Archive for the 'bost' Category

Moe Check on BOST

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Damien Kellis reports on the streaming anime service BOST. In short: it’s a Flash video. Think prepaid YouTube in higher resolution. Read the post if you’re interested in details.

Damien has screenshots of their launch title, Cellphone Girl, which are fairly breathtaking. I haven’t seen such pretty fanservicy designs in a while, perhaps since Ninja Nonsense, only now they are in bikinis. As far as outright beauty goes, few can touch Megumi from Ramen Fighter Miki, but it’s a somewhat different axis of measurement.

UPDATE: TNK raises the question of buying to own. It would not be my concern in this case. I consider BOST a PPV service, to be used to check out series before buying DVDs.

And another thing: Flash is, of course, nasty. However, Adobe at least has committed to have it working on Linux. A standalone player would most likely be a deal breaker for me.

BTW, BOST sends the password in the cleartext in the activation e-mail. Anyone wants to bet if they store it hashed in their database? Also, the login session does not seem encrypted. The problem is not so much that university sysadmins and ISP workers are going to watch some anime for free now. It’s much worse, because I’m going to use PayPal. And at least in case of Virgin Mobile USA, they require a service agreement and then deduct money from PayPal. If BOST does the same without SSL, I’m going to frown very, very hard.

UPDATE elsewhere: CalAggie managed to get it working. I’m a little behind on that.

Keitai Shoujo at BOST

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

I finally got around to looking at BOST. Unfortunately, there was nothing to buy. The Keitai Shoujo is free of charge for now, and the other titles are not available in America. The flash video itself works well enough. The quality is about what we were getting with fansubs in 2002.

The only downside so far is that taking screenshots for a blog is a chore.

After watching an episode, I am left with a strong suspicion that I’m missing something fundamental about the way BOST works, because firstly Rin has essentially no screen time, yet she’s represented extensively in the OP, and secondly this is her character blurb:

She is a cell phone spirit of sorts, who supports Hiro’s love life. Her appearance is that of a little girl, but she is actually her owner’s cell phone given form, with all of its original functionality intact. Her mission is to fulfill her owner’s love within a set amount of time. She declares to Hiro that if this mission is not completed in time, her very existence (along with Hiro’s cell phone) will be destroyed. Along with performing her duties as a cell phone, Rin also encourages Hiro when he is in need, and reports schoolgirl data to him.

Reminds me of Video Girl Ai for some reason. Anyway, this all seems to mean that an “ep.0” has to exist, in which Rin meets Hiro, but it’s not anywhere on the BOST’s website.

The missing episode syndrome is double unfortunate because I have already pegged Rin as my favourite character and then she gets no screen time. Disappointing!

The episode length was disappointing too, although not by itself. After all, a run of the mill DVD in America ends with $6 per episode, give and take (unless it’s a thinpack). With $2 for 6 minutes, BOST ends costing the same. It is, of course, a hybrid of a rental and a PPV, so there’s no same value, but regardless the price is in the ballpark. I actually would pay that much to see something outstanding now and again. So, I don’t feel wronged in regard of getting value for the money.

What is disappointing, however, is the way girls are presented. To Heart was built according to the same formula, and a 24-minute episode of it was barely enough to get to know characters. Aoi alone would fill a 6-episode OVA, I daresay. Doing the same in 6 minutes is insane! Well, I know about the existence of speed-dating, but perhaps that’s insane too.

By the way, teasers of Miya fanservice were amazing. She seems set to carry the vote easily, unless she’s badly animated.

ADV’s streaming

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

BOST move over! The heavy hitter is in town:

So when ADV quietly announced their new Anime Network online streaming video service, I thought it was best news to come from the industry since the launch of the Tokyopop’s “Authentic Manga” line.

Quetly announced indeed. I did not know about this until I read the above.

I think that if this can be watched at all, it can blow BOST out of the water. Firstly, most people have an unlimited tolerance for ads. Remember how many buy Disney DVDs with non-skippable ads. So, ad-supported services will always win. Add to it the fact that BOST is hella expensive. I can hear the whining “i’m too poor to pay but i’m entitled to watch shows for which i don’t wanna pay” already. And most importantly, just ask yourself if you’d rather be watching Keitai Shoujo or Gurren-Lagann? Two words: Yoko’s chest (she also has a gun).

UPDATE: I have a suggestion for Mr. Kellis: ask a friend to install a proxy (a datagram-based VPN would be the best for trans-pacific performance, but SOCKS will work as a quick fix). I suspect that Maestro would not look kindly on using Moe Check’s own server for this purpose, or you would not even need a friend.

Keitai Shoujo ends

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Frankly, this was just bad. To add insult to the injury, the anime itself is well made, including script and direction, but the 6-minute format simply strangles it dead.

Not giving us any real time with Rin was downright criminal and inexcusable.

Imagine that you get to watch Figure 17, but they only show you this:

… but not this:

… this:

… or this:

You may be able to guess that you might be watching a piece of something good, but what you’re actually watching would be artificial and hollow.

The only good thing was that I learned how to say “please be my girlfriend”: オレと付き合って(つきあって)くれ. Utterly useless, since I’m married, but I cannot leave an anime without salvaging something, even if a little bit.

Liked: Umm… no.
Rewatch: No.

FRIDGE UPDATE: Coincidently, Moero Amazon reported on Keitai Shoujo today. The entry is largely non-judgemental, as far as I can tell. She was a little concerned that the anime would become “muddy” (どろどろ)… I cannot understand Japanese to puzzle that message out. Also, she hasn’t seen the final episode… I don’t know why.

UPDATE: あいらさんのために第6話の画面キャプチャー:

いちるちゃんのかちです。

J.P.Meyer on Crunchyroll

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Quite a few people got their panties in a wad over the Crunchyroll last week; the industry-leaning inhabitants of AoD forums especially were bubbling. I didn’t cover the PR condemnations by Funi et.al. because I assumed everyone knew about it anyway, and it would play itsef out in time. Also, the site was years old (a blogger wrote that his japanese teacher suggested to look at Crunchyroll). And guess what, the story is playing itself. J.P. sez:

So I’m kind of confused about what to think about this whole Crunchyroll development. At first, I thought “Oh noes! They’re getting venture capital to use on making money off of other people’s work!” Of course, then I realized “Wait, Nico Nico serves ads too.” Then, when Gonzo announced that they would partner with them to release some shows, I was excited since maybe now the industry will be able to lurch towards some kind of speedy internet delivery for its content.

Indeed. And:

Even commercials in the streams aren’t so bad. When I watched an episode of Bubblegum Crisis on AOL’s streaming service, there would be one 15 second, unskippable commercial every 10 minutes. That’s a lot better than even broadcast TV gives. The problem there, however is that it is often pointless with international viewers. […]

I expect this to be something the magic of geolocation can fix. If BOST adjust their content for regions today, surely splicing ads into a video should not be too difficult? Granted, dorks who wrote the ADV’s website managed to fail this task and so I their video stream terminates for me on the ad boundary. But I hope, perhaps irrationally, that it’s nothing more than imminently fixable incompetence.

Also, same place:

After reading these reports, I actually went to Crunchyroll for the first time in probably a year. I was actually surprised by how much unlicensed anime was on there. There was the occasional Naruto or Bleach, which is always eye-rolling, along with a few currently-airing titles like Erosario + Vampire and Clannad, but the majority of the titles for the 100 or so pages that I looked through were really old titles that would in all likelihood never be licensed. I’m talking titles like Marvelous Melmo, which was a sex ed instructional series produced by Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka, if you didn’t know, was a licensed medical doctor with a Ph.D. in biology.

I didn’t know.

BOST announces Druaga

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

As seen at their news page, BOST will show speedsubbed Tower of Druaga. Unlike the Keitai Shoujo, Druaga is a conventional-format series. It’s not available in their store yet, so I don’t know the price point.

I don’t remember if I went on record about it, but I’m pessimistic about BOST, because I expect ad-supported streamers to win in the long run over pay services. This is how it always was on the Web. However, I’m going to stick with BOST until the bitter end, because no other service works with my hardware/software configuration as well as them. Therefore, I wish them success. Also, you cannot help but root for a 5-person underdog team.

UPDATE: It turns out that BOST is screwed, because Gonzo offers same titles to Crunchyroll and Youtube (via). Poor schmucks, media business is where dog eats dog. Although BOST streams in higher resolution than YouTube, there’s no way anyone is going to pay $2 per episode for it. Myself? OK, I might…

UPDATE: CalAggie follows the story too:

The highest free quality out of the three websites would seem to come from BOST but YouTube has a boatload more traffic and reach than the other two, mainly due to its embedding option. Crunchyroll is buddy-buddy with select publishers but pretty much everyone else hates them.

Oh, that’s right. It’s quite possible that Druaga will be free on BOST, to test the website under greater load and longer episodes, and the introduction of paid service be delayed. This will insulate them from customer complaints somewhat in case of snags with the streaming. The question is, do they have enough money to last until opening of the revenue service?

Josh on Druaga

Friday, April 4th, 2008

For an avoved pusher of BOST I’m way behind the curve due to illness, work, and other real life issues (not to mention a huge unwatched pile: Hourglass OVA, 12K, M;Y, and now Shuffle!). Fortunately, I don’t need to see everything, because bloggers do. Seen at Josh’s:

The first episode was about the complete opposite of what I was expecting. I was going in expecting some lame, boring fantasy/action series and what I got was an episode that had me nearly laughing out loud from start to finish.

That looks promising. My pre-season selection is being vindicated!

UPDATE: Kuro adds:

Thankfully ( or not so thankfully), it seems that’s not exactly the real story, more like a omake style joke episode. They’re probably going for a “WTF LOL?” opening just like Haruhi for this one. Still, this show has piqued my interest enough to keep on for the 2nd episode.

Oh, snap!

Don on BOST

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

The moment of truth has arrived: DRM-free downloads are here. Don says:

I registered and purchased the minimum quantity of BOST “points” (a disorienting process: the PayPal page was initially specific to Japan, but I live in Kansas, not Kansai). […] However, the [iPod] episode wouldn’t play in VLC or QuickTime; according to the former, there was a “moov box” missing from the file. Grrr. I wrote a couple of sarcastic paragraphs about BOST earlier today, but before posting them, I downloaded the PSP version to see if that would play. // I’m relieved to note that it does work in VLC. The image size is 480 by 272 pixels, not generous, but large enough so that subtitles are easily readable.

Grrr, I want a piece of action too, but I’m busy. I even have a PayPal account!

Druaga, BOST, etc.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

With a supreme effort of will, I managed to open the new season at last, and this time I’m doing it in a legal way, thanks to BOST (of course we all know that certain things are only made “illegal” because certain interests bent the copyright regime to their advantage and the detriment of the consumers etc. etc.). Anyway, the things one has to do because Best Buy is unwilling to break the street date for Lucky Star.

There’s nothing I can write about Tower of Druaga ep.1 that others haven’t written. We all know that it opens with a special episode, a-la Haruhi, so obviously I cannot make any conclusions about the show.

I downloaded the iPod version, so pictures were sort of smallish. But for a blogger, it’s very important to have the screencap function, so anything is preferable to Flash streaming and thus it was an improvement over Keitai Shoujo. I did not have any issues downloading or playing the episode with VLC. So I’m living the digital future right now.

UPDATE: Oh god, I completely forgot about the article at Anime Almanac which I wanted to link.

Kuro on Youtube shenagians

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Kurogane is not happy about YouTube versions of [Tower of] Druaga which started to pressure viewers to use Crunchyroll. According to him, the Druaga 10 used the upper letterbox space in the 4:3 YouTube window to advertise Crunchyroll, and Druaga 11 is truncated and ends with an offer to see the full episode at Crunchyroll.

This looks like a good time for me to say something about superiority of actually buying the episodes (I spent 1100 BOST points, or about 22 U.S. dollars thus far), and to lampoon Kuro’s cheap-ass lameness. But I won’t. What Crunchyroll is doing is just nasty. The deal was to show the series for free on YouTube. We don’t know why GONZO agreed to that, and the deal made little sense to me, but since they did, they should have followed through with it. Now we know that either Cruncyroll or GONZO is not trustworthy (if GONZO made the decision to truncate the episode, it’s them; if Crunchyroll made it behind GONZO’s back, then the obvious).

In short, Kuro is still lame for not paying for his show, but he made his decision based on the information available at the start of the season, and was deceived. That is inexcusable and outrageous.

UPDATE: Kurogane swiftly replies, with objections to the adjective “lame”. Numbers he’s giving for DVDs are pretty bad, although being in Malaysia he could have watched at BOST (the only country locked out is Japan, due to GONZO’s deal with Goia). Keep in mind that BOST sells DRM-free downloads, which makes $2/ep a much better deal than mere streaming would. In the end, he’s asking a key question:

I wonder if Author would’ve been willing to spend USD 70 (that’s the amount of ringgit that 22 USD converts to) on Druaga, if it were priced as such.

The answer is “no”. Druaga is not worth 70 bucks. That said, there are shows which I would buy for that much, and in fact I have (for example, I collected Azumanga volume-by-volume, for approximately $130).