Times are certainly tough recently. Each day everyone is trapped in their house feels like another day closer to insanity. I myself have found it incredibly hard to focus on even the most basic of tasks. Going to class has become even more of a chore than when I had to physically drive to campus. Even writing this article feels frustratingly difficult.
Before now, anime fans have, for the most part, been able to count on seasonal shows releasing on time every week. For those who enjoy dubs, simul-dubbing has made it much easier to enjoy the same shows that everyone else is watching, thus bringing together even more fans.
However, things are much different now. The rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout most of the world has made it much more difficult for everyone to live their lives. As it turns out, this also affects those whose job it is to make anime.
While Japan has not had it as bad as places like the U.S. and Italy, the nature of the virus means that no one can take it lightly, and indeed even with Japan’s good response, there have inevitably been a number of deaths already. Thankfully, though, it seems that the rates of new cases has slowed dramatically.
Now more than ever, it is important to have both sympathy and patience for those in the anime industry whose work is going to be affected by the virus. There have already been a number of delays, including for big series like Re:Zero. This has also affected dubbing efforts as well. Many companies, including Funimation and Hi-Dive, have announced their dubs will be delayed either temporarily or indefinitely.
It is also worth mentioning the industry’s fragility as well. As writer Evan Minto points out, anime is already an industry that relies heavily on its revenue sources, as often times productions will barely break even. While the effects of COVID-19 have varied quite a bit across different areas of the industry, because of its interconnectedness, most anime studios have been set back in some capacity.
Minto also points out that Freelance animators have been hit harder than most. Due to the requirement that most companies force their workers to stay home, freelance animators have found it much harder to find work, especially given the number of delays.
As much as it might be unfortunate that whatever series or dub people were looking forward to is now going to take a bit longer, it does not mean that they will never come out. However, even if it did, it should not be a controversial opinion to put the safety of others before an anime. COVID-19 is affecting everyone, and there is no reason to be selfish in a time where people are literally dying.