August 03, 2021

Tubi (update 1)

Tubi is an ad-supported streaming site with one of the best (least annoying) ad engines in the business. It has a sizable anime catalog and the keyword search feature is fast. The Roku app works without a hitch.

Except when it doesn't. On a rather random basis, when I queue up a video and press play, the app crashes hard.

I picture a guy scurrying down to a dark vault, switching on a dim incandescent bulb, and pulling out a VHS tape with the title scribbled on the label with a Magic Marker.

He brushes off the cobwebs and loads it into the machine, powers the VCR on and off a couple of times, and gives it a good hard whack. After that, everything works fine. Weird. Maybe it's just a Roku thing.

The content is all over the place. Subbed and dubbed, old and new, real gems, timeless classics, and junk they got on the cheap. Nothing is sorted. Simply identifying new titles turns into a scavenger hunt.

The subtitled version of Penguin Highway, for example, is tagged "Western, Comedy, Romance (1934)." The thumbnail graphic for Black Jack says "English subbed" but it's a dub. That kind of thing.

At least anime has its own category. Live-action Japanese titles on Tubi are lumped under "Foreign Language," most of which aren't Japanese. A handful are worth finding (though it'll take patience finding them).

Recently acquired live-action titles include Akira Kurosawa's Drunken Angel (his first film featuring Toshiro Mifune), a half-dozen Gamera flicks (Daiei Film's same-only-different answer to Toho's Godzilla), along with a wide selection from the Ultraman and Super Sentai franchises.

And, hey, it's free. And having Fox as the parent company has paid off with licensing agreements with distributor Shout! Factory and anime giant Toei Animation. There are needles in the haystack and gold in them there hills.

Here are a few notable titles.

• Bakuman (the definitive guide to the manga business)
• The Case of Hana & Alice (a delightful rotoscoped anime)
• Cowboy Bebop (ignore the Netflix live-action version)
• The Devil is a Part Timer (at a fast-food joint)
• Galaxy Express 999 (the classic series)
• GeGeGe No Kitaro (the recent reboot)
• Lupin the Third (the first two seasons)
• Napping Princess (by GITS director Kenji Kamiyama)
• Onihei (an Edo period police procedural)
• Penguin Highway (geeky kid meets magical penguins)
• Summer Days with Coo (a kappa gets lost in suburbia)

Due to the lack of any rhyme or reason, when perusing the catalog, I recommend keeping ANN open in another tab so you can check the reviews.

Related posts

Tubi (update 2)
Kazuya Kosaka
Streaming Japanese

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