Yes. Article Over….okay fine. As the landscape in which we consume media has changed, so too must our definition of what an Anime is. In fact, this conversation over what is an Anime is something that has been debated for eons (or 20 years or so in the West) and it seems only appropriate to add Netflix Originals to the debate.
Unlike in the days of old when we baby weebs used to discuss whether or not Avatar the Last Airbender or Teen Titans was anime (they aren’t) we now have to ask whether something exclusively streaming and made for Netflix counts as one. To which I reply, is that even a question?
Usually, when you have the anime debate, the answer, if not drawn out and made excessively superfluous, boils down to that if something is written in Japan, with an original Japanese dubbing, it is anime. Yes, we’ve heard extensions of this debate elsewhere and on YouTube (I don’t care what Youtuber Mother’s Basement says, Avatar is not freaking Anime and that’s okay!) but asking if an anime is less anime because Netflix made it isn’t as interesting because the original standards remain. Was the original source material Japanese and was the script written with the intent to be viewed in Japanese first?
And Universally, Netflix follows that rule (and I swear to Haruhi if you try telling me Neo Yokio is anime I will scream.) In fact, I would even go as far as to argue that Netflix anime may be more anime than anime. Woah, I know, I got chills too. To address this positively verbose and not at all academically accredited claim, we have to ask, what’s the difference between an Original and a Pure Anime?
Honestly, would you even be able to tell if something like Hi-Score Girl was a Netflix show if not for them letting you know at the beginning of your stream? Okay yes probably if you are familiar with the 3d animation practice that Netflix Anime have incorporated (but please watch HI Score Girl, I promise it’s good!)
But at the same time, would you consider the masterful, albeit sexually exploitative 2018’s Devilman Crybaby to be any less anime simply because it is a Netflix exclusive? Preposterous. Impossible. Nonsense. Devilman Crybaby is an anime if I’ve ever seen one. An anime based on an older anime, based on a manga from the 80s by influential mangaka Go Nagai. What about this adaptation would make it less anime? If you have any under any circumstances disagree, you are mad good reader, simply mad! In fact, Devilman Crybaby is one of the closest things we have gotten to a classic, in the last decade.
We must accept that Streaming Services have changed how we watch anime. The days of us tuning in to Toonami on a Saturday for a new episode of Naruto have long gone (although thanks to the revival of Toonami you can watch some of the more recent shows on late-night TV for which we say THANK YOU). But for the most part, we’re all watching anime on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu and, you heard it, Netflix. It’s all the same now. An amalgamated pile of streaming services and online viewing. Netflix is as a reputable service for watching anime as any other, and while there are definite downsides to some of Netflix’s practices (I’m still waiting on my ORIGINAL dubbed season of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K and readily weep knowing it will never come) there is a benefit to new avenues of streaming anime. More access, different content, and an opportunity to see the constant evolution that is anime. And to watch Hi-Score Girl. I mean it, please watch it.