This was originally going to be the first post I wrote in regards to this 12 moments of anime project. I decided to save it for later because I wanted to start off these posts with something happy and uncontroversial. Crunchyroll can certainly spark of some heartfelt comments and they have done before, even when I’ve only briefly mentioned them in the middle of a post. However devoting an entire post to my support of legal streaming…this should be interesting.
The most significant development of the year for anime outside of Japan. Yes, that would be Crunchyroll. The almost simultaneous subtitled streams of anime currently airing in Japan. Do you realise how big of a deal this is? First you take control of Crunchyroll, which is significant for a vast array of reasons. If you’ve ever glanced at the forums of CR you’ll notice how juvenile they are. During the days of illegal CR the main demographic that visited the site would be those who didn’t understand how to download anime. Speaking on behalf of the Youtube generation, I had numerous false starts trying to figure out Bittorent. Nobody told me how in a language that wasn’t full of technical jargon. It’s far easier to stream and that is exactly what CR provided. Soon it turned into an entire community where millions watched their anime. But instead of taking it down, CR turned legal and in the beginning of January took down all its illegal content and became the anime streaming site on the web. The kids who don’t know anime without CR are now integrated into a legal community. The next generation of anime fans (‘generation’ in anime fan terms meaning about 5 years) would grow up in a world where watching legal streams was the norm.
And yet…and yet…and yet….
People did not join. Region restrictions, which plagued anyone outside of North America, were also prevalent on CR. The video streams are a little bit suspect and people like their anime downloaded. Much to my personal surprise, CR did not have anywhere near the effect I thought it would on the anime world. Here was a plan to do exactly what anime fans had cried out for. Cheap online anime and people just aren’t buying into it as much as I thought they would. Even this season where CR got their hands on about half the airing anime, I saw more animosity than delight. In fact, contrary to my earlier beliefs, the new generation of anime fans were most certainly not growing up knowing about CR and watching there being the norm. Part of this I think is down to a slight level of unprofessionalism on CR’s part. It still has that juvenile audience and breaking from that mold is proving difficult. Others justify not watching CR because of the dodgy quality of it’s releases, saying they would buy the DVD, even though a lot of these series will never get a DVD release. But lets face it, one of the main reason is because a huge proportion of anime fans cringe at the possibility of money getting involved.
Hence my #12 moment in anime of 2009 was this October. Even though I was delighted at the idea of legal streaming myself, it certainly took me a long time to jump on the bandwagon. First my excuse was that they didn’t have the episodes of Gintama I was on uploaded yet, but they eventually caught up. Next was because the region restrictions. But CR made a genuine effort at tackling them (unlike fucking ANN who don’t seem to realise that there are countries outside of North America). My final weak excuse was that they had nothing apart from Gintama worth watching. Up comes the Autumn Season and BOOM, half the anime airing are available on CR. So one of my favourite 12 moments in anime this year was the day I finally got myself Crunchyroll membership. Best anime purchase I’ve ever made. All Hail Gintoki~!