When Amazon announced they were merging Anime Strike into their Prime-included content library, the internet cheered. “Down with the double paywall”, we said! Yet just a few weeks on, I would gladly pay the price to get Anime Strike back. By merging its anime content into its regular video library, Amazon has put its entire anime offering under the umbrella of its still lousy video streaming interface.
If you’ve spent any time looking for anime in Prime Video’s app post-Anime Strike, you probably know what I mean. The Amazon Prime Video app currently lacks an official anime section. To find anime using the app, your best options are to either know the name of the specific show, or type “anime” into the search bar. You can also find anime randomly suggested to you in some areas of the menu, or in the “Animation” section under TV genres, although Amazon treats that more as a catch-all for all types of animation.
Searching by name is easy, but if you’re browsing for new content, good luck. You get nearly 2,000 hits with that search, a lot of which aren’t even anime.
In its favor, Amazon does now mostly populate its “Animation” section with anime. Yet it doesn’t have that section organized, nor does it even have all of its anime there. For example, the must-see show Made in Abyss, which is only legally available in the States through Prime Video, is not listed in that section.
A Lousy Experience After Losing Anime Strike
The biggest problem with Amazon’s Prime Video UI is the head-scratching lack of a genre browsing option. Almost every other streaming service seems to have figured this out. For their part, both Netflix and Hulu have very easy to navigate menus. Finding anime by genre on both platforms is delightfully simple. And while Amazon does make it a bit easier to find content if you’re using the web browser (including an anime submenu with anime genres), the UI on the web is still painfully messy and confusing.
Amazon dropping the double paywall to access anime in Prime Video was a fantastic move. Now, however, the company might want to consider hiring a user experience guru or two.