One of the major parts in watching anime in the modern internet age is the ability to stream it online. Whether it’s watching an older show or watching a simulcast of a new one barely an hour from when it aired in Japan, anime streaming has become the norm.
It shows how far things have come from 90’s and early 2000’s when people were left waiting over a year or more just for a show to arrive stateside on disc. But there’s always a downside and in this case, it’s illegal streaming sites.
Illegal anime streaming sites like kissanime are certainly not killing the anime industry, that would be plain absurd, but they are most definitely a detriment to it. If you want to give right back to the creators in Japan, you have to use legal options like Crunchyroll, Funimation, AnimeLab etc. As online anime streaming makes up for a lot of revenue that goes back to Japan besides home video sales, the use of illegal sites is giving absolutely nothing to them and in fact gives money to the people running those illegal sites via the adverts on their sites (much like here). For example, this anime industry report for 2015 points out how much international anime streaming has made more revenue go back to the production committees over the years:
In 2014, revenue from the animation distribution market via the Internet was 40.8 billion yen, … This bought it to near parity with the theatrical animation market, meaning that the Internet distribution market may surpass that of theatrical animations in 2015.
In Anime News Network’s Third Part of their Articles on the Anime Economy, they estimate off of TV Tokyo’s claim that Crunchyroll has nearly 70,000 paid subscribers that the revenue raised from anime streaming (based off $6.95 per user) comes to $486,500 per month. Even for an estimate based off unconfirmed claims, that’s a lot of money for Crunchyroll to keep going and pay for any of their shows, and seeing as these numbers are from 2011/2012, the amount of subscribers and revenue would be even higher in 2015 and 2016.
Despite this though, some fans still seem to prefer the illegal option, whether it’s because it’s cheap/free or that they just find it more convenient for whatever reason. One can reason that they’re using illegal sites if their country has no legal access to a certain show, or there’s a lack of anime licensors there but that’s only one of few justifiable reasons to use. Plus it can get incredibly ridiculous when these fans recommend or link these illegal streams to friends or other anime fans, making the problem even more widespread (and even more idiotic when they directly link to these illegal sites in forums or Facebook pages of legal websites).
Even the internet news website The Daily Dot made an article recommending the best anime to watch on Youtube and the majority of links were to completely illegal anime streaming uploads. Not only is this completely unacceptable for a site with such a wide reach (Over a million Facebook likes and over 200k Twitter followers), but the little reference to legal websites (besides linking to episodes uploaded from Funimation and Gundam’s official channels) and the lack of acknowledgement that they’re even linking illegal streams is downright shameful.
If you want to find a legal way of streaming a certain show, visit Because.Moe. A special resource in the form of a search engine where you can look up nearly any show and the website will provide you with the legal websites to watch it on (in America, Canada, England and Australia only so far though). Sites like this highlight the positive side of the anime fandom and show how much legal streaming really means to the industry.
The bottom line is this: always try to stream your anime legally. If you’re capable of watching normal movies and tv shows on television or in cinemas or even on Netflix, then surely you can be capable of streaming anime legally too.
There’s plenty of legal sites out there where you don’t have to pay a thing (like Crunchyroll) in order to even watch them. There just isn’t many excuses to use anymore with the anime industry being where it is today. If we want anime to keep going, change or even evolve and adapt. It has to be supported!