It seems that Crunchyroll-Hime, the lively orange mascot of the popular anime streaming service, is a bit prudish.
Crunchyroll has acquired anime merchandise retailer Right Stuf, the companies announced on Thursday. The deal further solidifies Crunchyroll as a central force in distributing anime products and has already drawn criticism from anime fans as the acquisition has resulted in erotic products being removed from Right Stuf’s business.
Under its new ownership, Right Stuf will “exhibit erotica genre content and products,” the retailer says in one FAQ on his website. All sales, including pre-orders and unfulfilled orders, will be moved to a new storefront called Ero Anime Store. That retailer will “stock the full range of adult content,” according to Right Stuf, and customers “can shop with them for current and future releases.” As for the origins of this third party, the people behind the Ero Anime Store said in its own FAQ
Not everyone is enthusiastic. The acquisition had an immediate impact on consumers as erotic content such as hentai anime and manga is now gone from Right Stuf’s website. Jacob Grady, CEO of Fakku, the world’s largest publisher of English hentai, said on Twitter that the deal was a “massive blow” to his company. “Right Stuf has been a big customer for FAKKU and one of the few retailers that really went for 18+ anime/manga. Not good,” Jacob said in a tweet. It’s unclear if Fakku’s catalog will be available on the Ero Anime Store.
“[Right Stuf] have long been a proponent of hentai anime and manga and have been selling mature content since the days of their print catalogues. We’ve had a good relationship for a long time and have done many projects exclusively with them, so we’re sad that they’re moving on,” Grady told Polygon via Twitter. “The consolidation in the anime hasn’t really impacted us so far, but after situations like this we will actively pursue it from now on.”
Polygon has reached out to Crunchyroll for criticism of the deal. “We have been working with the team at Right Stuf to ensure a smooth transition to another provider (Ero Anime Store) that can deliver mature content seamlessly,” a Crunchyroll representative said in a statement.
The Ero Anime Store is not live yet. In a statement released on Ero Anime Store landing page, the retailer’s president – who signed off as “Wendy C” – acknowledged the change might feel sudden, but asked customers to be patient. “It may take a little while, but we want to make sure it’s done right,” Wendy said. The site’s FAQ states that the shop should be up and running “within a couple of weeks.”
Crunchyroll’s acquisition of Right Stuf has also drawn criticism for the streaming service’s increasing consolidation in the anime industry. Last summer, Crunchyroll merged with its biggest competitor, Sony-owned streaming service Funimation, further reducing competition in this space.
“A company, no matter how much I like that company, shouldn’t be in control of THIS product,” said anime critic Kate Sánchez said on Twitter. in one separate thread later she added“Crunchyroll’s purchase of RightStuf is like Disney buying your local comic book store and then limiting what they can sell.”
What’s on the horizon for Fakku, Grady says, is that the change could offer new ways for customers to support the publisher directly.
“Going to the source is a good opportunity to better support publishers and can often lead to more opportunities to purchase exclusive items that have never been shared with online retailers.”
To update: We’ve updated this article to include comments made to Polygon by Jacob Grady, CEO of Fakku.