Over the past three decades, people around the world were able to enjoy Japanese animation (better known as anime) thanks to numerous publishers willing to bring the content beyond the country’s borders. Aniplex, AnimEigo, Bandai Entertainment, and Discotek Media are just some of the companies contributing to the cause. However, the biggest publishing company today is easily FUNimation.
Founded back in 1994, FUNimation Entertainment has become the worldwide leader in porting anime to international audiences. Known for bringing animes like Dragon Ball Z and One Piece to the United States and other international countries, they are now known for Afro Samurai, Black Butler, and Attack on Titan.
Presently, it is very easy to watch a FUNimation anime without having to do so illegally. Sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll stream their animes, along with others by other publishing companies, to the masses. However, not all FUNimation animes are readily available across all streaming sites or at all. FUNimation has now given this problem an answer by launching their own anime streaming site. Alongside it, they redesigned their mobile app too. Now fans of FUNimation animes can watch their favorite shows all at one site or on-the-go.
The website will be an expansive archive of all of FUNimation’s past shows, as reported by Engadget. Animes like Dragon Ball Z, Attack on Titan, Toriko, and Assassination Classroom are available for viewing on it. Not only that, but shows that are “on the air” at this moment, like One Piece, Fairy Tail, and GANGSTA, are simulcast alongside the Japanese release. It is probable that a simulcast may actually be one day after the official air date in Japan simply so employees have time to add in subtitles for the numerous countries the FUNimation streaming site is available to.
Similar to streaming sites that specialize in niche entertainment like Viki and DramaFever, the FUNimation streaming site will have tiered subscriptions varying in prices. Free accounts have access to all shows that are not account exclusive or under a time restraint. They also have to deal with ads. The $5 per month subscription account gives full access to the library and HD viewing options. Finally, the $8 per month subscription adds in dubbing and bonus content.
Along with the new streaming site, FUNimation redesigned their mobile app to support it, as reported by Tech Times. All iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows 10 devices will be compatible with the FUNimation app. This was confirmed by Mike DuBoise, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of FUNimation, during a press release.
“The introduction of the FunimationNow all-new mobile apps is our way of giving our loyal fans what they have always wanted and deserve – a high-quality, immersive, and seamless experience.”
The FUNimation app will also be compatible with Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Roku in May. It will also have AirPlay and Chromecast support, so those who watch animes on a handheld can watch it on bigger screens if they have those devices.
“Now featuring AirPlay and Chromecast support, episode sync across devices and marathoning, among other great enhancements, we made sure to load our mobile experience with the features our fans have been asking for.”
It is believed FUNimation’s streaming site and redesign of their app are their way of combating declining physical sales of DVDs and Blu-rays along with combating piracy. By providing the animes for free on their websites, they can possibly make up the losses through advertising until subscribers decide to upgrade to a paid subscription. To be frank, anime fans who want to watch FUNimation animes without paying a cent will most likely do so through their website. Most pirated copies out on the internet have terrible quality and are often on download sites teaming with computer viruses.
[Image via Screen Capture of FUNimation Intro for Animes]