News culture Disney+: Does depriving fans of Bleach encourage anime piracy?
Published on 08/01/2023 at 10:30
Expected this year, the final part of the last season of Attack on Titan will bring a conclusion to the animated adaptation of the eponymous manga. A last chapter that will be available in France? The question arises after the various Disney initiatives.
10 years later, Disney+ provokes the anger of Bleach fansThe Disney+ initiative questions No offer in France for Bleach, return to the old method for manyBleach, Summer Time Rendering… Only the beginning?
10 years later, Disney+ angers Bleach fans
The television adaptation of Bleach, started in Japan in 2004, ended in 2012. Not definitively since in 2020, the television adaptation of the last narrative arc of the manga (The Bloody War of a Thousand Years) is announced during of the publication of Weekly Shônen Jump for the 20th anniversary of Tite Kubo’s seminal work. Something to enthuse fans, who have been waiting impatiently for more than two years for the return of Ichigo Kurosaki and others to the screen. A joy which, if not short-lived, was brutally annihilated in two stages.
Expected for the month of October, the television adaptation made Bleach fans wait until the first days of the tenth month of the year to find out on which platform they were going to be able to watch it. After the many rumors, it is the publisher VIZ Media (subsidiary of Shueisha and responsible for the publication of many manga in the United States) which announces that Bleach: The Bloody War of 1000 years will be broadcast on the platform. Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ internationally.
What does not necessarily appeal to fans of French manga who, for some time can find almost all of their anime in simulcast on platforms like Crunchyroll. Simulcast is a term used to refer to the simultaneous broadcast on other platforms of translated anime one hour after its television broadcast. But if it is only a question of a different platform to find the end of an anime expected for more than ten years, the fans grimace without grumbling. Unfortunately, a few days later, the ax falls with the schedule of Disney + France: Bleach is not on the program for the month of October. What to bury the hopes of the fans.
The Disney+ initiative raises questions
An initiative that had the gift of irritating them, as evidenced by the many reactions to the absence of the Bleach simulcast: “a fiasco”, “a catastrophic choice” or even “Disney officially kills Bleach” can we read on Youtube. All share their misunderstanding of the giant’s strategy: why buy the broadcast rights to Bleach if not to broadcast them? Indeed, the frustration of some is understandable especially since it is well known that the country of Molière is the second largest consumer of manga.
This is not the first time that Disney+ France has been the subject of such criticism. This was the case recently for Summer Time Render, the adaptation of the manga Time Shadows which is a hit. But of course, it made less noise than in October: something that can be explained by the obvious difference in notoriety between the two works as well as the ten years of waiting to finally see the conclusion of the adaptation. Fans feel like they’ve been fooled…
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A feeling of betrayal reinforced by the comparison with other platforms and in particular Netflix. If it’s not simulcasting, the SVOD platform will be more suitable for fans of binge-watching: a term meaning the fact of watching several episodes or even a season in one go. However, you should not count on having the big anime on the day of their release since they often arrive by season on Netflix, whether it is My Hero Academia, Naruto or even Demon Slayer.
In this case with Bleach, Disney + deprived French fans of a simulcast. Despite their acquisition of instant rebroadcast rights, the multinational has not done so in France and information about the future of the adaptation exists but remains fragmented. It was on the occasion of the announcement of the arrival of season 2 of Tokyo Revengers on Disney+ France that the latter quickly communicated on Bleach : “We are working on the arrival of Bleach on Disney+, we will not fail to keep you informed as soon as we can!”. So it’s in the pipeline, but that’s about it.
We are working on the arrival of Bleach on Disney+, we will keep you informed as soon as we can! 💙
— Disney+ FR (@DisneyPlusFR) January 6, 2023
No offer in France for Bleach, return to the old method for many
At a time when the future of Bleach is still unclear, some are taking the lead. Several Youtubers are not hiding: they refuse to wait and still delivered their opinions on the episodes of Bleach: The Bloody War of 1,000 years with devious means. As in a time when manga chapters and television adaptations were not yet democratized thanks to streaming platforms, fans gathered in communities and contributed their own translation. Some feel compelled to circumvent the provisions, especially since there is no legal option today to enjoy this last narrative arc of Bleach as well as the seasons broadcast between 2004 and 2012.
A return to the old style that many would have liked to avoid, even in exchange for a monthly payment to a platform to watch their anime legally.
For good reason, in recent months, the supply of anime in France has been unified. Crunchyroll absorbed Wakanim and monopolizes almost the entire simulcast. It is becoming much easier and much more practical today to consume the anime you want and this Disney+ initiative may further complicate things… especially as it can continue.
Bleach, Summer Time Rendering… Only the beginning?
Indeed, it was believed to observe a similar treatment for the television adaptation of season 2 of Tokyo Revengers supposed to resume the Christmas Showdown and the narrative arc of the Black Dragons. In the publication of its schedule for January 2023, Disney+ France had not integrated Tokyo Revengers season 2, the broadcast of the first episode of which began yesterday. It is only the day before the release that Disney+ France has announced that it has integrated the anime into its catalog. Something public since the Asia-Pacific Content Showcase, which was held on November 30 in Singapore. On the occasion of this event, Disney and Kodansha (the big Japanese publishing house for manga) extended their partnership and decided to collaborate for the first time on the world of anime. Here is what the Walt Disney Asia-Pacific representative said:
We are delighted to deepen our strategic collaboration with our long-time partner, Kodansha, on such an exciting genre. Japanese anime fills the white space in our content development plans and we believe this expanded collaboration will be a game changer in Disney’s future animation strategy in Japan. We look forward to bringing Kodansha’s anime titles and intellectual property to the world stage.
What also to be waiting for The Attack of the Titans: it is the Kodansha which holds the rights of the work of Hajime Isayama. It’s a safe bet that fans of the anime (some episodes of which rival ceux de Game of Thrones et Breaking Bad) are likely to shout even louder than for Bleach since it is the final part which is expected this year.
In any case, it is clear that Disney+ France does not directly encourage piracy but forces anime lovers to find their own way of viewing if they want to consume their series on D-Day. As evidenced by numerous publications on social networks, those in a hurry have found a way to watch Bleach: The Bloody War of 1,000 Years in the wake of its initial broadcast: they will therefore not watch the adaptation when it is released in France despite the work provided in upstream by the French branch of the Mickey firm in order to distribute it on its platform. There is no doubt that if this were to happen again in the future, fans would therefore know where to turn to enjoy their anime on D-Day.