It goes without saying that the influence that Crunchyroll has had over anime industry throughout the last several years is rapidly increasing. Perhaps to those analyzing the company from a consumer standpoint, they would likely come across as just another anime streaming website–but it's the backend of things that has had my interest piqued for quite some time. Outside of their anime streaming services, many are actually unaware that Crunchyroll have also been involved in the production of content for quite some time. Series such as Studio TRIGGER's own "Kiznaiver" was in-part produced with the creative efforts of Crunchyroll, with many of their own staff actually finding themselves within the series credits for various roles.
In October 2016 we witnessed what would perhaps be the first widely recognized work with the Crunchyroll name to it; Porter Robinson and Madeon's "Shelter" music video, an animated short made in collaboration with A-1 Pictures. Though the reality of things is they had been involved in anime for quite some time before that, it was nice to see the company thrown into the spotlight for that period of time. For Crunchyroll however, this was simply seen as a starting point for something so much larger.
You may have read recently that Crunchyroll has partnered with NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan in a joint effort to co-develop original anime. It seems like a natural progression, especially with Crunchyroll being the international distributor for NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan's animated series' including "Berserk", "Seven Mortal Sins" and "The Fruit of Grisaia". Through this partnership, Crunchyroll hopes to co-develop a string of titles that reach a level of "international appeal" thought to be lacking in a majority of modern anime. In example, of the 36 original anime airing this season, and the 8 returning anime, there's a strong chance that a very small percentage will truly strike it big with international audiences, with this partnership aiming to increase that percentage.
Since 2015 the company has invested in more than two dozen animated series, proving time and time again their commitment to the industry that has given us all so much. Since breaking through the one million paid subscriber mark in early February, one can only imagine the general financial output into the anime industry that must come from Crunchyroll. Without jumping to too many conclusions, I'd dare suggest that there's even been a notable increase in the quality of anime over the past few years, likely due to this new flow of revenue into the industry.
Perhaps set to see the light of day before anything from the NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan partnership, we've got the upcoming October 2017 release of Crunchyroll's co-produced "Urahara"; an anime adaptation of their "PARK Harajuku: Crisis Team" web-manga series. Utilizing a star-studded lineup of both staff and voice actors, we're perhaps given our first real look at what Crunchyroll has in mind for their original content driven future. Even if we are still quite some time away from seeing the seeds of this partnership flourish, I'm extremely excited to witness just what Crunchyroll can pull off, and have high hopes for their continued contributions to the anime industry as a whole. Where they go next is only limited to their imagination, it would seem.