MAY 17, 2017. Japanese anime fans will surely be excited for this date, and most probably the producers as well. For movie distributors, maybe not.
If you’re still not getting it, May 17 is the release date of the hit anime movie A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) on Blu-ray (BD) and DVD in Japan.
For Filipinos, that is surely going to be a big problem. As you may already know, the movie was supposed to premiere in local cinemas last April 15, but the playdate was scrapped due to “unavailability of theaters”.
If you ask me, I think it is a wise decision, because competing with a sure fire blockbuster movies is suicidal, particularly the likes of the Fast & Furious franchise and Marvel Universe.
But it seems that both sides of the anime spectrum, whether casual followers or avid fans, are in rare agreement that the anime film’s postponement can be blamed on one local film: The Star Cinema movie “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
The anger with the young teen tandem by anime fans became more apparent when a video became viral, with the help of celebrity gossip website Fashion Pulis, that shows Padilla shaking a Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Tree for the sake of an artistic photo.
Back to the topic. From what I see, I think Pioneer Films has to release the film before May 17, because if the movie was released close to that date, then it would be too late.
Let’s be honest about this, Everyone know that whenever Japan releases BD or DVD to the market, whether it’s an anime movie or any other serials, it only takes a couple of days for someone to extract the content, process it, and then upload it on a torrent site. Fansubbers then would have a couple more days to put subtitles on the video.
I believe that may also be the reason why Southeast Asian distributor Encore Films is releasing the anime film in Indonesia on May 3.
Which is why I’m presenting this idea: Since we are running out of time, Maybe a digital release could be a much better option.
United Kingdom-based anime licensor Anime Limited has announced on Sunday they are releasing the movie on digital platforms, such as iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and several others, starting Monday, May 22.
Take note, they have released the movie in cinemas a couple of weeks ago.
In case you haven’t checked, there are only a couple of Japanese titles that had been available digitally, which include Paprika and Rurouni Kenshin movies.
With most people in the country having smartphones and tablets nowadays, maybe movie distributors should consider putting more titles on major digital platform.
Sure, there are streaming services like Tribe and iFlix, but the problem with that is they are streaming services. You can “download” them or add them on a playlist, but you still do not own them. Whenever you play them, you consume your data allotment, which will be wasted with the horrible signal service and crappy data packages in this country.
Digital platforms like iTunes, Google Play, Amazon or PlayStation Store gives you the option to actually own them. It may cost much, yes, but you own them.
Of course, the other option is making them available locally on BD/DVD, but the risk to selling optical media is that the return on investment would be low, considering that the market for niche titles is very small.
Unlike Japan or countries in the west, I don’t think Filipinos, particularly casual fans, have the patience to wait for high-quality products like BD/DVD.
Which is why I already expect that whenever Odex Pte. Ltd., Pioneer Films or even ANIPLUS Asia announces some big-time movie title, the first thing Filipino otakus always say is: “Saan pwedeng i-download ito?” (Where can I download this?)
To be honest, I still want to watch A Silent Voice in a cineplex, because nothing really beats watching a movie in a cinema.
Whatever happens, I hope that it will be resolved in a fruitful manner. If the film gets screened in cinemas or available digitally, let make an effort to support them legally.
Let’s make an effort to say “Thank you” to the hard work that scriptwriters and animators that devoted their precious time and sweat to deliver such masterpiece to everyone around the world.
Just some of my random thoughts.
Let me hear from you. If you have reactions about the topic, you can email me at [email protected].
The views and opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views of Anime Pilipinas, its members, partners, and colleagues. If you have comments or reactions, please email at [email protected].