Anime Industry Faces Widespread Delays due to COVID-19
The novel coronavirus has had unforeseen impacts on virtually every industry under the sun, and unfortunately anime production is no exception. As the virus continues to spread, countries around the globe have issued mandates in order to contain the pandemic. On April 16, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe declared a national State of Emergency which will last until May 7 at the earliest. BusinessesHere is a rundown of all the major anime series and movies that have been delayed due to COVID-19:
Food Wars! The Fifth Plate
The raunchy cooking anime announced this week that the broadcast of new episodes in the show’s fifth and final season would be delayed due to COVID-19. This news comes a few hours after the season’s second episode aired on Friday, and while it’s still unknown when the season will resume, the new schedule will be announced on May 15.
The fourth movie in Evangelion’s film tetralogy has unfortunately postponed its June 27 release date. Evangelion Co.’s official twitter account tweeted a new poster image for Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time, with the tagline “Bye-bye, all of Evangelion” and the release date changed to “coming soon”. This doesn’t bode well for the film, and the fact that public gatherings have been put on hold in most countries means fans could be waiting until 2021 to see this and other anime films in theaters. The first ten minutes of the film were screened at several conventions last year and can be found on YouTube.
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World
The popular isekai harem anime’s second season has been delayed due to the virus as well, with its release date moved from April to July. The series’ staff posted the announcement on the show’s official website, with an exact date and time to be announced at a later date. Re:Zero’s first season premiered in April 2016, and a newly edited director’s cut was released in January. The director’s cut can be found streaming on Crunchyroll.
Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel III. spring song
Unfortunately fans of the Fate series have similarly been left waiting for the third installment in the trilogy of Fate movies. Each of the three films cover a different narrative route in the original Fate/stay night visual novel, with spring song following after 2017’s presage flower and 2019’s lost butterfly. This is the second time the movie’s release has been delayed, as its initial March 28 release date was first pushed back to April 25. No new release date has been announced as of yet.
Violet Evergarden Movie
Originally scheduled for an April 24 release in theaters, the upcoming Violet Evergarden movie has been delayed as well. The first series of the TV anime adaptation was broadcast from January to April 2018 with a spin-off movie, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll, released last September. No new release date has been announced, but Kyoto Animation says that any advance tickets purchased for the delayed premiere will be honored at the new premiere as well.
P.A. Works’ brand new series Appare-Ranman! has been put on delay starting with its fourth episode, due to measures surrounding the novel coronavirus. Set at the end of the 19th century, Appare-Ranman follows a bright engineer and a nervous samurai as they race across America to win a trip back home. The date episodes will resume airing is not known at this point, but you can find the first three episodes streaming in Japanese and English on Funimation’s website.
Funimation English Dubs
Subs-only fans like me won’t bat an eye at this, but Funimation has announced they will be suspending their production of English dubs for Japanese-airing series as their staff adapts to a work-from-home model. In a post on their website Funimation explained that Simuldub production would be put on pause for the remainder of the current season, stating “We’ve successfully recorded an episode of My Hero Academia from home, and hope to bring you more soon!” A new schedule is to be announced in the coming weeks.
So there you have it; most of the studios have yet to announce their new production schedules, as their teams are likely still adapting to this dramatic shift in workflow. Studios outsourcing animation work from China have reportedly been hit hardest by this crisis, lacking a level of animation infrastructure. It’s sad that a lot of our favorite series have been delayed, but it’s important that anime fans understand this is a tough time for everyone, animators included. So we need to give the people who produce the shows we love time to adapt, if we want to see the high-quality work these studios are capable of.