maou yuusha maou red hair
Avatar of Theo J Ellis

The Problem With Anime Piracy And How It NEEDS To Be Solved Going Forward

Anime piracy is a big topic right now, especially because of KissAnime being taken down for good this time.

I never expected it to happen considering they’ve avoided it for so many years. That’s why it was trending on Twitter since anime fans worldwide were shocked.

kissanime trending twitter |

So where do we go from here?

What’s the solution to fixing anime piracy, and is it a GOOD thing KissAnime was taken down?

From where I’m sitting there’s a few ways to solve this problem. Some solutions I’ve mentioned in the past.

Let’s get to it.


How Anime Piracy NEEDS To Be Fixed:


Region blocking

VRV not available in your region anime |

We’re all too familiar with the typical “region blocking” in the anime industry.

When you’re outside the USA or Japan, region blocking is one of the MAIN issues that causes piracy.

Even here in the UK you can’t watch a massive catalog of anime with:

  • Crunchyroll
  • Funimation

And other platforms because of region blocking.

I can’t watch all the anime I want without using some form of piracy.

That’s a fact and only idiots or people who profit exclusively from legal streaming sites would argue my point. Because they’re uncomfortable with that truth.


Outside the UK is even worse

As you can see from the Tweets, in countries. continents and places like:

  • Africa in general
  • France
  • Parts of Europe
  • Philippines
  • India
  • Middle East

And so on, streaming is hard to come by. And so just like here in the UK, people are forced to “pirate” content.

That means using anime pirates to keep up to date with their favorite anime shows. Especially currently airing anime.

To ignore the BIG issue with region blocking with all that “self righteous” BS is to be ignorant to the reality of anime streaming.

The world doesn’t shine out of the USA”s or Japan’s ass, anime stretches further than that. Ideally the issue of region blocking MUST be fixed going forward.

If it’s not? Then the war of anime piracy will continue forever, and legal companies will forever play the game of whack-a-mole.

That’s a fact.

Related: The Anime Industry Has A SERVICE Problem


2. Licensing

anime shows crunchyroll license 2 |

Let’s go back to 2019 for a second.

These anime shows are:

  • Descandance Of A Bookworm.
  • If It’s or My Daughter.
  • Magical Sempai.
  • Demon King Academy.

Crunchyroll obviously has a license for these shows. As does Funimation with different anime.

When it comes to “new” anime shows and anime that are currently airing, licensing is never an issue.

Almost always Crunchyroll, Funimation, or whoever else has it under control. So it’s sensible to pay for streaming.

But as for anime shows that are:

  • 3 years
  • 5 years
  • 10+ years old

Or more, this is where it becomes an issue to legally watch those anime shows if that’s what you’re looking for.

No anime streaming service KEEPS every anime show under their belt, because that would be expensive.

They have a business to run, people to pay, and profits to gain. So it makes no sense to do that

But at the same time –  that’s why people turn to anime pirates, to WATCH the anime that streaming services don’t have.

popular shounen anime |

The only time streaming companies hold onto licenses for LONG periods of time is when:

  1. They can afford to.
  2. The anime is a BIG franchise.
  3. The anime has a BIG audience.
  4. Or it’s a long running anime series.

In these scenarios it makes a lot of sense because these anime will:

  • Draw attention to their platform.
  • Put money in the bank.
  • Promote and market their services.
  • Become an asset.

But there are at least 10,000-12,000+ anime shows in existence.

Not everyone wants to watch the most popular anime all the time. Some want the underrated shows (which no streaming service has available).

And others like myself want some of the more old school anime that you can’t find anywhere else.

anime dvds expensive 1 |

And no one in their right mind (especially Millennials or younger) will buy anime DVD’S to watch anime they can’t find online, legally.

Anime DVD’S are:

  • Expensive.
  • Add clutter.
  • Are less convenient than digital.
  • And are harder to get your hands on.

Plus anime dvd’s have been declining since 2006 every single year, WITHOUT fail.

So it’s not a good excuse or option to suggest fans to buy dvd’s if Crunchyroll (or whoever) doesn’t have it…. Just to avoid using a pirate site.

That’s not how it works and never has worked.

Solve the issue of licensing, or at least make it good enough and piracy will DROP.

Simple as that.


3. Central website for anime streaming

netflix logo N 1 |

Think of it like a “Netflix” but for anime streaming exclusively.

This is something I’ve always recommended. If anime sites or companies come together, they can provide a better service.

It’s not rocket science, but Japanese companies act like it is.

By having a “one stop shop” for anime streaming, that means:

  • You can watch as many anime as you want.
  • Without restrictions.
  • Without delay.
  • Without limiting the selection.
  • Without worrying about region blocks.
  • And without needing to subscribe to different services.

At least that’s the idea anyway.

This would give the anime industry more power, control and influence.

What matters here is the execution. Meaning “how” they go about it and the mechanics of making it happen.


4. “YouTube style” anime service

youtube |

Now imagine a YouTube style anime service where:

  • Anime companies have channels.
  • You can subscribe to those channels.
  • Pay anime studios and companies on those channels.
  • merchandise.
  • And have direct conversations with those studios.


This is an idea I can see working. But it will obviously take some REAL work to bring it together.

With this method, you can support the anime studio you love most. And pay and support them in different ways.

You can even have direct conversations with them about upcoming anime and so on.

From a business point of view this can be supported through:

  • Ads.
  • Subscriptions.
  • Affiliates and partnerships.
  • Donations.
  • Merchandise.

And so on.

Even if the anime industry doesn’t do any of the last 2 points, the FACT remains that:

  1. Anime licensing
  2. Region blocking

These are the biggest issues that need solving as soon as possible.

These 2 problems are the reason anime piracy (and pirates) exist.

Anime is worldwide now, and you can’t force everyone to follow some self righteous buullsh*t narrative without fixing the issues at hand.

Otherwise anime fans (especially outside US and Japan) will keep:

  • Rebelling
  • Using anime pirates
  • Contributing to piracy
  • Torrenting

And everything else to watch the anime they can’t with legal streaming services.

After all – this is a SERVICE problem, not a piracy problem.

“We think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.

If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.” – Gabe Newell


Recommended Next:

The Paradox Of Piracy In The Anime Industry

Chinese Streaming Site Bilibili Goes From Anime Pirate To Legit Business