Anime and are extremely popular. Early on this was mostly limited to Japan but nowadays it’s a global phenomenon.
In part, this worldwide success was facilitated by piracy. Some of the oldest torrent sites featured ‘anime’ categories and today this niche has many dedicated piracy portals.
KissAnime.ru and KissManga.com are two of the largest sites in these respective niches. Both have an audience of millions of people. According to piracy tracking company Muso.com, KissAnime is the most visited pirate site in the world, beating even the mighty Pirate Bay.
That reign appears to have come to an end today. A few hours ago both sites started to show alarming signs. KissManga returned a ‘maintenance’ message and on KissAnime an even more worrying notice appeared.
“Our beta servers have been taken down by copyright holders, this could lead to the close of the website. We will make more announcement after we have the decision,” the message read.
KissAnime started trending on Twitter this afternoon where many fans feared the worst. And indeed, a few hours later, both sites reported that they are permanently closing their doors, adding that all files have been removed.
“All files are taken down by copyright owners. The site will be closed forever. Thank you for your supports,” the updated message reads.
The sites don’t elaborate on the reason for the shutdown but the messages imply that there was pressure from copyright holders. This isn’t new, both sites have been targeted before. Three years ago, for example, anime distributor FUNimation obtained a subpoena from a US Court, hoping to identify KissAmine’s operators.
There is a more recent development that may have played a role as well. The shutdowns come shortly after Japan passed amendments to its copyright law to criminalize manga piracy as well as indexing or linking sites, which don’t host content. Whether this had an immediate impact on today’s actions is unknown.
What we do know is that millions of pirates will have to find a new favorite site to stream anime or view manga. The sites may be gone but the demand is still there. This will likely lead to new copycats popping up and surging traffic at some alternative sites.
This shift is already noticeable. The manga scanlation site MangaDex reports that its servers can hardly keep up with all the new registrations.
“We’re getting unprecedented surge in user sign ups, if you are one of these people and haven’t received your confirmation code via email, please give it a little time so the code system can catch up,” the site reports.
For KissAnime.ru and KissManga.com, however, this is the end of the road…
This is a breaking story. If any additional information appears about these shutdowns we will update this article or report it in a future piece.