Friday, February 28, 2014

Anime-Planet Just Got Even Better

I know it's Rewind day, but I'm putting that post on hold in order to make a special announcement. I'm a little late on the ball, so many of you already know this: Anime-Planet now streams full episodes of anime thanks to a partnership with Crunchyroll.

I'm watching Naruto Shippuden on Anime-Planet. I never
thought this day would come, but it has.

Just in case you aren't aware, Anime-Planet is one of my favorite websites. I talk about it so much, it has its own tag here on my blog. It's a great way to keep track of what I watch and to get and give recommendations. But it's more than a tool; it's a community, and a very important part of my online history.

I don't hang out in the forums there anymore; I got busy with real life and elsewhere on the web. I also got bashful about returning after leaving so suddenly. Still, if it weren't for Anime-Planet, this blog wouldn't be what it is today. That website introduced me to online community. Just like a physical place, that website has become a part of who I am, a source of nostalgia, warm fuzzy feelings, and an occasional wince when I remember awkward moments.

That's why I try to make recommendations at least on occasion, and why I rely heavily on ratings, recs, reviews, and blogs by Anime-Planet users when I'm considering an anime. It's why I follow Anime-Planet on Facebook and Twitter, and why I'm excited to give what help I can to promote the new feature.

The full press release is on Anime-Planet, with follow up from the overlord, Sothis, so I'll just comment on a few things.

On the Feature Itself

I like that I only need to go to one website for most of my anime needs. When I go to Crunchyroll, I usually have Anime-Planet open at the same time, anyway. I also like that as soon as I watch the latest Daiya no Ace or Tonari no Seki-Kun, my list will update. I've often wanted to update my anime list, only to find that Anime-Planet hadn't registered the latest episode count. This should help with that.

There is one hiccup I've found, though. The video on Anime-Planet doesn't have the same options listed for quality. That doesn't matter if you're not a Crunchyroll premium member or have consistently good internet speed. I do have an anime membership, and I get 1080p streaming automatically. My internet can't always support that quality, especially when there are other people at home using the network. If I want a smooth viewing experience, I often have to go down to 480p. I can't make that change when watching on Anime-Planet, so I won't get to make full use of this feature.

Still, overall, this looks great! And there's a link directly below each video to the anime's discussion thread. This may coax me back into the forums. While I do comment on Crunchroll videos from time to time, those comments aren't a good way to discuss much.

A Couple More General Notes

Anime-Planet is a site by anime fans, for anime fans, and it shows. Kim Cameron, better known to most of us as Sothis, is the founder and overlord of Anime-Planet. Yes, overlord. The press release says "CEO," but that brings to mind long polished conference tables in skyscrapers, people in stuffy suits, profit, and big corporations... none of which describes Anime-Planet.

Profit is not the goal of this site, and it's clear in the little courtesy things. For example, Sothis doesn't assume that we want everything automatically updated for us. Everything is opt-in. This applies to connection with Twitter (you know how some websites automatically tell Twitter everything you do, until both you and your followers are annoyed and you finally disconnect your Twitter account? Yeah, Anime-Planet does not do that - so I've connected my account without fear of abuse). And it applies to the new feature, too: we can choose for our "watching" lists to automatically update when we watch Crunchyroll videos, or we can stick to our manual ways.

Sothis is the chief developer of this website, and she integrated Crunchyroll with A-P with help of only two other people, one in particular, known as Xesxen. This took a long time, and she's been giving us hints of a big change for a long time. She's been great about communicating without giving away the secrets. I've been curious about the update since months ago, when we could no longer scroll through character lists on each anime's profile page (now, we have to click "see all characters"). More recently, she gave us a visual hint on Facebook. I'm sure she enjoyed watching our guesses and mounting excitement. The hint showed a corner of a Crunchyroll video player, and I suspected that Anime-Planet would be able to give us full episodes. Still, it's so different than anything this site has offered, I told myself not to assume anything. Congratulations, Sothis, you have successfully surprised your users, to put it mildly.

The most amazing thing? This isn't even close to the end of it. Check out what Sothis said at the end of the announcement:

"As the press release hints at, we have some really exciting stuff coming up in the future. We originally planned to hold some of it back until the big redesign was done, but as that's still some months away, we'll likely have another big announcement to make shortly. Stay tuned, and thanks as always for your support of A-P!"

Part of me is wary of big change because, well, I'm a little emotionally attached to this place. But I've decided to trust Sothis, and I'm very excited to see what comes next!


  1. if you want you can try setting a lower default resolution from your cr account settings, I think it should apply to A-P automatically

    1. Thanks for the tip! I'll try it the next time I'm trying to watch with lazy internet. :)


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