Crunchyroll Acquires E-Commerce Site Right Stuf

Anime distributor Crunchyroll Aug. 4 announced it has purchased anime online retailer Right Stuf to expand its e-commerce service. The deal, the terms of which are not disclosed, immediately widens Crunchyroll’s online product offering with significant extensions in the home entertainment and manga categories.

“For years, Right Stuf has been an important part of anime fandom with products, services and a shopping experience that super-serves anime collectors,” Rahul Purini, president of Crunchyroll, said in a statement.

Shawne Kleckner, CEO of Right Stuf, believes joining forces with Crunchyroll will enable the platform to accelerate and scale e-commerce opportunities for anime consumers.

“For 35 years, Right Stuf’s mission has been to connect anime fans with the products they love,” Kleckner said.

With the acquisition, Kleckner and the Right Stuf management team will be joining Crunchyroll’s “emerging businesses” unit led by Terry Li, GM of games.

Crunchyroll and parent Sony Pictures Entertainment were advised by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, and Right Stuf was advised by Hennepin Partners and Lathrop GPM for the transaction.

‘Dragon Ball Super’ Complete Series Edition Due in Blu-ray Steelbook Sept. 20

Crunchyroll has announced the Sept. 20 release of the Dragon Ball Super: The Complete Series limited-edition Blu-ray Steelbook boxed set.

In the series, after defeating Majin Buu, life is peaceful once again. However, new threats begin to loom one after another. From Beerus, the God of Destruction, to the resurrection of Frieza, foes from across time and space step up to face Goku and his friends.

  • “Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Sonny Strait & Savannah Ligaluppi”
  • “Catching Up on the Dragon Ball Universe: Christopher R. Sabat & Hero D. Sabat”
  • textless opening and closing songs
  • “Watching Dragon Ball Super: with Jason Douglas & Ian Sinclair”
  • “Anime Expo 2017: Interview with Sean Schemmel & Jason Douglas”
  • “Dragon Ball Super: An Interview with Sean Schemmel”
  • “Coffee Break with Mai and Trunks”
  • “Dragon Ball Super at Anime Expo 2018: Interviews with Sonny Strait, Matthew Mercer, & Kyle Hebert”
  • “Dragon Ball Super: Rawly Pickens & Chuck Huber Answer Twitter”
  • “Dragon Ball Super: Two Humans and an Android”
  • “Dragon Ball Super: Twitter Q&A with Sarah Wiedenheft and Dawn Bennett”
  • “Dragon Ball Super: Interview with Patrick Seitz and Kyle Hebert”

Crunchyroll Picks Up Streaming Rights to Anime Series ‘Chainsaw Man’

Crunchyroll has acquired the streaming rights to the anime adaptation of “Chainsaw Man.”

Crunchyroll will simulcast the series from Japan later this year, subtitled and dubbed, in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Dubs will include English, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, French and German.

Based on the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto and serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump, “Chainsaw Man” follows Denji, a teenage boy living with a Chainsaw Devil named Pochita. Due to the debt his father left behind, he has been living a impoverished life while repaying it by harvesting devil corpses with Pochita. One day, Denji is betrayed and killed. As his consciousness fades, he makes a contract with Pochita and gets revived as Chainsaw Man — a man with a devil’s heart. 

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“With dark humor, dynamic characters and a sharp story, ‘Chainsaw Man’ is one of the most anticipated new series this year, and we are wickedly excited to bring it to fans on the Crunchyroll service,” Asa Suehira, chief content officer at Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “Anime fans will be up all night thinking about the spectacular visuals and high-octane action.”

Crunchyroll Premieres First Italian Dubs

Anime brand Crunchyroll is premiering its first Italian dubs streaming this spring. 

The list of series receiving Italian dubs includes:

  • season one of “The Rising of the Shield Hero,” a dark fantasy isekai that follows Naofumi Iwatani in his journey to become the shield hero (Italian speakers can catch up on season one dubs, while following the season two simulcast each week);
  • “My Dress-Up Darling,” a rom-com in which two opposite worlds collide as a shy boy and a popular girl find a connection via cosplay; and
  • “Ranking of Kings,” a series that follows Prince Bojji, who is unable to hear or speak, but sets off on an adventure to prove that he’s a worthy heir with the help of a shadow named Kage. 

 

Earlier this month, Crunchyroll announced the full slate of dubbed anime heading to the platform with 25 series streaming for fans in a mix of English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Russian.

Crunchyroll connects anime and manga fans across 200-plus countries and territories. In addition to free ad-supported and subscription premium content, Crunchyroll serves the anime community across events, theatrical, games, consumer products, collectibles and manga publishing.

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The Crunchyroll app is available on more than 15 platforms, including all gaming consoles.

Crunchyroll is an independently operated joint venture between U.S.-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., both subsidiaries of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corp.

Warner’s ‘The Batman’ Tops $300 Million at North American Box Office

Warner Bros. Pictures/DC’s The Batman continued its global box office domination, adding a projected $37 million in ticket sales across 4,300 North American screens March 18-20. The tally is enough to send the Robert Pattinson/Zoë Kravitz-co-starrer beyond the $300 million domestic threshold.

The movie is also approaching $600 million in revenue worldwide after opening in China to a muted $12.1 million ($49.1 million across 76 countries). China’s No. 2 global theatrical market was undermined by surges in COVID-19 infections, which prompted the closure of nearly 50% of the country’s screens.

Separately, Sony Pictures/Crunchyroll’s manga film Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie opened with an estimated $17.6 million across more than 2,300 screens. The tally underscores the strong North American market for anime movies, spearheaded by last year’s Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, which opened to more than $21 million despite most theaters operating at 50% capacity.

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Finally, Sony’s video game-themed actioner Uncharted generated another $8 million in revenue across 3,700 screens to bring its North American box office past $125 million, and $313 million worldwide.

Anime App Crunchyroll Launches on Nintendo Switch

The Crunchyroll anime app launched worldwide Feb. 17 on the Nintendo Switch.

Viewers have access to more than 1,000 series and 30,000 episodes on the Crunchyroll app, including “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” and “One Piece,” through their Nintendo Switch console either docked at home or taken on the go with offline viewing support.

With this launch, Crunchyroll will become the first streaming application to offer offline viewing on the Nintendo Switch, and one of a limited number of SVOD apps on the gaming console, according to the service.

The Crunchyroll app offers ad-supported anime or, through a Crunchyroll subscription, unlimited ad-free anime, with simulcast series streaming day and date with premiere in Japan.

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Powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine technology, the application allows users to watch anime in TV mode, with their console docked and plugged into a television; in tabletop mode, which allows them to share their anime with others; or in handheld mode, to pick up and experience with Joy-Con controllers attached.

Crunchyroll is also available through iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices, PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast.

Crunchyroll connects anime and manga fans across 200-plus countries and territories. In addition to free ad-supported and subscription premium content, Crunchyroll offers the anime community social engagement, events, games, consumer products, content distribution and creation, and manga publishing.

Crunchyroll was acquired in August 2021 by Funimation Global Group, a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment Japan.

 

Crunchyroll, Fuji TV Partner to Develop and Produce New Series

Global anime brand Crunchyroll and Japanese television network Fuji TV are partnering to develop and produce new series. The titles will be broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV’s +Ultra programming block and streamed on Crunchyroll in more than 200 countries and territories.

Under the partnership, Crunchyroll will work with Fuji TV and creative company Slow Curve to co-develop and co-produce a slate of series beginning in April 2022. The upcoming lineup includes “Estab-Life,” an original title by producer and director Goro Taniguchi (“Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion”) and a new project by popular manga artist Tsutomu Nihei (“Aposimz,” “Knight of Sidonia,” “BLAME!”) and Polygon Pictures.

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Crunchyroll will exclusively stream each series day and date with the premiere on +Ultra, Fuji TV’s midnight anime block that launched in October 2018 for viewers in Japan. The series will be streamed on Crunchyroll to the brand’s global community of more than 5 million subscribers and more than 120 million registered users. Crunchyroll will also manage the licensing and consumer products rights for each title worldwide outside of Asia.

Fuji TV and Crunchyroll are currently collaborating on “Muv-Luv Alternative,” an anime based on a hit game. This series will examine how humanity lives and dies on the brink of extinction. Starting in October, Fuji TV’s +Ultra block will air the series and Crunchyroll will exclusively stream the series worldwide outside of Asia.

Slow Curve is an integrated creative company that has been involved with the content planning and promotion of various popular anime series. The company will work with Fuji TV and Crunchyroll to create anime for global fans.

Sony Completes Acquisition of Crunchyroll

Sony Pictures Entertainment has completed its acquisition of AT&T’s Crunchyroll anime business through Funimation Global Group.

Funimation is a joint venture between SPE and Sony Music Entertainment (Japan)’s subsidiary Aniplex.

The agreement was first announced in December 2020.

Crunchyroll has a direct-to-consumer anime service with 5 million SVOD subscribers. It serves 120 million registered users across more than 200 countries and territories, offering AVOD, mobile games, manga, events merchandise and distribution.

The deal provides the opportunity for Crunchyroll and Funimation to broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers, according to the joint announcement from SPE and AT&T.

“We are very excited to welcome Crunchyroll to the Sony Group,” Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president and CEO of Sony Group Corp., said in a statement. “Anime is a rapidly growing medium that enthralls and inspires emotion among audiences around the globe. The alignment of Crunchyroll and Funimation will enable us to get even closer to the creators and fans who are the heart of the anime community. We look forward to delivering even more outstanding entertainment that fills the world with emotion through anime.”

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“Crunchyroll adds tremendous value to Sony’s existing anime businesses, including Funimation and our terrific partners at Aniplex and Sony Music Entertainment Japan,” said Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “With Crunchyroll and Funimation, we are committed to creating the ultimate anime experience for fans and presenting a unique opportunity for our key partners, publishers, and the immensely talented creators to continue to deliver their masterful content to audiences around the world. With the addition of Crunchyroll, we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve anime fans like never before and deliver the anime experience across any platform they choose, from theatrical, events, home entertainment, games, streaming, linear TV — everywhere and every way fans want to experience their anime. Our goal is to create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.”

The purchase price for the transaction is $1.175 billion, subject to customary working capital and other adjustments, and the proceeds were paid in cash at closing, according to the announcement. AT&T expects to use the proceeds from this transaction to help support its debt reduction efforts.

Crunchyroll to Develop ‘Dark Star Squadron’ With Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar

Anime streamer Crunchyroll is developing “Dark Star Squadron,” an epic animated space opera, in partnership with Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures.

Todd Ludy (“Voltron: Legendary Defender”) will write with Zoe Saldana, Cisely Saldana and Mariel Saldana of Cinestar Pictures serving as executive producers. Sonia A. Gambaro and Maytal Gilboa from Pollinate Entertainment are also producing.

“Dark Star Squadron” follows the journey of four failing cadets who return from a joyride with a stolen starship to find their academy in ruins and everyone vanished. Now on their own, the ill-equipped heroes embark for the far side of the galaxy to find the missing and prove their worth.

“As true animation and anime fans ourselves, we are so excited for the opportunity to partner with Crunchyroll to bring ‘Dark Star Squadron’ to a wide audience,” Cinestar’s Zoe, Cisely and Mariel Saldana said in a statement. “We can’t wait for everyone to meet the crew and follow the journey of our unlikely heroes.”

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“We’re elated to be working with such a talented creative team on the development of ‘Dark Star Squadron,’ a new fantasy adventure series,” Sarah Victor, head of development at Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “We love working with creators who are passionate about telling stories through anime and we can’t wait to bring this interstellar epic to fans across the galaxy.”

“The tremendous growth of our streaming service is indicative of the growing love for anime and its deserved spotlight in popular culture,” Joanne Waage, GM of Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “Zoe and her team are bringing their own anime fandom to their storytelling and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

Crunchyroll offers an anime library of more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes in more than 200 countries and territories. The global brand has more than 5 million subscribers, 120 million registered users and more than 60 million followers across social media. A streaming service delivering AVOD and SVOD content, Crunchyroll also provides social, events, games, consumer products, content distribution, content creation and manga publishing.

Crunchyroll Unveils Updated Streaming Features

Anime streaming service Crunchyroll is unveiling a new beta experience for Crunchyroll Premium users in the United States.

Crunchyroll Beta includes the launch of the new Crunchylists feature alongside an updated home page, redesigned browse and watch pages, new search capabilities and a mobile responsive experience.

Within Crunchyroll Beta, the Crunchyroll home page has a new user interface, allowing users access to personalized recommendations and the ability to navigate easily to their watchlist or to specific show or episode pages, which have all been redesigned. Crunchyroll Beta also offers users improved search and filtering so that they can more easily access simulcasts, new and popular anime, and explore different genres, while filtering between subtitled or dubbed anime series. In addition to the new search bar, Crunchyroll will continue to offer curated collections, handpicked by Crunchyroll’s anime experts.

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Users also now have the ability to create unique user names and select from a curated library of avatars and header images featuring different series.

The Crunchylists feature allows users to create a curated collection of their own. Users can add a title to their unique Crunchylist creations, add any series or select episodes from Crunchyroll’s extensive collection of more than 1,000 series, and organize their Crunchylist however they choose.

To experience Crunchyroll Beta, eligible Crunchyroll Premium users can opt-in through the header images or pop ups that appear across the Crunchyroll website. Currently, Crunchyroll Beta is only available to 20% of premium users, but it will eventually become available to all premium subscribers and all free users in the United States. Users can opt in and out of the beta experience to Crunchyroll Classic as they would like and can share feedback in the “Leave Feedback” function under their profile header.

Crunchyroll is available in more than 200 countries and territories, with translation in eight languages. Users can watch anime for free with ads or can choose from three different subscription memberships that allow for ad-free viewing, access to popular simulcast titles day and date with premiere in Japan, offline viewing, and a mix of additional benefits.