Anime is far more popular in the West than it’s ever been. It may not be fully mainstream, but the anime fandom’s presence can be felt. Amazon and Netflix have taken note of this and they want a piece of the otaku pie. Many of you probably use streaming services such as Crunchyroll and Funimation (or illegal streaming sites if you’re a pirate). Netflix is also a popular avenue for otaku to get their anime fix. Unfortunately, Netflix seems unaware of the culture surrounding anime streaming. Netflix should look into adjusting their method of delivering anime to its subscribers.
The increase in popular of anime coincides with the rise of internet streaming services. Many of us got our start watching anime through torrenting fansubs, so streaming was a natural next step. Western anime viewers are used to having instant access anime wherever they may be. Netflix took note of this and acquired the streaming rights to several anime titles in the last few years. That’s all fine and good, but there’s a catch. They don’t simulcast currently airing anime. Crunchyroll and Funimation air episodes as soon as an hour after it aired in Japan. Netflix releases a bulk of episodes at once, usually done in half seasons. This is in line with its typical binge-watching audience. While I prefer to marathon a series, there are many who like to keep up with as many anime as possible each season. That is why anime on Netflix don’t get much attention. Many of the newer anime fans prefer to watch seasonally.
Netflix doesn’t seem to understand what anime fans want. They do what works for them. Their M.O. has made them a major player in the entertainment industry. They have a ton of money to throw around for anime streaming rights. Netflix is a corporation that doesn’t understand anime. They see its popular and see an opportunity to make money. I have nothing against making money, but they should try to listen to fan feedback. Crunchyroll and Funimation aren’t perfect companies (complaints about them at another time) but seem to understand the Western otaku culture. Many of the people working for these companies are anime fans themselves. They appear at numerous conventions and interact with the fans regularly. Netflix should put more effort into reaching out to the anime community if they want to dip their toes in the anime industry.
Both Amazon and Netflix have a strong interest in streaming anime. Mistakes have been made. Amazon’s Anime Strike bit the dust last month. Anime Strike required a subscription to Amazon Prime and a separate subscription for Anime Strike, locking it behind two paywalls. Needless to say, it didn’t go over very well. Now just an Amazon Prime subscription is needed. Netflix doesn’t simulcast and squashes any attention it could have had. Little Witch Academia was excellent, but no one was talking about it because it was on Netflix. The same could be said of other shows like Kakegurui or Fate/Apocrypha. All I ask of Netflix is to look into improving its service and try to listen to the fans. It could make them more money.