Image Source: ドラゴンエイジ on Twitter
The anime market is constantly changing, whether that be in Japan or abroad. Animation studio Production I.G—known for producing such anime as Ghost in the Shell and Guilty Crown—seems to be open to adapting to this changing market. Just this month, they introduced a brand new app for iOS and Android smartphones called “Tate Anime,” (“tate” rhymes with “pâté”) which literally means “Vertical Anime.” And that’s exactly what this app is: an app filled with episodes of anime in a vertical video format.
In Japan, everyone is busy. Students are going to school, then to cram school, then home to study, and some even participate in club activities. People who work are working more and more, with unpaid overtime being the norm. Thus, it can be a challenge for people to sit down in front of the TV and watch anime, and even harder to purchase an expensive Blu-ray or DVD only containing two episodes and watch that.
The “free time” both of these groups of people have is when they commute on the train to their destination. While it was once commonplace to see a large number of passengers carrying around giant manga magazines to kill time while riding, now, almost everyone is staring at their smartphones.
Watching entire episodes of a 25-minute anime can be costly—data on smartphones isn’t cheap, and not many people have the time to watch a full episode on their phone while commuting. For me, as someone who has to watch anime and pay attention to every single detail, it can be very tiring trying to absorb so much information in such a limited amount of time.
This is where “Tate Anime” comes in. According to the app’s official press release, the app streams new episodes of original anime every day. And, each of these episodes are 3 minutes in length. Whether the viewer is on a train, waiting at the station, or standing in line at the grocery store, these bite-size anime are just the length for easy consumption. Not only that, but because they’re short, you don’t use that much data. Not just for otaku, these shows are for everyone to enjoy.
Now, why are the episodes vertical? It’s because most people hold their smartphones vertical when on the go. It can be kind of awkward to hold onto your phone horizontally with one hand, your other hand on the handle in the train. Sure, it’s easy to use both hands when you’re sitting down, but during rush hour, finding a seat on the train is extremely difficult.
Although there’s been much criticism of vertical videos in the past, I honestly felt no resistance to using the app. The first episode of each series is free to watch, with further episodes costing points that can be earned through either log-in bonuses or real cash. If you view episodes for free, you’ll have to go through a pop-up ad before being able to watch your video.
While some anime are more of “moving manga” than anime, a few shows are fully animated. No matter what the animation style, each show skillfully adapts the manga source material to the shape of the screen. All of the series currently featured on the app are comedy and slice-of-life shows, making it very accessible to anyone. And, with six different anime series (three of them displayed on the top row of the gallery above) and more on the way, there’s plenty of content to burn time on the train or bus with.
For someone who watches anime for a living, having short, bite-sized, lighthearted anime episodes to watch on my way to work is a treat. I can’t wait to see how the app staff will take further advantage of this unique platform.
Unfortunately, Tate Anime is not available outside of Japan at this time.