Dedicated anime pirate sites are popular around the globe, but in Latin America they are huge.
AnimeYT has been one of the main players in the area. With millions of regular visitors, it was the top pirate site in countries including Argentina Chile, Peru, and Mexico.
The site is among the top 50 most-visited websites on the entire Internet in these countries, beating traditional streaming and torrent sites by a landslide.
The massive reach of these sites is a thorn in the side of copyright holders, which are increasingly taking action in response. Over the past weeks, several Brazilian anime sites folded after legal threats and this weekend AnimeYT shut down as well.
In a goodbye message, AnimeYT’s operator “TioYT” mentions the situation in Brazil as the reason for the decision. He doesn’t point a finger at a specific legal threat and chooses to end with a personal message instead.
“I spent many years translating animes, arguing with fans, watching anime girls on this page. So much that when I look back at my life, I think that at least a quarter of my memories are linked to this site, to this community,” the operator writes.
“Remember that behind the dude you call ‘TioYT’ there’s a common and ordinary guy who has his own problems, his family, who has other responsibilities and who is more than anything very grateful for all the love and the support they everyone has shown to the website in general,’ he adds.
The shutdown has created a lot of uproar on social media and many of the site’s former users are taking out their anger on the legitimate anime streaming platform Crunchyroll, which is seen as the driving force behind many of the recent shutdowns.
Crunchyroll has reportedly gone after several Brazilian anime sites but, thus far, we haven’t seen any official confirmation that it approached AnimeYT directly. It could also be that there are other rightsholders involved.
Another popular anime site that shut down last week is AnimeMovil. This site currently redirects to Crunchyroll. The site reportedly took this decision after the Japanese studio Toei Animation went after it for publishing a copy of Dragon Ball Super Broly, shortly after it premiered.
The shutdowns have resulted in a surge of new traffic flowing to AnimeFLV, another popular anime site in Latin America. In addition, inventive users have also started to upload Dragon Ball episodes to porn sites, hoping that they’re safe there.
While AnimeYT and AnimeMovil could certainly be classified as pirate sites, many people relied on them to get the latest anime shows quickly.
That anime is more than a simple pastime for kids was made clear last year when local Mexican authorities planned to premiere the 130th episode of Dragon Ball Super in football stadiums and other public places, even though they had no license to do so.
Although several massive anime sites have now fallen, it’s expected that others will fill this gap, as is usually the case. That doesn’t mean, however, that AnimeYT and the others aren’t missed dearly; a quick search on social media makes that quite clear.