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Daisuki.net is one of the newest Anime streaming websites to make a big splash into the public media. Opened in the spring of 2013, this website is a collaborative effort between several of the biggest Japanese Anime studios such as Aniplex Inc., Sunrise Inc. and Toei Animation Co. The site streams and features some of the newest simulcast Anime direct from Japan. It is free for anyone to use and thus far, has received rave reviews from fans and industry personnel alike. Eri Maruyama is the PR Director working behind the scenes and Toonari Post was able to interview her following Daisuki.Net’s debut at New York Comic-Con 2013.
Toonari Post (TP): Tell us about you and your role in Daisuki’s operation as well as your favorite anime?
Eri Maruyama (EM): My name is Eri Maruyama, PR Director of DAISUKI.net.
Regarding the PR work: we are trying to actively and directly communicate not only with local media, but also with communities, fan clubs and events in order to reach as many foreign anime fans as possible. We hope to promote our service so that fans all over the world get to know us and provide them a legal way to watch anime.
My favorite anime… that’s a tough question! Originally, I started to really like Japanese anime when I watched Sailor Moon. Since I was born and raised in Germany, I kind of have a similar “anime fan history” like many foreign fans of my generation. Other favorites are One Piece, Death Note and Fruits Basket.
Last season I looked forward to every Saturday for a new episode of Oreimo. This season, I am totally into KILL la KILL, more than I first expected.
TP: Did you enjoy New York Comic Con this year?
EM: Definitely! It was DAISUKI’s first time at NYCC. First, we were a bit worried since we knew that NYCC is not an event purely about Japanese anime. This year, we attended other US events like Anime Central, Anime Expo and Otakon. There, we were sure to meet anime fans since those are anime events. But we were positively surprised about the huge number of attendees at NYCC who like (or also like) Japanese anime.
Furthermore, we were totally impressed about the number of people who attended our panel. Everyone was nice at the Q&A and I could feel that they are interested in DAISUKI, having hope and of course expectations for our service. This motivates us to work harder so that we can enhance our service steadily.
TP: What is Daisuki and its concept?
EM: DAISUKI is the first portal from Japan for overseas fans where you can watch anime legally. Basically all content that aired on Japanese TV can be watched for free with subtitles.
The concept is to provide foreign fans a place to enjoy anime legally, and at the same time also act as a place for creators (the Japanese production companies, who are our shareholders) to show off their new titles to worldwide audience. DAISUKI also aims to build a bridge between fans and creators by showing making of videos, messages from creators etc.
TP: How did this idea start? Who was the first to think of this streaming model?
EM: The growing popularity of Japanese anime was of course noticed by Japanese companies in the last years. Mostly, fans in foreign countries have been watching the works online, by non-legal methods for most cases.
However, it does not necessarily mean that fans want to choose this method. For many countries, they do not have other alternatives, because the titles are not licensed or at least the audience does not have the possibility to watch the shows instantly with legal methods. Gradually, if there will be no change, Japanese anime companies will not be able to produce good new titles anymore because of this one-way flow – even though the popularity and number of fans is rising worldwide.
So, they started to think of such a portal, to provide their content directly and legally to the world. Therefore, it was not a sudden idea of one person but rather a vague idea/plan of many people from different companies. Eventually, these companies came together and DAISUKI was established.
TP: How was the fan reception for Daisuki and its booth at New York Comic Con 2013?
EM: We were happy that we received much positive feedback. Actually, it was the first time for DAISUKI to have a booth with a full stage program. Everyday, there were cosplay gatherings, stage presentations, quiz games, and we also showed popular anime theme songs on our booth screen. Fans liked the interactive and varied stage program. Hopefully, many attendees enjoyed it and remembered our name.
TP: Does Daisuki plan to have another booth and panel at NYCC 2014?
EM: There are no definite plans yet, but we would love to be there again.
TP: What advantages does Daisuki have over other anime streaming websites? I notice you have Gundam ZZ, a rare show very few sites have.
EM: In fact, it was the first time that Gundam ZZ was officially localized into English. Another series from our line-up, the OVA of PRINCE OF TENNIS is localized for the first time, too. Like this, we also want to stream older shows, which weren’t officially available before. Also, since the production companies are our shareholders, we work closely together with them to achieve an attractive service for overseas fans by streaming exclusive content etc.
TP: What sort of extra features will viewers eventually see? The Daisuki Panel at New York Comic-Con touched on extra content from anime creators, voice actors and even music videos.
EM: We will continue with the simulcast of brand-new anime titles, but also do we want to steadily fill our “DAISUKI TV” category, which includes exclusive videos like these message videos, TV shows about Japanese culture etc. Probably, more Japanese/Anime music content can be expected as well.
In Part 2 of our interview with Eri Maruyama, we get into more detail about her job with Daisuki operations as well as talking about the rarely featured Gundam Unicorn OVA series. We also have information about how shows are removed from Daisuki, including how much advance notice viewers have and if any shows are currently slated for removal.
Image credit: Daisuki Inc.