There have been many mergers and changes in the anime landscape, and finally, the shoe dropped for Sony to acquire Crunchyroll. This worst kept secret has been hinted at for quite some time and has finalized with Sony merging Crunchyroll and FUNimation for $1.175 billion.
As far as what this means for anime, that is up to speculation since FUNimation gave little details on this recent merger. Undoubtedly there will be many questions about what this means for fans and the industry as a whole moving forward.
The good news for at least Toonami fans is that once this announcement was made, Jason DeMarco quickly came to Twitter to explain how the deals in place for the co-productions they have planned with Crunchyroll ARE NOT affected by this merger.
This latest news will be viewed as a huge turning point as far as anime’s future is concerned. While the two biggest competitors are now one, some are left to wonder what that will mean for other licensing companies to grab the latest series from Japan. How will other companies compete with this large entity, especially considering the money at Sony’s disposal compared to other licensing companies?
But you can also look at how this could affect the anime audience, where you could potentially find more anime in one place. Oddly enough, the over-populated anime market was a massive problem for fans, having to pay a subscription to so many places to see every anime title available. Seeing FUNimation and Crunchyroll merge indeed can help put an end to that, and create a digital library so extensive, that it could become your one-stop place to watch anime online.
Plus, this recent merger could mean more home media release for anime fans considering what FUNimation has consistently done over the years. So any title in the Crunchyroll catalog, fans should expect a way to get their hands on it for themselves in the future.
And, as for Toonami, does this mean their choices for picking series to air on the block has expanded? They’ve had such a great relationship with FUNimation before and are working on many original series with Crunchyroll. So does this change allows Toonami to get more? So far, the Crunchyroll partnership hasn’t yielded much (at least until fans see more of the original series air), but one could think that is a massive opportunity for the block to get other series that might have been out of reach before.
But as we all know, no move is perfect and there is plenty to worry about with this merger if it does go through. Most importantly, those who work at FUNimation and Crunchyroll now. Does Sony keep both companies as is? Do they downsize? Are good people going to lose their jobs (which is something I don’t want anyone to ever fear)? Not to mention, are the English dubs only going to be recorded in Texas with very limited outsources to California, New York, or even Canada? I’m not a fan of the game Monopoly, and what Sony is doing, looks very much like that. Because a move like this could also hurt other licensing companies, like Sentai Filmworks, unless they find a way to becoming more of an impactful player in the industry than they are right now.
I wish I could explain more of what’s going on, but FUNimation offered very little information. Which I find disconcerting. A significant move like this that changes the landscape as dramatically as it does should be more transparent to help ease the worry of anime fans and help excite others. I’ll be curious to see how things progress and what Sony decides to do. They are the largest anime distributor in the world now, and fans all over the U.S. and the world will be watching, as they should be.
C.J Maffris is the Editor-in-Chief at Toonamifaithful.com. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris
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