Over the last few years, Netflix has put in extra effort to bring forth more titles for its Anime viewers. Netflix has had relatively big success with The Seven Deadly Sins and Beastars being massive hits on the platform.
However, there is a friction between the anime community and the streaming giant over the way it releases its “Original” anime. Fans have been frustrated over the period of waiting between the anime’s release in Japan and its consecutive release on Netflix to a point where they have begun to refer to this period as the “Netflix Jail”.
According to urbandictionary.com, Netflix Jail is defined as:
“Netflix’s irritating business practice where they release TV Anime series they Acquired/Co-Produced Internationally, months after its original run on Japanese TV and Netflix Japan instead of Simulcasting weekly.
Episodes of these shows are released on Netflix outside of Japan, either as a full season after its original run or in parts that are released over the following months.
While this release style is acceptable for Netflix’s ONA (Original Net Anime) series, this release style causes fans to pirate these anime series on Illegal anime streaming sites during the show’s original run on Japanese TV and Netflix Japan.
Notable Examples of TV Anime that were stuck in Netflix Jail: Carole and Tuesday, Beastars and Little Witch Academia.”
The frustration takes it root in the fact that Netflix has not begun Simulcasting (a portmanteau of words “simultaneous” and “casting”) its Original anime while it is being broadcast in Japan. Fans are often left waiting for months for the series to finally be available for streaming on Netflix.
The justification or counter-argument provided to this is the fact that it takes a while for Netflix to sub and dub the series in the 30 languages it offers its users for streaming.
How is Netflix Jail disadvantageous to Netflix?
The most significant disadvantage for Netflix is the pressure being built on it by its competitors. The biggest contender of Netflix is Crunchyroll, which has drawn the anime community’s attention ever since the frustration over having to wait has increased. Crunchyroll simulcasts its animes in nine languages: Arabic, English (US), French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin America) and Spanish (Spain).
Probably the greatest discord Netflix has with its anime viewers is that it has begun to stream Originals for quite some time now, barring animes. K-dramas have been simulcasting on Netflix on a nearly weekly basis with English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Traditional Chinese subtitles.
Effects of Netflix Jail
Since Netflix doesn’t stream animes simultaneously with Japan, the community around the world has often flocked to alternative streaming sites and poorly subtitled YouTube edits to cut out the wait.
Despite the advances Netflix is trying to make with its Original anime, it’s having a negative impact on the viewers.
As sites like FUNimation and Crunchyroll are offering a better list of animes to viewers, Netflix has felt a pull of the exiting mass who chose these sites over Netflix subscriptions.
The anime community has often expressed its collective frustration on social media when a hyped anime is “jailed” on Netflix.
How can Netflix resolve this?
The easiest answer to this question is Simulcasting.
“Simulcast” is a portmanteau of the words “simultaneous” and “broadcast,” and that’s precisely what it means – a simultaneous broadcast if it’s used as a noun, or to broadcast simultaneously if it’s used as a verb. (Restream)
Netflix Japan themselves gets most of the jailed anime episodes on a weekly basis, so Netflix doesn’t really have it absent from its library.
English, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese cover the vast majority of the worldwide anime audience outside of Asia. If Netflix began simulcasting in the languages above, it would definitely meet with a lot of positivity from the anime community.