2022 is proving to be a year of mergers – first with Comixology and Amazon, and now Crunchyroll and Funimation are joining the trend.
2022 is proving to be a year of mergers as four major companies are starting the year by consolidating their services to one platform. The first that took place in February was Amazon and comiXology‘s merger, in which the latter was integrated into the main Amazon store. The comiXology app was similarly updated to reflect the new direction, though the changes made to the UX and UI design yielded more disastrous results than positive feedback. After a week of silence, comiXology admitted to having bungled the merger and have committed to fixing the user interface in upcoming upgrades.
Two other companies looking to merge their services are anime streaming giants Crunchyroll and Funimation. Though the companies announced their merger a while back, both provided a recent update that the entire Funimation library will be moving to Crunchyroll soon. While no date for the move has been announced yet, Crunchyroll is giving new subscribers 60 days of free access to its premium service as part of the initiative to migrate Funimation subscribers to the Crunchyroll platform.
Apart from moving Funimation’s entire anime library to one location, little is known about what other changes fans can expect, but nevertheless, there are pros and cons to the move. One of the pros of Crunchyroll merger is that it puts over 1000 anime series in one location under one subscription. In an era where there are now multiple streaming services competing with each other — from Netflix to HBO Max to Hulu to Disney+, many of which have anime libraries of their own — monthly subscriptions to each of these different services can rack up pretty quickly.
Instead of being subscribed to one service that’s anywhere from $7.99 to $14.99 a month, users can be spending anywhere from $32 to $60 a month on just the four streaming giants alone. Having over 100o anime in one location under one subscription allows fans to cut costs on other streaming services they don’t use for anything other than anime viewing. If a viewer has access to all of their favorite series, popular series and even more obscure series on one platform, there won’t be a need to keep other services that stream those same shows and can cancel those subscriptions. The only drawback to this is that fans won’t have access to original anime made for specific streaming services like Netflix.
One drawback to putting Funimation’s entire library on Crunchyroll is that the latter’s premium service costs $4 more. Whereas Funimation subscribers got access to the entire Funimation library ad-free including dubs and simulcasts for only $5.99 a month, Crunchyroll subscribers get access to those same features for $9.99 a month. For anime fans who are on a budget, that $4 difference may not be a bargain, especially if there’s a chance the price could still go up without any other benefits. So what benefits could potentially make a $9.99 monthly subscription worth the investment?
One major benefit Crunchyroll has that Funimation’s premium plan currently lacks is access to a large manga library. With manga and light novels often being the source material of popular anime series, having immediate access to the source material will save viewers money on buying the individual manga or a digital comic subscription. Crunchyroll similarly does simulpubs of ongoing manga, with an English-translated version of the latest chapters being released at the same time as the Japanese release. The only drawback to Crunchyroll’s manga library is the lack of a sophisticated filtering system compared to a competitor like Bookwalker.
Another significant benefit of Crunchyroll’s premium service that’s a step up from Funimation is immediate access to Crunchyroll original series like Fena: Pirate Princess, Blade Runner: Black Lotus, In/Spectre and the latest Shenmue. Along with easy access to manga and Crunchyroll originals, the platform also has a video game library comprised of popular games like Mitra Sphere, Princess Connect! Re: Dive and many more. Crunchyroll also hosts its own award show in which the winners are determined by subscriber votes.
One more additional perk to Crunchyroll’s premium service is access to dubs and subtitles in more languages than Funimation originally offered, and this is equally true of simulcasts. Fans even have the option to turn off subtitles from the Japanese-language versions of anime, which is a feature Funimation previously had but subsequently got rid of.
The only question remaining is whether or not fans’ digital copies of anime fans redeemed from their purchased Funimation Blu-rays will transfer over to their Crunchyroll library, or if Funimation will give fans the option to download their digital copies to their computer hard drives prior to the merge. As of this writing, there’s been no announcement that fans will be able to merge their Crunchyroll and Funimation accounts to preserve their watch history and digital copies.
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