If you're looking for free and legal anime to watch over the Internet I highly recommend Hulu. These days it's where I get all my anime. That's right, took a break from fansubs. Too busy to chase after the newest shows. Hey man, if it's on Hulu and I haven't seen it then it's new to me! I used to update the blog whenever a new show was added but I had to stop; the rate of Hulu's anime acquisitions kept increasing at a rate I couldn't keep up. So then I did what I always do such situations: I automated the process.
The Hulu Anime Tracker
A simple bot with a simple job: to alert you of new anime content on Hulu. It's not perfect. Sometimes you'll get alerts on non-anime-related content. But for the most part it's solid. Hulu doesn't have an API so the best I could do was leverage their RSS feeds. It's such a pain in the ass though! Hulu's content organization and RSS setup leave a lot to be desired. Anime is sometimes posted in the cartoons section and vice versa. At last count the bot was monitoring over 10 RSS feeds just to make it all work. The feeds are limited to 25 entries so I have to draw from many sources to make sure I don't miss anything.
The Hulu Anime Tracker has built-in flood protection. When Hulu acquires a show that's already aired the episodes are posted in a batch. The batch may include the entire run of the show or a number of seasons; either way it's a lot of episodes. The flood protection works by taking only ONE episode from the batch–the oldest one–and dropping the rest. There's an indication to let you know if the episode was part of a batch and how many episodes were in it. The Tracker selects the oldest episode because, hey, if you're seeing this show for the first time then doesn't it make sense to start from episode one? Of course it does!
The Hulu Anime Tracker is available via email, RSS feeds and Twitter. The email alerts and RSS feeds are basically the same thing. I find the email updates most convenient. The twitter alerts are kinda buggy, it tends to miss things. I blame that on twitterfeed. I often have to log-in to twitterfeed and force it to update. It's really annoying. If you don't want to miss anything the best way to go about it is to sign up for email alerts. That's what I use.
One thing you get with the twitter account that you won't get from the RSS or email subscriptions are updates from the Hulu Blog. Sometimes Hulu posts about anime so I just thought I'd throw that in there. It didn't seem necessary for RSS and email. But if you think I should include it let me know in the comments. By the way, Hulu has a profile on twitter for their anime content. it leaves much to be desired but I'll link to it anyway.
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Shows – RSS email
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Episodes – RSS email
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Clips – RSS email
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Movies – RSS email
You can watch hulu videos on twitter. Click on the filmstrip icon and enjoy the show!
- You can get twitter updates by following @AnimeOnHulu. Multiple episodes from the same show are combined ensuring we won't spam your timeline. Also you get anime-related posts from Hulu's Blog on there.
- Hulu also has a twitter account for anime @hulu_anime. It doesn't hurt to follow both, right? It seems to be just be a copy of their RSS feed. Problem with that–as I mentioned before–is anime doesn't always get posted in the anime feed. You miss out on a lot.
Occasionally they post about anime so you might want to keep an eye on the Hulu Blog. They don't offer email subscriptions though. If there's demand for it I could whip up an email subscription so you only get their anime posts. Let me know if it's something you'd want.
As always your opinions and suggestions are welcome. I hope you enjoy the Hulu Anime Tracker, I put a lot of work into it. ^___^