Crunchyroll and Wakanim announced that they are suspending their services for the Russian market. Both platforms have issued a brief announcement on their Russian homepage, stating that the suspension follows “disruptions in payment and service support”. Due to recent sanctions imposed on Russia, certain Russian banks have been kicked out of the SWIFT system, making online payments nearly impossible and leading to services like PayPal, but also Visa and Mastercard to cease their activities in the country.
The service message displayed to users of both services in Russia states that “Crunchyroll/Wakanim has been forced to suspend its services in Russia. We hope to restore the functionality very soon.“. Sony-owned companies, which will soon be unified under the Crunchyroll brand, join the latest in line of services to exit the Russian market amid the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
In a statement for Variety, Tony Vinciquerra, CEO and Chairman at Sony Pictures Entertainment said that they “stand with many businesses around the world who have now paused their business operations in Russia, and in support of the humanitarian efforts currently underway in Ukraine and the surrounding region”.
“Two weeks ago, we paused the upcoming theatrical release of ‘Morbius’ in Russia. Since then, we have also halted our planned home entertainment releases, including ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ and any future television distribution deals. And just this morning, Crunchyroll suspended its anime streaming service in Russia.”Statement from Tony Vinciquerra (via Variety)
Russia made headlines in the past within the anime community for banning several anime titles for going against “societal values” by portraying violence and unrealistic expectations. Movie Akira, a live-action version of Attack on Titan, several isekai titles such as KonoSuba and Zombieland Saga, as well as other titles such as Death Note, Tokyo Ghoul, and Inuyashiki have been subject to banning.
Several titles from the Crunchyroll platform were also banned in 2021, for failing to declare adult content that was meant to be watched with adult supervision, per instructions from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Federal Service for Telecommunications Supervision. The shows that caused the ban included Darling in the FranXX, Konohana Kitan, and Girly Air Force.
Wakanim first entered the Russian market in January 2018. The service offers subtitled and dubbed content in Russian and also does simulcasts of the seasonal titles.