If you want to be the best like no one ever was, well - you better have some serious patience. It has been decades since Pokemon debuted, and Ash Ketchum has yet to reach the goal he set out for. Years ago, the boy promised he would become a Pokemon Master, but that challenge becomes harder each year as new monsters appear. Of course, fans are eager to keep up with Ash's journeys, but there is one thing standing in their way...
And yes, we are talking about simulcasts here. Pokemon's anime has never been simulcast anywhere except for Japan, and the reason why will leave fans more frustrated than ever.
For those who do not know, simulcasting has become the way of anime. Sites like Crunchyroll helped pioneer a legal way for foreigners to stream anime. Nowadays, the site has been joined by others like Funimation and HIDIVE when it comes to airing anime episodes concurrently with their Japanese debut. Most popular anime get this sort of treatment, so fans have long wondered why Pokemon has remained the exception.
In truth, the issue comes down to precedence and licensing. The Pokemon Company International is the company holding the licensing rights to the anime, and it has since at least 2006. The branch is in charge of figuring out how the show will air, and Pokemon tends to lean on the traditional side. That is why Disney XD has held the show's license in the U.S. ever since Cartoon Network gave them up, so The Pokemon Company would hesitate to sabotage that deal with simulcasting.
Sure, The Pokemon Company does have its own online streaming app, but Pokemon TV is far from perfect. If the anime were to simulcast, fans would expect for Pokemon to join Hulu's catalog or even Crunchyroll. These existing platforms have the technology to do such a simulcast, but things get complicated with Disney XD's license and even Netflix as it hosts many a Pokemon film.
While the Pokemon anime thrives overseas thanks to its new series, fans outside of Japan are left to wait. Dubbed episodes are the norm for Pokemon, and they take up to three months before hitting Disney XD. If there is no wiggle room for the dub or its online licensing, The Pokemon Company would be hard pressed to simulcast the show and risk the ire of traditional distributors who made the franchise the powerhouse it is today.
Do you wish the anime would be simulcast? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!
Pokemon: The Series, is now airing new episodes weekly in Japan, but unfortunately is still not officially licensed for an English language release as of this writing. There's also a brand new film on the way to Japan this Summer, Pokemon the Movie: Coco.