Following last year’s acquisition of AT&T’s Crunchyroll by Sony-owned Funimation Global Group, the once-competing anime streaming services announced on Tuesday that its competing libraries will soon merge together under the banner of Crunchyroll.
As of today, Crunchyroll subscribers have access to the combined libraries of the two catalogs, featuring over 40,000 episodes. The brand has shared that its premium subscription pricing has not changed.
The move follows increasing consolidation in the streaming market in the wake of Sony’s growing global monopoly over the anime industry. In November, Australian and New Zealand streaming service AnimeLab ceded its brand and library to Funimation, rebranding as part of the larger, more popular Crunchyroll name.
Crunchyroll said in a statement on Tuesday that Funimation “has initiated rebranding across its global footprint to solidify Crunchyroll as the single, global brand for anime.” Subsidiaries like French streaming-service Wakanim will also merge into Crunchyroll in what the brand calls a “win” for anime fans.
Funimation Global Group was a joint venture between Funimation and Aniplex, Sony Music Entertainment’s Japan-based anime production and distribution subsidiary. Crunchyroll now operates as a joint venture of US-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Aniplex.
Former Funimation general manager Colin Decker will assume the role of CEO of the unified Crunchyroll brand, stating a press release: “The new Crunchyroll is the realization of a dream, and we are grateful to the creators of anime and the millions of fans who have joined us in making the community what it is today.”
Crunchyroll prepared a new promotional video for the announcement featuring shows from across the two libraries, and the brand’s mascot Crunchyroll Hime received a new redesign featuring Funimation’s white and purple colors.
Crunchyroll shared the excitement of partners in Japan’s anime industry. “I look forward to the POWER of two companies becoming one, and spreading their NEW ENERGY across the world,” said studio Bones CEO Masahiko Minami. Distributor Toho shared their congratulations and deemed the merger “the creation of the greatest anime platform.”
Kodansha Senior Vice President Kohei Furukawa said, “We are thrilled about this integration, which we believe will help our global anime and manga fans enjoy our contents more quickly, easily and extensively.” Crunchyroll and Funimation have each had partnerships with and stakes in manga distribution via VIZ Media, which distributes some of Kodansha’s publications globally.
Funimation will receive new episodes of series in progress, but new series from the upcoming Spring 2022 season will only premiere on Crunchyroll. The company added a new FAQ page to its site to help Funimation subscribers move to the platform.