FUNimation (previously known as FUNimation Productions and FUNimation Entertainment) is an anime dubbing and distribution company currently based in Flower Mound, Texas (a suburb of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex). The company rose to prominence by acquiring the rights to the popular anime title Dragon Ball Z, its predecessor series Dragon Ball and its sequel series Dragon Ball GT as a way to survive the early 1990s minor recession. By 1999, they were able to get widespread television exposure via Cartoon Network and the Dragon Ball phenomenon belatedly yet quickly grew in the United States as it had elsewhere. Two previous attempts by FUNimation to release Dragon Ball to network television had previously been cancelled, before the series and the company found success on Cartoon Network. Over time, it's found success with other anime like the two Fullmetal Alchemist series and YuYu Hakusho.At the end of 2008, FUNimation went on a licensing binge called "New Show A-Go-Go!", during which they announced even more Geneon titles (such as Samurai Champloo), as well as new titles such as Soul Eater and the Rebuild of Evangelion films.In an effort to counter fansubs, they make a number of their titles available for free on their website (as well as YouTube), including new acquisitions that have never been sold legally in the United States before, like Fist of the North Star and the original Captain Harlock series. They have also begun a program to carry shows on their video site a few days after they air in Japan; they have done this with Corpse Princess and Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid and are now doing this with newer Noitamin A series and episodes of One Piece. Unfortunately, they only have distribution rights for the USA and Canada for any of these, and have thus prevented people outside North America from watching those shows on their own website. This is....less awesome.In the early years, FUNimation had a poor reputation amongst many anime fans. This was largely due to their only license at the time, Dragon Ball, being heavily altered and censored. Today, the company is now held in very high regard for their excellent staff and being faithful to their properties. Part of their marketing strategy is that they actually listen to the fans and take their suggestions into account, which does work. Dragon Ball gradually became more faithful to the original and they have overall created a new standard in the proper English dubbing of anime. They graciously make most of their titles available in full on their website, with links to which DVD they're on so they may be purchased. They also run their own digital cable channel, currently the only linear anime-exclusive, television network. This all happened amidst an economic recession that shrunk the dubbing industry, which results in gaining a higher percentage of anime statewide than other studios. Because of their insane amount of titles, and the somewhat limited budget for dubs, 95% of the time they have to use the same actors who live in the area, leading to severe Relationship Voice Actor situations in all their shows, and who have gained growing popularity among fans.FUNimation currently holds the rights for almost all GONZO propertiesnote (exceptions: Gate Keepers and Gate Keepers 21 (Geneon); Blue Submarine No. 6 (Discotek Media); Melty Lancer, Sentou Yousei Yukikaze (Bandai Entertainment); Gravion, G.I. Joe: Sigma 6, Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Zaion I Wish You Were Here, Special A (ADV Films and its descendants); Real Bout High School (Tokyopop), and others that remain unlicensed), and they have been releasing them in very appealing boxed sets with excellent production values and many extras (examples include their releases of Afro Samurai and Speed Grapher). They also have an imprint of sorts called The Viridian Collection, which they have designed as a sort of Criterion Collection for high-profile anime releases, such as Samurai 7, Basilisk and Desert Punk. These releases are budget priced, so it's very easy to amass a relatively large collection of good anime without breaking your pockets. S.A.V.E. Edition, where you can get a complete series for at most $30, takes this concept one step further. FUNimation is currently in talks to possibly re-license titles that Bandai Entertainment had before they ceased producing anything themselves, which could result in a mass acquisition very similar to GONZO.Has done some interesting things regarding DVDs, especially involving Dragon Ball, such as starting a redubbed DVD series called the "Ultimate Uncut" Edition, only to abruptly drop that and subsequently announce new "Remastered" Season Box Sets of the entire series, cropped to widescreen. Naturally, many fans weren't impressed with the cropping, and the so-called Orange Boxes became the best selling anime boxsets on DVD by far. Due in part to purist backlash over the cropping in the Orange Boxes, FUNimation announced they had finally acquired the Super-High Quality Dragon Boxes from Japan, with the English dub remixed so that it retains the original background music, and Japanese voices selected by default for all those hardcore fans that didn't buy into the widescreen remasters.In October 2011, it was announced at New York Comic Con that FUNimation and Nico Nico formed a joint partnership for streaming and home video releases. The partnership establishes a joint venture, known as "Funico", where Nico Nico handles the online streaming while FUNimation handles the home video distribution.FUNimation also releases Degrassi on DVD, in addition to a small selection of live-action films made or filmed in Japan.When Toonami was revived in May 2012 onward, most of the block's new premieres are from FUNimation, which has developed a close business relationship with the Williams Street crew.For a list of FUNimation regulars, head to Names to Know in Anime\Dub Voice Actors\Texas\Primarily works in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid (sort of. Kadokawa Pictures USA [now defunct] held the license itself and outsourced localization — translation, subtitling, scripts, dubbing - to ADV in order to have consistency with the previous two series; FUNimation was in charge of packaging, DVD authoring, and distribution. Funi now hold this license outright, though)
Doing It for the Art: One of the major reasons why some Los Angeles and New York based voice actors are willing to work with FUNimation, being that it's located a right-to-work state, thus cheaper prices and generally a more open environment compared to Los Angeles and New York (one of the advantages is that you can actually directly call up the company doing the casting auditions and have your name put on a list. Then, on audition day you go there and take your shot in person). Heck, they even got a Canadian guy to work on a small role in Fullmetal Alchemist and in Samurai 7, and recently One Piece Film: Strong World.
This is most apparent with their release of Sekirei, whose tagline is "Boobies for the win!".
Friendly Rivalry: To the Houston based Sentai Filmworks/ADV Films. Despite the said infamous lawsuit mentioned above, their respective representatives and public relations managers like to tease each other through various social media websites and some are good friends with each other. Even some of the Houston based voice actor talents have worked with Funimation from time to time and vice versa with the Dallas based talents in rare extent.note It should noted that many of the voice actors are freelancers or have done theater acting or web designers and they aren't exactly bound to work with a single company.
In this ANNCast, it was revealed that Funimation representatives actually approve of VIZ Media's online survey.
Gag Dubs: While most of FUNimation's dubs attempt to stay reasonably faithful to their source material, some comedy series, such as Shin-chan, Sgt. Frog, and Hetalia, receive this treatment.
Hey, It's That Voice!: Given the company's highly centralized talent roster, anyone who watches more than a couple of their dubs will start to recognize their regulars, and is probably the one complaint fans have with them. They do occasionally spring for new talent, however.
This is played with a little though. Some voice actors have stated that many of them are not specialized to be this, because it's not FUNimation's goal.
Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Because of the focus on capturing the emotion and personality of the character, it would not be a surprise for some FUNimation voice actors to be completely good at the character archetypes they are typecast into.
No Dub for You: Almost always averted. Almost all of their licensed retail titles have English dubs, but the only retail release title as of current is Oni Ainote And even so, this is only an experiment for them.
One of Us: Many of the staff and voice actors who worked with FUNimation are anime, video games, and comic book fans themselves. Some of them are deviantARTists themselves like Micah Solusod and (formerly) Alexis Tipton. The reason many of them can scream for hours on end in shonen shows is because guys like Christopher Sabat and Justin Cook, two of the original employees, were in rock bands for years prior.
Promoted Fanboy/Fangirl: Many of the company's voice actors are anime fans themselves, and translation and subtitling staff are frequently former fansubbers.
Role Reprisal: They do their level best to keep the dubbing of properties they acquire from other dubbing studios as consistent as possible. Cases in point: Rebuild of Evangelion retained the original voice actors for most principal characters such as Shinji and Asuka, while the episodes of Hellsing Ultimate they dubbed after Geneon's closure maintains all of the original voice actors for the series, including Crispin Freeman as Alucard.
Safe Harbor: Their TV channel is on non-basic cable and is nowhere near as popular as the bigger cable channels, so every hour of the day is safe from censoring from the United States FCC, with curses left intact. The only censored word is "fuck", and the only blurred or blocked visual elements that appear are those that were left in the Japanese versions.
Viewers Are Geniuses: They acquired and dubbed ×××HOLiC and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle at the same time because they knew characters crossed over into the other show at certain points, thus making sure no actor would voice more than one character in either show, lest fans would accuse them of casting two actors for the same character. This was beneficial to them when dubbing the Tsubasa OVA and each of their movies, where Watanuki, the black Mokona, and Yuuko have important roles.