Amazon shutters Anime Strike service; opens same content to all Prime members

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Jan 6, 2018, 5:46 PM EST (Updated)

After launching it almost exactly a year ago, Amazon has decided to end its Anime Strike streaming video channel. The service, which cost an additional fee on top of a required Prime membership, had represented Amazon’s effort to capture an enthusiastic U.S. niche audience for all things anime.

In ending Anime Strike, Amazon has rolled all of its content onto the Prime Video service, making what was formerly behind a $5 per month paywall now freely available to anyone with a Prime membership. The change also applied to Heera, an Amazon channel that had featured Indian film fare and Bollywood hits.

“We have decided to move the curated catalogs of Anime Strike and Heera into Prime Video so that more customers can enjoy this content as part of their Prime membership," Amazon said Friday in a statement to SYFY WIRE.

Anime Strike was the first of Amazon’s so-called “channels,” add-ons to a base Prime membership that promise to deliver extra content for an additional monthly fee. Amazon had positioned Anime Strike similarly to its other "channels" add-ons, such as HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax.

Unlike those services, though, Anime Strike was Amazon’s first attempt at self-branding the “channel” concept, with the service curating anime titles in a fashion similar to the way a dedicated cable television channel might collect and present niche content.

In addition to the obvious fare suggested by its name, Anime Strike also offered a wide range of shows from genres on the periphery of anime, including romance, adult series, and action. The channel touted titles like PaprikaThe Great Passage, Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, and Tokyo Godfathers, and also featured same-day viewing for shows currently airing in Japan.