My thoughts and opinions, and possibly a rant, on the Anime Industry, its relation to piracy, and the pirating industry as a whole.
As a brief preface I would rather not pirate. I do NOT support the belief that if you can get something for free you are entitled to have it for free. However, I do support the idea of opportunity cost and the protection of consumers as a whole. I believe that the reason why anime piracy is so prominent compared to other entertainment industries boils down to two reasons 1. Availability and 2. Flexibility.
Another preface I do purchase the occasional Blu-Ray/DVD and I have a CR subscription. That being said as a consumer I pirate ALL of the anime I watch. You might be saying 'Firelice, if you have a CR subscription why not watch anime there.' Well astute reader, it boils down to reason #2 Flexibility which I will touch on later.
Some of you might be wondering why I am even writing this in the first place. I have seen some videos and forum posts regarding why piracy even exists in this day in age when you can watch the shows for free from Crunchyroll. I am here to argue some points and possibly give another view point
Crunchyroll and other similar streaming services have made gigantic strides in curbing piracy and bringing availability to people that would otherwise ignore anime as a medium. However, the availability and selection of watchable shows is mediocre to downright laughable. I am from the United States so licensing issues that plague other countries are almost a non-issue. Even considering the zero licensing problem the selection of anime offered by these legal streaming sites is mediocre at best. As an example one of the best anime of all time Ashita no Joe 2 was released in blu-ray form in Japan. Crunchyroll was given licence to stream this HD remake of one of the most influential anime of all time on their site. It was released, but after a period of time it was removed because of an expired license. I have to give credit to streaming sites, dealing with Japan's bullshit licensing laws are probably worse than being kicked in the face, multiple times. However, there is no benefit to the consumer. Now the only way to obtain these HD remakes english subbed is to use illegal methods.
Crunchyroll and other streaming services boast about its large collection of airing shows while it does have a large amount of shows airing some of the selections are baffling. Back in 2014, a Kyo-Ani show, Amagi Brilliant Park, aired with zero english licenses. This means it was impossible to watch the currently airing show on any legal English anime website. For the uninformed Kyo-Ani shows are high budget, highly viewed shows that have some amazing titles behind them including, Lucky Star, K-ON!, and many other shows worth mentioning. I have heard rumors that Kyo-Ani is not good with offshore licencing, but this was a kick in the balls to consumers that were anticipating its release.
Now lets talk about DVD's and BD releases in America. The fact that many companies feel obligated not to release a DVD or BD in the west, because it is licensed by CR. If CR were to stop licensing the show, we the consumer would be SOL. While arguably anime is the cheapest its been, I have seen a trend of rising BD prices for shows. The supply of Blu-Ray discs have been reduced due to the use of streaming services. So the price of, not all, but some shows have skyrocketed. The entire Madoka Magica series in English costs ~$150. This clocks in at ~$12.50 per 24 minute episode. This seems like pure price gauging. The price of data storage has fallen significantly over the years and they are charging ~$50 for 4 episodes. Not to mention the fact that there is only a limited supply of physical media and highly sought after shows become impossible to buy or only the most extreme and dedicated collectors can afford them.
The problem with the current method of viewing anime legally is also the problem that plagued PC games for years before the introduction of Steam. Pirating is just so much more flexible than any legal method. With it I can set up the ability to download any show that matches my inputted criteria and have it there when I need it. It also allows me to use my own custom video player. This is honestly the reason I pirate 100% of my shows. At least with [HorribleSubs] I can put the low-bitrate stream into a post-processor and output a semi-decent looking video. It is more convenient to pirate than to use the paid service.
The other problem with streaming services is that I MUST always be online. With downloaded media I don't have to worry about shoddy internet. I can always be sure that I will have episodes at the touch of my finger.
Honestly, pirating anime is the most viable method of watching anime. If the industry honestly wanted to curb the pirating scene they need to implement something like Steam. You can stream the anime with an option to download and use your own video player. It needs all the flexibility of piracy with none of the drawbacks.
To pirates money is almost never the issue. It is what service allows for the most flexibility.
P.S. If you are using illegal streaming sites please stop. There is no literally benefit compared to downloading. The content looks like shit. Please if you are using any form of illegal streaming just switch to legal streaming.
I have a huge goal in front of me. I am attempting to watch all anime(english subbed) from A-Z. I have already completed the numbers and A. Wish me luck ;P.