If you’re unfamiliar with Crunchyroll, it’s a site that has grown up a lot in the last couple years, bringing streaming anime to American enthusiasts, sometimes even the same week as the show airs originally in Japan. Taking that philosophy one step further, the site has now teamed up with Microsoft to bring some anime shows directly to your Xbox 360 or Windows PC via the Zune Marketplace.
The Zune Marketplace currently has some anime available, typically through other networks like the Cartoon Network or Anime Network. However, Crunchyroll’s unique niche is that they are able to bring some shows across the Pacific the same week they air in Japan, allowing North American viewers to keep up on current shows without having to wait for the DVD release well after the season is over.
The initially announced shows include The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (which is one of my favorite anime shows), Yokuwakaru Gendai Maho and Giant Killing. I’m sure there will be more where that comes from in the future, as well. Some may think this is unusual for Microsoft, since their console has never really been supported as much as others in Japan itself. When you factor in that this is bringing Japanese anime to North American fans, it makes more sense. But, do Xbox 360 fans fit the anime-loving demographic? I guess we’ll see!
As of right now it appears that there is no high-def version of these shows on Zune, but each episode can be purchased for 160 Microsoft points, which is similar to what they charge for other television genres on a per-episode basis (in standard definition). But, it is a step in the right direction. I’d love for this to get to the point where I could keep up with some of my favorite anime shows the same week they air in Japan, that would be great. What do you all think?