The biggest will they/won’t they in the US anime industry may finally reach its conclusion. Crunchyroll announced in a tweet yesterday that they were teaming up with Funimation again. Previously, they had a partnership where they had dual ownership of select titles; however, they went their separate ways on November 9th, 2018.
This time things are different. After months of rumors, AT & T is selling Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation Global Group for $1.175 billion. If the deal is finalized it will give Sony near-majority control over anime distribution in the west.
Crunchyroll General Manager Joann Waage stated:
“We are excited to embark on this new journey. Crunchyroll has built a world-class brand with a passionate fan-base of over 3M subscribers, 50M social followers and 90M registered users. These amazing fans have helped to propel anime into a global phenomenon. Combining the strength of the Crunchyroll brand and the expertise of our global team with Funimation is an exciting prospect and a win for the incredible art form of anime.”
To call the merger controversial is putting it lightly. Funimation has garnered criticism over the years for loose dub scripts and poor labor practices. Crunchyroll has received similar criticism for how they pay translators, as well as backlash for their original shows.
More information will be made available in the months to come. Let’s just hope the specifics aren’t as bad as the Ex-Arm trailer.