Well, that didn’t take long.
When Viz broke the news about streaming Naruto Shippuden, I began counting the days until someone would announce a near-simultaneous release for a new series as opposed to an established series. Now, less than a month later and after a good bit of hype, Bandai announces that its new license is Kurokami, an anime based on a Korean manhwa (licensed by Yen Press) set to start airing next season! Apparently, it will also begin airing on IATV next season, with each episode airing in Japan, South Korea, and the United States within 24 hours…dubbed! That’s definitely a huge surprise. To think that they actually dubbed off of pencil tests and unfinished animation just to be able to get this release together on time. That’s all kinds of wow. The domestic DVD release is supposed to follow the airing, so it’s likely we’ll get the DVDs around the same time as well.
Of course, this doesn’t exactly follow the groundbreaking Naruto announcement in that this title won’t be streaming online. A near-simultaneous dub is certainly a more impressive feat, but on a channel that not a lot of people get? I don’t know if my family gets IATV here, but I know for sure that the cable my college supplies isn’t going to have it, so there will be no way for me to catch this on TV. Kurokami was one of the few series I was actually planning on watching next season, so this is really disappointing. But there’s this to consider too: if the whole point of near-simultaneous releases is to deter pirating, why would Bandai skip an online streaming release?
I don’t have a poll to confirm this, but I suspect that a vast majority of the otaku population that cares enough to watch series as they air in Japan prefers subs over dubs, or these days, even streaming over broadcasting. I’ve always felt that dubs/broadcasts were more suitable for the more casual fan who will turn something on because it’s there and convenient. They aren’t the ones that will sit around in the wee hours of morning Sundays waiting for the next Code Geass. The ones that have been clamouring for near-simultaneous releases are not the causal viewers. Okay, so maybe not many casual viewers would even bother with a channel that isn’t Sci-Fi or [adult swim], but I’m predicting now that Kurokami will still be pirated significantly because 1) there won’t be an official online stream, whether subbed or dubbed, 2) not enough people who want to watch the series have IATV.
Come on, Bandai. Give us an online stream too…?
Regardless of whether they decide to or not though, this is amazing news. We just keep taking more and more steps towards what everyone wants, and that’s exciting. At least the DVD releases will be pretty on top of each other, right? I’m thinking it won’t be long until someone else does a near-simultaneous online stream for a new series though. In the meantime, if subbers decide to sub this, I’ll probably still be getting Kurokami that way. :>