2024’s Streaming War Could Transform How We Watch Anime

kaiju no 8 dan da dan anime streaming

kaiju no 8 dan da dan anime streaming

In an era where you need half a dozen streaming subscriptions to watch all the best shows, anime fans have had it pretty good. However, as the medium’s economic power grows, anime could have a big role in the streaming wars going forward.

For most fans, a subscription to Crunchyroll and one other service – Netflix, Amazon Prime, HIDIVE, etc. – has historically been enough to keep up with almost all the big shows. This year is set to see the biggest change to that ‘Crunchyroll-plus-one’ idea.

While it’s only a small change for now, it will likely be the first step towards a much wider spread of big anime releases across multiple streaming services in the future, a spread that could transform how fans interact with anime.

Crunchyroll is No Longer the Home of Action Anime

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Going back over the last few years, there’s been an assumption that if there’s a big new action anime, it will be exclusively on Crunchyroll.

Some acclaimed series have been released on other platforms, from Vinland Saga on Amazon Prime in 2019, to Oshi no Ko and Heavenly Delusion last year.

However, when it comes to the money-spinning, headline-making action series – shows such as Demon Slayer, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Chainsaw Man – there was never really much doubt these would only be available on Crunchyroll.

2024 sees the first real challenge to Crunchyroll’s action anime dominance, with two of this year’s most-anticipated Shonen Jump adaptations not exclusive to Crunchyroll in the US.

The hotly-anticipated Dan Da Dan will be streaming on Netflix later this year, while this season sees Kaiju No. 8 become the first anime to stream worldwide on X.

While both Dan Da Dan and Kaiju No. 8 will also still be on Crunchyroll, these unique agreements – following on from Zom 100 last year – show other streaming services starting to take anime increasingly seriously.

Anime is the New Streaming Battleground

For the major streaming sites, it’s been quite a journey to get to this point.

Netflix was widely criticized, both by creators and fans, for their early treatment of anime in the mid-2010s.

Fans regularly complained that Netflix didn’t simulcast their licensed shows, waiting for the domestic, seasonal run to conclude before uploading the completed series.

Creators accused Netflix of undercutting anime productions for the sake of boosting output and subscribers, not out of any interest in the shows themselves.

Fast forward, and Netflix’s approach to anime is markedly improved. The streamer regularly simulcasts series and now even simuldubs releases like Delicious in Dungeon.

Many of its recent co-productions, such as the Scott Pilgrim anime, have received significant praise.

Disney Plus has gone through a similar transition, albeit in a much smaller timeframe. Disney got criticism in 2022 when it licensed Summertime Rendering, only to withhold the series until the domestic broadcast had concluded.

However, Disney Plus now regularly simulcasts shows, including Winter 2024's Ishura.

Of course, it’s easy to explain why these major streaming services are now taking anime more seriously – there’s money to be made.

At a time when streamers are struggling to maintain their growth, Asia represents one of the most high-potential regions for expansion. A recent report on the Japanese streaming market revealed that local productions, including anime, are vital to success.

Netflix has invested in domestic anime streaming in Japan and that has led to a knock-on effect of providing a better anime service internationally.

Disney Plus has spoken about the importance of investing in Asian productions, such as K-dramas and anime, to boost revenue. Marvel and Warner Bros have also both signaled an intent to produce much more manga and anime.

As demand for Asian productions and customers increases, anime becomes increasingly lucrative for the major streamers. Highly anticipated releases suddenly become IP battlegrounds, as Disney’s exclusivity around the new installment of Code Geass, thanks to their partnership with Kadokawa, proves.

So, if the major streaming platforms are increasingly working to snap up the biggest and best anime series, where does that leave specialty platforms like Crunchyroll?

Crunchyroll is Fighting Back

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Perhaps acknowledging the increasing competition Crunchyroll faces, the popular anime streamer is rolling out some new treats for subscribers.

Perhaps most tellingly, this Spring 2024 anime season will see Crunchyroll simuldub more anime than ever before. When Tomo-chan was simuldubbed last year, it was seen as a major event and heavily promoted by Crunchyroll.

This season, Crunchyroll has announced four shows that will be released in English dub on the same day as their Japanese release, many revealed without much fanfare.

Notably included in this simuldub list, and heavily promoted across Crunchyroll is Kaiju No. 8. Crunchyroll has announced this season’s big new action series will be live-streamed and dubbed in multiple languages on the platform on the same day.

While worldwide fans will be able to watch Kaiju No. 8 for free on X, the only place fans will get it in various dubs is on Crunchyroll.

While some anime fans have mixed views on the streamer, Crunchyroll does have an ingrained place in the world of anime, both for producers and fans

With a quantity of new releases that dwarfs all competitors, Crunchyroll will be able to pitch that they are the streamer that cares for what anime fans really want.

However, if Crunchyroll struggles to hold onto the big-ticket releases as the streaming wars heat up, will such a pitch be enough?

What Will the Future of Anime Streaming Hold?

Given how the rest of the film and TV world has developed over the last few years, anime fans should expect that the days of only needing one or two services are coming to an end.

It’s very likely that we get to a point in the next few years where some of the biggest anime IPs are releasing series exclusively on services such as Netflix and Disney Plus.

Of course, more anime series across different platforms would also likely put more importance on anime’s fight against piracy. Anime shows already rank among the most pirated series in the US.

Despite this increasing pressure from major streamers and the ambitions of similar services such as HIDIVE, Crunchyroll is unlikely to lose its position as the number one anime streamer.

Crunchyroll is largely ahead of the curve when it comes to anime, with Sony firmly ingrained in the industry at various levels, from production through Aniplex to more recent cinematic distributions.

Thanks to their sheer quantity of releases, their global reach, and industry know-how, Crunchyroll will always have a strong hold on anime.

There are obviously lots of things that could change over the next few years, but one thing seems certain – it will likely become harder, and more expensive, for anime fans to watch all the most popular series.

What are your thoughts on anime streaming? Join the debate in the comments!

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