Creator / Funimation

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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 (to the point that Funimation openly describes itself as "the house that Dragonball built". 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.

From the early 1990s to the 2000s, Funimation was a respectably sized anime distributor but not considered one of the "Big Three" - which (depending on who you ask) were ADV Films, Geneon, and Bandai Entertainment. The North American anime distributors, unfortunately, then went through a classic boom and bust cycle (like the video game industry in 1983 and comic book industry in 1993). It started with peak expansion in 2004-2005, which soon led to over-expansion, followed by the crash of 2008. Each of the Big Three had invested heavily in these expansion efforts to buy up most of the new titles, so they were hit the hardest. Geneon shut down in September 2007, and for the next full year, each week brought news of a new shutdown or cancelled project. Bandai also dwindled away, given that its parent company in Japan basically gave up on the North American market after realizing that they could never hope to sell anime there at the same prices they did in Japan (and ultimately Bandai shut down American operations in 2012). ADV dwindled away to almost nothing but clung to life for a while, with the meager remnants later reorganizing into other companies. When the dust settled, by 2009 Funimation was left as the only truly large and functional major anime distributor in North America. It bought up titles from the closed companies at fire sale prices, and soon came to dominate the North American anime market: the saying became that other companies can only buy licenses that Funimation had passed on after deeming them not worth the investment. Circa the New Tens, the only other large distributors are (more or less) Viz Media (which is also a major manga distributor) and Sentai Filmworks (a successor company for the remnants of ADV), but they used to have a small fraction of the market share that Funimation enjoys. Yet Sentai and newcomer Aniplex USA have risen tremendously and Funi's own share of the market and titles have decreased significantly. Also, Nozomi Entertainment, Discotek Media, and Crunchyroll (starting in 2016, due to actually starting to fund dubs in addition to home video releases) have also chipped away at Funimation's monopoly. However it's still the leading distributor of anime in the U.S.

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 ran their own digital cable channel, which was the only linear anime-exclusive, television network (before they ended their partnership with channel owner Olympusat, who subsequently retooled the channel as TOKU). 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 , 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. The Dragon Box releases are, as of 2015, out of print, and now command the outrageous price of the blood of your first born child.

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 released 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.

On June 23rd, 2015, it was announced that Funimation entered a multi year deal with Universal Studios Home Entertainment, in which it will manage the distribution of all Funimation DVD and Blu-ray releases.

On September 9th, 2016, it was announced that Funimation entered a deal with Crunchyroll, in which they will distribute some of Crunchyroll's licensed shows on home video, in addition to creating dubs for them, while Crunchyroll will show some of Funimation's simulcast shows in a sub-only format.

On July 31, 2017, Sony Pictures Television announced plans to acquire a 95% stake in Funimation for $143 million while Gen Fukunaga will retain his position with a 5% share

For a list of Funimation regulars, head to Names to Know in Anime\Dub Voice Actors\Texas\Primarily works in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Series licensed by Funimation includes:

Series Localized by Funimation

Series they localized themselves (and released on home video)

License Rescues

Series dubbed and acquired from other, now defunct, Home Video Distributors.

ADV Films Rescues

Bandai Entertainment Rescues

Geneon Rescues

Misc

Series sub-licensed from Crunchyroll

Anime which Crunchyroll holds the rights to, but Funimation will provide English Dubs and/or Home Video Distributions for.

Streaming Only

Anime in which Funimation only hold the Streaming licensing for.

Home Video Releases for other Companies

Expired Licenses

Anime in which Funimation have at one point dubbed and distributed, but no longer hold the rights to.

Funimation provide examples of:

  • Advertising by Association: They use the "from the studio" variant in quite a few of its trailers, which is odd as it merely licenses and translates released works from a variety of companies.
  • Anime Accent Absence: Occasionally averted, as in Baccano! and Hetalia.
  • Cancellation:
    • Crayon Shin-chan was given a Gag Dub for [adult swim]'s Anime Lineup. Only 78episodes of the dub were produced for Adult Swim.
    • Detective Conan was dubbed as part of [adult swim]'s Anime Lineup. Only around 50 episodes were aired by Adult Swim before they cancelled the series due to low ratings. Funimation dubbed 130 episodes in total before ceasing production.
    • Sgt. Frog was originally going to be dubbed and shopped to Children Networks by ADV Films before they went out of business. Funimation dubbed the first 78 episodes but ceased production due to being unable to secure a TV broadcasting license on a major children’s network.
    • Toriko only received dubs for the first 50 episodes and was then cancelled for unknown reasons.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Due to the number of shonen titles that they have licensed in the past, Funimation is very likely to license and dub anime titles that features this cast.
  • Completely Different Title: Does this for quite a few shows. For example, The Inland Sea Bride became My Bride Is a Mermaid.
  • Development Hell: Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome, both announced as rescued in 2013, still haven't seen the light of day.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: This is Funimation's official stance and they encourage their fans to obtain anime through legal means. In fact, they even take legal action either through C&D letters to torrenters and fansubbers, or sue a large number of BiTorrent users over downloading One Piece episodes. They even take down fansub videos of many anime titles in YouTube, even in titles they do not directly own (e.g. Naruto and School Days). In fact, they are pretty much the policeman of the anime industry.
  • Doing It for the Art:
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Funimation is headquartered in Flower Mound, Texas and due to this the majority of their talent pool consists of those who live in Texas. note 
  • Fan Nickname: With the announcement of the Funimation and Crunchyroll business partnership, many in the AniTwitter came up with names like "Funiroll," "Crunchymation," and "Crunchyroll and Funimation fusion dance" note 
  • Fanservice: According to a Funimation representative as well as many of the Funimation voice actors, some of the highest selling shows happen to be ones with heavy fanservice (along with the said popular shonen titles like Dragon Ball Z and Fullmetal Alchemist), much to the very annoyance of the Anime News Network editors who are quite critical of this. It wouldn't be a surprise with the shows they've licensed.
    • 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 .
    • In this ANNCast, it was revealed that Funimation representatives actually approve of VIZ Media's online survey.
  • Gag Dub:
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: In 2016, Funimation's licenses to many of their Aniplex produced series note  ended up expiring, resulting in many of their home videos going out of print. Funimation similarly lost all of their rights to the various Lupin III movies and specials they previously dubbed, with some of them now being distributed by Discotek Media. Not to mention a few of their old DVD distributions for Creator/4KidsEntertainment have also ceased production.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Many veteran Funimation voice actors tend to have this; Laura Bailey, Vic Mignogna, Troy Baker, Kyle Hebert, J. Michael Tatum, Brina Palencia, Todd Haberkorn and Luci Christian deserve special mention.
    • 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.
  • Money, Dear Boy: The reason why their best actors only appear to stick around at Funimation for a handful of years. The most popular actors in the dub of Fullmetal Alchemist are all now in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, dubbing anime pays very little compared to other acting jobs, and most like to reach for union jobs instead of Funimation's non-union ones.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: They license various titles that appeal to different demographics, not just the popular shonen shows.
  • Network to the Rescue: Ever since striking a business deal with Crunchyroll, Funimation has focused a lot of their licensing efforts on securing the rights to popular series that had previously been floating in limbo such as Gosick and Hyouka. That's not to mention all of their license pickups from Distributors that had went belly-up listed on the main page.
  • No Budget: Mostly averted. Being one of the largest anime licensors in North America (besides Viz Media), when compared to Sentai Filmworks and especially Media Blasters, they have more production capabilities and enough money to occasionally hire out of state actors (such as Patrick Seitz, Christopher Corey Smith and Carrie Savage, L.A.-based voice actors who are frequent regular at Funimation), and/or on a few occasions, outsource their dubs to other anime companies (i.e. Hellsing Ultimate (episodes 5-10), Ikki Tousen: Great Guardians and Xtreme Xecutor being dubbed by the Los Angeles-based New Generation Picturesnote ).
    • Though their first dub, Dragon Ball Z, had a considerably low budget following Sabans and Funimations parting. They stopped using the Canadian actors and replaced them with people closer to their headquarters. However, they weren't able to get actual actors so they instead got college theater actors from nearby. By the time they began dubbing the Frieza saga, they only had 11 in house actors...
    • Their movie theater distribution model has fallen into criticism regarding this. Movies such as Your Name were given a very limited release and almost invisible marketing.
  • No Export for You: Arguably the worst offender of this in Latin America. Unlike UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand which Funimation gives rights to local companies to distribute their titles, Latin America receives the worst treatment by Funimation, specially when simulcast rights are announced. Until the Crunchyroll and Funimation alliance, it was rumored that Funimation have rights for Latin America, however, its not the case for certain titles. However, there're other titles that are owned by Funimation for Latin America that people in that region can't watch for many years and, as of this day, can't figure which are.
    • However, this was averted with the second season of Attack on Titan. It was revealed that Funimation owns the rights for that season for Latin America and English speaking regions and now its available on Crunchyroll.
  • Old Shame: There are several anime series Funimation licensed over the years they are not proud of. Mamotte! Lollipop is one of them. Anime fans who've seen it tend to agree with 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.
  • 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.
  • Promoted Fanboy: 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 was on non-basic cable and was nowhere near as popular as the bigger cable channels. So every hour of the day was 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.
  • Schedule Slip:
    • The home release of Evangelion 3.33: You Can (NOT) Redo had to be delayed for three years because Khara wasn't satisfied with their dub and they want to redo the subs on their own. Hideki Anno can also be another reason, if you take into account his return into depression after having worked on it.
    • Occasionally, a simulcast/broadcast-dub episode is late to be posted online due to production issues, but they're very good at notifying fans beforehand.
    • The home video release of Ben-To was initially set for a summer 2014 release but Funimation caught on to the fact that the censored version was being included instead of the uncensored version. As such the release date was moved from summer 2014 to early 2015.
    • They originally started dubbing D.Gray-Man in 2009 until 2010. The dub for the second half of the 2006 series was delayed for six years due to licensing issues between Funimation and Dentsu.
    • Due to releasing season 2 of Heaven's Lost Property ahead of schedulenote  any titles distributed by Kadokawa in Japan will be DVD-only until two years later when a separate Blu-ray release comes out.
    • Funimation licensed both A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun in 2010 but weren't able to get either series out on home video until 2012 since Geneon Universal ordered them to hold off on their release. Similar to the situation above the initial releases for both seasons of both shows was DVD-only since Geneon just released the Blu-rays in Japan around that time.
  • Scandalgate: Fractalegate, though not as severe as Oreimogate.
  • Shōnen (Demographic): The vast majority of their titles.
  • Spiritual Successor: Their streaming service, FunimationNow, can be considered this to Funimation Channel, a cable on-demand service/channel which now operates as Toku with the Media Blasters library.
  • Start My Own: After the success of their "broadcast dub" for Space Dandy on Toonami, Funimation decided to start producing their own broadcast dubs for their streaming service, FunimationNOW, dubs which are created weekly close to their original broadcast in Japan, starting in the Fall 2014 anime season. Funimation would later rebrand these dubs as SimulDubs.
  • Un-Canceled: The English dub of D.Gray-Man falls under this. Originally, Funimation only dubbed the first 51 episodes from 2009 to 2010, before axing the dub to licensing issues from Dentsu. The project was revived in 2016, when they licensed the 2nd half of the 2006 series (episodes 52-103), along with Hallow.
  • 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.
  • What Could Have Been: They almost released the non-anime Pelswick on DVD in 2004, but didn't due to the low fanbase of the show.

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