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Crunchyroll And Funimation Just Dropped The Best News For Anime Fans

The long-awaited merger of two of the most important names in anime for English-speaking audiences, Crunchyroll and Funimation, has finally been made official.

Anime fans first found out that the two services, which have been staunch competitors in the past, might be merging in December 2020, per Variety. When the news broke that WarnerMedia and parent company AT&T were planning to put Crunchyroll up for sale with an asking price of at least $1 billion, Funimation owner Sony Pictures Entertainment was one of the first names that came up as a potential buyer.

A press release from Sony put out on August 9, 2021, announced that the acquisition was complete and that the company had paid $1.175 billion to purchase Crunchyroll. For that price, Sony Pictures Entertainment gained access to the hundreds of anime series that are already in the streaming services library, alongside Crunchyroll's 5 million paying subscribers and 120 million registered users.

While details of how Sony will offer the two services to consumers are still forthcoming, it potentially places the distribution rights to an enormous amount of high-quality anime at the disposal of a single entity. Here is why the Crunchyroll and Funimation merger could be the best news anime fans have gotten in some time.

The merger could give anime fans access to an unprecedented amount of content

While Crunchyroll and Funimation might seem similar on the surface, anime fans on Reddit note some critical differences in the streaming platforms. Crunchyroll has a much wider variety of content available, with nearly twice as many shows on the service, but many of those shows only offer English subtitles. On the other hand, Funimation features many of the series that are better known to Western viewers, such as "Cowboy Bebop" and "Attack on Titan," while also offering much of its content dubbed in English.

The idea of the content from both services offered in one place, for a single subscription fee, should be enticing to fans who want access to as much anime as possible. While Sony has yet to provide specifics as to what that service might look like or be named, CEO Tony Vinciquerra ended his comments in the press release by stating simply, "Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible."

With the rising popularity of the genre worldwide, with fans even spotting moments in the Olympics where athletes referenced their favorite anime series on an international stage, acquiring the rights to such a massive library of anime is likely a smart move for Sony. If the company can find a way to deliver that content to users in a complete package at a fair price, it should be a positive development for anime fans as well.