On May 28th, 2014, just about a month ago, Madman Entertainment launched their official anime streaming service AnimeLab. The service has made major waves in the anime industry all the while still being in beta phase. It has emerged as a true contender to the colossus that is Crunchyroll and it is arguably the first true dedicated Australian anime streaming service.
While in the past Madman had their Screening Room, it was not without its flaws. A somewhat difficult navigation system and the fact that the service was tucked away in Madman’s website made it a difficult service to follow along with. There was always the feeling that it should have been its own website, its own thing separate from the Madman online store. Now here we are with AnimeLab, the next stage in the evolution of anime simulcasting and streaming.
Upon signing up and jumping into the site, I found myself wowed by the impressive design of the site. It is very streamlined and robust, with a an appealing colour scheme to boot. But that is of course only the surface of what is an incredibly deep service.
One of the real standout features of AnimeLab that in my opinion sets it apart from the rest of the pack is the fact that it features English dubs. This is a phenomenal addition that broadens the appeal of the service in a big way. Having an entire English dubbed series at your finger tips is something that for Australians has previously been by and large only a possibility through physical releases. Now with series such as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on AnimeLab completely dubbed, it is easier than ever to watch the anime you love in English language format.
On top of the inclusion of English dubs, AnimeLab’s immense catalogue of anime arguably rivals that of Crunchyroll. The amount of series included is astonishing to say the least with 55 series available currently all of which span roughly 700 episodes between them. What really piqued my interest though was the variety, there are some older series featured here and there are also newer series that are currently airing. If you wanted to watch Gurren Lagann again? No need to dust off your boxset, its only a click away with AnimeLab.
There are plenty of great series available on AnimeLab, personally I’d recommend checking out the following series which are only available for streaming on AnimeLab:
- Gurren Lagann
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Highschool of the Dead
- Space Dandy
These are just a few of the awesome anime series available on the service, you can check out the full list of anime here.
An interesting point regarding AnimeLab is that there are a number of series that only feature a few episodes each. These series while unavailable in their complete form make for a great taste test to get an idea if you want to pick up the DVD or Blu-Ray release.
In terms of video and audio quality, the service has some customization available. So far from what I have seen every video on the service is available in high quality and looks and sounds great in that setting. The user interface during video play is simple and works well making you feel completely in control of your viewing experience.
AnimeLab truly makes some major strides for online anime streaming and a lot of the concepts at play here have a great deal of potential for the anime medium moving forward. The idea of being able to watch English dubs streamed online, is an exciting one for sure and it is now a possibility with AnimeLab. Not only that but Madman have already announced several simulcasts coming up for the next season of anime with Shinichiro Watanabe’s Terror in Resonance and Space Dandy Season 2 already locked in! With AnimeLab, the future of anime is now.
You can check out Madman’s streaming service over at AnimeLab.com. Be sure to sign up and sink your teeth into some quality anime.