Nico Nico Douga (ニコニコ動画) is a Japanese video-sharing service much like YouTube
. In fact, it started out as an online YouTube
front-end before they were blocked from loading videos off YouTube
servers. Now they host their own videos (for most language versions; for the English version they have somehow been allowed to do this again). Its trademark feature is the ability to add timed scrolling or subtitle-style captions to a playing video instead of offering a regular comments page like YouTube
. This solves one problem (multiple pages required to see all comments on a YouTube
video) while introducing a whole new one (see "Bullet Hell" below). Additionally, it has two features not originally seen on YouTube note
— one is the "live broadcast", which is exactly what it sounds like, usually a concert or anime, and the other is the "International Nico Nico
Film Festival", where people compete to make a short film based upon a certain theme; there is a cash prize.
It is now available in Japanese
, and Chinese
(the Chinese site is "tw" because that's where Niwango (the people who keep the site running) were told the most Chinese-language users were from, so don't start a political mess here). Registration is required; free membership (downgrades playback quality during peak hours) is available in all four languages, premium membership applications can only be purchased on the Japanese site but can then be carried over to any other language (credit card required, JCB or American Express from any country can be used while Visa and MasterCard issued outside Japan don't work, 500 yen or approx. US$6.20/month). There is no given timeline for carrying over the new player or site redesign over from Japanese to other languages (Taiwanese members now have a direct link to purchase premium membership).
In April 2011, a long-awaited, mostly functional English version
was added and is currently in beta. Also, an option to purchase premium memberships by Paypal was added, allowing international members without JCB cards or WebMoney vouchers to purchase it. There is also a redirector
that allows viewing videos without having an account at the Japanese website.
On October 17, 2012, a full English version of the site was launched, rendering niconico.com obsolete.
This site is currently/was home to:
- Affectionate Parody: NND is known for hosting a lot of these, skewering 2ch/an memes, anime, news, games...
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Version 1 of the Chinese site. It was little more than a script that Babelfished the Japanese site, leaving gaping holes in the translation and making the site hopelessly confusing. This is because it only had one meaning programmed in for each word and would translate part of words that weren't meant to be translated partially. When they released the Spanish and German translations they went and actually made a proper translation for the Chinese site.
- The Spanish translation is only about as good as Google Translate.
- The English version fares a bit better, but still suffers from a bit of poor translation, such as "authentification code".
- Bullet Hell: That's how people refer to a bunch of comments with the same phrase appearing in the same time. It's usually hilarious, or downright awesome.
- Vocaloid: Their popularity started here, and later spread throughout the rest of the internet, with some of these available on YouTube. Since the voices are samples transformed into computer-generated sounds, almost any user can make a Vocaloid tune and post it up. The majority of them are usually very good.