By Jesse Goodwin, Staff Writer
Anime fans might know that Crunchyroll and Funimation, two of the best-known foreign distributors of anime, announced an official partnership on September 8.
This is not a merger of both companies, which have continued to operate on separate terms, but this partnership allows each company to distribute the other’s titles. It is currently limited to the United States and Canada.
Crunchyroll has had a subscription service featuring licensed, subtitled anime since 2009, reporting more than 700,000 paying subscribers.
Funimation, which releases anime dubbed in English on home video, launched its Funi-mationNow streaming service in January.
It has since become the largest library of dubbed anime in the world, featuring more than 10,000 hours of dubbed anime.
In short, Crunchyroll is known for “simulcasting” streams of subtitled anime, making them available concurrently with their Japanese release, and Funimation is known for broadcasting dubbed anime.
However, under this new partnership, subtitled versions of Funimation shows have be-come available on Crunchyroll, and English dubbed versions of Crunchyroll shows, which Funimation calls SimulDubs, have become available on FunimationNow.
“Our fans love dubs and we’re very excited to bring them another record season of SimulDub shows this fall,” said Gen Fukunaga, founder and CEO of Funimation. “From new titles like Drifters and Keijo!!!!!!!! to fan favorites including Orange and ReLIFE— we have something for every- one.”
Crunchyroll has also obtained streaming rights to some of Funimation’s catalog titles, including Cowboy Be- bop and Psycho-Pass.
By making titles such as these available on Crunchyroll, which is perhaps the most popular distributor of subtitled anime, both companies hope to increase anime’s market share in the West.
Already, major streaming services such as Amazon Video and Netflix have obtained streaming rights to several anime series as the anime market continues to expand.
“Crunchyroll is a leading destination for fans to watch anime content,” said Fukunaga. “Our commitment is first and foremost to our fans and by partnering with Crunchyroll, together we can expand the reach of anime by making shows available to an even larger audience around the world.”
He continued, “Funimation will continue to be the best place for fans to experience dubbed content while we also work with Crunchyroll to grow the market for anime. This is a thrilling next step for both companies.”
Additionally, Funimation will now release dubbed and subtitled versions of Crunchyroll titles through home video and digital downloads.
Titles currently planned for release include Ace Attorney, Alderamin on the Sky, Bungo Stray Dogs, Joker Game, Kaba- neri of the Iron Fortress, and ReLIFE, with more to be an-nounced in the future.
Crunchyroll had announced on July 1 at Los Angeles’ annual Anime Expo that it will begin dubbing and releasing some of its titles on Blu-ray and DVD.
The company revealed plans to release Kabaneri as well as Berserk (2016), Big Order, Gintama, Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club, Myriad Colors Phantom World, Twin Star Exorcists, and Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches.
Crunchyroll has already begun producing these titles, and Funimation claims to be reviewing them before release, but only Kabaneri is confirmed under the partnership so far.
Like Fukunaga, Kun Gao, founder and GM of Crunchyroll, is optimistic about thepartnership between their
companies. “Gen is a true pioneer in anime distribution in North America, and has been growing the reach of anime for over twenty years,” he said.
“Funimation shares our passion of bringing amazing content to viewers,” he added. “This partnership will allow Crunchyroll to continue making the best subtitled simulcast experience for all fans. Anime is a lifestyle experience shared by millions, and we look for-ward to new ways to delight fans together