While the exact specifics of how Netflix ended up with the license to Neon Genesis Evangelion -- and what the company paid for that license -- are unknown, it's safe to say it likely paid a pretty penny to get the heralded series and its first two films on the streaming service. As unsurprising as it might be, Funimation president and founder Gen Fukunaga doesn't seem particularly thrilled about this turn of events.
Speaking with Polygon, Fukunaga opened up about his thoughts on Netflix gobbling up the rights to Neon Genesis Evangelion and, more broadly, the company's stewardship of anime titles.
“Honestly, Netflix is willing to significantly overpay for something like [Evangelion] and outbid anybody by multiples, no matter what their [return on investment] is,” Fukunaga told Polygon. "I’m 100-percent sure that we’d have done a much better job brand-managing it and turning it back into what it was."
In other words, Fukunaga claims that Netflix will just outspend anyone else in the business in order to have a thing on its service despite what returns it might get. Given that Netflix reportedly recently agreed to pay $100 million for just one year of the rights to stream Friends, it's not outside the realm of possibility that the company offered an ungodly sum of money to Evangelion's rights holders. (And even that is a feat, possibly streamlined by lots of money, given the notoriously tricky question of who actually held those rights.)
Fukunaga's obvious implication, if not considered an outright declaration, is that Funimation should have the rights to the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. It remains to be seen if Netflix will somehow botch the acquisition with a terrible English dub or somehow butcher the quality of the show when it hits the service; part of the announcement also stated it wouldn't be available until Spring 2019.
What do you think? Would you have preferred Funimation got the rights? Do you think Netflix will do just fine? Let us know in the comments!
Neon Genesis Evangelion, for those not aware, is a psychological drama by way of "giant monster versus mech" anime. The franchise debuted as a television series in 1995 and ran through 1996, with two films following in 1997. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth is one part drastically abridged retelling of the first 24 episodes of the television series, and one part new animation. The End of Evangelion, the second film, incorporates some of Death & Rebirth’s original animation and offers an alternate take on the original series’ controversial final two episodes. A newer series of films basically retell the original series' plot with changes and significant new material added.