…At least, that’s the vibe I’ve been getting since about a week before Anime Boston.
Now me, I have always and will continue to maintain the mindset those who don’t want to pay for it don’t deserve to enjoy Anime. At the end of the day, those who make Anime don’t do it for free. They do it to make money. That’s the reality. While yes I do believe most who make Anime and Manga truly do enjoy their art and do it for the fans, they also need to make ends meet. After all, it’s an industry. It’s important this be kept in mind.
Now, a few months back I saw a publication I will not name in my Facebook feed that said something to the effect “Crunchyroll and Funimation have done more harm than good to Anime.” Why? Because they’ve opened up Anime to U.S. Fans? Because now fans can legally watch mega-popular Anine subbed? Because both companies recently entered a partnership?
…Give me a break.
Every other message I see on my Facebook feed on the subject of Anime is someone asking “Where can I watch anime?”, followed by someone providing the link to an unlicensed streaming site.
Unlike most folks here, I remember what Napster was like before the RIAA was created to take it down. It was a filesharing service. After the takedown, it became a legitimate online Music store. An entire industry was born because of that one filesharing site: Digital distribution. It kicked open the door to give unknown artists a platform to share their music.
How folks forget how hard Anime was to come by until about 12 years ago. Your only choices were Toonami, Blu-Ray/DVD, digital download or if you were REALLY lucky, YouTube. Back then, there were no official subs. You had no choice but to look to YouTube or sites that flew under the radar for fan subs. If you wanted to watch Anime dubbed, your only choices were Blu-Ray/DVD, Toonami or digital download.
This is no longer the case.
Crunchyroll is a free service but if you upgrade to premium, you can both watch in HD and get Simulcast (Anime becomes available as it does in Japan) progranming. No longer do you need to scour the internet for unofficial websites for subs.
…Me, I pay for all the Anime I watch. 100%. If not through Crunchyroll or Blu-Ray/DVD then digital purchase from iTunes, Xbox Live or The Playstation Network. Not to support the industry but because I know I am getting my money’s worth. That and if I like an anime that much, I will go out of my way to buy a digital or physical copy.
It took me TEN YEARS to get my copy of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion on Blu-Ray. Almost 10 years to the day I saw the final episode air on Toonami. It took me a year to buy all 7 seasons of InuYasha + Final Act + All four movies on DVD. I own a physical copy and two digital copies of the Persona 4 Anime. I liked it that much. And that’s my point: If you like an Anime that much, just buy it. If money’s tight, do what I do and put money aside a bit at a time until you have enough to make the purchase.
I’m sure I’m in the minority in regards to this but I still want to say it. I’ve attached a poll to this blog post. Please pick all the choices that you feel apply to you.