My Opinion of Anime Legal Streaming and Licensing

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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.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Karandi says:

    I’m with you in that if I can watch something on a legal streaming site I will. Ten years ago was a different story when to be an anime fan (particularly in Australia) more or less meant you had to be downloading or watching very dodgy and hacked up versions of anime on YouTube but now most new anime is available through a legal service for either a subscription or through putting up with a couple of advertisements. There’s a handful of shows I haven’t been able to see immediately due to region locking or because a service I don’t use has them exclusively at the moment so on those I’ll wait for a DVD release or similar. It isn’t like I haven’t got plenty of other shows to keep me entertained.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Yay, more people agreeing with me.

      And thing I’ve learned about anime streaming is that there is always more out there to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Andrealinia says:

    I come into this at the half way point now. I used to be firmly on the legal side but I’m finding it’s not so black and white any more.

    I pay for Crunchyroll and I pay for Netflix. I don’t have to pay for Crunchyroll, no, but that’s my way to support the industry as my likelihood of buying an anime series as a physical copy is low unless I fall in love with it.

    I don’t pay for Amazon Prime. I’ve not decided whether to pay for it, I’ve enough to watch on my current sources that it’s not an issue right now. Being in the UK, it seems as though I don’t suffer from the additional charge of Anime Strike. Looking at it, I can watch Re:CREATORS with Prime Video (which is £5.99, comparable to Crunchyroll’s £4.99) though Sagrada Reset isn’t an option for me at all so it’s a limited version of US options.

    I’m lucky that financially I could afford to pay for Prime if I wanted to. I probably would if I wanted to watch something bad enough, providing it’s just that one off cost as it is now. If they adopted the US methodology, I wouldn’t pay.

    I feel like I’m going off track and this is a whirlwind of words! Basically, I try to support it legally when I can to support the creators. However, as much as I would want to support the shows that are provided by a bad business practice, I know that the majority of profits (if not all depending on the contract) go to the business and not the creators. I will not support greedy practices. For those anime it’s unlikely I will stream them legally but I would buy a physical copy if I enjoyed it enough to rewatch.

    As for films, I’m waiting. I wasn’t able to get to a cinema to see A Silent Voice or Your Name and I will happily wait for those. I’m considering renting A Silent Voice on iTunes as it’s available here but I also plan on buying a physical copy regardless.

    I hope this made some sort of sense!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      It made plenty of sense. Thank you for reading and giving your opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would use legal streaming sties if they didn’t block my region. The funny thing is that Crunchyroll themselves started out by hosting fansubs.

    My anime DVD collection is sizable so I do support the industry, but I reserve the right to watch a show online first. In the past I bought too many shows blind that turned out to be a waste of money.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Hey, if there is no legitimate way to watch these shows , then I can’t say anything about it. Just do what you can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For the most part I don’t really like illegal streaming sites, for me they’re only useful for older shows or underrated shows that just aren’t on the legal services. As far as anime movies I use sources like Masterani and kissanime simply because a lot of the legal places don’t seem to have them.

    Like

  5. WeekendOtaku says:

    Privilege is a funny thing. Earning it isn’t straightforward or even possible in many cases, but that doesn’t stop a large number of people from feeling entitled to it.

    Sorry Scott, I can’t give you the ass kicking you’re looking for because I agree with you. I saw Your Name this past April when it came to a local theater when it seems like near everyone else on WordPress saw it last summer. A Silent Voice seems to have released internationally in many countries but the US doesn’t appear to be one of them. Oh well, I’ll wait until it is.

    So I don’t get to hype-gasm with the rest of the internet for a little while. I’m still glad I saw Your Name the way I did, and I’m sure I’ll feel the same way about A Silent Voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Lmao, that’s okay. Glad some people agree with me.

      Like

  6. TPAB~ says:

    So, torrenting old anime is ok but not new ones. I dunno, I understand what you mean but you can’t have both. I’m in a country where any anime merchandise is extremely expensive, what with export tax and all, so I can’t afford it. We also don’t have streaming services here, and I personally can’t afford it as well if its available here. We don’t all have the same playing field though. We aren’t all equal in terms of economical status and advancements, so I think that’s something to consider. I’ll personally donate money to anime studios if it helps, but torrent has some positives too.
    Not all anime is in legal streaming services, some extremely taboo movies are often not shown in my country (since we’re mega religious and I remember The Da Vinci code was banned here), and I personally would’ve never known anime if I just stuck to what people are required to legally watch, since that means they control what I can consume.
    I know torrent is bad. I understand your argument, and I bet you had some mean spirited comments coming your way when you defended your point. I’m just saying that it’s a complicated matter, I guess. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Look at my response to The Otaku Judge’s comment.

      Like

    2. Scott says:

      If I wanted to get into more detail about it, I can’t complain about people torrenting when there is no other way to watch something. My opinion is specifically from a North American point of view. Over here, we have plenty of companies that notice torrenting numbers of shows that aren’t licensed or released and decided to do those two things for a profit. Companies like Discotek also licenses older shows because it’s the kind of shows that the people in the company love. I hope this explains things better.

      Like

  7. I have a strange and some what controversial opinion on legal streaming, and a lot of it has been due to my circumstances over the years.

    I’m not against it at all, and think it’s a great option. However, I want my money to go to the people who create it. I want the animators and the original staff to get my money, because they’re horrendously underpaid for what they do.

    I’m not saying that Crunchyrolls money doesn’t go to them. I’m sure it does. But I’m under the impression it’s a very small amount, and the bulk of the profits go to Crunchyroll themselves, other partners like Funimation and the higher ups in the industry.

    Furthermore, until recently my internet was terrible. I couldn’t stream at all, and had to download most of my shows at my girlfriends and then take them back to my house on an external hard drive to watch them at home. This was the only way I could watch a lot of shows at the time, and this has only changed recently. I also like to watch Anime when I don’t have internet around, so having shows stored on a hard drive makes that possible.

    Then there’s the fact that I save every penny for things that aren’t hobbies for various reasons, but that’s my own choice really, so I’m at fault there.

    On top of that, I’m sick of Crunchyrolls attitude towards piracy. Until recently they were pirates themselves who made money from the act they now slander on an almost daily basis.

    Finally, there’s the “not having everything” thing. There are lots of shows I can only get on torrents, some of them being my favourites, like Evangelion as you mentioned before.

    This is of course just my take on it all though. Despite how it appears, I have nothing against Crunchyroll or its userbase. I’m glad people are using it and encourage people to keep doing so.

    It just doesn’t sit right with me currently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I should add here that I do buy Anime DVD’s.

      I have about 6 shelves worth of boxsets of all the shows I’d like to support, and I still add to it today.

      So in that sense, I support the industry, and I genuinely feel that’s the best way to do it, currently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Scott says:

        That’s fine. Something tells me those boxsets help the industry more because they are possibly cheap to make and their cost outweighs that of a Crunchyroll subscription.

        Thanks for sharing your point of view. We are all victims of circumstances.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. heyitszel says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m a mix of both. I used to watch things on an illegal site, but opted for Crunchyroll and Funimation because the quality is obviously better. I try to watch anime as legally as I can, with some things here and they I have to hunt down on an illegal site or youtube – but that’s usually only for OVA specials.

    Liked by 1 person

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