In light of a conversation I’ve been having with someone over the last day and a half regarding my previous blog on Netflix’s shrinking Anime lineup, I decided to make a blog about why buying your Anime is the best alternative.
Before I get to that yes, there are only 40 Anime titles on Netflix. The most recent Anime cut from their lineup include Heroic Age, Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket. Having recently purchased Heroic Age along with Vandread on DVD (both really good Anime with bipedal robots fighting in space) I considered myself lucky I decided to buy the DVD sets (I got a good deal on Amazon). I no longer use Netflix for Anime like I did two years ago. The dwindling Anime titles available makes that a lost cause. Having said that, I want to explain something:
Netflix Originals aside, Netflix doesn’t decide what programs it will host first and foremost. The license holders do. This is something Netflix should do a better job letting its subscribers know, more so if they want people to make informed decisions about weather or not they want to keep using their streaming service. All the angry “Bring back ______!” messages people post to Netflix’s Twitter and Facebook pages? Netflix forwards them to the license holders. Let me break it down: Netflix entered an exclusive deal with Disney last year as everyone knows. The deal lasts through 2018 and gives Netflix exclusive rights to offer Disney movies and TV shows via its streaming service. Now, Netflix had a contract to offer many Anime from their various license holders–Funimation, Gonzo, Sunrise and Sentai Filmworks to name a few–and said contracts expired and were not renewed.
The reasons for why they were not renewed may never be known publicly but the likley reasons all lie with the license holder. For example, Funimation streams the Anime it has licensed through their own website. It’s not hard to figure out why they want to be in full control of how the titles they hold the rights to is distributed. In an industry under attack by piracy on one side, a shrinking market on another and the growing number of people in the West who prefer Subbed over Dubbed, companies like Funimation would naturally take steps to ensure it survives as an business.
That’s why I say piracy is a big no-no. When I was in High School yes, I did pirate some Anime. When I got a job that all changed. Thanks to my time at Anime Boston and meeting two of my favorite voice actors–David Matranga and Caitlin Glass–I’ve come to a better understanding as to why Anime fans should support the industry with their money.
Let me explain to you three big differences between those who dub Anime and those who dub American cartoons:
- Anime Dubbers don’t make alot of money. They do what they do because they’re good at it and enjoy the work.
- Most people who dub Anime are unknown outside the inudustry, the few exceptions being Luci Christian (Nagisa, Tenma and almost 100 others), Sean Schimmel (Goku) and Johnny Bosch Young (Ichigo Kurosaki, Vash The Stampede, Yu Narukami and two dozen others). In comparison, most American Voice Actors who start off as unknowns become very well known based on the popularity of the characters they play.
- All the voice actors for an Anime are rarely in the studio together. It’s not uncommon for multiple actors to be called in to voice the same character before they settle on a specific Voice Actor. In the American cartoons, once they’ve chosen someone for a role the voice actor gets a contract for the duration of the show’s lifespan or until the contract expires, whichever happens first.
In pirating Anime, you’re robbing voice actors of income. They don’t collect royalty checks like their counterparts do. They’re paid for their work upfront or in installments but nowhere near someone like, say Hank Azaria (Homer Simpson’s voice actor). The three VAs I named above are a few exceptions but only because their work extends to video games and American cartoons.
If you want Anime, your best bet is to buy it. I get my Anime from iTunes, Xbox Live and Amazon but there are other online stores to chose from out there. There are only a handful of Anime left that I’m looking for but Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket were already on that list. Netflix no longer having them doesn’t change that for me.
For those who either can’t afford to or don’t want to buy your Anime, contact the license holders. Tell then why you want them to negotiatiate with Netflix to bring back your favorite Anime.