Coming as a shock to many fans, season one of both My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan were pulled from Crunchyroll over the weekend. Despite promises that the first season of each respective show (and others) would remain on the platform following the termination of their partnership with Funimation back in October 2018, it seems like they have gone back on this deal.
It almost goes without saying that this is a pretty big blow to Crunchyroll. In the streaming era of anime having these popular entry-level titles means a lot, and with the first season’s suddenly much harder to access it could deter a lot of new fans away from the platform. Now that Funimation is the only streaming service to have both the shows in their entirety, this seems like a humongous win for them.
While it is unknown as to why the seasons were pulled from Crunchyroll, it’s hard not to speculate that there may have been some underhanded decisions made past the initial negotiations. To the dismay of many non-American fans, this also means that both show’s first season were removed from Crunchyroll’s catalog in countries where Funimation isn’t available, leaving them with no legal avenues to watch the shows.
It’s hard to know if this will have any big impact in the long term, especially considering the likelihood that most current anime fans have already watched the first seasons for both Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia. That being said, this feels like the first big where streaming platforms have inconvenience one another in some capacity for the sake of competition, especially in a way where it hurts the consumers the most. It’s entirely possible that this is the start of anime streaming platforms going the way of more conventional and larger scale streaming services in a way where it becomes more cut-throat and less consumer friendly. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.