Although convention season has been curbed due to the current health crisis, it hasn't stopped the world of anime from grinding to a halt. At Crunchyroll, a plethora of new series have been unleashed for the community to enjoy, as weekly simulcasts continue to fill its lineup of great programs. From returning favorites like Food Wars and Ascendance of a Bookworm to newcomers like My Next Life as a Villainess and the Crunchyroll Original Tower of God, there is much to watch and discuss with your fellow anime-watching friends to keep at least a sliver of sanity in one's life. Via email, I had the opportunity to chat with Crunchyroll's Director of Events Adam Sheehan, as we talked about the Spring 2020 season and how things are holding up during these strange times.
First off, how’s everyone doing during this health scare?
Overall, we’re holding up alright. Crunchyroll and WarnerMedia have been very supportive of all of our employees during this time. Our spring events schedule is mostly canceled, but we are looking at other ways we can connect with our fans, as well as still planning for the summer convention season.
We just finished off the Winter 2020 season. What shows have you noticed your viewers gravitating to these first three months of the decade?
Based on some initial data from Winter 2020, Crunchyroll fans were excited about a number of titles including, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Anime of the Year, Anime Awards 2020), Black Clover, and One Piece.
What is exciting you the most for the Spring 2020 season?
There are a lot of good shows coming out right now for the spring season. The two shows I am most excited about would be Season Two of Fruits Basket and Tower of God. Season One of Fruits Basket was wonderful from start to finish and I’m excited to see new storylines in Season Two that did not make it into the original anime series. I am extremely excited about Tower of God for multiple reasons. It’s one of our first Crunchyroll Original titles, it’s our first show release working with WEBTOON, the fanbase for the web comic is loving it so far, and the art and story is wonderful right from the start.
We have a couple of Crunchyroll Originals premiering this season, with Tower of God being one of the big ones. What drew CR to want to help adapt this into an animated series? Also, how close are we to seeing the likes of FreakAngels and High Guardian Spice premiering on the platform?
Crunchyroll Originals is our way of delighting fans with new content while creating a pathway for new fans to fall in love with anime. Tower of God is an incredible WEBTOON and we knew our fans were going to love the action and mystery within this series. If you haven’t read the WEBTOON, I would encourage you to start and if you haven’t seen the premiere episode, you can catch it now on Crunchyroll! We haven’t shared the premiere dates for FreakAngels or High Guardian Spice just yet, so keep your eye on our social channels for more.
Mischievous Kiss: The Movie
I was very surprised to see Crunchyroll release the live-action Mischievous Kiss films out of the blue in February. Can we expect Crunchyroll to bring more live-action series and films to the platform?
We’re always looking for fun new content to bring to our fans, so nothing is out of the question!
VRV has been bringing new original content to viewers as well, with series like The Cyanide & Happiness Show, HarmonQuest, and — most recently — Epitaph Erased. What other new content can viewers expect from VRV in the near-future?
We have some very cool content coming in May that we can’t talk about just yet, but we do have new content coming from our Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Boomerang channels!
What’s been new with the WebToon collaborations?
Well, if you’re asking what’s new, we just premiered Tower of God on April 1, with new episodes premiering every Wednesday morning on Crunchyroll. We’ll have The God of High School and Noblesse coming to fans later this year.
HBO Max will be launching shortly, with Crunchyroll taking part with some of their shows being on the platform. Is there some interesting cross-promotional aspects in store between Crunchyroll and HBO?
We will have more to share here soon! Sorry, we can’t get into the details just yet, but just know that we’re all really excited to be working more closely with HBO Max.
Sing "Yesterday For Me, now streaming on Crunchyroll
With convention season being on hold, what are some ways that Crunchyroll is staying connected with the anime community? We’re also seeing the rise of viewing party streams on various video platforms. Is that something that Crunchyroll might implement in some fashion?
The spring con season might not be happening but we are still optimistic that summer and fall conventions will still be able to happen and are planning as such. We have been excited to see the variety of different virtual events, live streams, and other new digital ways people are trying to connect with each other. We definitely see a desire of fans to connect maybe even more so now that many people are stuck indoors, and we have been watching what people, companies, and events are doing online and looking into how we might best connect with them again in the near future. This is for fans and us. Our team at Crunchyroll misses seeing anime fans face to face as well.
Lastly, with Crunchyroll’s big library, there’s plenty to choose from during this social distancing period. But if there are three shows that you would consider to be Crunchyroll essentials for people to watch during this time, which would they be, and why?
Mr. Osomatsu - A wonderful show that is full of energy that should help people laugh. Living with six weird brothers will make you happy when you are stuck indoors by yourself.
Cells at Work - Learn about how your body fends of viruses as the cells are different kinds of anime characters. Helpful, timely, and adorable.
One Piece - Because it’s amazing and you now have the time to begin this epic. Start it today!
Special thanks to Amanda Geraldo of Ellation for setting up this interview!