Funimation is listed as a member of the production committees for three separate series in the Winter 2020 season, building on their work on three other popular series in the 2019 season.
On March 12th, Funimation posted an entry to their official blog titled “What Does It Mean To Be on an Anime Production Committee?”, in which the anime production company aimed to clear up some “misconceptions” about the specific roles and duties of a respective production committee.
“So let’s talk about anime production committees, and the roles they play in the process. Because the more we learn about the anime we love, the more we can support those who create it.
One misconception some have with anime is that the animation studio is responsible for producing everything related to an anime production, including home video releases and merchandise. For the vast majority, that’s not true at all. Almost all anime productions today are financed by something called a production committee. A production committee is a company specifically created to be a joint venture between a group of companies with the dual goals of producing something entertaining that will also recoup its costs and eventually lead to a profit.
In the past, a lot of television anime were funded primarily by the TV station and the lead animation studio. As anime gradually shifted away from airing during prime viewing hours in Japan to the late-night blocks for most titles, the production committee method became a common way to finance the creation of a show.”
For the 2020 season, Funimation lists itself as a production committee member on Hatena Illusion, ID: INVADED, and Plunderer. In 2019, they were involved in the productions of Fruits Basket (2019), Fire Force, and Dimension W.
Funimation explains that “they were invited to participate on these committees to help fund these productions directly” and details some ways in which Funimation “can use their international expertise to better market the show to foreign viewers and provide more detailed input to the other Japanese companies regarding what fans abroad would like to see.”
“Due to the work they’ve done and the strong relationships the company has built with Japanese partners in licensing shows from them, they were invited to participate on these committees to help fund these productions directly.
Instead of simply licensing the rights to a finished show (as companies usually do), Funimation is now able to take part ownership of some titles directly when bringing them to the rest of the world. There’s no fear about losing the rights to these shows either; they are here to stay in the Funimation library in perpetuity. Conversely, Funimation is trusted by the rest of the committee to use their international expertise to better market the show to foreign viewers and provide more detailed input to the other Japanese companies regarding what fans abroad would like to see. It’s a win-win.
For fans, this kind of access means the ability for international partners to collaborate with creators on things like key visuals, PVs and exclusive behind-the-scenes content. For example, co-productions between Funimation and KADOKAWA have led to new key visuals for titles like ID: INVADED and Plunderer. This access can also sometimes allow for faster subtitling and dubbing production, leading to an increase in the number of “day and date” simulcasts/SimulDubs which air within 24 hours of Japan’s initial TV broadcast.”
The blog post concludes with an appeal to fans to buy Funimation subscriptions, claiming that “home video releases, digital downloads, and merchandise” will “help creators in Japan more directly.”
“Anime is no longer focused solely on the Japanese market. Japanese companies are looking to foreign fans’ interest in titles more than ever before to increase the financial return on their investment as well as allow them to reinvest that money into new productions of ever higher animation quality. This means that subscriptions to Funimation and purchases of home video releases, digital downloads, and merchandise supervised by Funimation will help creators in Japan more directly than having a finished title licensed as-is would.
And while it’s only been a handful of titles in the past, there’s a future where Funimation and companies like it are on the production committee for more and more shows. The more involved they get in helping these shows resonate around the world, the stronger these relationships grow, and the more people get to experience the brilliance of anime. That’s a future we’re here for!”
However, this call to action fails to mention Funimation’s notorious tendency to edit or remove the original source material when dubbing or subbing in order to avoid causing offense to those who follow social justice theory, as seen in their productions of Nekopara, BOFURI, and Interspecies Reviewers.
The full extent of Funimation’s influence in these productions has yet to be publicly detailed.