During AFA, we had the pleasure of speaking to Daisuki Inc., represented by the Director of Public Relations, Ms. Eri Maruyama. Daisuki Inc. was participating in AFA 2013 to promote an interesting new way for anime fans outside Japan to watch anime.

Daisuki Inc. PR Director, Ms. Maruyama Eri

Daisuki is an anime streaming website based in Japan. It features anime content in the original Japanese audio paired with subtitles mostly in English, but some titles have subs offered in various other languages such as Chinese, German, and French. Its shareholders include publishing companies such as Aniplex, as well as various anime studios such as Toei and Sunrise. These companies joined hands and together they founded Daisuki.

This means that unlike other anime streaming websites, Daisuki offered legal anime streaming to fans outside Japan, for free. Anime streaming has been around for a long time outside Japan, mostly based in America and Europe, but many of them stream unlicensed anime content, making them susceptible to copyright violations.

“The Japanese companies recently noticed that anime is very popular overseas. Piracy has been going on for years and years. Fans just purely want to watch anime, immediately. So they have been watching fansubs – who have been doing a lot of good work and contributed a lot to that popularity. Problem is, it’s also illegal and doesn’t directly contribute any revenue to the industry,” says Maruyama.

Daisuki.net homepage featuring the latest anime episodes and news.

“So the Japanese companies wanted to create a system that allows overseas fans to watch the latest new anime instantly and legally, at no cost. If they didn’t have to pay to watch anime before this, why should they pay to watch it now? We might as well let them watch it for free.”

According to Maruyama, Daisuki has been very well received among many fans. They have been attending various anime events across America and Europe in order to gauge the fans’ reactions and receive feedback from them.

Aside from video content, the website also features Daisuki Store, where users can purchase various anime-related merchandise. We asked Ms. Maruyama about whether anime Bluray and DVDs can be purchased from the Store.

“Not at the moment. We want to focus on streaming and delivering anime to overseas fans legally and for free. We want to make sure the video quality as well as translation quality is better and faster than fansubs so we’re investing most of our resources there. Fans seem to care more about that than buying merchandise.”

Anime titles on Daisuki that is accessible in Malaysia

On a related note, Playstation Network has been offering video download services. One example would be Studio Bones’ Bounen no Xam’d, which was available for Video-on-Demand purchase on the US PSN. Maruyama comments that many Japanese companies are still very skeptical about digital downloads and they are most likely to wait for Daisuki’s results before making any decision on the matter.

Maruyama also spoke to us about premium content on Daisuki. “There are no premium memberships, but we are planning to add premium content. Not TV series, TV series will always be free. We’re talking about OVAs, and perhaps anime movies. It would likely be something like, you pay a small fee for streaming access to each of the premium content. So premium content rather than premium membership,” she said.

During AFA 2013, the Daisuki booth is actively promoting Studio Trigger’s new anime series Kill la Kill as well as Sunrise’s Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVA. In the long run, they are also planning to list theatrical anime films as premium content.

Daisuki will be doing a worldwide simulcast event for Sword Art Online EXTRA EDITION for free on 1st January 2014 at 00:00 hrs (Japan Time).