In a time when it was becoming more and more practical for western anime publishers to offer dedicated, official anime streaming services to the market – Australia initially fell behind other parts of the world. While some services were made available to us, there were often licensing limitations that saw big-name series unable to be streamed, leaving us still waiting years for a home video release. In 2014, major Australian anime publisher Madman Entertainment swooped in with AnimeLab, a comprehensive free and paid streaming platform which allowed anime fans to watch 100s of shows while officially supporting the local industry. For a little more than the next half-decade, AnimeLab shaped up to be arguably one of the most user-friendly platforms, offered an incredibly diverse line-up of shows and had locally-based support/social media teams which were highly engaged with fans.
Earlier this year it was announced that AnimeLab would eventually be merged with Funimation to become the Funimation ANZ streaming service. While maintaining a local support team, it would abandon the user interface and branding popular in Australia and New Zealand, and bring everyone together on one unified platform with US subscribers. This followed, a year or two ago, ANZ subscribers being forcibly switched from Funimation to AnimeLab, which was rather controversial at the time. For a fair few months now, fans have been able to work off the two systems interchangeably with their paid subscription. But this is no more.
This morning, AnimeLab was officially shut down. The Australian streaming service now displays the below message inviting everyone to switch over to Funimation. No last walks through the interface – everything is now gone. However, if you had an active account, it has been transferred over to Funimation, and you can log in through the method HERE.
Fortunately, this change in services hasn’t (at least yet) resulted in any pricing changes, and you will continue to be billed in AUD/NZD. Funimation’s base services are available for free, with access to the entire library ad-free subbed and dubbed (where relevant) in high definition available for $7.95 AUD per month.