A Reality Check: The Crunchyroll Situation

You know, I really wish that people wouldn’t dismiss complex issues so simply. All of you know what I am talking about right? Something along the lines of how we can find a stereotype or a singular, one-word answer to so many complicated problems or issues that can only have a complicated answer associated with it. With this new incident around Crunchyroll’s original work (High Guardian Spice) that has appeared, I think people have been dismissing works from trailers for a long time and this is yet another example of that. This time, it has more added fueld in it’s flames by having the trailer not focus on the show’s story AND the fact that the question of how Crunchyroll’s resources are being used are being thrown in the fore front. I wish that it was possible to walk a mile in Crunchyroll’s shoes. A company has much more complicated inward politics and other influences that push all the decisions it makes and/or how runs in the first place. Let’s talk about this more, shall we?

I wish we didn’t have a culture centered around know nothing know it alls that think they know how everything works. Especially certain anime youtubers that have made an existence one way and think that’s how everything should work and how everyone should be paid. According to the research of a few people, I don’t think that Studio Trigger’s patreon is going to help that much. A patreon is a lot better at funding small amounts of people, not a large anime production company. The world is much more complicated then that. Especially centered around a company of people like Crunchyroll. We don’t know any of the particulars of how much money it gets every month, because paid subscribers aren’t the only way they get money, and how it spends it.

Company politics centered around how it pays its people and how the service is operated are complete unknowns to us. Basically, Crunchyroll is like the black box problem in thermodynamics. We can see the inputs and outputs of a system, but nothing else. It just works. Do I want to see Crunchyroll solve its flash player and server problems faster? Yes. Yes I do. I don’t want to have to restart my app three times just to have a show air on my phone without stuttering along and stopping every five minutes. The thing is, everything takes time. The gears of a company must be fully rotating before a change can happen and that takes a lot of time. That’s the lesson I’ve learned from so many life experiences. Don’t quit on something so easily, it could be in the process of improving. But that is your prerogative, not mine. Do want you want, nobody is telling you otherwise.

(Though I do think they should have had a trailer for the show as a whole then a special afterward talking about it’s production staff. That might have come across a little better.)

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Irina says:

    Thank you for finally explaining what everyone’s been grumbling about.
    I had no idea…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Scott says:

      You’re welcome! Glad it helped!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree with what you’re saying here.

    While I am a little turned off by this new original show, due to the possibility that they’ve spent some of the money that they claimed would be used to “help the industry” on its production, and while I have various problems with their platform and how their PR staff deal with criticism, I do think people have been very quick to pin them as the bad guys.

    The reality is, Crunchyroll is a business and as a business, it’s in their best interest to remain operational as a business. We really don’t know how their finances work or where their money really goes, or how much of it goes where, or anything. Much like any other business if you think about it.

    It’s a complicated situation that’s well beyond my own understanding, as someone who has very little knowledge in business or how it works. But seeing Anitubers pin Crunchyroll as the bad guys, acting as if they have all the facts, is pretty infuriating.

    Patreon, while a great way to earn money in recent years, is only really so for small businesses or projects aiming to be self-sufficient (Like YouTube, bloggers, artists, home businesses, etc). Yes, it will likely be helpful towards a big, world renowned studio as well, but it’ll very likely never become their primary/exclusive source of income because the nature of the platform is to support independent creators and artists. The platform is also half a decade old and may not even be around by the end of the decade for all we know. Who’s to say it’s even going to last?

    Anyway, great post. Nice to see another perspective on this that isn’t screeching negativity.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Scott says:

      Well, I try to find a nuetral stance with everything that I do. Sometimes it’s hard though.

      The largest amount of people I think of being supported by Patreon is Team Four Star and even they work hard to sell t shirts, have a gaming channel for money, been working on a official dub, and who knows what else to support them. It seems hard.

      I don’t think Miles understands the negativity he’s spreading when he does what he does, but it’s really easy to point fingers at something and say “that’s the problem right there”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pete Davison says:

    I think WordPress ate the middle of this post, but I get the gist 🙂

    “Company does one thing wrong then people hate it for the rest of eternity” is one of my least favourite trends in today’s era of social media. It happens with Crunchyroll a lot (though it has to be said the way Miles responds to people on Twitter doesn’t really help matters) and it also happens with certain game developers and localisation companies.

    As you say, companies are complex beasts with many heads, and one part of the company doing one thing doesn’t mean the whole company is necessarily going in that direction. I’m not a fan of Crunchyroll’s marketing for High Guardian Spice because anything that feels the need to talk that much about how “progressive” it is rather than its actual content always makes me think it has something to hide… but that doesn’t mean Crunchyroll as a whole is suddenly “evil” or anything. I… just don’t like the trailer or the look of the new show, so I probably won’t watch it.

    There are series I’ve had the opportunity to check out via their service that I would never have been able to see otherwise without resorting to piracy. Yes, stuff like region locking licensing stuff is a pain — particularly when it’s classic stuff I really want to see — and the player issues you describe are a pain (though I must admit I personally haven’t had any real issues in that regard for a while now) but I can’t deny what the company has done for me as an anime fan.

    Relating to Irina’s post from a few minutes ago at the time of writing… this sort of thing is one of many reasons I feel like mostly staying away from the noise of social media these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      The funny thing about it’s length is that while this is a quick Sunday post, I’ve tried to write more and nothing else after this was gelling together the way I wanted it too. It’s so frustrating when that happens.

      Yeah, I agree. I Miles, but I don’t think he understands the negative impacts that come from his tiraids.

      Yeah, they could have handled that issue much better. Especially with at least telling us what the story is about first in more detail without going straight to the issues. I might check it out, but I’m not a fan of the art either.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. jakecoker says:

    If you typically use Chrome, there’s a crunchyroll HTML5 plug-in that makes it WAY better.

    Though actually I think that in itself justifies some of the anger towards CR. An independent browser plug-in shouldn’t be necessary for a site you pay for — especially not when pirating sites perform better. If Crunchyroll wasn’t the primary source for legal anime in the US, I doubt people would continue to pay for it like they have. It’s just irresponsible for them to ignore their streaming, account and security issues and then turn around and promote a new show and convention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Ah, ok. My computer hasn’t been having issues with it. Just my phone from time to time. I’ll check it out though.

      You aren’t wrong, but there has to be a reason behind it all, you know? I guess we aren’t supposed to be in the know, which both helps and hurts them. Being first at something sometimes helps a company more then some people realize.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jakecoker says:

        I don’t know what they’d be first at in this case though. Feel like Rooster Teeth already beat them at an Anime (RWBY) and convention (RTX).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Creating a streaming service where you can watch anime hours after it aired in Japan.

        Like

      3. jakecoker says:

        Don’t the illegal ones typically have it within a day? It’s the quality difference that bugs me. Not improving their base service.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. marthaurion says:

    i agree that it’s important to keep the complications involved with a company in mind. since i work in the web development field, i fell into a similar position back in the CR video quality debacle. my opinion now is still consistent, and i would agree that there’s probably more to the story that CR isnt disclosing. i think part of the reason i come off as so disagreeable is the fact that i try to get at the nuance when i can, so i tend to question both sides.

    i think the public response has probably been overblown (like because of the original inciter(s)), but i can sympathize with the idea that CR doesnt seem to understand what many of its users want. i think a progressive team on HGS is great, but advertising it first does make it almost seem like CR wants to be praised just for that. making a statement about the HTML5 player right after the backlash also looks pretty bad.

    this isnt really for or against CR, but this is my experience as a someone working for a tech company. ever since i started at my company, it has been pushing to change the underlying infrastructure of its application from a standard client application (like Word is) to a full web-based application (like Google Docs). ive been working here for 5 years now and that still hasnt finished. while i dont think that CR is in the same situation (since i think it uses the video player of its parent company), it does get at the idea that these kinds of things can move slowly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I don’t see anything disagreeable here from you, Marth. Your opinions are always well reasoned.

      Yes, I agree about the audience side of things. They’ve done some other original works before, so apparently they didn’t learn how to share their projects with their audience very well yet. Kind of a surprise.

      And old technology seems to be a thing everywhere. When I was an autoclave operator up until a couple months ago, they were still running on software meant for dos. Apparently it’s expensive software to replace, but a of problems would be solved if they updated the software

      Liked by 1 person

      1. marthaurion says:

        yeah, ive seen that kind of stuff a lot in multiple companies, but i think it can be more egregious when you’re a tech company

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A Library Archivist says:

    CR stutters and stops for me too. I thought I was having bandwidth problems and didn’t realize many people were having this issue too. Switching to HTML5 instead of buggy flash would fix that, and would let them run commercials (hopefully not the same one 5 times in a row which is something I saw before installing adblocker), though hopefully few and short ones like Hulu did in the early days, which wasn’t too annoying. It was when Hulu switched to 4K ultra commercials on 480P connection speeds that their service 5h17 the bed, then they demanded money to show you 15 minutes of commercials that stuttered and stopped for a 22 minute program. That was the death of Hulu.

    I’d be willing to pay for CR service if it was better… but it isn’t. I’ve tried it. Service was the same, stoppages were the same. Delivery problems remain. These are tricky problems that have known fixes when you have access to the server hardware and code, but that also means the problem needs to be fixed by CR network engineer staff. And they have to decide to do that. I have no idea how heavy their server load must be, but I suspect its pretty serious, tens of millions of downloaders and simultaneous streams.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Karandi says:

    For all the whinges about Crunchyroll, it still provides one of the best selections of legal anime. I’ve certainly complained about their player on my blog because with the Australian internet situation, it is sometimes truly horrendous trying to get the video to play from start to finish, but since my local area got an upgrade a lot of those issues sorted themselves out and while I still don’t like the CR player I can now mostly stream without interruption s have few real complaints left.
    I watched this promo/trailer thing and I have no interest in this particular story and thought the sales pitch in the video was really weird. Sure, great that women are getting into creative positions and all, but is that the only thing you can tell me about your title? Oh, you used an animation style that isn’t often used anymore? Neither one of those things actually makes me more interested in this particular title so regardless of how good or bad it ends up being, they’ve kind of lost an opportunity to build anticipation around the story they are trying to tell.
    Despite all of this, the blow up has been way out of proportion. Company tries new thing and you don’t like it? Great, that happens all the time. Send them a contact via the appropriate channels, make a tweet or comment online, and then move on. It isn’t worth all the drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I think you summed it all up extremely well. Yet another thing that was advertised wrong and exploded on the internet for some reason. The internet is so strange and in predictable it’s kind of terrible that we rely on it so much sometimes….

      Says a blogger on the internet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Karandi says:

        The internet is also amazing and we learn a lot of great things and find out about stuff we otherwise wouldn’t have heard of. The problem is, we remember the negative encounters even if they only make up 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 of every interaction we have online.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Negativity is easier to remember then positivity.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Jon Spencer says:

    Scott, what was the rest of the quote at the end of the post supposed to say? I didn’t see anybody point that out to you in the comments yet (it got cut-off). Otherwise, yeah, I’m with you. People making a big fuss out of something that isn’t that big of a deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I thought I deleted that thing, apparently WordPress didn’t do what I wanted it to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jon Spencer says:

        Oh >.< well at least now you know!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        Yes, thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. AJ says:

    I think that the majority of people are hating on Crunchyroll *because* of the lack of transparancy. Obviously, they can’t just give away corporate secrets, but it would be nice to know what proportion of subscriptions actually go towards the studios (but then people would be asking about the individual salaries of every animator).

    But honestly, I was just a bit confused that they’d bother making a ‘trailer’ that wasn’t even really a trailer.

    Either way, I’d like to treat this drama the same way I treat politics and just stay out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yeah, transparentcy is the thing here. While there are questions centered around how the company is ran now, if we get answers, there will be more questions. I’m sure Crunchyroll has done a Cost Benefit Analysis of this already.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Scott says:

      And that “trailer” confuses me to no end.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Krystallina says:

    I spent today writing a draft on this very topic. I was both surprised and unsurprised at the reaction. And I think this whole situation is going to last for quite a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I think you’re right about how long lasting it’ll be. People are going to be talking about this forever.

      Can’t wait to see your take though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Krystallina says:

        Will most likely be up next Wednesday at TheOASG.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I think main complaints I’ve seen around the HGS announcement are “CR should focus on anime and not anime-esque stuff”, although that’s probably because I only saw the ANN userbase’s complaints before CR went “we’ll keep mostly focussing on anime, but we also want to do this”. As much as being “progressive” is good and all, I think HGS is more ideal for VRV but not CR since Ellation has power over both. In fact, isn’t this pretty much this the situations of Urahara crossed with Children of Ether (both of which were ignored at the time of announcement by the wider community)? That’s probably why they’re trying to promote HGS and why it subsequently blew up in their faces – as much as it advances company profits, not focussing on what’s already around seems like skewed priorities. Not to mention when you look at a female team + anime influences + that HGS artstyle, it looks like it’s been done before…

    I’m also a user of the HTML5 extension, so drama about the video player only affects me when the extension breaks. Poor forethought about future requirements for code and code extensibility leads to not updating old tech, so I understand why they haven’t updated the player, but from a security level (since Flash is known to be vulnerable), it’s quite worrying…so I’m kind of torn on that front.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. railgunfan75 says:

    I really don’t see where the issue is here. If they want to produce their own stuff then more power to them in my opinion. We support the company but down own them. I think some people need to remember that. Crunchyroll is such a huge source of my entertainment that I won’t complain over how they use my money as long as I get the service that they promise. And they deliver on the promise. Do they need to fix some issues with their video players? Sure but we are still in the early life of the streaming era and are still working around some of the issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      It’s that typical “this company isn’t doing what I want, time to complain about it forever on the internet things. Especially when a youtuber gets involved and his audience gets into the whole mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. zaitcev says:

    It’s the fault of the shitty normies who fap on RWBY. We’ll just have to support a company that is focused on anime all over again.

    Like

    1. Scott says:

      Judgemental much? Like seriously, way to avoid the point.

      Like

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