In July, Viewster announced that they’d be rolling out a new subscription service. The initiative, known as Omakase, will be a multi-faceted service that spans both digital content and physical goods.
On the digital end, Viewster will offer ad-free HD video for Viewster programming, including anime streams and simulcasts. On the physical end of things, Omakase will distribute a bi-monthly merchandise box, à la Loot Crate or Nerd Block. The boxes will include special-edition items, such as a gold-foil hardcover manga book, or a box-exclusive figure.
Earlier today, the first Omakase box, which Viewster is calling its “Alpha Box,” arrived on our doorstep. Given the early arrival, and our general interest around the “crate of nerdy stuff” concept, we felt that a full teardown was warranted.
Full Disclosure: product was supplied by Viewster for the article
The Omakase box arrived in a plain, white shipping box. A sticker was affixed to the top of the container, which contained the Omakase logo. The seal on the crate was a circular sticker that depicted Sailor Moon‘s Moon Stick weapon.
Inside the box, we were greeted by a tuft of teal tissue paper, and an art card featuring digital diva Hatsune Miku. The back of the card contains a brief description of the various items in the package.
What’s In The Box?
The inaugural Omakase box is all about Hatsune Miku. Every single item in the crate relates to the virtual idol, from the smallest of trinkets to the Funko Pop vinyl figure nestled between the rest of the goodies.
The full list of items is as follows:
- Hatsune Miku sunglass case
- Hatsune Miku necktie
- Hatsune Miku “Funko Pop” figurine
- Hatsune Miku buttons
- Hatsune Miku T-Shirt (Omakase exclusive)
The sunglass case is a black canvas pouch, which features an SD version of Hatsune Miku embroidered on the front. The back of the case is adorned with teal and pink musical notes.
The necktie is a full-sized polyester garment, produced by WeLoveFine. The tie itself is a solid teal with two black bars at the end, much like the digital diva’s own garment. The tags on the inside of the tie feature the Hatsune Miku logo, as does the inner loop.
The figurine is a super-deformed “Funko Pop” figure, which have become common sights in stores like FYE and Hot Topic. As one would expect, the figure stands at about 4 inches, and the face is the simple “black eyes and a nose” that Funko figures are known for.
Overall, it’s a cute figure, with a surprisingly well-done paint job that includes numerous finer touches, like the yellow lines on Miku’s skirt pleats, and detailing on her the decorations.
The toy is surprisingly sturdy as it stands, as it relies on Miku’s twin tails to provide additional balance.
A pair of stainless steel buttons was also included, which feature the digital diva in two distinct art styles.
The T-shirt, though, is undoubtedly the centerpiece of this Alpha box. The Omakase-exclusive garment, which shipped in a Men’s Extra Large size, features a special Hatsune Miku piece by artist HappyMappy. The art piece is, for lack of a better word, adorable, as it features a stylized Miku posing with a keytar and microphone. The image pops against the vibrant purple fabric of the garment.
The overall cost of the items in the box adds up to $54.49, with the breakdown being:
- Sunglass Pouch: $3
- Figure: $10.99
- Tie: $15
- T-Shirt: $25
- Buttons: $0.50
The cost of the shirt was estimated, using a similar shirt from manufacturer WeLoveFine.
The “Alpha” box is a strong first effort by Omakase. The Hatsune Miku theme is a sure winner, as the character has seemingly unending appeal among anime fans of all stripes. The goodies included run the gamut from the safe to the quirky, though all of it is delightfully geeky.
The real stand-out in the box, though, is the T-Shirt. HappyMappy’s design manages to be charming, without being “cutesy.” All the while, the piece manages to retain the essence of Miku’s distinctive character.
Really, though, it’s clear that Viewster is borrowing a page from Miku herself with this inaugural box. They’re stepping forth to say “The World Is Mine.”
Naturally, I’m also saying this in the context of this being a preview box. Pricing of the service is still unknown, which means that we can’t exactly make comments on the overall value of the package.
That said, though, if Viewster is able to keep prices at a reasonable level while retaining the quality that I saw in this particular box, the company could be looking at a winning proposition.
Update 9/17/2015: The folks at Viewster confirmed that Omakase will be priced at $25 (US) per two-month period. The price of entry grants customers an Omakase box, as well as two months of ad-free streaming video, music, and comics. With this in mind, we’re revising our previous judgment.
Given this new information, it’s hard to call Omakase anything less than a fantastic value. Viewster’s anime library has been growing steadily with a healthy mix of simulcasts, fan favorites, and forgotten classics. This, combined with the bi-monthly goodie box, can easily justify the service’s $25 price tag.