In November, it was announced that the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion would find a new home on Netflix in the spring of 2019, along with other titles. However, Funimation founder Gen Fukunaga has spoken out against this, on the grounds that Netflix isn't the right place for anime releases.
"Honestly, Netflix is willing to significantly overpay for something like [Evangelion] and outbid anybody by multiples, no matter what their ROI is", Fukunaga explained to Polygon in an interview about Netflix distributing the series. "I'm 100-percent sure that we'd have done a much better job brand-managing it and turning it back into what it was."
Fukunaga then went on to explain the problem with Netflix licensing Evangelion by stating how Netflix seems to be a hub for every kind of programming.
"Take a title like [My Hero Academia]", he continued. "Had My Hero Academia gone to Netflix, it would have just dropped on the platform with any number of titles and probably would have died as a brand. It would have just been another brand on the platform. Funimation markets it 360-theatrical marketing, etc.-gets it available on iTunes and Xbox and Playstation and gets it on other streaming platforms on its own and really promotes it 360. [...] While if it it had gone on Netflix, it would have just gone up there."
One of the most iconic anime of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion was licensed in North America by ADV Films, until a lawsuit against the series's production company Gainax over a live-action adaptation ADV was planning led to confusing rights issues.
While Fukunaga's words may have truth to them, at the same time, Netflix may end up doing the series justice, given both the show's popularity and Netflix's penchant to pick up and sometimes revive shows, as well as introduce both older and newer anime fans to the world of Neon Genesis Evangelion.