Blue Period Blue Period

Netflix has acquired the anime series Blue Period. The news is good for fans of the original manga, but also significant for anime fans and Netflix users in general. Exceptionally, Netflix will release episodes weekly, rather than all at once.

The show will debut on Netflix in Japan tomorrow, then air on Japanese tv from October 1. Episodes will start rolling out globally on Netflix on October 9. We believe this will be the first time Netflix does weekly releases for an anime series in the U.S. (In 2018 it took this approach for Violet Evergarden in some territories, but not the U.S.)

The week-long lag means Blue Period won’t exactly be “simulcast” — a term that refers to the near-simultaneous airing of a series in Japan and abroad. But it’s not far off. Anime fans used to simulcasts on platforms like Crunchyroll and Funimation have bemoaned Netflix’s tendency to release series in their entirety. This generally means shows come out months after Japanese audiences have seen them.

Netflix’s traditional model encourages binge watching, which is central to the streamer’s pitch to viewers. It also gives the company time to record multiple dubs and drum up a marketing campaign. On the other hand, hype generated by a show’s Japanese premiere can die down among fans before Netflix rolls it out. The delay also invites piracy.

Netflix hasn’t given a reason why it is changing tack for Blue Period. But in doing so, it is mirroring not just dedicated anime platforms, but also its own practices in other areas: for example, it has been simulcasting K-dramas for years. Meanwhile, other mass-market streamers have already embraced the weekly format: Disney+ uses it for marquee series like Wandavision and Star Wars: The Bad Batch.

Based on Tsubasa Yamaguchi’s manga series of the same name, Blue Period tells the story of a gifted yet bored high-school student whose life transforms when he discovers painting. The series is produced by Seven Arcs. Netflix hasn’t clarified whether it will be subbed, dubbed, or both, and in how many languages.

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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