Manga Entertainment are one of the biggest (and oldest) anime companies in the UK. At the MCM Comic Con event at the end of May they formally announced that the rights for Sakamoto Desu Ga? (Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto) lay with them. The head of the company, Jerome Mazandarani, went on Twitter to explain that he had the streaming rights but deliberately refused to make it available here because he wasn't offered enough money to allow the simulcast sites to show it (the amount he indicated was $150 per episode - which actually sounds quite generous given the size of the UK streaming market).
You would think that turning down a free offer of cash of any amount sounds crazy, but it makes sense when you understand that the staff at Manga are furiously conservative and believe that allowing viewers to watch anime legally makes it impossible to sell on home video. This puts them in a weird position where they don't want to allow people on low incomes to have legal access to anime (streaming is much cheaper than buying DVDs) but they also hit out at the companies who support fans by offering premium editions on disc and free simulcasts for those who can't afford the disc releases until prices come down. I personally think that Manga UK's business model is completely unsustainable, but if they want to lose goodwill and the benefits of the advertising potential simulcasting offers then there's nothing I can do to stop them.
However, in one final twist of the knife, footage emerged from the Manga panel at the event which showed Jerome telling the audience how he'd recently watched the latest episode on Crunchyroll (via a VPN or proxy of some kind, because it's not available in the UK thanks to him). He's worried about legal streamers reducing his sales, yet not pirates or those who watch streams from other countries to evade barriers he created?
Screw you, Manga UK. You're the reason I'm not buying your discs, not Crunchyroll.
With that off my chest, here's what I thought of the spring anime season shows that I followed. Funimation Now and Crunchyroll combined to satisfy all of my requirements this season, making it easier than ever before to stay up to date on all of the shows I wanted to watch (other than Sakamoto Desu Ga?). Both services publish a schedule and release episodes punctually with warnings of any service interruptions to allow fans to plan ahead, and for the first time I was able to finish the season when it actually ended because nothing was held back for weeks in this country. I suppose I should be disappointed that Funimation Now delayed the launch of their console apps but I'm honestly so frustrated about Manga and other UK-specific concerns that nothing else seems all that important.
First and foremost, the post-season ranking.
1. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
2. Joker Game
Hey, my prediction was quite accurate this time! There were a lot of average titles and very few gems, but JoJo, Kiznaver and Joker Game were definitely the most interesting shows I most looked forward to watching each week. JoJo is continuing on into the summer season, thankfully. Morikubo Showtaro has been my favourite thing about the episodes to date.
|Fourth place isn't that bad, Atsushi...|