Greetings! Railgunfan75 here. One of the biggest topics of conversation of late has revolved around the way the streaming services Netflix and Amazon have handled the way they distribute anime. These sites have enraged a sizable potion of the anime community because of the different way they do things compared to sires such as Crunchyroll and Funimation. Today, I would like to throw in my two cents on the issue.
First and foremost, I agree with many of the members of the community that the way that these two companies are handling anime is a bit frustrating. I’ll start with Amazon. It is indeed annoying that you fundamentally have to both pay twice and pay more than on other sites. The scope of Amazon’s content is not as vast as on other sites (and much of what they have can be found elsewhere legally as well) and the main appeal are the handful of exclusives they have each season. It does not make much sense to pay more for less and in essence that is what they are asking. Also forcing people to pay for Prime first is also a dirty move. I’ll admit I was already a Prime member so this was not an obstacle for me but I can completely understand why someone wouldn’t want to pay for Prime first. To pay 100 bucks a year just to gain access to another service which you then have to pay for is indeed insane. The real shame of it is that the service has gotten the rights to some amazing series (Re:Creators, Saekano Flat, and others) and most of the community because of the barrier will miss out on these shows are not show it the legal support that they need.
Next up is Netflix. Netflix has been really upsetting the community of late by making them wait months for series which are currently airing in Japan. Two high profile cases of this have been the much anticipated Little Witch Academia and Fate Apochrypha. Little Which Academia has only recently been added to Netflix- with only half the series right now and Fate won’t be appearing on the site until November. I will admit that I have been curious about both of the series (especially Fate) and the wait has certainly disappointed me. It is a shame that we have to wait months after other parts of the world in order to view these series, and it does feel like we are missing out. In this case the tragedy is that the hype for many of these shows will have died down by the time they or released meaning skewed numbers on the part of Netflix, numbers will be down compared to what they typically would be meaning licensing future titles could be more difficult. And yes that is a bad thing as we want as many series brought over to us from Japan as possible. I will admit this issue bothers me less than than the Amazon issue since this is the way Netflix got successful in the first place and I have waited months to watch things in the past. But it is still certainly annoying especially considering that we are getting most of the other series within hours of airing.
So, how can these problems be addressed? The solution that I have seen to this problem repeatedly is just to simple not support these series and pirate everything instead. Yes, not giving the companies financial support is a way to let Amazon and Netflix know that you are dissatisfied with what they are offering but this is by far an imperfect solution.
Before I continue, I just want to say that is not a judgment statement on pirating as a whole. While yes, I would encourage people to watch legally, I understand that circumstances such as financial constraints or lack of availability of legal options can make this difficult and I completely understand those reasons behind it. However, I disagree with those people who state- “I pirate anime just because I want to” or “On principal I just refuse to watch legally” with no valid reason behind it. Those are poor excuses which look bad on all of us. For those of you who can’t afford to do so or don’t have such options available to you, no judgement or criticism is passed here. So if you are among those people please don’t take my statements below as a criticism towards you.
Pirating as a solution to these problems has two negatives. The first is that you are punishing the anime creators more that Amazon and Netflix themselves. Amazon and Netflix are taking in plenty of money and the anime community is still a niche market to them. The financial hit they take by not getting your support really doesn’t do much for them at the end of the day. Both companies are certainly making enough money even without the anime series. The anime studios are not nearly as big as the aforementioned companies and anime is all they do. They are under no obligation to bring their content to us outside Japan and they do as a means to make money. By not taking the legal option in a way your are showing the creators that you are not interested in the product they are trying to provide. Also do such actions just for the sole purpose of “sticking it to them” really doesn’t reflect that well on the community as a whole.
This in turn leads to a second consequence. By not supporting the distribution and streaming sites, people are effectively contributing to the idea that we don’t want the series to be provided to us in other parts of the world. And as such this could potentially lead to the end of anime being brought to us fans overseas. Yes this is an extreme worst case scenario but it is a possibility. Anime is created for Japan first and foremost and the rest of us receiving is a byproduct of us letting the studios know through various means that we like it too. Pirating anime does not do this. We have had the privilege of experiencing an amazing form of entertainment and by not giving the proper support that privilege could be revoked.
So what is the solution then? The solution is to really keep doing what we are already doing. Speak out- use whatever means you have to sound your voice and let the world know how you feel. If enough voices speak out, the message will be heard and maybe the change that you desire will happen. Also do you what you can to support the industry. This will speak louder than any other form of protest. This tells the industry that we want more of what they are giving us and if they know that they might be more likely to not give a bum deal and we certainly will have more options in the future to enjoy what we love.
It is clear that Netflix and Amazon still have some work to do to win over the anime community. They are admittedly a bit out of touch with the way that anime is consumed and the demands of the anime community. However, the anime community also needs to remember that these are businesses that we are dealing with and are entities which are under no obligation to please us. We are in some ways at the mercy of the creators and distributors and as such we need to approach things in a way which will not only make our argument more valid but also shows the pride and dignity that this community has. Throwing a tantrum will not get what we want, but understanding and giving concessions just might.
So what are your thoughts on this issue? I would love to hear from you so please comment below or drop me a message on my Facebook (Railgunfan75’s Geek Blog) or Twitter (@Railgunfan75). So until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off. See ya soon!