With anime’s burgeoning popularity, it makes sense that the biggest streaming services would look into increasing their portfolio. This is something Hulu’s planning to do, as the streaming giant’s recently announced that it has partnered with Funimation to bring a bunch of new shows to the platform at the same time they air in Japan.
According to a report by Variety, the deal will begin in 2019. While this Funimation partnership will produce new, original anime for Hulu, it also gifts the platform the entirety of Funimation’s catalog, including already-streaming shows like One Punch Man, Sword Art Online, and more than 600 others in both dubbed and subbed formats. With this contract finalized, it means Hulu will be the only place to watch both dubbed and subbed versions of popular anime like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia.
This partnership comes just a few months after Crunchyroll and Funimation’s breakup. While together, the sites worked hard to simulcast anime in both English and Japanese. In doing so, select anime, such as Overlord, had both options available the same day as their Japanese release. After nearly two years working together, the two decided to end the relationship on November 9. Since then, Funimation has not been part of the VRV bundle, a subscription package with dozens of animation streaming services such as Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Machinima.
Last year, it was announced that Sony Pictures Television acquired Funimation for approximately $150 million. Thanks to the purchase, it seems Funimation plans use Sony as a launchpad to further distribute anime “through [Sony’s] global footprint of television networks and existing digital offerings.” It remains unclear how the Hulu/Funimation partnership will affect Funimation acquisition by Sony.