg of you, find a nicer way of releasing them. I don’t want to end up getting merchandise for anime I might not even like. For God’s sake I also don’t want to resort to stealing actual gold just to buy golden versions of this manga.
Is it Worth it?
That’s the big question, was it worth it? Now, Omakase bills on a bimonthly basis, and there is no option for streaming only. The overall price for a subscription is $35 ($29 plus shipping). One could say it is almost the equivalent of having one Loot Crate™ (which is about $19.95 for one) and paying $7.50 per month for two months of an ad-free streaming service.
Overall, I would say the service is fair. As a streaming service, they have a variety of shows and movies that are different; as an anime streaming service (which is what we really care about) it’s decent but lackluster. Though there are not a lot of shows, they definitely have enough variety with what they have. Plus they are still growing. The way I saw it, I bought this for the physical goods alone, the other stuff was just a nice added on bonus. Actually, there are also more things that are promised to be added in the future. Anime streaming in HD for one, hopefully really soon. They also, at some point, plan to add exclusive digital comic/manga and music content. In fact, they have recently announced they will exclusively release English VA Cristina Vee’s new EP for subscribers after the Kill La Kill box ships.
The next box they are shipping will be Naruto themed. Not my thing, so I will probably unsubscribe. Only temporarily though. I definitely plan to subscribe again if another one of their boxes catches my eye. It will probably be the one that has Volume 2 gold. ; )
You are reading this on Ani-TAY, a nonprofessional blog whose community loves anime, manga, light novels, and all that cool stuff.