Back in September, we reported that Crunchyroll was entering into a new partnership with VIZ Media Europe, the European branch of the San Francisco-based publishing and distribution company. Since then, Crunchyroll has become the majority owner of the company alongside Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, who remain a minority shareholder. Clearly, the two companies are becoming inseparable – a fact that was further strengthened this week as a new distribution deal added to Crunchyroll’s streaming library several beloved titles from VIZ’s extensive anime portfolio. Here’s just a sample of what’s on offer.
For starters, Studio MADHOUSE’s seminal 2006 anime adaptation of Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba’s hit manga Death Note joined the Crunchyroll library on December 16 as part of the VIZ Media distribution deal, which is a series that got many – myself included – into anime and manga in the first place. Several Naruto movies also joined the platform on the same day, including Blood Prison, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, and The Last. While these movies are not exactly critically acclaimed, their addition to the streaming platform is a welcome move as they were otherwise only available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Digging a little further into the new additions, we can begin to find some real hidden gems. Top of my list would have to be the addition of both seasons of K, a BL-oriented series written by a team of light novel authors that captured mine and many others’ imagination back when it first released. Accel World, too, joins the fray – Studio Sunrise’s anime adaptation of Reki Kawahara’s pre-Sword Art Online work that isn’t exactly lauded but still provides some relief for those hidden Kirito fans (I’m one of them).
Finally, if you’re after a little bit of a nostalgia kick, then look no further than Sunrise’s 2000s adaptation of Rumiko Takahashi’s classic InuYasha, which again acted as a gateway series for many into the wonderful world of anime back when it was broadcasted on Adult Swim. Studio Pierrot’s 2001 adaptation of Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata’s Hikaru no Go also might be a shout if you were one of those lucky enough to grow up with the seminal traditional games-based series.
The best thing is that, with these series, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s now available thanks to Crunchyroll’s new VIZ Media distribution deal, so don’t hesitate to navigate over to the official website to see the full list of new additions. And with the holidays drawing ever nearer and the days growing ever shorter, what better time to sit back, relax, and binge some of these great titles?
It’s also been interesting to see Crunchyroll and VIZ Media grow ever closer over this past year. While worries about a possible market monopoly are certainly not unfounded, if an ever closer union means better availability of shows such as these, then I’m all for it. Let’s hope, in turn, that Crunchyroll can take some lessons from VIZ Media’s excellent Shonen Jump service in terms of timely manga delivery…