I feel like we’ve been here before, have we been here before?
Eh, welcome to Don’t @ Me, the place where, like the deja-vu Subaru feels when he time-loops, I am here to beat a dead horse about shit I’ve already talked about. This week, it’s more in the ongoing saga of Anime streaming sites being bought out, and what that may or may not mean. Pull up a chair and let’s get into it after the cut.
1. So, if you weren’t aware. Sony Entertainment is in final talks to purchase Crunchyroll from AT&T. As Sony owns Funimation, this would give the company an almost complete monopoly on the anime streaming services in the west. With only Netflix (and I mean REALLY, NETFLIX is going to be the alternative?) and a few minor ones left behind.
2. I am of two minds of this. In the short term, it is good for customers, because it means only one streaming subscription and a one-stop shop for all your anime. In the long term I am, like the last time we talked about this, holding my breath.
3. I said it before, but Anime doesn’t need its own version of Steam, a de-facto monopoly that is judge, jury and executioner on everything in the western anime industry. Even more, we don’t need Sony, whose video game department (that yes, is NOT part of this or has any stake in this deat at all), has been leaning more into censorship of ecchi-titles in recent years, being in charge.
4. Because monopolies lead to laziness, arrogance, and stagnation. As much as it sucked for customers to have to have multiple streaming services, it did mean that they had to fight to get anime on their platform. They didn’t turn their nose up at certain series or refuse to lisence this or that show because of “company standards” it was a competition, so they had to get what they could. Competition that keeps the industry on its toes, instead of languishing on the throne for years (see Blizzard Entertainment) isn’t good for the overall health of anime in the west.
5. Then of course, there is the fear (possible unfounded, but still there) that as Anime inches ever closer to the mainstream, it will become increasingly scrutinized by people without the years of reconciliation and acceptance from the other parts of the fandom. Fanservice and Ecchi will be the first thing in the crosshairs, and no one, NO ONE wants to see the shitstorm that will come from poking that hornet’s nest.
6. And look, this isn’t the first time, or (the last) that I’ve talked about or will talk about it. I hate sounding like a doomsayer, but I only say it because I am certain that something will probably happen. Granted Anime is a better place to weather the storm for multiple reasons (Japan still holds tight control, sex sells, and anime has a colorful and diverse fanbase), but that still doesn’t mean it won’t be painful for all sides involved.
7. And while I don’t subscribe to this anti-funimation stance that many fans seem to have. (Yes, they’ve played loose with a few dub scripts, but they’ve honestly done an admirable job) I do think giving one company that much power is not a good thing. Even if it is benefits viewers in the short term. Because ask yourself this, is saving a couple bucks a month on streaming sites, REALLY worth what might happen?
8. But that is just my view, and I’ve seen and spoken to people who seem happy about this, and yes, it’s going to be good having one shop again (and honestly, this really means we are just going back to the Crunch-Funimation partnership of a few years back), but I just want to paint a bigger picture. It may not happen, I could very well be talking out of my ass, but it’s still worth discussion.
9. But the biggest hope here is that maybe they’ll FINALLY make a streaming app that isn’t complete fucking ass. But that might be too much to ask.
10. Here is some anime butt