Sony Pictures completed its acquisition of Crunchyroll in August, and anime viewers are starting to see some changes as a result.

Funimation will no longer exist as a separate streaming platform, and all anime from Funimation and its subsidiary Wakanim will now stream on Crunchyroll. That means popular series including My Hero Academia and Tokyo Ghoul are now available on the platform dubbed into English, and many in other languages as well.

In the past, Funimation has focused more on dubbed anime while Crunchyroll had a lot of subtitled shows. The move has greatly increased the number of dubbed shows available on Crunchyroll. 

This comes at a price: Previously, Crunchyroll offered a free, ad-supported tier that allowed users to watch simulcast series a week after they premiered on the site. Paying subscribers could watch simulcast series immediately with no ads. Starting with the spring season, Crunchyroll will require a subscription to watch new and continuing simulcasts; older material that went on the site before the spring 2022 anime season will continue to be available for free.

However, Crunchyroll will make the first three episodes of the following series available for free from one week after their premiere until May 31:

  • Spy x Family
  • A Couple of Cuckoos
  • Dawn of the Witch
  • Tomodachi Game
  • Skeleton Knight in Another World
  • Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie
  • The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs

Going forward, new shows will not automatically be available for free, although Crunchyroll may offer more limited promotions such as the one above. Crunchyroll has three subscription tiers, currently priced at $7.99 to $14.99 per month. All three allow unlimited, ad-free access to the entire anime and manga libraries, with new episodes available one hour after they premiere in Japan.

Anime is a strong driver of manga sales, which have increased sharply in the past two years.

Before the deal was completed, Funimation was a joint venture of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. subsidiary Aniplex, and Crunchyroll was a subsidiary of AT&T subsidiary WarnerMedia. Sony purchased Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion in August 2021 (see “Sony Completes Crunchyroll Acquisition”), bringing Crunchyroll’s audience of 5 million subscribers and 120 million registered users with it.