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Amazon steps up video offerings with Anime Strike, its first self-branded content on Channels

Amazon on Thursday launched Anime Strike, its first self-branded option under the Amazon Channels subscription program —with more coming soon, the company said.

The initial content on Anime Strike includes over 1,000 movies and TV episodes, and new episodes being added every week, according to Amazon. While some titles may be familiar to Western audiences —like Akira, Tokyo Godfathers, and Attack on Titan —there are also more obscure options, including ones that will be exclusive to Amazon for U.S. streaming. Some examples are Onihei, Scum's Wish, and The Great Passage.

Shows ongoing in Japan like Scum's Wish and Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga will see episodes arrive on Anime Strike the same day they broadcast overseas.

The head of Amazon Channels, Michael Paull, explained to Variety that at least one reason Amazon went with anime is because it has a devoted audience "underserved by traditional pay TV." While there are other streaming services with an anime focus, like Crunchyroll, anime can be difficult to find on cable outside of mainstream shows like Dragon Ball and One Piece.

Paull noted that future Amazon-branded channels will arrive in coming months, but wouldn't say what genres they might cover.

Anime Strike costs $4.99 per month on top of a $99 annual Prime subscription, and is so far U.S.-only. While supported Apple devices include Macs, iPhones, and iPads, there is no Amazon Video app for the Apple TV. Users can AirPlay from a Mac or iOS device to Apple TV.

The news comes as Apple is reportedly planning to draw people to Apple Music with greater original programming, including serialized dramas and other full-length material.