HBO Max for the Otaku
More than just Studio Ghibli
Since its launch last week, the service has been taking the cordcutting world by storm. HBO Max has come out of the gate swinging with quite an interesting lineup of content depending on who you are. If you happen to have a device it can actually play on, there is quite a lot for an otaku to enjoy.
The biggest announcement before launch was the reveal that the Studio Ghibli library would all be available at launch. It is certainly the most appealing to children and adults alike who have a penchant for the whimsical nature of Miyazaki’s work. With My Neighbor Totoro and Spiritied Away leading the way, its fun for the whole family.
Almost every single Studio Ghibli film is available now. The only one missing from the full collection is Grave of the Fireflies. In addition to the other 20 films in the collection, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which is technically not Studio Ghibli, is available. If there are some you haven’t seen, now is the time to catch up on them.
Beyond Ghibli, the platform has some other interesting films and shows for all otaku to enjoy.
A Taste of Crunchyroll
On the other side of the coin is the Crunchyroll collection. If you aren’t already a subscriber there, or are trying to get a friend into the game, the collection is small, but worth checking out.
In the realm of comedy and fantasy is Konosuba. The tale of an immature boy who dies and is reincarnated in a fantasy world accompanied by an immature goddess. It isn’t the most compelling story, but the ecchi comedy will appeal to some. If you are looking to take a look back in time Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is also available. Its not the original you may remember from Adult Swim, but rather the remake that follow the original manga.
All in all the Crunchyroll portion of HBO Max is on the lighter side of the otaku spectrum. Really its just a taste of what Crunchyroll has to offer and more of a bit of marketing for the larger service.
Classic Tokyo Crushing Kaiju
Maybe you are more in the mood for some giant monster fun. HBO Max has a pretty sizable collection of classic Toho Godzilla films. They have 15 of the classics including the original 1954 Godzilla.
Also on the list is the original 1956 Godzilla: King of the Monsters! not to be confused with the similarly titled 2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The new one is there as well, so you can really get your fill of the king of kaiju.
Decidedly not a part of the HBO Max Godzilla collection is the original 1958 Rodan. Since it doesn’t actually feature our favorite atomic breathing dinosaur it isn’t on the same page as the rest of the collection.
A Mini Akira Kurosawa Collection
This is not the first time some of Akira Kurosawa’s classic samurai epics have been available for streaming. In the past Hulu has held the rights to some such as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. Now its HBO Max’s turn for the right to stream these old Japanese classics starring Mifune Toshiro.
The HBO Max collection includes Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Rashomon, Ikuru, and the samurai epic Seven Samurai. All except Ikuru are a part of the 16 film collaboration between Mifune and Kurosawa. This is a far cry from the full filmography of Kurosawa, but it is a solid sampling of his work. Its a great introduction to some of the classic samurai film of the ’50s and ’60s.
If you are a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy (and be honest who isn’t?), The Hidden Fortress is one of the many inspirations for Lucas. Very specifically the story of C3PO and R2-D2 come from this film. Beyond the Hidden Fortress connection, the star of these films, Mifune Toshiro, was allegedly offered the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy. I like to think he would have been perfect for the role.c
[Images via HBO Max]
[Hollywood Reporter on Mifune]