If you're looking for free and legal anime 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 with. So I did what I always do in these 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. Hulu doesn't have an API so what I had to do was leverage their RSS feeds. It's been a real pain in the ass, let me tell you! Hulu's content organization and RSS setup leave a lot to be desired. Anime is sometimes posted in the cartoons section and vice versa so we have to cast a wide net. This mean non-anime content can sometimes end up in the stream, despite our best efforts to filter it out. Can't be helped. At last count the bot was monitoring 15 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.)
When Hulu acquires a show that's already aired the episodes are typically 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 oldest episode is selected because, hey, if you're seeing this show for the first time then doesn't it make sense to start from the beginning? Duh!
In the email screenshot above the "7 Added" is indicative of a batch entry.
This was the first distribution channel and still the most popular. Follow @AnimeOnHulu for all the poop. Exclusive to the twitter feed are updates from the Hulu Blog. (The bot monitors the Hulu blog for anime mentions.)
Here's what a typical status looks like. It used to be you could just watch videos by expanding the tweet but Hulu seems to have put a stop to that.
RSS Feeds, E-mail Subscriptions
These were added shortly after the Twitter feed. The major difference betwixt them is how often they update. The e-mail subscription is a daily digest. (But if there's nothing new to report you won't get an e-mail.) The RSS feed is always updating. I'm a fan of the e-mail updates; I never miss anything. It also helps me monitor the bot and make sure it's not spitting out gibberish!
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Shows – RSS / E-mail
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Episodes – RSS / E-mail
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Clips – RSS / E-mail
- Hulu Anime Tracker: New Movies – RSS / E-mail
So, we have a tumblr now. Follow us on tumblr for some of the poop! The bot throws new entries into my post queue and I decide what gets posted. I don't feel like EVERYTHING has to be posted on tumblr so I edit accordingly.
As always your opinions and suggestions are welcome. I hope you enjoy the Hulu Anime Tracker, I put a lot of work into it. ^___^