Discussing Hulu’s Anime Eradication on the Speakeasy Podcast


Hulu is removing hundreds of anime from its catalogue on June 1st, and I hopped onto the Speakeasy Podcast with Alain to talk about it and to speculate about what it might mean for anime streaming in the future.

If your favorite show is on Hulu, there’s a good chance it’s also on other legitimate streaming services, but it’s still notable because of how big Hulu is.

Sadly, this means Hulu viewers might no longer be able to experience the excellent Show by Rock!!




Hulu Says, “Watch Anime.” I Say, “Uhhh…”

For the first time in a long while I’ve been able to use Hulu, and naturally the first thing I do is go watch some cartoons. While watching anime on Hulu, I got an ad for…anime on Hulu. That’s nice, why not advertise your services? People might not know, and I assume that these ads aren’t just preaching to the choir and appear on other shows.

As I watched the 30-60 second ad (I don’t quite remember how long it was exactly), I came to an odd realization that the ad was not making me want to watch anime. If you haven’t seen it, it basically features various clips from anime titles on Hulu (Naruto, Soul Eater, School Rumble, etc.) to the tune of an instrumental version of the first Soul Eater opening. Something about it doesn’t sit right with me, and I think it has to do with how similar it is in spirit to ADV’s old anime advertisements which emphasize thie idea anime is action, giant robots, magical girls, comedy, straight from Japan, not kids’ stuff, etc. I even like a good amount of the shows used in the ad, but it’s like they took the most spastic and anime-ey scenes they could find and called it a day’s work.

I don’t have a solution to offer myself, for an advertising wizard I am not, but I can easily think of one example that I feel inspires people to watch anime. Back in the early-mid 2000s, Toonami would run ads for their shows, usually grouped together by a theme. They made anime feel grand and special in a way that wasn’t just drawing on kids’ desires to see something different (though obviously that was still a factor).

(It also doesn’t hurt that the narrator is Optimus Prime.)

The above video indeed feels like it’s promoting a lot of the things that the old ADV commercials and the Hulu one do, but so much more weight is given to themes that are explored through anime than to the flesh and spectacle of techno-oriental exoticism. If the Hulu ends up working out for Hulu and they get tons of new viewers, then more power to them, but I still think the ad could be something more substantial.


In a dream I found myself watching an episode of a Slayers anime. It wasn’t an OVA or a movie as it featured the TV series cast, though it did make a reference to the OVAs. In the one scene I “watched,” an unidentified character who knew Lina Inverse’s history notices a sleeping Lina and decides to mess with her. She gets close to Lina and then whispers a Naga-style laugh into her ear. No effect the first time, so she tries it a little louder, which startles Lina out of her slumber and puts her on edge.

When I woke up, I thought about my own history as a Slayers fan and recalled that, despite my anticipation I had never finished Slayers Revolution or even watched its sequel, Slayers Evolution-R. I laid there thinking that, for someone who once prided himself on having watched as much Slayers as he possibly could, this was quite a disappointment that needed immediate rectifying.

Then I checked Hulu and saw that both series are on there, and I thought, “This is a pretty good time to be an anime fan.”


Lately I’ve been watching Kekkaishi on Hulu, courtesy of VIZ. Every week they release two new episodes and it’s been fun to keep up with Yoshimori and Tokine and all their wacky adventures. The show is fun and clever with remarkably good characterization for a shounen fighting series. And when an episode ends on a cliffhanger, there I am eagerly waiting for the next episode to appear the following Monday.

Here’s the thing, though. I am in no way against fansubs, and I am well aware that Kekkaishi has been fansubbed in its entirety. With a few clicks I could easily be watching the next episode and the next one after that, all the way until I finish the entire series. But still I refrain from grabbing those fansubs, and it’s not out of some sense of right and wrong or loyalty to the fine companies that license anime. And so I begin to wonder what the hell is up with me.

In his Macross 7 podcast, Andrew talks about how important he believes not marathoning Macross 7 is to enjoying the show more, and this may be affecting my thinking. Part of it may also be that I want to enjoy the experience of watching a series a little bit at a time and in a way where I can plan my schedule around it instead of squeezing it into every moment that I can. Monday is Kekkaishi day; it’s a nice way of approaching watching anime, and leans a little closer to the “passive” side of anime fandom.

But the more I think about it, the more I believe that this conscious self-restraint is just out of sheer stubbornness, like I’m daring myself to see just how long I can keep this up. I’m not only watching only an episode or two a week, but doing it on purpose when I could quite easily do otherwise. I’ve subconsciously thrown down the gauntlet at myself.

One thing I realized about myself is that I enjoy having “streaks.” When I exercise, it’s only partially to keep healthy, and much of it has to do with stubbornly seeing just how long I can do it. I also basically dared myself into making at least one post every day here on Ogiue Maniax, and the result is that, short or long, drawing or writing, I’ve posted 7 days a week for over two years. Granted, I no longer have that early blogger desire to make multiple posts in a day just because I can, but I think that’s more a matter of pacing myself.

So let’s see if I can finish Kekkaishi this way. Even if I fail, I think the experience will have been well worth it either way.