Good news! If you’ve got an Amazon Prime membership, you’ve now essentially got an Anime Strike membership too.

Sometimes you have to stop and remind yourself that in the beginning, Amazon just sold books. It wasn’t long, though, before the company’s growing distribution and marketing know-how allowed them to find profitable and consumer-pleasing ways to sell seemingly anything.

Paid anime streaming service, though, seems to be a bit of an exception.

On January 12, 2017, with much fanfare, Amazon launched its Anime Strike streaming service. As of January 5, it’s gone, meaning that Anime Strike failed to survive a full year. Videos previously displayed as Anime Strike exclusives on Amazon are now designated as being watchable with an Amazon Prime membership, and the company has said it will be refunding the unused portions of already-paid subscriptions that extend past January 5.

In some ways, Anime Strike seemed like a smart idea. Anime fans in the U.S. (Anime Strike’s territory) are overwhelmingly comfortable with online shopping and streaming, so there’s no doubt a large overlap between the American otaku and Amazon Prime demographics.

However, Anime Strike wasn’t simply a marketing banner for anime content on Amazon Prime’s pre-existing video service. Access to Amazon Strike cost US$60 a year plus the $99 users had to shell out for Amazon Prime. You couldn’t cut down your expenses by signing up for Anime Strike exclusively, since it functioned as an upgrade to Prime membership.

Other North American anime streaming services, like Crunchyroll and Funimation, also cost about $60 a year, and Amazon’s theory was likely that the Anime Strike surcharge would be seen as fair by people who already were signed up for Amazon Prime anyway. The way things actually panned out, though, was that anime fans felt like they were being charged $160 annually for anime streaming, and even if Anime Strike had a few gems like exclusive U.S. streaming rights to gems like 2017 sleeper hit Made in the Abyss, 160 bucks a year felt extremely pricey when other, less expensive streaming options had more extensive anime catalogs.

There’s also the fact that American anime fans, in addition to being technologically savvy, tend to be extremely price-conscious. They’ve historically shown not only an unwillingness to pay what they feel are unfair prices, and also ample ingenuity in obtaining what they consider to be overpriced content without having to spend a cent for it.

Along with the Amazon Strike catalog, Amazon’s Heera titles, a collection of Indian movies and TV shows, is also being transferred to the regular Prime video service.

Source: IT Media, The Verge
Top image: Amazon

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he still remembers when US$60 wouldn’t buy you even 60 minutes of Bubblegum Crisis on VHS.