…Honestly, I saw this coming as soon as I heard Sony bought Funimation last year. I knew a split would be inevitable. Crunchyroll released an official statement Thursday saying in part “Funimation has decided to go their separate way”, meaning their new parent company wants to steer Funimation in a different direction. Crunchyroll’s parent company being bought by AT&T this past summer may be another factor to the 2-year partnership suddenly coming to an end as well. FunimationNow will be leaving VRV but will be replaced by HIDIVE, a new streaming provider that launched last year that provides Subbed and Dubbed Anime. Crunchyroll will continue to carry Anime it gained licensing rights to from the Funimation partnership such as Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia. Same for Funimation and Anime they gained licensing rights to from Crunchyroll such as Black Clover and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
I have been hearing rumors of uncertainty within Funimation since Sony bought the company last year. Funimation, which does English Dubs in North America for Anime recently got into streaming before it partnered with Crunchyroll. They also hold the license for the English Dubs of some of the most well known Anime over the last 20 years including Dragonball Z, Dragonball Super and Naruto Shippuden. Funimation used to also hold the license for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood but when the license expired, they did not renew.
Funimation failing to renew the license for various other English Dubs this year they once owned is both concerning and an inconvenience for those looking to legally get physical or digial media. I think I mentioned this at the time but I planned to buy FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood during Anime Boston 2018 but couldn’t because the license expired a few weeks earlier so they could not sell it. If you bought episodes digitally, you can still redownload those episodes. You just can’t buy new episodes until the license is either renewed by Funimation or someone else buys the license and distribution rights are renegotiated.
Those with a VRV Premium subscription can relax: The only change is Funimation will be replaced with HIDIVE. That’s it. Presumably, your premium sub will be extended to HIDIVE once their partnership with VRV becomes official. For those who are wondering, Anime currently airing on Toonami and FunimationNow’s catalog are unaffected. Same with anime currently available in online stores for digital download or physical purchase. Those with just a Crunchyroll Premium subscription (Crunchyroll does have a separate Premium system if you don’t want VRV) are not effected at all. I will assume more info will come in the very near future from both Funimation and Crunchyroll or VRV so we’ll see.
…I will say the same thing I said in regards to my previous post about DramaFever’s sudden shutdown though. Folks need to pay attention to what is going on behind the scenes and at the corporate level and more so after what happened with DramaFever and Neon Alley. Change is constant so it’s very important that you keep yourself up to date on stuff going on.