An extremely specific rant on the annoyances of buying anime on macOS Catalina.

I buy a fair amount of media off the video section of the iTunes Music Store (hereafter iTMS).  It tends to be cheaper than buying blu-rays, and all I am going to do with a blu-ray is immediately redeem the digital code that came with it and then give the physical disc to the local library.

Yes, I have some OCD problems.  I’m choosing to ignore them.  The point is that I don’t like having shelves full of media around.

Anyway.  Back to the iTMS and my rant for the day.

iTunes has actually been a pretty decent place to buy subtitled anime recently.  Seasons tend to appear on the store at about 30 bucks a pop and then eventually drop to the $15 range, which is in impulse buy territory.  One show I have been waiting on is Love Live! Sunshine!!, which is a fine show but one that I would like to pay less money for.

So every once in a while I load up iTunes and check how much it costs.

Searching for Love Live! in iTunes gives me results like this:

So you can see that the show exists in both the default, English-dubbed version and in an “Original Japanese” version with proper voices and subtitles.  As a side note, you can search iTunes for “Original Japanese” and it will give you a pretty decent list of shows that are available subtitled.

macOS Catalina no longer has iTunes.

It has the Music app, which DOES have access to the iTMS (but only the music side) and the TV app, which has a new way of browsing for media.  It is not a good change.

If you search on Love Live! Sunshine!! in the TV app, you get one result:


Dub only.  No way to choose the subtitled version.  I checked a few other shows just in case Apple had something against everyone’s second favorite team of nascent idols, but came up with similar results in every case.

Now, compare this to the TV app on iOS rather than macOS:

The iOS app shows that the show you are trying to buy exists in two versions.

And lets you pick the subtitled version.

Looking up Love Live! Sunshine!! on tvOS works similarly to the iOS app, by the way, though I couldn’t take a screenshot to demonstrate.  It’s only macOS that doesn’t give you options.

This only appears to affect TV shows, so it’s not like it’s CONSISTENTLY broken in the same way.  It can’t even aspire to that.  If you use the macOS TV app to look up a movie available in both dubbed and subtitled versions – let’s take “Your Name” as an example – it works like the iOS app.

I have been more-or-less happy with Catalina in general.  I don’t think the transition from Mojave to Catalina was quite as smooth as previous transitions, but I get that they are trying to make a lot of structural changes to the OS.

I’m not sure which of those structural changes justify “and you can only buy English-dubbed versions of shows from now on” but I rather hope they get their heads out of wherever they have gotten wedged and fix this.


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2 Responses to An extremely specific rant on the annoyances of buying anime on macOS Catalina.

  1. Pete Davison says:

    I used to like Apple around the Tiger/Leopard era, but recently they seem to be on this endless drive to “simplify” everything, which usually means removing features that were perfectly functional before. (I know not everyone liked iTunes, but I never had a problem with it.)

    One thing that particularly drives me nuts about modern tech — and Google is just as guilty of this with Android, as is Microsoft with Windows 10 — is the seeming refusal to provide any sort of detailed, meaningful feedback on a task that is going to take a while. At best you get an extremely vague progress bar; at worst it just starts doing something in the background with no actual indication that anything is happening. In the latter instance, it often isn’t clear if a task you asked the PC/phone to do even started!


    • baudattitude says:

      I am 100% with you on that last. Every time I spin up a new Windows VM, which is fairly often in my job, I have to allow several hours for updates, including the point where Windows says “we’ve just installed updates for the last couple of hours and are now at the point where we can get down to some serious updating” with generally no indication of how long it’s going to take.

      I find that your average new install of Windows is completely up-to-date and usable about, mmm, let’s play it safe and say about twelve hours after you boot it for the first time? Worse if you’re using some kind of manufacturer-specific branded version that has its own stuff to update. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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