JapanPowered was recently given the opportunity to interview Brian Ige, the Vice President of Viz Media about their newest project: Neon Alley. Neon Alley is a 24/7 channel that features Japanese television shows and anime including Inuyasha: the Final Act, Blue Exorcist, and Tiger & Bunny. Zach Weaver led the questions.
Viz Media has created a new outlet for watching anime and other Japanese programming This outlet is being called Neon Alley, and it will be available through an app on the Playstation 3. I was given the opportunity to do a short email interview with Brian Ige, the VP of Animation at Viz Media, to find out more about Neon Alley.
What spawned the idea for Viz Media to create Neon Alley?
We created Neon Alley for fans to explore and discover new anime titles. Top anime series have millions of weekly viewers, but there are not a lot of opportunities to highlight new series on traditional television or cable networks. With Neon Alley, fans will be able to watch their favorite series next to cutting-edge series they didn’t even know they were missing. Currently, there are not enough available broadcast outlets to support the amount of high-quality anime coming over from Japan on an annual basis.
Any plans to make Neon Alley available through other devices other than the PS3 such as PC or other game consoles?
We don’t have anything to confirm at this time but we are reviewing all consumer feedback as we plan the next phase of the channel.
Users can share status updates and such through a social networking tool called Tout; will users also be able to share the same through Facebook, Twitter, etc?
Neon Alley currently has a Facebook page www.facebook.com/neonalleynetwork where members can share information and see what others are talking about. Since this is an application based channel we will continue to look for innovative ways for members to communicate and share. Neon Alley will continue to evolve, sign up for our newsletter on www.neonalley.com or like us on Facebook for future news and updates on what’s coming next.
What makes Neon Alley more appealing to users than watching anime series on television through Anime Network On Demand or Toonami, or watching it online (officially or unofficially)?
Ultimately, it’s the content. Neon Alley has exclusive premieres of never before seen dubbed episodes from series like: Inuyasha The Final Act, Tiger & Bunny, Blue Exorcist, Nura Rise of the Yokai Clan, and more. We plan to also start showing the newest episodes of Naruto Shippuden as soon as we catch up. It’s just like any other premium channel, consumers subscribe to services like HBO or Showtime because they want to see exclusive shows like Game of Thrones or Weeds.
What is the greatest challenge to introducing a new generation of viewers to anime?
Having a consistent destination for new fans to become exposed to and discover anime presents the biggest challenge, TV broadcast used to be the outlet. The goal of Neon Alley is to become the destination of high-quality dubbed anime for core fans to get their fix and help bring in new fans.
Can you give us any hints as to future series that will be shown on Neon Alley?
We have a couple of new series that will be making their debut on Neon Alley in the spring including Zetman and Lagrange, we continue to have conversations with multiple studios and hope to have more to announce very soon.
Are there any plans to incorporate Viz Media’s Shonen Jump Alpha and other manga into Neon Alley?
Not at this time but both companies continue discussions on ways to work together and enhance the experience for both anime and manga fans.
Will Neon Alley show exclusively anime and live-action movies or can users expect to see other types of Japanese programming in the future?
Anime will always be the tent pole of the channel but we will evaluate other content that has crossover potential with the anime audience.
Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my questions, but I do have one more. Can I have a free copy of Bakuman volume 1 pretty please?? I’ll be your best friend! I’ll even clean and wax your car!!
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about our new service, for more information about Neon Alley please check out www.neonalley.com or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/neonalleynetwork. Unfortunately, Bakuman isn’t available for Neon Alley. Media Blasters holds the rights.
Personally, I haven’t checked out Neon Alley much because I don’t have a PS3, but from I have seen and the information Brian Ige has said, it looks like a great alternative to other anime sites (both legal and illegal ones). Also as said before, Viz Media hopes to obtain the rights to more series, so even if there’s not really much anime available right now that’s to your tastes, always check back to see what’s been added!
On a final note, I find it really awesome that a company here in the United States is putting out something like Neon Alley that is set up like a television channel with a schedule and everything. It really takes me back to when I was 7 or 8 years old and I’d watch anime on Saturday mornings (even though the anime was targeted at kids in that time slot), and when I’d stay up to watch Toonami. Neon Alley will have a nice nostalgic feel to it.
Finally, here is the Sizzle Reel for Neon Alley just to give you a taste: