“Netflix of Anime” piracy site suddenly shuts down, leaving users shocked

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Thousands of anime fans were shocked on Thursday when popular piracy site AnimeFlix voluntarily shut down its website without giving any reason, reports TorrentFreak.

“With a very heavy heart we are announcing the closure of AnimeFlix,” the site's operators told users in a Discord that has 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.”

According to TorrentFreak's report, AnimeFlix was visited by millions of people every month before it was shut down. Some anime fans loved it for its clean interface, with one fan on Reddit describing AnimeFlix as the “Netflix of anime.”

“This site was so neat,” one Reddit user wrote. “It's the best I've ever seen. Sad to see it go.”

Although AnimeFlix operators did not add facts for users, TorrentFreak suggested that the piracy site decided to shut down after facing “considerable legal pressure in recent months.”

In December, an anti-piracy group, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), demanded that Animeflix be shut down. Then in mid-May, rights holders including Netflix, Disney, Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. won injunctions through India's High Court against several piracy sites, including Animeflix. This made Animeflix unavailable for some time, until Animeflix simply switched to another domain and continued serving users, reports TorrentFreak.

While AnimeFlix isn't telling users why it has decided to shut down just yet, TorrentFreak — which, as its name suggests, focuses most of its coverage on copyright issues affecting online file sharing — said that “when a pirated site shuts down, whether voluntarily or not, copyright issues typically play a role.”

For anime fans, the sudden shutdown was frustrating as it made accessing the newest anime titles difficult and delayed the work studios were doing to introduce translations to different 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 lead to lower-quality subtitles, CBR reported.

On Reddit, some fans even complained that they exclusively relied on AnimeFlix to find out where they left off for anime shows that have hundreds of episodes.

Others begged to move to other anime piracy sites, while some speculated whether AnimeFlix might eventually pop up on a new domain. TorrentFreak noted that AnimeFlix had shut down once several years ago, but eventually returned. One Redditor wrote, “Another hero has passed away, but the will, will pass on.” On another Reddit thread asking “Will AnimeFlix go away forever or perhaps create a new site”, a commenter sympathized, writing, “We don't know for sure. Only time will tell.”

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

Animeflix did not assure users that it could return, but instead urged users to find other sources for their favorite shows and movies.

“We hope the joy and excitement of anime continues 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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