This time last year, ABS-CBN’s Filipino language anime channel HEROtv, which was on air for more than 12 years at that time, had ceased broadcasting at exactly 12:04am of February 1st.

Almost everyone were heartbroken, some did not even hide their jubilation. One thing for sure, though, it was truly the end of an era. Now, there was only one question nagging on other people’s minds, what’s next for Filipino-dubbed anime shows?

This will be the first of our two-part editorial regarding the future of Filipino-dubbed anime shows. We will discuss the things that happened after HEROtv left the airwaves, and the worsening case of piracy that makes things harder for companies to cater to this niche market.


Since the anime channel had its final sign-off, there are only two channels aired Filipino-dubbed anime shows: YeY! and GMA-7.

Unfortunately, both are free-to-air terrestrial channels, which means the programming and schedule has to be shared with a wider audience. Basically, Japanese anime will just be a part of the buffet, not the main course.

It is a problem because there will be limited choices, especially since TV ratings matter. In this case, we could expect that the broadcasters will focus more on action-themed or sports shonen shows and less anime from other genres, especially those with more mature themes.


Sure, people have the option to watch anime shows in their original audio on Pay TV anime channels like ANIPLUS Asia or ANIMAX Asia, but watching the show in your mother tongue gives them a different flavor, giving some degree of familiarity.

Yu Yu Hakusho, Flame of Recca, Slam Dunk and Fushigi Yuugi got their cult status since the late 90’s because of its familiarity, particularly with the masses, and we believe that Filipino dubbing gave that boost.

Although, we all agree that GMA abused the popularity of those shows with all the endless re-broadcasts, but at least HEROtv gave some balance with their vast amount of title offerings… and since last year, that balance is gone.


Another issue that seems to be creeping up since HEROtv left the airwaves is the issue of online piracy, because they are definitely getting worse every season.

About a year and a half ago, we have published an editorial regarding the social networking giant Facebook and how they are turning a blind eye on piracy.

We’ve discussed how the social networking giant seems to be looking the other way, despite the fact that Facebook pages and personal accounts are streaming copyrighted content like full episodes of popular anime shows and recently released home video copies of theatrical anime films, just because they could get more eyeballs using their video platform.


We’re not saying that all pirate streamers are Filipinos, but there’s no denying that we’re one of the big consumers.


At the moment, here’s where things stand. The streaming service Netflix has been bulking up its anime offerings with popular titles and some exclusive offerings, while Amazon Prime Video continues to bring at least two simulcast titles per season.

Despite all their best efforts, online piracy seems to be getting way more brazen than ever before, because we have observed that most, if not all, full length episodes are being uploaded on social media, as well as several newly-released anime films.

We’re not saying that all pirate streamers are Filipinos, but there’s no denying that we’re one of the big consumers.

Unfortunately, because of all these brazen acts of intellectual property (IP) violations, two anime movies were the casualties of piracy in the country.


Pioneer Films is one of the well-known local independent film distributors in the country, and they are also one of the few distributors that releases Japanese theatrical films in local cinemas.

They previously released Rurouni Kenshin’s first live-action film adaptation, as well as several anime films like your name. and A Silent Voice.


The film distributor had screened the fantasy drama anime film Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana o Kazarou) in September last year.

Sadly, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, the anime film barely captured an audience in cinemas.

The anime movie had their home video release in Japan last October, which was eventually been ripped from their Blu-ray discs, uploaded on file-sharing websites, and then blatantly uploaded by some accounts on Facebook, where it garnered a lot of attention. This was a lost opportunity to support the industry.

If not for the strong reception of the My Hero Academia: Two Towers movie screenings last October, the distributor may consider cutting their losses and may lessen, if not abandon, distributing Japanese films.


© Yoru Sumino/Futabasha Publishers Ltd 2015 ©️ Your Pancreas Anime Film Partners. All rights reserved.

But then, there’s the anime film adaptation of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (Kimi no Suizou o Tabetai), which was released in Japanese cinemas last September.

According to our sources, Pioneer Films had planned to acquire the anime film and eventually screen it in local cinemas. Unfortunately, they had second thoughts about releasing the film. By the time it was leaked in December, it was too late.

To be fair, it’s not just the fault of illegal streaming, because from what we have heard, there seems to be a lot of standard procedures with regards to Japan’s intellectual properties before a licensor or distributor can screen or broadcast a particular content.

Regardless, we have reason to believe that online piracy is to blame. In the mindset of the casual Filipino anime fan, why would anyone want to buy a ticket in the cinema of an anime film that you could only watch one time, when you could just download the same anime film and watch it anytime and anywhere?


If not for the strong reception of the My Hero Academia: Two Towers movie screenings last October, the distributor may consider cutting their losses…


Some people are arguing that “Bad Publicity is still Good Publicity”, because the attention will boost the title’s popularity.

Even if that is true, it will also catch the attention of Japanese content owners. As we’ve seen in Malaysia and Indonesia, they have a zero-tolerance policy against piracy and will be very reluctant to trust that any company from the Philippines can protect their IP’s against this.

There are those that argue that the money from subscription are going to the streaming services and only a small percentage will be going to the content owners.

It’s common sense. Legal streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video will be negotiating for the best deal for each titles, and maybe use some of the funds for exclusive offerings, as well as improving their services.

I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t just go unnoticed, because all the data that they collect from users would be used to see what people want to watch, and will not just be a part of some spam network coming from Eastern Europe or somewhere else.


We are definitely living in the era after HEROtv, because its a different playing field from when the anime channel launched in 2005. As much as they try to ignore it, there is a need for a brand new strategy.

We believe that it’s time to bring Filipino-dubbed anime online. We will tackle that on the next part of this editorial.


DISCLAIMER: This editorial expressed the views of Anime Pilipinas, but it does not reflect the views of all the members of the Editorial Team, its friends & partners. If you have any reactions, please send us an email at [email protected], or on our social networking accounts.