Netflix is trying to expand its footprint into anime. A recently posted job listing clearly indicates the global leader in online streaming intends to bring popular Japanese animation series to the world. Moreover, the way Netflix operates could fundamentally alter how the world gets its fill of anime and manga.
Streaming platform Netflix, known to offer Netflix Originals, a category involving content that has been developed in-house, is apparently trying to replicate the same approach with Japanese anime that has a strong fan following outside the land of the rising sun. While many would expect the company to wade through the murky world of complex world of licensing, a job listing indicates Netflix will attempt to circumvent the same by producing high-quality original content. Hence the real dilemma Netflix will face is choosing the right series to develop and stream.
Netflix appeared quite content with slowly growing its share of backlog series. Although the company has funded a few projects, Netflix didn't show any strong enthusiasm in entering the segment. However, the director who will handle the reins of the anime division is expected to change all that, and ensure that Netflix becomes one of the main go-to destinations for anime lovers worldwide.
"Netflix is recruiting for a Director in our International Originals group to be based either in Beverly Hills, CA, or in Tokyo, Japan. The Director will be a key member of the team, responsible for identifying and developing original anime content. The Director will be responsible for developing local anime television shows from companies and independent producers for digital streaming in all Netflix territories globally."In the past, Netflix has experimented with series like Little Witch Academia and Seven Deadly Sins, and as expected, has managed to capture the interest of anime fans. However, the listing clearly indicates Netflix wants to significantly expand its original catalog. In other words, the streaming company won't take the same route as companies like Funimation and Crunchyroll. Although these American companies have a strong presence in the world of anime, they haven't set any demands till date, let alone create original content. These companies appear content with streaming whatever they can lay their hands own, and have reportedly never pitched an idea to international studios.
This is exactly where Netflix will strike and appears ready to enter the world of anime with original content that it produces. Netflix surprised fans of Japanese manga and anime by posting the job listing.
Anime fans are currently racking their brains trying to come up with names of anime franchises that Netflix could adopt for Netflix Originals. Incidentally, there are several anime series, like Black Bullet and Spice & Wolf that the company can rehash quickly and effortlessly. However, the world of Japanese manga and anime is quite complex from a legal perspective. The myriad licensing issues will eventually force Netflix to stay away from the majority of the pre-existing anime series. Incidentally, this could be one of the reasons streaming companies like Funimation and Crunchyroll accept the content, sub or dub the same into English and stream it, without making any specific demands.
Since popular anime series and their respective manga aren't possible or accessible, Netflix will most likely expand its anime footprint by hunting for a manga that has never been animated. According to Comic Book, one of the most popular manga that for some reason has never been adapted for the small screen is HakoMari. A light novel series written by Eiji Mikage and illustrated by Tetsuo, Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria, is a powerful manga filled with fantasy, mystery, and above all else, is a rather dark psychological adventure. Despite having seven volumes, the series hasn't been adapted into anime yet and hence could be a great choice for Netlifx. Other popular manga that Netflix could look at include Vagabond, Yotsubato!, Psyren, Horimiya, among others.
Netflix has a strong presence in many countries. Through Netflix Originals, the company could introduce the intriguing and exciting world of Japanese manga and anime to newer audiences across the globe.
[Featured Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]