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Let us talk about Netflix. To be more particular, anime on Netflix. While Netflix does have an impressive lineup of classic anime, and modern high profile anime ranging from Cowboy Bebop, to Samurai Champloo, to One Punch Man and everything in between. How they treat ongoing series, is an absolute travesty.
I am a relatively new Netflix subscriber beginning at the start of the year, and one of the main reasons why is because of their anime lineup, both third party, and original. The fact that they are taking anime seriously is great to see, unlike a certain Amazon based service. Despite my overall positive thoughts when it comes to Netflix as a whole, I do believe that the way they handle their currently airing anime to be a detriment to themselves.
When it comes to Netflix originals and the binge culture that it has encouraged in people, the streaming service has knocked it out of the park. This is also the case when it comes to the original anime that they have produced such as B The Beginning, which aired worldwide on the same date, allowing everyone to have access to seeing it on the same date.
With that being said, the fact that they wait months at a time to release a third party anime that they have the worldwide licence to is really holding them back in my personal opinion. What Crunchyroll and Funimation does right is the fact that they simulcast the latest episodes to the series that they have licenses to within hours of the episode having been aired in Japan. What this does, is it creates an incentive for a fan to use their streaming service, and this is something the shambolic Amazon Prime Video does right.
Why this is important is because anime fans, for better or for worse, are looking for the next big thing and move on, season by season, leaving what has come behind. Only the most impressive of shows manage to have a lasting relevance in the anime community in the long term. However, while the series is airing, there are constant streams of discussions between the fans left and right, and this keeps the series relevant in the community sphere for an extended amount of time. This has the benefit of creating a greater hype around a show that would ultimately get others invested in said show, increasing its viewership. This happens more often that one would give credit for, I myself, was turned onto The Rising of the Shield Hero this past season after multiple weeks of hype surrounding the show with the release of every new episode.
Now, the catalyst for this article is the show Carole and Tuesday which is airing this season. It is a twenty four episode anime that will start airing on the 11th of April. While it does not sound like the most impressive of shows, where it seems to be revolving around two girls that want to be musicians in Mars, the reasons why its in my radar is because of the fact that it is being directed by the great Shinichiro Watanabe, the man behind, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Space Dandy. In addition, it is produced by studio Bones, the studio behind, Mob Psycho 100, and My Hero Acadamia, to name a few of the works.
This show is licensed by Netflix, and for a currently airing show, that is probably the worst thing that could happen to it. Baki, was a show that ended last Christmas, and we were treated to one half of the show a couple of months after it concluded, while being made to wait additional months for the second half. This makes it come within a few months of when the shows first episode originally aired by the time we get to finish it. Kakegurui xx, a show that I was mildly interested in because of how outlandish it was, is something I now have to wait till the end of the second quarter of the year to watch. Based on these lengths of time, it is likely that I would have to wait till September, at the very least till I can legally watch Carole and Tuesday.
What the Netflix approach to anime does is that it encourages viewers to visit a certain cat themed anime site, which I shall not name in this article, to get their anime on the day it comes out, thereby depriving the streaming service of viewers it would otherwise would have had, had Netflix simply simulcast instead of treating anime like binge material. Not only would they be losing out on viewers not watching as a result of having already watched it through less than legal means, but I have already said that the anime community moves on from one season to the next to explore new pastures as a result of the abundance of anime that is coming out. As such, by the time a third party Netflix show comes out, it would not be watched by half the people that were initially interested in the show to begin with.
As I said earlier, Netflix has an impressive list of shows on its catalogue with many more scheduled to arrive. However, the way they are treating the new shows that are currently airing is perverted, as it encourages viewers to find other ways to watch the anime when we are more than willing to pay for the conveniences that are offered by the likes of Crunchyroll and Funimation. It is almost as if Netflix is trying to be a host to classic, or older anime rather than be in the running for competing with simulcasting services.
The anime community is not the biggest in the world, however with each passing year it is growing, and we are all incredibly passionate about it. There is a reason why best girl and best boy is a thing. All Netflix is doing with their policy is alienating the anime fans they do have on the service.
Ultimately, I do think that Netflix is a fantastic service that is well worth the value. This is an issue I have with the service in particular when it comes to their seasonal anime distribution policies from third party anime, and the reason why I am speaking about this is because it does seem as if Netflix is taking anime seriously, going so far as to license some great older anime into the platform.
There have been rumors recently that Netflix has been toying with the idea of reverting to a weekly release schedule for their media. If this is true one segment that would really benefit from this change is the anime community, and is a change that I personally would welcome.