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Viz to Launch 24-Hour Anime Service on Major Game Console

posted on by Egan Loo

Viz Media is announcing on Wednesday that it will launch Neon Alley, a 24-hour anime service on a major game console to be revealed later. The service will debut this fall and will be available in the United States and Canada.

The service will show anime uncut, dubbed in English, and in HD when available. It will host the English dub premieres of Tiger & Bunny, InuYasha: The Final Act, Zetman, Lagrange - The Flower of Rin-ne, and new episodes of Naruto Shippūden. It will also show films such as the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc film trilogy. The service will also run original content with news and behind-the-scenes information on anime and manga.

Neon Alley is a subscription-based service that will cost US$6.99 per month. According to Viz's press release, it will have "limited commercial advertising."

ANN interviewed Brian Ige, Viz Media Vice President of Animation, about the new service:

ANN: So how did the idea for a 24-hour channel start?

Brian Ige: Our top series have millions of weekly viewers, but there's not a lot of opportunities to highlight new series on traditional TV or cable networks. There's also not enough broadcast outlets available to support the amount of high-quality anime coming over from Japan. We wanted to create a destination for fans to explore & discover new anime titles. With Neon Alley, fans will be able to watch their favorite series next to cutting-edge series they didn't even know they were missing.

What made the channel a better choice than expanding VIZ Anime's streaming services online?

Neon Alley and VIZ Anime are two separate but complementary ways to watch anime, speaking to different audiences.

Neon Alley will feature uncut dubbed content, and because of the high amount of crossover between gamers and anime fans, will draw not only fans who enjoy dubbed content, but a wider and more casual anime-viewing audience. With Neon Alley on the game console, fans will also be able to get the best viewing experience, straight to their TV.

VIZ Anime features subtitled video-on-demand content, catering to anime fans who want their favorite shows simulcast straight from Japan.

Are you hoping to attract a more casual viewing audience for this? Do you think the need for a subscription might hamper that?

Neon Alley will be a great way for casual viewers to explore a wide variety of anime, from blockbusters Naruto Shippūden, InuYasha: The Final Act and Death Note, to new titles like Tiger & Bunny, Zetman, and the Berserk movie trilogy.

Similar to Hulu Plus, we blend a subscription and advertising model to keep the cost low and bring the best uncut, English-dubbed content to fans, and in HD when available. Please register on NeonAlley.com for news & updates on special introductory offers!

It appears as though you're debuting some titles on the service; particularly Berserk. Is the intention for Viz Media to debut new anime first on the channel?

We evaluate new content on a case-by-case basis. In the case of Berserk, we felt that this movie trilogy would appeal to a wide audience. We're excited to debut the first Berserk movie on Neon Alley later this year!

Any plans to expand to other set-top media streaming devices such as Boxee or Roku?

We may consider expansion to other platforms in the future.

Will the content be available on demand, or will people have to tune in at a specific time to catch the shows they want?

Neon Alley will be a live feed of shows that we curate based on the day & time. When you watch Neon Alley, it'll be like watching your favorite TV channel. Our on-screen Electronic Programming Guide will also enhance the TV viewing experience, and we're continuing to explore ways to bring the best possible experience to subscribers.

The press release mentions "the first season of Neon Alley." What does that entail exactly? Will you run all-original programming for a set time and then switch to reruns, ala a standard cable channel?

Neon Alley's programming will evolve to keep it fresh and interesting for our audience. There will be new content each week, and throughout the season you can expect event programming, specials, premieres and more. Shows will repeat, so if you didn't catch the premiere, you'll have an opportunity to view your favorite anime at a later time!

How'd you come up with the name Neon Alley?

We had a lot of fun coming up with the name. “Neon” suggests “fun” and “excitement,” while “alley” hints at “dark” and “mysterious.” We felt this really describes anime very well, conjuring up images of an exciting, yet unknown place!

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