With a launch offering that includes Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Sword Oratoria, brand new streaming service HiDive is making waves on both sides of the pond, reports MyM’s Andy Hanley.
It’s been a tumultuous year or so for anyone trying to keep tabs on the anime streaming ecosystem, and recently there was another seismic shift for those of us in the UK looking to watch the latest ’toons.
After many years as little more than a footnote in the streaming space, North American distributor Sentai Filmworks has finally laid its previous effort – The Anime Network – to rest, shifting its content instead to a brand new service called ‘HiDive’. Although HiDive.com is still in beta and currently bereft of console or mobile apps, it launched with a bang – and one that will resonate with fans on this side of the pond, as HiDive offers UK viewers some significant (and hitherto unavailable) anime titles.
HiDive’s biggest boast at launch is the exclusive pick-up of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, at last giving a home to this 110-episode behemoth of a space opera from the ’80s and ’90s. Based on the novels by The Heroic Legend of Arslan’s Yoshiki Tanaka, the series promises military sci-fi, political intrigue and strategic space battles aplenty – a heady blend that has seen the show hailed as a classic. Does Galactic Heroes live up to the hype? Well, now you can finally check it out for yourselves and find out!
If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary, HiDive’s launch offering has also filled in many of the gaps left in the UK’s spring season line-up, bringing us shows previously locked away on Amazon’s US Anime Strike service. Most notable among these is Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side. This spin-off series returns us to the world of Orario, but this time follows Ais Wallenstein on her travails in some of the deepest areas of the dungeon. With a story that arguably outstrips the original, it’s a must-watch for DanMachi fans.
Other notable spring season exclusives on HiDive include Atom: The Beginning, which adapts a manga series penned as a prequel to Osamu Tezuka’s seminal Astro Boy; Sagrada Reset, a sci-fi drama set in a town where all of the residents possess special abilities; and Grimoire of Zero, a White Fox fantasy series set in a world of witches and magic.
HiDive also features a solid catalogue of content beyond the latest simulcasts, including plenty of series that are also available with their English dub: from the original Gatchaman to modern hits such as School-Live and Girls und Panzer.
With an introductory price of $3.99 for a monthly subscription (just over £3, following a seven-day free trial) we suspect that HiDive has acknowledged Crunchyroll’s place as the go-to anime streaming destination and is setting itself up as a secondary subscription – a smart move in an increasingly crowded environment. Although its website still needs work and mobile apps will need to be rolled out rapidly, we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on HiDive as another important new addition to the UK streaming landscape.