It’s time to irresponsibly speculate on what happened with simulcasts this season.
I can’t be the only one to notice that the balance of power has shifted dramatically. Usually, I can find every show I want to watch on Crunchyroll. This season, I bought a Funimation subscription for the first time because there were so many exclusives I wanted to see. From Assassination Classroom to Death Parade to Rolling Girls to Yurikuma Arashi, Funimation seriously swept the season when it came to brand new quality shows.
How did Funimation manage to snag so many new shows, and exclusives at that? Last week I reached out to both Crunchyroll and Funimation for comment and haven’t heard anything yet. So everything below this line is my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.
As with most things, this likely comes down to money. When I interviewed Crunchyroll CEO Kun Gao, I picked up on two vital pieces of information. First, that Crunchyroll does not discriminate, but makes an offer for every single show in a season. Second, that the offers occur in something like a silent auction—Crunchyroll makes a bid, and the publisher considers whether or not to take it.
Now, I’ve never spoken with Funimation, but I do know that it’s the largest anime distributor in North America. As such, I’d wager that it has more capital to spare than Crunchyroll. I also doubt that Funimation makes a bid for every show, just the ones that are expected to do well and will convert to DVD sales later on. If this were the case, Funimation would only have to go to the publishers of shows they wanted to get, find out what Crunchyroll offered, and offer more for exclusives.
To be honest, I’m not all that happy with Funimation right now. I don’t like the players, which pause with a big red button in the center so I can’t take screenshots easily. I don’t like the subtitles either—a particularly egregious translation that comes to mind was when they shortened Machiko’s name in Death Parade to the distinctly Americanized “Matchy.” Furthermore, I paid $60 for a year’s subscription, but that doesn’t include access to Funimation’s $10 iPad app. I downloaded the free app, but no matter how much I update it or my iPad software, it doesn’t play videos with sound for some reason.
Even if I’m having trouble adjusting to Funimation, this is likely the new normal. Funimation certainly made a subscriber out of me, and probably many other fans who want to see their shows simulcasted and are willing to pay for the privilege. By ensuring exclusives, Funimation can make sure that we watch these shows on their players and nobody else’s.
So that’s my theory. It still doesn’t explain how Daisuki got the rights to Kuroko’s Basketball when Crunchyroll has had it for two seasons prior, but it’s a start.
Image via Rolling Girls