Well first Anime Lab became Funimation and now Crunchyroll and Funimation are merging with ‘most of’ the Funimation library to move on to Crunchyroll. Where does that leave anime viewers with so many questions and so many articles and hot-takes on this situation?
I mean, we could take the more positive view of the situation. So many anime bloggers have to try to keep up multiple subscription services in order to be able to do decent seasonal coverage. One less player means one less subscription so we could simply say ‘yay!’ and call it a day.
However that would be a little bit simplistic.
Crunchyroll and Funimation merge – but what does that mean?
I guess one of the first questions I had when I first heard the news and starting seeing tweets and blog posts about this (all of which I saw before either Crunchryoll or Funimation sent me, a subscriber to both services, an email notification this was happening) was “when is Crunchyroll and Funimation merging?”.
And then I found from next season. So basically stop even looking at what service the Spring 2022 anime are airing on. They are either going to be on Crunchyroll, may show up on Netflix, or I’m not getting access. You have to admit that simplifies things a lot.
Though it also makes me wonder what happens to the remaining value of my Funimation subscription and the information out there isn’t exactly clear about how that actually works. Now sure, for Funimation only subscribers they can take advantages of the 60 day free trial for Crunchyroll being offered. Now this doesn’t apply to me nor do any of the FAQs they’ve provided so I’ve contacted Funimation asking them where that leaves the remainder of my subscription and I will wait and see what answer I get.
Why worry about a merger between Crunchyroll and Funimation?
Now I’m not actually saying the merger is bad. However, with HiDive not really being all the competitive, Netflix and Amazon barely dipping their toes into seasonal anime other than a few exclusives, this really does just leave Crunchyroll to bring anime to viewers in countries like Australia. And while I appreciate how much more anime is available to me now than ever before, I definitely have some concerns.
My biggest one would be on the issue of Censorship. Less streaming services means if Crunchyroll decides an anime goes against their ethos as a company and won’t stream it, that more or less leaves viewers with no real legal options to view it. And while there may be a good reason not to stream an anime, anyone watching the way of the world and cancel culture should be concerned that one company will get to decide which anime get a chance to be seen.
But, I’d rather not get too much into a concern that has yet to occur when I have some fairly grounded concerns about the Crunchyroll and Funimation merger.
Any long time subscriber to Crunchyroll knows there are issues with their platform. Particularly when large numbers of viewers try and access it simultaneously. Just look at premieres of shows like Attack on Titan when it takes Crunchryoll down and you get that obnoxious screen cap telling you the team of Shinobi are working on it (you know, rather than anyone with technical know-how).
Not to mention the Crunchyroll app just doesn’t work on at least half the devices I’ve ever tried to access it on.
Add into that their search engine is dreadful so finding an anime that isn’t airing right now is kind of like winning the lottery.
While that might sound like I am anti-Crunchyroll, I’m really not. They provide a fantastic anime library. So great that I was writing a post about my favourite anime on Crunchyroll when this announcement came out and kind of made that post utterly pointless. That said, there are issues and with more users and more content those issues are probably going to become more pronounced.
And now we’ve also got this whole Crunchyroll Beta thing which I’m not sure improves on anything but it looks nicer so lets go with that.
So is Crunchyroll and Funimation merging a good thing?
The optimist in me would like to believe that this merger will be good for anime viewers. Less subscriptions for more anime seems like a nice and tidy win. Honestly only time will tell if any of the concerns people have had about this actually amount to anything. The problem however is that by then it will be too late and there will only be one anime service that really provides much anime legally to viewers around the world.
Clearly this is a wait and see situation but I’d love to know what my readers think so if you have any thoughts on the Crunchyroll and Funimation merger be sure to leave a comment below.
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