Last week, Funimation (and their parent company Sony Pictures) made the monumental announcement that they had acquired their anime streaming rival, Crunchyroll. This meant that two of the biggest anime streaming services would now be under one umbrella. Although, what does it mean for anime fans? Our team’s biggest anime fans weigh in on the Funimation-Crunchyroll deal.
With the purchase of Crunchyroll, Sony and Funimation have essentially cornered the anime streaming market. As someone who has subscriptions to both services, this deal actually worries me, and not on a financial standpoint. I actually believe Sony will offer a package deal of some sort for both services. That is, if there will still be two services.
That’s where I really get concerned. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation have pros and cons with their platforms. Crunchyroll has an extremely user-friendly streaming app and website. It’s updated regularly with new and original content, including anime news, and it’s organized and rarely has bugs. On the other hand, Funimation offers dubs where Crunchyroll doesn’t and has a good phone app. However, I’ve been very underwhelmed with their website. I’ve dealt with far more bugs with Funimation’s website than Crunchyroll. Videos sometimes don’t load and if you’re in the middle of a binge, the website will jump around thinking you’re starting from the beginning or on the last season. This happened to me quite often when I started my One Piece binge earlier this year. It got so bad, at times, that I looked into Crunchyroll and never went back.
So, the idea that Crunchyroll is now part of Funimation just doesn’t sit great with me. If Sony decides to keep both, one as a subs service and the other as a dubs service, then I think it could be great for anime fans. Even if Sony decides to merge them or get rid of one, as long as it is Crunchyroll’s platform that survives but with Funimation’s dubs and products then that’s all well and good, too. I just really hope that Funimation’s platform isn’t the sole service at the end of the day.
All that said, I don’t think Sony would outright eliminate either brand. Both are far too valuable, as the more than a billion dollar price tag for Crunchyroll indicates. The question is, though, why would they keep two competing anime streaming services? It could be that they plan on using the fact that Crunchyroll is an international service, where Funimation is not, to further grow their anime influence. Would that mean that Crunchyroll will dissolve into Funimation (or vise versa) to become one giant global anime service provider for both dubs and subs? That’s what I assume Sony is deciding right now.
I also wonder what would happen with Crunchyroll Originals, their line of original anime programming. Will shows like “The God of High School”, “Onyx Equinox”, “Noblesse”, and so on be allowed to continue? I hope this purchase won’t stifle new and original animes, mainly because it could possibly over-exert their budget.
When the deal was announced, CEO of Funimation Global Group, Colin Decker said that, “Combining these two great companies will be a win for fans, and enable us to compete at a truly global scale.” It may very well be a win for fans, as it could mean new content for anime fans around the world. However, knowing Funimation’s history and how flawed their service is, it’s got this anime fan worried.
I was actually in the process of picking between Funimation and Crunchyroll when the news broke that the two would be joining together. I’m not completely familiar with these streaming services, but I know enough to be of the opinion that this turn of events is not a good thing. It’s a well known fact that industries suffer when there’s a lack of competition. Now that Funimation has essentially absorbed its major competition (albeit we don’t know exactly what this will look like), there’s every chance the anime streaming experience could suffer as a result.
Hopefully I’m wrong, but until we get more details I’m very nervous about how this deal will go.
Ok, listen up folks. This is a huge buy for Sony and only gets me excited for what is to come. I’m a huge fan of series like Dragon Ball, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, and others…but what do I want to see from this merger of two of the largest Anime Streaming Platforms on the planet?
Hopefully something completely different then what you’re thinking. Since Sony now owns this I want to see more integration of this mega anime streaming service into their product’s. For instance, why not include this service with PS+ at no additional cost? Adding it on as an additional cost/subscription will make it more difficult for current PS+ users to make the jump.
Secondly, I want to see a Sony themed anime series! I know that these are just streaming services and not animation studios, but hell Sony has more than enough studios and now has connections with a ton of animation studios to get this done! Would it not be amazing to have anime series based on Uncharted, Ghost of Tsushima, God of War, and even Spiderman! Let’s do it Sony!
Like Matt, I am concerned that Funimation will absorb Crunchyroll into its own service thus removing Crunchyroll from the market, and pray this does not happen. My hope is that with two services under the Sony umbrella it opens up Funimation to have more contact with studios, and with that potentially more simuldub content, or shortly after original airing.
Moving on to my main concern: Censorship. Some companies like the now dead 4KidsTV had a nasty habit of altering content of a show to make it more PC, or kid friendly thus ruining the original anime studios vision of the show. This can be anything from an object in someone’s hands, to blurring out nudity, or even changing curse words, or entire conversations.
There are times the original anime studio will use their own censorship for comedic relief, as intended, but I don’t believe that American, or overseas distributors should have the right to alter the content. Funimation states they release the content as is from the anime studio but I fear that Sony will start enforcing censorship which will affect both Funimation, and Crunchyroll.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the future of Crunchyroll and Funimation.