A few years ago, Netflix began its greater push into the anime world by expanding its library of licenses and original productions. It suddenly went from purely a focus on older series to having Netflix license currently airing series in Japan. Not only that, Netflix itself began to help produce and promote a number of new exclusive anime series purely for the streaming platform. But as we head in 2020, it appears that Netflix will be going in far more aggressively on the anime front with a few key announcements over the last few days.
With the announcement that they have now acquired the exclusive licensing rights for the next Pokemon anime, and confirmations that Avatar: The Last Airbender will soon be streaming in the United States and the first two One Piece sagas joining the platform soon, Netflix seems to be going more all-in on anime. That's going to be a key move for the company, and great for the anime fandom.
While dedicated fans don't look too fondly on Netflix licensing anime that would otherwise air on a weekly basis to instead release as a batch months later, one thing dedicated anime fans will have to realize is that Netflix isn't exactly making these decisions for us. By releasing each of its licenses in a single (or multiple part) seasonal batch, it makes it far more approachable in the current TV watching climate.
Anime fans have adjusted to watching one episode a week at this point, but it's a much different case for the Netflix audience. Only in the last year has the company really tested weekly episodes for its other programs, and it's not like that will happen with anime anytime soon. Especially when a Netflix release means we get an entire Japanese language and English dub version with Netflix anime originals (except in some rare cases). This makes it more approachable, and thus better for dedicated anime fans as well.
More series will be available to check out with more people to talk about them with, and with Netflix being the de-facto anime streaming service for many homes, classic licenses for series like Neon Genesis Evangelion, One Piece, and Avatar: The Last Airbender will get more eyes on them in general. As Netflix begins to lose its most notable programs like The Office to competing services, it will be instead pursuing original works. That most definitely includes anime.
It won't just be new anime licenses, classic licenses, or even originals. You'll begin to see Netflix shifting these as brands. Sword Art Online, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, and Avatar: The Last Airbender are each getting new live-action adaptations for the platform, and as anime further becomes a part of the general pop culture slate you'll see more expansions like this.
It's going to be tapping into anime culture as a brand in general with new animated series adopting "anime" as descriptors like the new Masters of the Universe anime with Kevin Smith at the helm, the new Magic the Gathering series, and a new film based on The Witcher. But don't let that scare you! Because if you've noticed, Netflix has also licensed a few key new seasonal additions that are catering purely to more dedicated fans.
Yes, the single batch release format isn't ideal, but this will ultimately prove better for the anime fandom. It will expand as a whole, and Netflix (along with its major competitors) will then produce even more of it! More is a good thing right? But what do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or talk to me directly about all things anime and other cool things @Valdezology on Twitter!