In recent weeks we’ve potentially seen the start of a radical and exciting change in the relationship between Netflix and the way it distributes new anime. Rather than waiting several months, two of its latest upcoming anime, Blue Period and Komi Can’t Communicate, will be released weekly, starting from October. Below we’ll be discussing why this is a huge and exciting change for Netflix.
Since 2013 Netflix has vastly grown and invested in its library of original content. Along that journey, Netflix steadily began investing in anime, starting with licensing shows such as Knights of Sidonia and The Seven Deadly Sins. It’s since gone on to releasing its own anime slate such as Castlevania and Eden.
With each passing year, Netflix continues to invest more and more into expanding its library of exclusive anime, but suffice to say it’s been a bumpy road filled with tough lessons, and harsh criticism along the way.
Since making Knights of Sidonia the first internationally licensed Original anime, Netflix has licensed a further fifty anime movies and TV shows, and that doesn’t include the anime Netlfix has produced themselves.
However, in those past seven years, Netflix has been heavily criticized for the way it has released its licensed shows, with much of the grievances aimed at the length of time it takes between an anime being broadcast in Japan and its eventual global release. Subscribers coined the term “Netflix Jail,” and it has been a major issue for anime fans on Netflix for years.
But it looks like the tide is finally changing, and Netflix is starting to listen, as the upcoming shows Blue Period and Komi Can’t Communicate will begin streaming episodes on Netflix on a weekly basis starting in October 2021.
Why has Netflix suddenly decided to change the way it’s releasing licensed anime?
At the time of writing, we don’t know if this is a permanent change in the way Netflix will release anime licensed for release exclusively outside of Japan, or if this is just an experiment to test how well the weekly release of anime episodes will perform.
For those unsure what Netflix Jail is it’s the term coined by subscribers to describe an anime that has been licensed by Netflix but takes several months after its Japanese broadcast to be released on Netflix. In particular, fans of Beastars were heavily disappointed when the first season began broadcasting episodes in Japan in the Fall of 2019 but wasn’t made available to stream on Netflix until March 2020.
Finding websites that you can stream anime illegally from are not hard to find, and for many subscribers, it’s been the only way they can watch a hot new anime that they would have otherwise been waiting months to watch on Netflix.
With Netflix radically reducing the time between the Japanese broadcast and its own release date, we should see a large change in the viewing figures for new anime.
Naturally, piracy won’t be eradicated, but we should see a significant difference.
What can Netflix do to improve the releases further?
Unlike FUNimation and Crunchyroll, Netflix does not simulcast anime. And even with the upcoming releases of Blue Period and Komi Can’t Communicate there is still a delay between the Japanese broadcast and the Netflix release date. Subscribers needn’t worry, the delay has been reduced from several months to several days, which means there is only a gap of one to two weeks between the Japanese release and Netlfix global release. Netflix still has to produce subtitles for dozens of different languages around the globe, which is the likeliest reason why we’re still seeing a short delay.
If Netflix wants to improve the releases of weekly anime further then it will need to explore the possibility of simulcasting.
However, with the recent changes being made, it can only get better here from out. And if you want to ensure that Netflix continues to release new anime with weekly episodes then make sure to watch Blue Period and Komi Can’t Communicate when they arrive in October 2021.
What are your thoughts on Netflix releasing anime on a weekly basis? Are you excited about the change or does Netflix need to improve even further? Let us know in the comments below!