UPDATE: Speaking to Anime UK News about what this news means for Manga Entertainment, the company’s Managing Director Jerome Mazandarani noted that being part of a global family will allow the company to secure more content across digital, home video and theatrical, in a world with multinational competition from the likes of Netflix and Crunchyroll. For those worried that Manga UK may only release Funimation titles in the future, Mazandarani confirmed that the company will be encouraged to continue pursuing business opportunities with companies other than Funimation.
Mazandarani also noted his excitement about working with the Funimation Now streaming service to boost the company’s digital offerings – some of which we’ve already seen today. Catalogue Funimation titles will be pursued where available, with Mazandarani noting that the recent My Hero Academia Season 1 re-release was a priority for the company. Manga UK were unable to discuss specifics at this time however, such as whether current Manga UK titles Dragon Ball Super or One Piece could make their way to Funimation Now in the future.
Manga Entertainment, one of the country’s largest and most historic anime distributors, has been formally acquired by U.S. distributor Funimation for an undisclosed sum, both companies announced in a joint statement this morning. As per the terms of the acquisition, Manga UK will consolidate Funimation’s UK home entertainment business, and Manga UK titles like Sword Art Online, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence and Naruto Shippuden will become available to stream on Funimation Now in the UK and Ireland in the coming months.
Funimation Entertainment’s Vice President of Sales and Distribution released this comment as part of the press release:
With this acquisition, we will create a truly immersive anime experience for fans in the UK and Ireland. This begins with providing fans access to Manga’s library of titles to enjoy whenever and wherever they want on FunimationNow. Together with the Manga team, Funimation will bring its fan-first omnichannel approach to serving anime fans – engaging with them directly through the widest array of touchpoints.
Manga Entertainment Managing Director Jerome Mazandarani issued this comment:
“On behalf of Manga Entertainment, we’re thrilled to join Funimation and their expanding global business. We’re excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead and to serve anime fans in the UK and Ireland in a bigger way than ever before.”
This marks Funimation’s biggest move into the UK anime industry yet, having previously had distribution agreements with MVM Films, Manga Entertainment, and Anime Limited. Following Sony Pictures’ acquisition of Funimation, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a small number of titles in 2018, such as My Hero Academia Season 2 and YURI!!! On Ice on home video in 2018, before going quiet towards the end of the year, around the same time Manga UK announced plans to release Funimation titles such as Mob Psycho 100.
The news comes after months of speculation, which reached a fever pitch in July when Funimation titles released by Anime Limited suddenly disappeared without warning. Anime Limited were unable to comment at the time, with fans asking as recently as last weekend’s MCM London Comic Con.
Established in 1991, Manga Entertainment UK had previously been under the ownership of Lionsgate subsidiary Starz Media, before then-marketing director Colin Lomax acquired the company and Anchor Bay UK (with the latter being renamed to Platform Entertainment) in 2015. The following year, the sale of Platform Entertainment split Manga UK into its own seperate entity. Now, Manga Entertainment UK is a subsidiary of Funimation.
Titles confirmed to be joining Funimation Now today (29th May 2019), are as follows:
- Sword Art Online Season 1
- A Certain Magical Index (Seasons 1, 2 and Movie)
- A Certain Scientific Railgun (Seasons 1 and 2)
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
- Summer Wars
- Wolf Children
- Samurai Warriors Season 1
- Soul Eater NOT
- Bayonetta: Bloody Fate
- Casshern Sins
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence
With more to come in the future.