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There’s also a surprising lack of DC shows on here. We have a few available, such as Beware the Batman, Doom Patrol, Teen Titans, and Batgirl, but we are missing a lot of the best titles from the DC Animation catalog like Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League. I understand that WarnerMedia still has the DC Universe service and while that site’s long-term future still remains a mystery, it’s jarring to me that Warrner doesn’t have those titles on HBO Max. It’s unlikely to be a rights issue, since Doom Patrol and Teen Titans appear on both services, so it still feels odd. I expect they’ll be added at a later date but having a select amount of DC shows at launch only gives a bare minimum of the best that DC has to offer
Then we have the anime on HBO Max. Unfortunately, it’s also not a great lineup. We have seventeen Crunchyroll titles available which are:
- 91 Days
- Berserk (2016)
- Bungo Stray Dogs
- Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
- Kabaneri of The Iron Fortress
- Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
- Kill La Kill
- Re:Zero Director’s Cut
- Rokka-Braves of the Six Flowers
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Schwarzes Marken
- The Testament of Sister New Devil
- Your Lie in April
While that is a decent lineup, it’s not a ton to work with. Granted, HBO Max certainly won’t be a one-stop shop for anime fans as the odds are good that if you are an avid anime watcher, you might very well have a subscription to Crunchyroll or one of the other large anime streaming services like HIDIVE, RetroCrush, and even Netflix that’ll satiate the need to watch anime. The only thing those services don’t have, at least in the United States, is the Studio Ghibli movies. However, there’s a possibility that anime fans already have a VPN service and can easily watch Ghibli on US Netflix using that VPN. The need for Crunchyroll/Ghibli on HBO Max might be pointless for the everyday anime connoisseur but to the general audience, it’s a fantastic way to introduce them to the medium. The selection of titles might be bare, but these are some pretty popular titles in Crunchyroll’s catalog that offer a good amount of variety in genres. You have action, comedy, drama, and historical fiction. Add to that the Studio Ghibli films and you have enough exposure that a general audience may seek out other anime, likely leading them to the anime-focused platforms mentioned earlier.
Also, at launch, the third-party offerings aren’t good either. We have Doctor Who and Sesame Street but that’s it at launch for exclusive streaming shows from third parties, and Sesame Street only partly counts due to the aforementioned production deal with HBO. South Park joins the service in late June, which is likely due to the current contract Viacom has with Hulu. Still, not having South Park at launch is disappointing, since outside of the Warner-owned content, many would likely be watching old episodes of South Park on the service. While it’s great that they have popular titles like Doctor Who and Sesame Street, they each appeal to a very different demographic and obviously South Park would appeal to a large mainstream adult audience, something that Doctor Who can’t do. It’s clear that this library needs work but it’s far from awful. There’s a decent amount of shows to watch day one and more are likely to be added within the first year of the service but it is a tad disappointing Warner didn’t pull from the vault to place more niche and obscure series or even put more of the well known classics on the service outside of Friends.