Crunchyroll and Funimation Get Serious About Their Future

Crunchyroll and Funimation Get Serious About Their Future

Crunchyroll and Funimation Get Serious About Their Future

Sony buying AT&T’s Crunchyroll was bound to bring about some changes. But in the days, weeks, and months following the news that the purchase was okayed by the US government, not much fanfare was had or new information was revealed about what would happen now that one company owned two anime streaming platforms. New seasons like My Hero Academia season 5 and dubs like Attack on Titan: The Final Season appeared on both services, but otherwise, anime streaming continued as usual.

But big news has finally come.

Changes Finally Arrive

On March 1st, 2022, both Funimation and Crunchyroll posted about the changes coming to the services.

First, all Funimation content as well as shows from France-based Wakanim would be available on Crunchyroll. Funimation-licensed content like Cowboy Bebop, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, and Yu Yu Hakusho along with several dubs are returning or debuting on Crunchyroll because of this. The list of shows are available and regularly updated here. Some are only available in select regions like North American and Latin America.

According to the blog posts:

“This means all your anime, all on one platform. Starting today, tons of shows and movies from Funimation and Wakanim will begin arriving on Crunchyroll — so you’ll get more dubs, more subs, more of everything you’ve come to love!”

Yes, the key phrase is “one platform”. Because all new shows will only air on Crunchyroll — not Funimation, not Wakanim, not VRV. The only new episodes Funimation will be adding are those from continuing series. The Funimation division (Funimation Global Group, LLC) is also now operating as Crunchyroll, LLC with rebranding having started.

Funimation and VRV have an FAQ section to address common concerns, and Crunchyroll has added a site explanation guide.

As far as pricing, the cost for Crunchyroll Premium has not changed. Current subscribers to Funimation, Wakanim, and VRV will be receiving a code valid for a 60 day free trial of Crunchyroll Premium. However, it’s valid for new Crunchyroll subscribers only. Crunchyroll tells fans to “go ahead and cancel Funimation when you’re ready!” or move to Crunchyroll from VRV “as soon as possible”.

Accounts will not be automatically merged nor will watch histories and queues be automatically transferred. For the latter, Crunchyroll is planning on including a way to sync them as well as make Funimation digital copies available.

The Funimation Shop will continue operating normally for now.

A Future Without Funimation?

The fact Sony doesn’t want to have two streaming platforms for anime isn’t surprising. There was always the possibility the two brands could focus on different niches but offer a joint discounted bundle, but now we know they decide to go with the simpler route of one service. It does seem like the Funimation name will be fading out, which is a bit sad since it’s been around for almost 30 years. Also must be a bit irritating for international divisions who were rebranded as Funimation but now have to reupdating all their branding yet again.

The bigger shock is the rather abruptness of these changes as well as their practically blunt way of telling fans to ditch Funimation. I’m sure everyone wishes that, once Sony decided to phase out Funimation, they would have plans to ensure a smooth transition. Because of course, once fans discovered very little new content was going to be added to Funimation going forward, people wanted to jump ship — especially those who recently had their Funimation subscriptions renewed. Funimation has been telling people with yearly subscriptions to contact them, but this does seem like the sort of thing that should have been on the website and could be done by a user. Like, I can understand digital copies requiring extra time, but checking off one series after having seen it on the other shouldn’t be that difficult — it’s not like Crunchyroll and Funimation would be using different titles for the same series.

Some people are hesitant to abandon Funimation just yet because not all simulcasts are confirmed to be moving to Crunchyroll just yet. People should keep an eye on this list for updates, and the frustration of not knowing if every title is jumping over (or when) is understandable.

The various information posts don’t address whether home video releases will continue. I would have thought Funimation would be considered Crunchyroll’s dubbing arm, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. I don’t think Crunchyroll would abandon Blu-ray versions. Especially with hits like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia which are found on store shelves in major retailers like Walmart and Target. I think it would just be shutting a lot of doors if they didn’t push some of their big hits into the mainstream with dubs then eventual home video releases.

Good or Bad News for Anime Fans?

With this move, there are complaints, cheers, and disappointments. Joining together will likely save fans money whether it’s most people requiring a single service or in terms of content-per dollar. But Funimation and Crunchyroll have good and bad points, from little things like opening/ending song translations to bigger aspects like closed captioning for viewers who are hard of hearing and player reliability. I don’t think anyone expects Crunchyroll to suddenly incorporate some of Funimation’s pluses overnight, but no one wants Crunchyroll to plateau as it is either.

There are people worried or complaining about Crunchyroll being an anime monopoly, but for years, people have also complained anime is too segmented. You can’t please everyone, and some will complain no matter what. Besides, Netflix still has plenty of exclusives, and there are other competitors like HIDIVE and Disney+. Politics and censorship (such as with Interspecies Reviewers) are also highlighted by certain fans as cause for alarm about the new Crunchyroll.

Crunchyroll Funimation Stream More

It is disappointing that VRV and Funimation viewers are given a compensation gift with strings. The Crunchyroll 60 days are limited to new members. Sure, two months is quite a long time over the default seven-day trial, but the number of Funimation and VRV watchers who haven’t tried Crunchyroll Premium is likely very small.

VRV is also pretty much dead, and I’m surprised Sony didn’t announce the service was going to be shut down — or even shut it down immediately. VRV is down to three channels (Crunchyroll, Mondo, and VRV Select), and since no new Crunchyroll content is being added, $9.99 a month is overpriced. It’s been on a downhill slide for years, and I don’t think it’s going to last much longer. Sad, as it once was a great deal.

But while fans have finally received a major update to the future of Sony’s anime services, considering it’s been months, the rollout and FAQ are rather lackluster. Sure, fans have some time before the spring season kicks off, but of course people are going to be clamoring when they have been committed to Funimation, Wakanim, and/or VRV for years. Sure, there’s something to be said about bluntness, but still being essentially told to abandon ship with little guide about abandoning said ship is rather off-putting.

Are you happy about the new Crunchyroll? What services have you subscribed to to watch anime, and will that change now?

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