Crunchyroll and Funimation Have Merged. What Now? - Imouri
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Crunchyroll and Funimation Have Merged. What Now?

There is big news in the anime industry. Recently Funimation Global Group completed the acquisition of Crunchyroll. Funimation Global Group, owned by Sony, purchased Crunchyroll from At&t for $1.175 billion. A major anti-trust investigation was underway when the merger was announced some time ago, but the investigation concluded that everything was fine. We wanted to wait a few days to see what other news came out regarding this acquisition before we gave our thoughts on the situation. There has been a lot of discussion throughout social media on whether this merger is either a good thing or a bad thing. What does this mean for anime in the U.S.? Let's dive a bit deeper and see what could potentially happen, both good and bad.


The merger is a win for all of us

Some discussions on social media and comments from various videos that have already covered this topic show that this is a great idea. Both major anime platforms can finally come together provide multiple languages for popular anime. This would allow users not to have to subscribe to various platforms. Having this merger could also mean that the platform can get more anime IPs. This means more users can have even more anime to watch. Ultimately this merger would come down to pure convenience from what we have seen on some social media comments. However, a vast majority of the comments speculating that this will be a disastrous merger.


The Beginning of the End

Many people see this merger as the beginning of the end of anime as we know it. Most people feel that this merger feels more like a monopoly on the industry. Now that Funimation owns Crunchyroll, they can decide which anime is suitable for viewers and is "too aggressive or suggestive" for audiences. Also, because of a potential monopoly, there won't be any competition for other outlets bidding for anime IPs, such as HiDive. This all came right when Crunchyroll came out with their official trailer of High Guardian Spice. Many viewers say this "anime" is bland, unappealing, not original, and most important, invites politics into the mix. This is one of those instances where recent political views, cancel culture, and extreme views from social justice advocates have spoken up and demanded a change in the anime industry. If you haven't watched that trailer, here is the clip below.

In the last couple of years, we wanted to point this out because Twitter users have been on the rampage to cancel particular anime, such as Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out. The merger and the reveal of High Guardian Spice and Twitter user's attacks on Japanese anime culture lead to the decision of Kadokawa to start their Simulpup. Kadokawa wants to do all the translations of their manga and potentially their anime in-house. Japan has already stated on multiple occasions that they will not change anime to appeal to western audiences. The bottom line is that a massive majority of anime fans don't want the industry to be hurt due to social justice advocates' feelings and aggressive nature on Twitter. Here is an example of a dub translation for the anime Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid from a recent J-List article.

Another reason many anime fans are upset with the merger because Funimation can't seem to fix any of its problems. Whether it's Funimation improving their app or handling the Monica Rial and Vic Mignogna situation, people feel that Funimation does not know how o handle any problems correctly. We understand that the Funimation app has issues with some issues that haven't been resolved at all, despite the Funimation app getting a re-work. Overall, people are not happy with the merger, whether it be technical, potential monopoly, or even cultural concern.


Imouri's Thoughts

We have been in the anime industry for a while now. Whether it's clothing or news, we do our best to stay on top of the latest trends. We have a different theory we want to pass throughout the anime community, and our idea starts with Bass Pro and Cabelas. But wait, what do fishing and outdoor sports have anything to do with anime and this merger? Well, in 2017, Bass Pro acquired Cabelas for $5.5 billion. What Bass Pro did was have Cabelas keep their name, marketing, and brand but still be owned by Bass Pro when it comes to the financial side of things. We think the same will be said for Funimation and Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll has been hard at work establishing itself with their new online store and their recent expo. We believe that because Netflix, Hulu, and HiDive exist, a monopoly on the anime industry may not happen. Funimation and Crunchyroll, although merged, may keep things separated.

However, there is a chance that the quality of the animation or the translations may get downgraded. As we mentioned before, Kadokawa is moving their translations in-house. It won't surprise us if other animation studios in Japan followed suit if everything turns out successful. All we can do now is wait and see what happens next.