On Tuesday, March 1st, the inevitable finally happened. Only six months after Funimation purchased Crunchyroll, they have announced that Funimation’s anime library has been moved over to Crunchyroll. To the point where fans are being told via the FAQ that they can cancel their Funimation subscriptions whenever they’re ready.
From here on out, they will add all simulcasts to Crunchyroll only and Funimation will only add new episodes of series that are already in progress. If for some reason, you’re a Funimation or Wakanim subscriber who doesn’t have a premium Crunchyroll account, you should watch your email as those people will be offered a free 60-day premium membership soon.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR FANS
Looking at this in broad terms, this is a net win for fans. Crunchyroll and Funimation held the two largest legally licensed digital libraries of anime on the internet and having those libraries combined into one place is going to make life so much easier for fans who don’t want to spend any extra time trying to figure out which site has which series. Fans may remember a few years ago when Crunchyroll and Funimation had a working partnership and fans really enjoyed having such a vast library of anime to comb through.
It’s not all great though. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation have been criticized in the past for not having the most user-friendly platforms. Before they were both owned by the same parent organization and they were competing against each other, it was in their best interest to keep their sites updated and to keep pushing the envelope in terms of development. Now though, with FuniRoll being as close to an anime monopoly as you can get there is no real incentive for them to improve the experience as they know that users have very few other legal options when it comes to streaming anime.
FuniRoll ushers in a new era of anime streaming. It’s impossible for anyone in the industry to predict with 100% certainty what this will mean for anime fans within the next couple of years. As a not entirely casual observer, though, I’ll be anxious to see the results of this union of the anime titans.