The “Netflix of anime” piracy site abruptly shuts down, shocking users

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Disney+ promotional art for <em>The Fable</em>, an anime series that triggered Animeflix takedown notices.
Enlarge / Disney+ promotional art for The Fable, an anime series that triggered Animeflix takedown notices.

Disney+

Thousands of anime fans were shocked Thursday when the popular piracy site Animeflix voluntarily shut down without explaining why, TorrentFreak reported.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of Animeflix,” the site’s operators told users in a Discord with 35,000 members. “After careful consideration, we have decided to shut down our service effective immediately. We deeply appreciate your support and enthusiasm over the years.”

Prior to its shutdown, Animeflix attracted millions of monthly visits, TorrentFreak reported. It was preferred by some anime fans for its clean interface, with one fan on Reddit describing Animeflix as the “Netflix of anime.”

“Deadass this site was clean,” one Reddit user wrote. “The best I’ve ever seen. Sad to see it go.”

Although Animeflix operators did not connect the dots for users, TorrentFreak suggested that the piracy site chose to shut down after facing “considerable legal pressure in recent months.”

Back in December, an anti-piracy group, Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), sought to shut down Animeflix. Then in mid-May, rightsholders—including Netflix, Disney, Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros.—won an injunction through the High Court of India against several piracy sites, including Animeflix. This briefly caused Animeflix to be unavailable until Animeflix simply switched to another domain and continued serving users, TorrentFreak reported.

Although Animeflix is not telling users why it’s choosing to shut down now, TorrentFreak—which, as its name suggests, focuses much of its coverage on copyright issues impacting file sharing online—noted that “when a pirate site shuts down, voluntarily or not, copyright issues typically play a role.”

For anime fans, the abrupt closure was disappointing because of difficulty accessing the hottest new anime titles and delays as studios work to offer translations to various regions. The delays are so bad that some studios are considering combating piracy by using AI to push out translated versions more quickly. But fans fear this will only result in low-quality subtitles, CBR reported.

On Reddit, some fans also complained after relying exclusively on Animeflix to keep track of where they left off on anime shows that often span hundreds of episodes.

Others begged to be turned onto other anime piracy sites, while some speculated whether Animeflix might eventually pop up at a new domain. TorrentFreak noted that Animeflix shut down once previously several years ago but ultimately came back. One Redditor wrote, “another hero has passed away but the will, will be passed.” On another Reddit thread asking “will Animeflix be gone forever or maybe create a new site,” one commenter commiserated, writing, “We don’t know for sure. Only time will tell.”

It’s also possible that someone else may pick up the torch and operate a new piracy site under the same name. According to TorrentFreak, this is “likely.”

Animeflix did not reassure users that it may be back, instead urging them to find other sources for their favorite shows and movies.

“We hope the joy and excitement of anime continue to brighten your days through other wonderful platforms,” Animeflix’s Discord message said.

ACE did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

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