Well, it’s more like a handshake, but that doesn’t sound as cool.
For those who don’t know, Crunchyroll is an online streaming service where you can watch anime for free or pay for the premium membership to get more services; and free yourself of those rage-inducing ads. Funimation is a North American anime licensing company, distributor, and maker of many English dubs.
Now combine the two. Crunchyroll and Funimation are partnering up to cross-stream existing content so you can watch more anime from either company.
Perhaps the biggest change will be that Funimation will now have the ability to create English dubs for many anime shows that exist on Crunchyroll. Now, that may make some fans cringe, as English-dubbed anime have a reputation for sucking harder than a starving leech. However, in recent years, English dubs have gotten better and Funimation has shown great skill.
Anime such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Shuzumia, My Bride is a Mermaid, and Steins;Gate have all benefited from incredible English dubs thanks to stellar voice actors and just enough liberality with the script that the English words sound more natural. All three of these titles (and others) have been licensed by Funimation, and now they can dub many more.
However, if you still prefer subtitles to dubbing (as many fans do), Funimation will be putting their subtitled shows on Crunchyroll for your enjoyment. In short, you can go to Crunchyroll for subtitled shows and Funimation for dubbed shows.
In addition, Funimation will be able to bring many more series to DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital download; which is great news for anime lovers (like me) who prefer having a personal copy of their TV shows as opposed to streaming services. DVD/Blu-Ray/digital downloads also give anime collectors another way to support their beloved industry.
For anime fans, this means less searching for who has the best show. The two anime titans will be cross-streaming and even simulcasting for a more unified experience. The only limitation is your preferred language. Funimation reports that their unity will also allow anime to come to America “just 2-4 weeks after each episode airs in Japan”, starting with the Fall 2016 season.
Just to clarify: this is a partnership, not a merger – blasting my Dragonball Z Fusion joke to smithereens – but it’s still exciting news for anime fans.
One last thing to note, this partnership is changing Funimation’s subscription service by reducing their membership options from two to one. Now it will cost $5.99 a month (or $59.99 a year) for full, ad-free access to all of their content. As of this writing, Crunchyroll’s website has not announced any changes to their own memberships.
Personally, I’m just hoping to finally see a DVD release of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Chicks in a Dungeon. It’s already on Crunchyroll, so Funimation, do your thing!
What about you? What anime are you hoping to see or own as a result of this partnership? Do you prefer subtitled anime or dubs?