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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  -- 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, Spanish, German, 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 Web Money vouchers to purchase it. There is also a redirector that allows viewing videos without having an account at the Japanese website.
This site is currently/was home to:
- Affectionate Parody
- Bad Virtual Export For You: A redesign of Nico Nico Douga brought about the Spanish, German, and v2 of the Taiwanese versions of the site. However, all of these have stagnated since, with none of them receiving the major changes (such as the new player) brought about in the latest redesign.
- Banned in China: All language variants as of December 2010 (cause unknown). Before that, the Chinese-language version was already banned almost as soon as the v2 translation came out, probably due to the use of the Taiwanese/ROC national flag to denote it.
- Or more likely, due to the political leaning of the site, Taiwanese users included. Using the ROC flag is a minor offense; videos and comments promoting the view that Japan was good to Taiwan and its people while being irredeemably evil to the people of the mainland (not to mention the standard complaints about China and its government) weren't going to fly.
- 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 made the site hopelessly confusing in others. 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.
- Caramelldansen Vid
- MST: The /a/ and /jp/ boards on 4chan sometimes use the site to upload and mock videos from YouTube. Such videos include various Fanime series (example) and the infamous report about the "hackers on steroids" group Anonymous.
- The Japanese users do something similar and there's even a tag for it- "Nico Nico International Cultural Exchange" or some such.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: And how!
- Well, the live broadcast for YouTube eventually spawned.