Attack on Titan and War of the Giants Online Broadcasting for Anime

Taken from a manga by Japanese director Hajime Isayama, the apocalyptic series features humanity on the edge of the precipice, taking refuge behind immense walls to protect themselves from the Titans. These giants act like very large babies, with the difference that their sole purpose seems to be to devour human beings.

The first season of The attack of the Titans, which aired in 2013 in Japan, was then picked up on Netflix in Canada, the United States and France, among others, which gave it influence outside the traditional circles of anime fans.

To see the rest of the adventures of Eren Jaeger and his fellow soldiers and elite soldiers at war against the Titans, you must subscribe to Crunchyroll or Funimation, platforms dedicated to Japanese animation and little known from the great public.

The attack of the Titans is just one example of the struggle that online broadcasting platforms are waging to have the exclusivity of successful Japanese series and to attract anime fans.

The first season of Demon Slayer : Kimetsu no Yaiba, another phenomenon from Japan, has just appeared on Netflix. Last week, the series was one of the 10 most viewed shows on the platform in Canada and the United States. But followers had probably seen it on Crunchyroll or Funimation, where it had been offered since 2019.

Image tirée de l’anime «Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba»

Photo : Aniplex

A rather hermetic industry

Until recently, the Japanese animation industry showed little interest in exporting its productions and showing them online, despite a solid base of followers around the world.

The Japanese traditional television audience remains at the center of the business strategy, according to Marc Steinberg, professor at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University, specializing in the anime industry.

However, at the turn of the 2010s, online broadcasting giants came knocking on the doors of production houses and broadcasters to buy the rights to broadcast successful series. The attitude started to change in Japan, and prices started to inflate.

The entry into Japan of Netflix and Amazon was like a wake-up call for TV broadcasters to get them involved in online broadcasting., explains Marc Steinberg.

Complicated rights negotiations

Not easy, however, for an outside company like Netflix to get broadcast rights. It has to negotiate with production committees that can include many different stakeholders: from the manga publishing house to the company that produces derivative toys, including the production house of the animated series and the broadcaster.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"C’est pas mal compliqué et ça fait que, par exemple, Netflix a la première saison [de L’attaque des Titans], but not the second, while Crunchyroll broadcasts the last episodes almost simultaneously with the television “,” text “:” It’s not badly complicated and so, for example, Netflix has the first season [de L’attaque des Titans], but not the second, while Crunchyroll broadcasts the last episodes almost simultaneously with television “}}” lang = “fr”>It’s not badly complicated and it means that, for example, Netflix has the first season [de L’attaque des Titans], but not the second, while Crunchyroll broadcasts the latest episodes almost simultaneously with television, specifies Marc Steinberg.

Netflix and Amazon quickly decided that instead of paying so much money to try and get the rights, they had better get involved in the production from the start and include the exclusive streaming rights in the deal., he continues.

In 2014, Netflix exclusively broadcast Knights of Sidonia, and has since multiplied partnerships with Japanese studios. Last October, the American giant signed agreements with the studios Anima & Company, Science Saru, which has notably already produced Japan Sinks for Netflix, and Mappa (which is behind the final season of Attack on Titan, otherwise).

In just four years, we have built a team in Tokyo dedicated to creating new content for fans of Japanese animation., the company said in a statement.

This kind of partnership has already given birth to several series on the American platform, including Altered Carbon: Resleeved.

Sony, a strong opponent

Last December, Sony announced that the American giant AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia and therefore HBO, had accepted an offer to purchase US $ 1.175 billion for the Crunchyroll platform.

Several colorful animated characters running.

The Japanese animated series “One Piece” is one of the most popular programs on the Crunchyroll broadcast platform.

Photo : Toei Animation

The Japanese company, which also owns Funimation, the other major player in the global market for specialized anime platforms, is working hard to take on Netflix.

With Crunchyroll, we’ll create the best possible experience for anime fans and more opportunities for creators, producers and publishers in Japan and beyond., Sony said in a statement.

If the 4 million paid subscriptions of Crunchyroll pale in comparison to the 200 million people who subscribe to Netflix, Sony can hope to carve out a place of choice among loyal followers of the genre.

Are we witnessing the birth of a player who could dominate the market? Netflix, Amazon and Sony (along with Crunchyroll and Funimation) all have the means to wage a heated battle, believes Professor Steinberg. And that’s without counting the Chinese giants who are also interested in anime: We’re not going anywhere near needing one service to get access to all the anime.

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