This post was inspired by the conversation I had with ThoughtsMotion on twitter or Imcumbent Thinker on WordPress. It started with a post of me asking about a way to legally watch a move that has come out recently and everybody on twitter was talking about, A Silent Voice. I saw an endless amount of posts on twitter containing something like “OMG, the feels 10/10” (okay, there was more depth that that, but you get the point) and some blog posts giving reviews of it. A legal link was never provided, but that’s okay. That is only partial issue in this matter. The real topic at hand was the interesting conversation about legal streaming and licensing of anime that followed. Twitter is not a good place to express one’s opinion, because a one hundred and forty character limit means each point must be simplified down to its roots. A nearly impossible task to accomplish. For what it’s worth, please don’t take the rest of this post as a rant or me trying to shame others into legal streaming. These are my ideals and I stand by them to the best of my ability.
To start this one off, I believe that IF there is a legal way to stream or watch a series or movie in anyway, it’s my and the viewers obligation to watch it that way. Just because a series is available for free online, doesn’t mean that is okay to watch them that way. That is media that doesn’t belong to the illegal streaming site or torrent site and will not support the creators of that series in anyway. All that is being done here is either providing money to those who ripped the file from some sources or opening your computer up to acquiring a virus of some sort. Even with the use of adblock and anti-virus software, this is the case. No amount of money is going to production studio either way. Now if you want to watch an older series, something that is not licensed or legal streaming anywhere, like Neon Genesis Evangelion, then go ahead and torrent it or use an illegal streaming service. This and torrenting movies that just came out are two different things for me, but more on that later. If anything, it will give a company like Funimation to licenses it in the future like they have recently and many times before. The reasoning would partially for the fans and partially because that company wants to make a profit, which are both reasonable to me. Apparently not Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it is in a special corner by itself like usual.
If you are complaining about how the money from a legal streaming service doesn’t all go to Japan, that seems kind of obvious to me. Let’s take Crunchyroll for example. Crunchyroll is a streaming service that requires an infrastructure behind it to keep it going. There is the maintenance technicians the site maintained, people researching how they can improve the site in the future, people bidding for what anime they get from production companies to put on the site, advertisement of new media that they acquired, and many other thigs that I probably couldn’t think of when writing this. All of those people need to be paid otherwise they wouldn’t do their job. By the looks of what I saw online, it doesn’t look they get paid very well either. Something tells me that the field of anime isn’t about money but the passion.
Last, let’s talk about licensing and movie release dates. I don’t know about any of you guys, but I haven’t seen Your Name or Silent Voice yet. There were no moving showings in a convenient range for me, because I live in the suburbs and the local movie theater is too small to have these anime movies in them, and I am currently waiting for their releases to see them. I rather wait then watch them through a torrent. For one thing, I don’t think the experience of watching it on the computer can appeal to what the visual aesthetics of those two films demand. Especially with the high level of graphics and artwork involved in them. Also, even if both of these movies gain all the money forever, I don’t think that torrenting is acceptable because I want to support the release as well. Your Name comes out this summer and I can’t wait to see it, despite the fact that I am not a huge fan of Makoto Shinkai. I don’t know when A Silent Voice is going to appear, but I can wait. I’ve waited a really long time for something to release or so to see a sequel of a series before, so this is nothing new for me.
To bring the point home again, the point of this post was not for me to preach and force other people to go this route because I can’t do that. I can only write this blog post and explain my reasoning behind it. There is no way in hell that I can get people to change their minds automatically. I can’t physically grab you by the throat and force you to change your opinions. Force wouldn’t work anyway. Besides, I know that legal streaming isn’t perfect either. For one thing it’s not widely available in all countries worldwide, Anime Strike is a thing, Netflix holds the release date of shows for a while because of their own reasons, Crunchyroll has server issues from time to time, and there are probably other things I haven’t said yet. I guess I am forgetting that we don’t have one single streaming service for all the shows, which would be helpful, but the way the U.S. market works won’t allow for that. Competition is necessary. So no, it’s not like legal streaming is perfect. Nothing touched by human hands is. Still, this is what I prefer.
What is your opinion of this matter? Please share in the comments and lets have a discussion. I feel like I an genuinely asking for an ass kicking with this post, so please do. At least somebody will get entertainment from it.