Adult Swim and Crunchyroll plan to team up to bring even more anime to television. Adult Swim is the nighttime adult-oriented block of programming on Cartoon Network that has done a lot in bringing some of the most popular anime series to North American viewers. Crunchyroll has a streaming subscription service for anime that includes simulcasts of shows currently being broadcast in Japan. Together, both services have done a lot to make anime more accessible to North American audiences.
Last year, Sony Pictures acquired Funimation, which resulted in Crunchyroll pulling that studio's programming from the service. This included some of the most popular anime shows airing on Crunchyroll at the time, including Akira, Hellsing, Witchblade, and Cowboy Bebop. Although the two companies had built a partnership over the years, Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga revealed there were some terms Crunchyroll and Funimation could not agree on. Eventually, Crunchyroll even had to remove two of its most popular Funimation series, Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia. Those series are now available on Hulu, thanks to a deal Funimation reached with that streaming subscription service.
Crunchyroll has plans to expand its programming, despite the loss of Funimation's content. According to Polygon, Adult Swim and Crunchyroll have announced a collaboration that will bring more anime to television. WarnerMedia, who now owns Crunchyroll as well as Adult Swim, recently reorganized, bringing all of its animation brands together, making this partnership possible. The team-up means that Adult Swim will get access to Crunchyroll-licensed shows and vice versa.
This will apply not to just licensed series, but to original shows as well. The first series that anime fans will get access to on both Adult Swim and Crunchyroll will be Blade Runner - Black Lotus, a series that occurs within the universe of the Blade Runner movies with creative producer Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) at the helm. Once released, Blade Runner - Black Lotus will stream on Crunchyroll and air on Adult Swim.
In the meantime, the only competitors in the anime game in North America are Hulu, which now has access to much of Funimation's library, and Netflix. Netflix recently stepped up its animation game by acquiring the rights to air every episode and movie of Neon Genesis Evangelion, giving the franchise, which was previously difficult to find, a streaming home for the very first time. Netflix also continues to develop original anime shows, including a new Ghost in the Shell series. Anime has officially taken over North America, and partnerships like the one between Adult Swim and Crunchyroll will continue to allow the genre to dominate.