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Crunchyroll Tops 5 Million Subscribers, Will Develop Series with Zoe Saldana

Ben Bowman

Anime streamer Crunchyroll just crossed the 5 million subscriber mark, adding 1 million over the past six months. The service offers more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes to viewers in more than 200 countries and territories.

The service offers several tiers to cater to its anime fans, ranging from an ad-supported free plan to a $14.99/month subscription that offers merchandise discounts and swag bags.

Crunchyroll also announced the development of a series called “Dark Star Squadron” with Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures. The series follows 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 travel to the far side of the galaxy to find the missing people.

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

Throughout the pandemic, viewers have been turning to niche streamers in increasing numbers. Appetites continue to grow for foreign content as well, and that’s Crunchyroll’s primary strength.

Animation of all kinds is having a renaissance across almost every streaming service. Prime Video released “Invincible” to popular acclaim. Netflix’s “Masters of the Universe: Revelation” has been a hot topic on social media. HBO Max is developing animated “Game of Thrones” properties. For Crunchyroll fans, nothing beats the unique Japanese style of anime.

In December, AT&T sold Crunchyroll to Funimation, a Sony-owned anime streaming service for $1.175 billion. With the acquisition, Sony added Crunchyroll’s 90 million free members and three million paying subscribers. Sony also gained Crunchyroll’s vast library of over 1,000 anime titles. That deal might face some legal jeopardy due to antitrust laws.

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll is a subscription video streaming service catering to fans of anime with over 30,000 episodes. Viewers can see new episodes of shows one hour after they air in Japan, and read hundreds of chapters across dozens of manga titles. Some of their more popular titles are Dragon Ball Super, Attack on Titan, and Fire Force.

Crunchyroll offers three plans. The “Fan” (US$7.99) plan allows streaming on 1 device, but no offline viewing. Their “Mega Fan” (US$9.99) plan allows viewing on 4 devices along with offline viewing. And the “Ultimate Fan” (US$14.99) plan offers viewing on 6 devices, offline viewing, and an annual swag bag, among other perks.

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