For anime fans downloading anime is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get a series straight from Japan. It often takes nearly a year or more for a Japanese series to reach U.S coasts, and most anime fans aren’t willing to wait that long. As such, a number of websites have sprung up offering non-licensed animes for download. However, the availabilities of licensed animes is fleeting do to strict laws that permit only buying the anime on DVD or through a pay-to-view website. Additionally, websites like Youtube.com host episodes in parts (one episode is generally broken down into 3 parts), but this is hardly expectable to most viewers. The thought of switching videos every 10 minutes is hardly ideal. However Viz, Death Note’s U.S production team is releasing Death Note through the Direct2Drive website. The first episode is to be released May 10th
This comes as Death Note fans eagerly await a means of legally obtaining the episodes. Death Note’s popularity has been on the rise since the release of the manga*, next came the series (which is still ongoing), and two Death Note movies that are only just premiering in the U.S. The Direct2Drive web download option now gives anime fans a chance to view the popular series with which licensing has made harder to get a hold of. While illegal downloads are still available, the crack down on illegal file sharing makes VIZ’s Direct2Drive all the sweeter.
VIZ has decided to release the series as a promotional effort as the series is still airing in Japan and is set to come to the U.S soon. The Direct2Drive release is supposedly meant as a way to “get their feet in the water,” per se. Still, with Death Note’s growing popularity in and out of Japan it is questionable whether or not VIZ’s approach will drum up new popularity for the series, or merely draw existing fans of the manga to the website. Either way, it seems that VIZ will get what they are looking for, hits to the site.
So, if you’re looking for a new series, or a sneak peak at the animated version of Death Note, perhaps VIZ’s Direct2Drive promotion is the way to do it. No more watching from Youtube.com’s broken segments, and no more seeking out the series via downloading sites where you risk breaking copyright laws. Instead, take advantage of the May 10th release of Death Note: the animated series. It seems the success or failure of this promotional effort will set the stage for similar promotions in the future.
*Manga= Japanese comic