You may have heard the buzz about Disney and anime lately, especially with the disappearance of the beloved anime series Bleach from Crunchyroll. Many wonder, did Disney buy Crunchyroll? Let’s unravel the story and find out what’s really going on in the world of anime streaming.
Crunchyroll: The Anime Oasis
Crunchyroll is a popular video-on-demand and over-the-top streaming service, mainly known for delivering East Asian media, particularly Japanese anime. They offer two ways to enjoy their content:
This option is free but comes with occasional ads during episodes. You can access high-quality anime, though some series may require a subscription.
Subscribers enjoy an ad-free experience with access to all content. No more interruptions while binge-watching your favorite anime.
Crunchyroll doesn’t stop at anime; they also provide manga titles and East Asian dramas. The platform’s user-friendly design encourages interaction among fans, with forums and discussion boards for lively conversations.
While Crunchyroll boasts over 1,000 anime series and 80 manga titles, licensing constraints mean not all content is available everywhere. The platform hit one million paying members in 2017 and is set to reach over 10 million by 2022.
Why Did Bleach Leave Crunchyroll?
Bleach, a beloved anime series, recently vanished from Crunchyroll’s catalog. Fans were left wondering why this happened. The answer lies in a tweet from Viz Media, revealing that Bleach: Thousand Years Blood War will be on Hulu in the U.S. and Disney+ worldwide. This, coupled with Bleach’s removal from Crunchyroll, suggests Disney’s involvement.
Is Crunchyroll Now Owned by Disney?
In simple terms, no, Disney does not own Crunchyroll. However, they did secure the rights to Bleach and its streaming. After months of speculation and the removal of all Bleach seasons from Crunchyroll, Disney now holds the rights to all things Bleach, including the upcoming series covering The Thousand Years Blood War arc. Europeans can watch it on Disney+, while Americans can enjoy it on Hulu.
Disney’s Anime Portfolio
Apart from Bleach, Disney has obtained exclusive rights to Tokyo Revengers and Bleach: A Thousand-Year Blood War. They’re also collaborating with Japanese artists on new anime projects like Black Rock Shooter Downfall, Twisted Wonderland, and Summer Time Rendering.
Who Owns Crunchyroll?
Crunchyroll is currently owned by the Sony Group Corporation, who acquired it for a staggering $1 billion in 2021 from AT&T and Warner Media. Sony’s involvement in anime isn’t new; they’ve been in the industry for years. Sony Music Entertainment Japan formed Aniplex in 1995, a subsidiary that handles anime and music projects. Aniplex also established A-1 Pictures in 2005, known for animating shows like Sword Art Online and Kaguya-sama: Love is War.
While Sony’s purchase of Crunchyroll may seem sudden, it strengthens their hold on the anime market, not just in streaming but also in production. This billion-dollar deal reflects Sony’s commitment to expanding its influence in global anime creation.
The Future of Anime Streaming
With Disney owning Hulu and Disney+, and Sony controlling Crunchyroll, the anime streaming landscape is dynamic. Other players may enter the production committee and take positions previously held by Funimation and Crunchyroll. However, for now, you can enjoy simulcasts on Funimation and Crunchyroll.
In the world of anime streaming, Disney’s interest in Bleach has sparked excitement among fans. However, Crunchyroll remains under the ownership of Sony. As the anime industry continues to grow, who knows what the future holds for our favorite shows? Keep your eyes peeled, anime lovers, for there are more adventures yet to come in this colorful realm!