Sony just raised the price of anime and left American otakus with few other options. The company’s anime streamer, Funimation, is officially shutting down on April 2, according to a press release on Wednesday. Crunchyroll, Sony’s other anime service it acquired in 2021, sent an email to subscribers that prices will soon be raised from $55 a year to $100 a year.
“You don’t have to leave your Funimation Watch History and Funimation Queue behind, you can migrate them to Crunchyroll,” said Sony in an email to Funimation customers. “As part of our transition to Crunchyroll, the price will increase from USD $54.95/year to USD $99.99/year beginning January 28th, 2025.”
When Sony Pictures purchased Crunchyroll from AT&T in 2021, it became an anime powerhouse. There were antitrust concerns at the time because of Crunchyroll and Funimation’s size and dominance in the American, English-dubbed anime space. After the merger was signed, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquierra said the company was “committed to creating the ultimate anime experience for fans.”
Crunchyroll’s $55 price hike won’t hit until next January. However, there was little to no explanation given about why the anime service is now becoming so expensive. Crunchyroll already acquired all of Funimation’s content two years ago, so it’s not like Crunchyroll is getting a flood of new shows.
Sony Pictures Entertainment did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
Crunchyroll eliminated the free tier (with ads) of their anime service in 2022. The prices have slowly gotten higher for legal streaming, however, many anime fans just get their content from illegal streaming services anyway.
The final steps of the Crunchyroll and Funimation merger are in motion. This merger seems to be going the way of many other mergers, with fewer options for consumers and higher prices. Last month, another tech merger, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, resulted in the company laying off 1,900 employees right as the company reached a $3 trillion valuation. Tech mergers often have significant upside for corporations, with little benefit to fans and employees. Now, anime fans will have to shoulder the consequences.