Posted by ammitchell on August 13, 2009
Okay, so I just have time for a quick review of RentAnime.com, which is the Netflix-like service I recently signed up for. I’ve only had it for a few days now, but I still have some comments.
The website sucks. It’s got an indecipherable organizational system that seems alphabetical at first, but which is only kinda alphabetical. They also don’t have DVDs organized by genre, so you just sort of have to scroll through everything. This is okay, since I’m finding series that I might not have otherwise, but I can see how it would be annoying if you were looking for something specific.
Also, be aware that there are some series with missing discs. They’re all, as far as I can tell, old, out of print DVDs, so that’s why the company hasn’t replaced them. Just know that you do have to pay a bit of attention when you’re filling up you’re queue. For the most part, though, the series seem to be complete, and the DVDs I received yesterday are in great condition.
The queue feature is pretty great. It’s got something called “Series Lock” which prevents you from getting the discs for any one series out of order. If the next disc is unavailable, you get a different series. Since many anime fans are used to juggling several series at a time anyway while distributors release something like one series disc every three months, this is a great thing. I’m sure anime virgins would think it was annoying, though. You can list one series in your queue at a time to ensure that you only watch one show at a time, but I’m absolutely certain that would cause horrible delays.
Which brings me to turnaround. I can’t really say anything definitive right now, since I’ve only got my first shipment yesterday, but if the turnaround time stays within even a day or two of what it currently is, I’ll be ecstatic. RentAnime.com is located in Tampa, Florida, and since I’m in North Carolina, it only took two days for my DVDs to get here. I also did some research before signing up, and, by all accounts, they don’t throttle their accounts the way Netflix did. (Still does? They did when I was a member, but I know they got sued for it, so I hope they’ve stopped.)
Oh, and if you don’t know what that means, when I first joined Netflix, I got new DVDs within three or four days of mailing them out. But within six weeks, it was supposedly taking them a week and a half to receive discs I’d sent them, which effectively put a limit on the “unlimited” number of DVDs I could rent from them (three at a time, of course). Like I said, they got sued for it, so I’m not the only person they did this to. It was a class-action suit, and they “paid out” by temporarily bumping up people’s subscriptions.
So, again, according to the service reviews I read, RentAnime.com doesn’t throttle their member’s accounts, and this first shipment of DVDs got here in two days.
I will, of course, report any significant changes if they occur, but for now, I do recommend the service. Just be prepared to browse, build up your queue (I’ve got over 120 discs in it right now), and juggle multiple series at one time.
Oh, and the initial subscription options are one-at-a-time for $9.95 a month or three-at-a-time for $19.95 (the option I chose). According to RentAnime.com’s FAQ, subscribers are given the option of going up to a five-at-a-time subscription plan after a certain period of time, but I don’t know yet how much that costs. Considering how much anime DVDs cost, though, the prices are extremely fair. There’s no way I could have gotten my hands on the first three DVDs I rented from them for 20.00, let alone the others I’ll receive from them before the month is over.
So, the website needs to be overhauled, but I can manage. Everything else: so far, so good. I do recommend it.