What will you do when anime isn’t free anymore?

I am not sure if you are aware of it but over the past few years free file hosts have become increasingly vigilant in checking what files are hosted on their website. With the Megaupload snafu these few remaining websites either closed or turned into a “cloud” storage website. Mediafire and iFile (now filecloud) being the latest converts. It may not matter much to ordinary netizens but for anime fans, this is very important — the door that opened them to anime is now slowly closing.

According to Lord Beckett in the Pirates of the Caribbean: “The world is shrinking. The blank edges of the map filled in. Jack must find his place in the new world or perish.” I think this applies to the current state of anime. Decades ago, no one cared if you make copies of VHS or CDs and distribute it to your friends. Less than 10 years ago, there are hordes of anime websites offering any genre of anime that you like. I would call that the glory days of anime, from the 1990s up to 2007 maybe? I am not sure but at some point majority of the anime series became less awesome and boring to me.

Maybe less than 5 years ago, the world has caught up with anime. With the help of the internet, with the help of diligent translators and encoders, with the help of anime website admins, with the help of hardcore fans that watched encoded 40 mb files from their Real Player, companies have realized there might be a potential profit in anime. Licenses were given out and the hunt for licensed anime uploaded in the web has begun. Awesome free file hosts have come and gone. Rapidshare was pretty good at the start. So is Megaupload. Turboupload, Filefront, Filefactory, then Mediafire came and became popular because of its simplicity and reliability.

Present, 2012. Turboupload is closed. Megaupload was busted. Rapidshare and Mediafire are trying to move to be a cloud storage site. They now require you to register. Thousands of anime files are being removed from the net due to “copyright infringement”. Downloaders are now being turned to “paid subscribers”. It is only a matter of time before all the free stuff are gone. Anime, manga, eroge, hentai, all gone…*gasp*. When that happens, what will you do?

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