Whoo boy, this one is gonna be opinionated. These are just my own personal feelings on this, this isn’t representative of the whole Backloggers. I just felt like sharing and one hundred forty characters didn’t feel like enough.
Look, first and foremost, I am not stating people should pirate anime. Please, support the creators in any way you can and in every way available legally. A quick look at the Animator Housing project or the median salary of people in the industry should be enough of a wake up call that the people who make anime are in deep shit and they need every ounce of help they can get.
However, for those that are taking the high ground on this debacle with Netflix, let’s be completely realistic here: Netflix has metaphorically taken the starter pistol on their first major foray into this and shot themselves in the leg. The anime community in the western world has a several decades long history of piracy because it was simply the only option for a vast amount of shows. It’s only recently that we’ve even blessedly had Crunchyroll among others popping up to give us an alternative to waiting for years for Funimation and Aniplex (or Heaven forbid 4Kids) to license something, if they ever choose to.
This is what Netflix should be fighting. This is what we are fighting who want legal alternatives that support the very industry that gives us this entertainment. But the only way to fight piracy isn’t to say “Hey, we’re legal. That’s what you care about, right?” That doesn’t matter to people who just want to watch a show and it definitely doesn’t matter for the multiple people I work with that are casually watching Naruto and Attack on Titan and have me crying every day when I look over and they’re on KissAnime, watching the shittiest of quality streaming with “who knows who translated this” subs. I mean, in the entirety of me watching Game of Thrones, I had a multitude of friends and family talking to me about the show and the only one among them I knew had an account was my dad. I understand this is anecdotal but it’s pretty obvious that if people want content, regardless of if they’re “hardcore” or “casual”, they’ll find a way to watch it and the reaction from across Twitter, even from people who work for licensors and distributors echoes this same mentality.
What Netflix needs to be is competitive against this. The only way to stop piracy is to make things easy, affordable, and more competitive than the alternative. However, when you hold shows for over a year, it isn’t easy on the consumer, it isn’t affordable if we have nothing to pay for, and it’s the complete opposite of competitive when the pirates already have it up and ready to go day one. Going back to the runner analogy above, it’s like Netflix finally got into the sprint at the Olympics and then intentionally broke their leg on the starting line. Why did they even show up? They stole that spot from some other runner (CR, Amazon, etc.) who would actually try to race. Instead, we got them.
And that’s another issue here. We finally have competitive answers against piracy that are doing great work out there. CR is doing a great job of grabbing licenses and Amazon is definitely fumbling their way through this, but their actual content is amazing and readily available if you have the bank for it. If Netflix never grabbed these shows in the first place, you can bet your ass CR, Amazon, or any of the newcomers would have snatched these and we’d be watching weekly. Instead, Netflix sniped the shows and expects people to wait.
Yes, piracy is wrong and yes, with 100% certainty we need to support the industry because they’re barely supporting their own creators. But the bottom line is that regardless of morality, people will absolutely be pirating these shows because Netflix refuses to work with the community and is putting their own policies over their consumer’s needs. That is unacceptable.
It just sucks. It sucks because the pirates are given validation, it sucks because CR and all the others are screwed out of a great licensing deal, it sucks for us because we now have to wait for possibly over a year to even watch shows like Kakegurui, and to top it all off, it sucks for the anime creators because all their hard work is put on the back-burner internationally. They potentially won’t see a cent from us until a year after their show originally aired unless we decide to buy up merch for a show we’ve never seen.
So thanks, Netflix.