Netflix and the Anime Industry

Update:

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Hey everywhere. I’ve been sick for a few days so I didn’t write anything new until last night. I am feeling a lot better right now though I watched a few shows on Netflix when I was sick and I want to talk about it and those two shows at some point. Not sure when…but BEWARE. Muahahaha.

Actual post:

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At this moment, streaming is the most important part of the anime industry outside of Japan. Since the internet has gotten better and better, streaming from computers and different devices like gaming platforms and smart phones allows us to watch anime anywhere at any time. There is also this thing called Simulcasting. That thing that allows us foreigners to get anime immediately from Japan as early as an hour after it airs in Japan. This comes from legal services like Crunchyroll, Daisuki, Amazon Strike as the newest thing, hulu sometimes, and some other services that I don’t use. Compared to the past, right now is the best time to be an anime fan because of how legally available it is right now. If you know about these services, then you would know that Netflix doesn’t adhere to many of those things those others do and how much Netflix lives by its own rules. Netflix’s main purpose is not centered around anime, but they do play a role in it while also hindering it at the same time. Like so many other things, this situation is complicated.

Let’s start this off by stating some of the good that Netflix does for the anime industry. Since not many people use Netflix for the purpose of anime watching, it’s a great way for people to get started. Netflix’s selection of anime is limited, but it is diverse enough to give people a feeling of what the art form can do. I wish there was more, but who knows how those complicated Netflix wheel and deal things work. But I digress, whenever somebody who is bored and looking through Netflix for something new to watch, anime is an option for them to try out. Especially if these theoretical people want something unusual, different, and interesting that can’t be seen anywhere but anime. They might find one series to watch, then go onto another one, then they might be hooked for life. The chances of that might be low, but that’s anime. It’s a niche art form. While it is growing fandom, the audience is a lot smaller compared to a lot of things from western media. Unfortunately, it’s not for everyone.

The next positive thing that Netflix does for the industry are some of its exclusives. I’m not talking about tv shows that aired like Knights of Sidonia, Ajin, The Little Witch Academia TV series that is airing now in Japan, but the movies and specials that aren’t seen anywhere else. Gantz: 0 is something that came out last year and now it’s available worldwide legally. The same can be said for the Little Witch Academia ovas/movies and Cyborg 009: Call of Justice. These are exclusive things that aren’t available anywhere else but Netflix. There is also a Blame movie that is coming out exclusively to Netflix later this year, which is something that I am looking forward to a lot. When they obtain unique series, movies, and OVAS that came out recently, but aren’t airing, they are fantastic. Since Netflix is worldwide and has a lot of money, they can do this and dub each series in a wide variety of languages for worldwide release. If there is anything Netflix knows how to do, it’s getting a wide variety of people to watch their stuff. Even if they aren’t an anime focused platform, they know a lot of tricks on how to get an audience to come back to them. Netflix’s main problem comes in to play when it goes against the grains of how the anime industry works right now.

Netflix’s business model is so different compared every other anime streaming service right now. Every streaming site besides Netflix releases new episodes of airing anime within a day of when they air in Japan. If you have stuck around Netflix for even a short amount of time, they like releasing their media all at once or one entire cour at a time for currently airing anime series. Netflix released Kuromukuro 13 episodes at the end of each season instead of one episode per week, and that made the wait for the second season terrible. I’m pretty sure that Netflix is going to handle Little Witch Academia (TV Series) the same way. Waiting for one week per show is hard enough, but waiting an entire season for a cour to finish is ever worse then that. I know that there are many of you out there that like binge watching shows, but I can’t do that. For one thing, I don’t have enough time to do that anymore and for another, a show has to suck me in completely for me to binge watch it. That doesn’t happen that often anymore. But enough about me, Netflix is still moving against the anime industry’s model. Having anime right now on demand is way it has all demanded and it’s incredibly frustrating, because Netflix does have the resources to simulcast series. I hear they are doing that in Japan right now. Why can’t they launch titles with subtitles everywhere right now and do whatever they wanted with dubs later on?

So in conclusion, I think that the positive way that Netflix affects the anime industry more than outweighs the negatives. Especially for people who just got into watching anime, casual fans, and anime fans who use Netflix for other reasons then watching anime. It’s just not a good platform for exclusive anime watching. Netflix is more interested in having a broad library of selections to watch then focusing on something niche like Anime. Besides, Crunchyroll is cheaper and while Hulu’s anime library has diminished recently, Hulu still has a wider variety of good anime series to watch. Still, the things Netflix has can’t usually be found anywhere else.  Netflix’s exclusives are worth picking it up sometimes. Depends on your own tastes though.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. marthaurion says:

    ive been thinking about this one a lot and i cant really get behind criticizing netflix for their release strategy on anime. i think it makes sense given the way that they release shows in general. i think if this were really about a series being released as an entire season, we would have seen the same outcry when relife was released as a season. i think it’s more about the series being released weekly in japan and released as a season in the west. i think it’s fine to point out that it’s not fair, but i would argue that netflix did the same thing when they originally came up with the concept. when the netflix original series were being released, it was a completely new thing to release them all together instead of on a weekly schedule. i find it hard to fault netflix for applying that everywhere.

    and i also want to point out that releasing a series in one go doesnt necessarily mean you have to watch it all in one go. i saw it with relife, where bloggers maintained their weekly schedule while watching the series despite the initial release of the entire season. ive even employed this tactic while watching the railgun series, forcing myself to watch only a single episode each day so that i could get through it in a consistent manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      The thing with relife is that is was all released at the beginning of a season instead of the end. You can’t be upset about that if it’s all released at once immediately like that.

      Other then that completely agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. marthaurion says:

        yeah, but a season’s end is roughly within a week of the beginning of another season. you could argue that a late release in a season is an early release in the next season. the only thing that calls attention to the late release in the west is the timely release in japan. that’s why i think it’s just a matter of the west thinking it’s unfair that the japanese get it first.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Yeah, this kind of is biased in that sort of way because I’m a U.S. Citizen. (Which automatically means that I’m better then everyone else *sarcasm*). In general, it’s all about consistency in anime streaming, so yeah.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. TheWarner says:

    Nice article. I have two prolems with the Netflix’s anime titles: DVD prices and the English dubs. Bryce Papenbrook is a great actor. He’s certainly come a long way since the first few episodes of Great Teacher Onizuka and Busou Renkin. His performance in A Lull in the Sea made me sob like a baby, but I don’t want to hear him voicing the lead character of practically every male anime hero, especially Netflix’s anime titles (Kuromukuro, The Seven Deadly Sins, Gantz: O). He’s almost become like Johnny Yong Bosch in that I can’t escape him. Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman…😩 The casting needs to be changed up at some point.

    The price of Netflix anime titles are as overpriced as Viz releases. The first 12 episodes of The Seven Deadly Sins will retail for as high as $47.00. I think that’s too much for 12 episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marthaurion says:

      did netflix release dvds for seven deadly sins? i found information about plans to release dvds in the west, but they were licensed by funimation. so i dont think netflix deserves the blame for that one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. TheWarner says:

        Yes, Funimation will release the title on DVD, but that required them to enter into a contract with Netflix, so both companies are to blame for the ridiculous price.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        I’d blame the industry in North America for that, because every company seem to be splitting up disc sets in cours then selling them for about that price. I would say just be glad it’s not Aniplex selling the show.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. TheWarner says:

        You make a valid point. And Aniplex’s prices…geez.

        Like

      4. marthaurion says:

        so…taking a look at the preorders available on funimation, im seeing dimension w, seven deadly sins, and shounen maid at roughly the same price.

        Like

    2. Scott says:

      Yeah, the voice acting thing can be annoying. Maybe it’s too expensive to find new talent?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d imagine that one reason why they don’t have much of a catalog for anime in the West is because it’s not that big in the West .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Maybe, maybe not. Netflix feels like a mystery sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karandi says:

    Netflix is a bit different but they don’t really have that much anime (particularly in Australia) so I’m happy enough to wait until the end of the season for the one or two shows they’ll actually release. What I find more frustrating is exclusive service releases in general focing fans to subscribe to multiple platforms in order to access a range of anime. If they are serious about people paying for legal streaming, sell the rights to everyone and get payment from the subscribers, rather than relaeasing this anime to this service and that anime to that service. People only pay so much before they decide its easier to work around the system.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. marthaurion says:

      you see, this is what bothers me. but then again, this is the business model for western shows in general…hulu, netflix, hbo, amazon, etc. each have their own selections of series. when you think about it, it makes sense since it’s not going to be easy for a single company to obtain all the licenses and it promotes competition for there to be multiple streaming services out there. but from a consumer’s perspective, it’s pretty infuriating when that one show you want to watch is on the service you dont have.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Scott says:

        Yeah, Crunchyroll is trying to get all of the shows and for the most part they have, but all of those other companies want their hands in the pie as well and that’s incredibly annoying.

        Like

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