Funimation And Crunchyroll To Officially Merge Under One Platform

It's a better underdog story than most shounen anime. Crunchyroll, a company that first launched as a for-profit streaming site that hosted illegal fansubbed versions of anime shows, has officially become the biggest anime streaming service in the world after it just announced that all of Funimation's content will migrate over to Crunchyroll. This also includes subsidiaries from both Funimation, like its European subsidiary Wakanim, and even Crunchyroll's VRV service. It's a move that has been anticipated since Funimation's parent company Sony announced it was acquiring Crunchyroll back in 2020, but it is surprising that Crunchyroll will be the company left standing rather than the other way around. 

This is a giant change for the anime community, and one that raises a lot of questions, so before you get mad about not being able to enjoy the next episode of "Attack on Titan" or losing access to older titles like "Dragon Ball Z," here's a brief summary of what this all means to you going forward.

One anime streaming platform to rule them all

According to a press release, Funimation's library will not disappear, but instead head over to Crunchyroll starting today, including subbed and dubbed content. The end result is the single biggest streaming platform, with "more than 40,000 episodes and over 16,000 hours of content" available everywhere, including movies and shows both subbed and dubbed, with more titles being transitioned over to Crunchyroll in the near future.

Among the Funimation titles now available on Crunchyroll are some that we've written about in the past, like the fantastic cyberpunk show "Akudama Drive," both seasons of "Dr. STONE" with its dub, the skating show with one of the best anime friendships, "SK8 the Infinity," as well as the Saturday morning cartoons tokusatsu extravaganza, "SSSS. Dynazenon." For a full list of the Funimation titles doing the move, you can check out this list, which Crunchyroll says will be regularly updated.

Unfortunately, not everything will make the move, like VRV. Though VRV is less an actual streaming service and more of a service that bundles together other services, it allows subscribers to access both Crunchyroll titles as well as exclusive ones that aren't even limited to anime, like "HarmonQuest," "ReBoot," and a lot of classic tokusatsu shows including "Chouriki Sentai Ohranger," the show that was later adapted as "Power Rangers Zeo" in the West. VRV subscribers will now have to either pay for a separate subscription to Crunchyroll to enjoy new and classic anime, or let go of their VRV subscription and make the jump to the new and slightly improved Crunchyroll.

What does this mean for you?

So, Funimation is soon departing to the great Valhalla of streaming services like Quibi did, what does this mean to you, who subscribes to either Funimation or Crunchyroll (or both)? Not a whole lot, but also enough. According to a press release, you can still keep watching shows and movies on Funimation this season, and new episodes of continuing shows will still be added to Funimation, so you can most likely still watch "My Hero Academia" this fall. But if you want to watch new shows, you'll want to make the jump soon, as shows airing this upcoming spring season and beyond will only stream on Crunchyroll ... but also HIDIVE, and apparently Disney+ (at least in Japan).

Rest assured, though, Crunchyroll is not raising subscription costs, at least not yet. The ad-free subscription tier will remain as is, while the premium tier starts at $7.99 a month. Current Funimation, Wakanim, and VRV subscribers will also get a deal of 60 days of free Crunchyroll Premium over the next few days.

I refuse to support big corporations, what else is there?

Despite the Crunchyroll/Funimation merger appearing to be an anime streaming monopoly, there are still other options out there if you don't want to make the move to Crunchyroll. Both Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max and Hulu have anime libraries, with the latter including up-to-date seasonal releases (though it remains to be seen if the deal between Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu will end following this merger).

If you want more mature content or older titles, maybe try HIDIVE, a service that was recently acquired by AMC, and includes some incredible titles like Hideaki Anno's first masterpiece, "Gunbuster," and the anime that could ruin other anime for you, "Legend of the Galactic Heroes." Likewise, RetroCrush is an anime streaming service that specializes in older titles like "Ninja Scroll" and the beloved boxing anime "Hajime No Ippo." 

And if you prefer something cheaper, there's Tubi, a completely free service that includes a rather healthy library of anime, including "Digimon Tri," "Yu-Gi-Oh," and "Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya," including its excellent Spanish dub.