Crunchyroll’s large consolidated library and excellent simulcast support make it the only legitimate service for its anime-loving audience, despite its rough aspects.
- Large anime library, which now includes Funimation dubs
- HD streaming is available on all levels
- Several simulcast shows are available
- Manga and clothing store with some original series
- Downloads that can be done offline
- There is some UI clutter
- There aren’t many subtitle alternatives
When it comes to video streaming services, anime enthusiasts are spoiled for choice. One of the most well-known names in the field is Crunchyroll, which is one of the best locations to watch animated episodes and movies. There are over 1,300 series available, as well as several simulcast shows and an ad-free tier. Crunchyroll has evolved into a one-stop anime shop, featuring dubbed content from previous competitor Funimation as well as VRV’s catalog, courtesy to recent mergers by its new parent company, Sony. Crunchyroll used to be a good place to go if you wanted to see anime series right after they aired on TV. Crunchyroll is now your go-to anime site, as well as an Editors’ Choice pick. Crunchyroll is a service for anime enthusiasts only; if you want to watch cartoons or other animated series, you should look elsewhere.
What Is Crunchyroll’s Content?
Crunchyroll’s collection is divided into two categories: anime and dramas, with the former accounting for the majority of the content. Action, adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, music, mystery, romance, and science fiction are just a few of the genres covered. Attack on Titan, Death Note, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hunter X Hunter, One-Punch Man, multiple Naruto series, and Yuri!!! on Ice are among the most popular anime series. Original anime series produced by Crunchyroll include A Place Beyond the Universe, In/Spectre, and The Rising of the Shield Hero. Other Crunchyroll originals, such as Onyx Equinox, set in Mesoamerica, and Meiji Gekken: Sword & Gun, set in the 1870s Japan era, are planned to premiere soon. Crunchyroll has far too many shows to list them all, however the whole list can be found on Crunchyroll’s all shows website.
Other anime streaming services fill in the gaps left by Crunchyroll, while also offering many of the same shows. Hulu, for example, contains the majority of the non-original shows listed above, as well as Cowboy Bebop, a few Dragon Ball episodes, and Trigun. Many of the same popular titles are available on Netflix, as well as acclaimed platform-exclusive anime including Devilman Crybaby, Cannon Busters, and Castlevania.
Crunchyroll, like the majority of other dedicated anime streaming sites, has a simulcast library. Simulcast episodes are usually available for streaming roughly an hour after they first air. Crunchyroll’s library now has around 40 simulcast shows, including Ace of the Diamond, Black Clover, In/Spectre, My Hero Academia, and One Piece. Crunchyroll’s simulcast calendar allows you to keep track of all upcoming episodes. Simulcast series are also available on Hulu.
A live-action Death Note adaptation and even some of Bruce Lee’s back catalog are among Crunchyroll’s dramas. These aren’t the service’s main selling point, but they may appeal to particular viewers.
With the acquisition of Funimation, Crunchyroll’s collection has gotten even more amazing. Crunchyroll already has over 100 Funimation shows, ranging from Tokyo Ghoul to Yu Yu Hakusho, and more will be added as time goes on, according to Crunchyroll’s release calendar. Crunchyroll and Funimation used to be on different ends of the “subs vs. dubs” controversy, but now that Crunchyroll is backed up by Funimation’s extensive dubbed library, subscribers don’t have to choose. Crunchyroll also acquired programming from Wakanim, a French anime streaming service, and VRV, a streaming service that packaged Crunchyroll with other channels. Crunchyroll is much more appealing now that it offers non-anime cartoons.
If anime is the only thing you care about, a dedicated anime streaming site like Crunchyroll should suffice. If you or another member of your household wants to view popular shows and movies (or even other cartoon series), you’ll want to use a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu that also has mainstream content. Bojack Horseman, Stranger Things, and The Witcher, for example, are among Netflix’s most popular originals. The Handmaid’s Tale and the Veronica Mars reboot are two popular Hulu exclusives. With series like The Mandalorian and Marvel’s Hawkeye, Disney+ is an excellent alternative for family-friendly shows and cartoons.
Platforms and Pricing
Crunchyroll has three paying tiers and one free tier. The free edition is ad-supported and does not offer simulcasts or full access to Crunchyroll’s anime and manga collections. Crunchyroll’s premium Fan tier, which costs $7.99 per month, removes these restrictions. The Mega Fan tier, which costs $9.99 per month, includes discounts, access to fan expos, and offline viewing. The $14.99-per-month Ultimate Fan tier allows you to stream on more devices at the same time and includes swankier presents like backpacks and action figurines.
Notably, 1080p streaming is available on all tiers. At no additional cost, all tiers also grant you unique access to Funimation and VRV shows in the future. Crunchyroll even suggests that you terminate your subscriptions to those now-defunct services. You’ll get a free 60-day Crunchyroll premium account if you’re a Funimation or VRV subscriber when you sign up. Users’ watch lists from those now-defunct sites are being imported by Crunchyroll.
A comparable fee is charged by other anime streaming services. The premium version of Hidive, for example, is $4.99 a month. HBO Max costs $9.99 per month with advertisements and includes a lot of DC material, whereas VRV’s premium subscription costs $9.99 per month. Hulu’s ad-supported tier is $6.99 per month, but you can remove commercials for $12.99 per month. Netflix‘s basic plan is $9.99 per month, but we recommend upgrading to the $15.49 per month Standard plan, which includes 1080p streaming and two simultaneous streams. RetroCrush‘s library of old anime is absolutely free if you don’t want to pay anything.
Crunchyroll’s clothes and manga store is a standout feature. You may find books, figurines, clothing, and home videos here, all of which are appropriate for a holistic weeb lifestyle (if you want physical media to complement your streaming). Crunchyroll’s store even sells Japanese snacks, perhaps to live up to the service’s delectable moniker.
Crunchyroll can be accessed through a variety of platforms and devices, including media streaming devices (Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV), mobile phones (Android and iOS), and gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Wii U, and Switch). The Xbox 360 and the original Wii are no longer supported by Crunchyroll. On the Switch, Hulu offers both on-demand and live TV streaming.
Crunchyroll is available on the internet.
The online interface of Crunchyroll has a distinct gray, white, and orange color pattern. The amount of information on a single page, on the other hand, can be overwhelming. The user interface resembles that of an internet discussion board rather than a dedicated streaming service. Shows, Manga, News, Games, and Store are all accessible from the top menu. A button for your Queue, a Random button (a wonderful feature that serves up the first episode of an unknown show), and your profile icon are all located in the upper right corner. You can order saved shows by data accessed or data added in the Queue, but you can’t alphabetize or search the list.
You can edit your basic information, add information about your anime-related interests, and customize your profile photo in the profile area. You can also view payment history data and adjust notification and content settings (such as hiding mature content or establishing a default language).
All of the anime and drama titles can be sorted by Popular, Simulcasts, Updated, Alphabetical, Genres, Seasons, or Release Calendar on the shows page. You can add a show to your queue by hovering your cursor over its thumbnail. When you click on a show, you’ll be sent to its description page, where you can browse available episodes, see user ratings, and learn about simulcasts.
To avoid distractions, watch films in full-screen mode because the main playback interface is busy. User comments, a carousel for episodes in whatever show you’re viewing, recommendations for other programs, and connections to other Crunchyroll material, like as news and browser versions of anime mobile games, are all included by default in the space surrounding the content. Of course, the quality of those games varies.
The video player contains a next episode button and a gear icon for adjusting the playback resolution and subtitle language, in addition to the conventional playing and volume settings (10 in total). Unfortunately, there are no rewind or fast-forward buttons on the video player. Crunchyroll took an unusually long time to transition from the outdated Flash player to a more current video player, and compatibility concerns arose during web testing of the manga reader. Fortunately, the video player itself is in perfect working order.
Crunchyroll for Mobile is a mobile version of Crunchyroll.
On a Google Pixel 3 running Android 10, we tested Crunchyroll’s mobile app. The app uses the same orange and white color scheme as the website, resulting in a uniform appearance across platforms. On one side of the app’s top bar, there’s an overflow menu for accessing account settings, and on the other, a search bar. The Account Setup portion is quite straightforward. The app language and manga viewing quality are the only meaningful customization options. External links to other Crunchyroll apps, such as the Manga App, News App, and Store, can also be found in the side menu.
Home, New, Anime, and Manga Shop are the four options in the app’s top navigation menu. Crunchyroll’s Home area is divided into two sections: My Queue (basically a list of shows you want to watch) and My History. This Season and Updated Episodes are the two categories in which shows are organized under the New section. The titles are presented alphabetically, but we’d like to be able to categorize them by genre or popularity, for example.
All of these filter options are available in the specialized Anime area, which are not available on the New tab. You have the option of sorting by popularity, release season, title, or genre. You can also sort the Manga section by Newest and Featured.
Accessibility and Features
Despite the fact that Crunchyroll currently provides a greater mix of subs and dubs, subs remain the primary focus. So, aside from changing the language, we wish we had a few more options. Other streaming services allow you to choose everything from text color to window opacity to make reading more pleasant. You can’t change the appearance of the subtitles, unfortunately.
Fortunately, Crunchyroll’s Mega Fan tier allows for offline downloads on mobile devices. Hulu (ad-free), Amazon Prime Video, and Paramount Plus are among the other prominent video streaming providers that support this feature. The service also meets the standard for simultaneous streams, allowing one device to access material at the same time in the Fan tier but up to six in the Ultimate Fan tier.
Crunchyroll should yet implement more advanced parental control measures, in our opinion. We like that the options allow you to filter mature video and manga content, but there’s no way to lock those settings down. Given the library’s vastness, the ability to whitelist series that a parent thinks appropriate for their child might be useful. Crunchyroll should also facilitate the creation of multiple user profiles inside a single account. Additional profiles would aid Crunchyroll users in organizing their queues and fine-tuning their profiles.
VPN and Crunchyroll
A virtual private network (VPN) is an effective solution to safeguard your online privacy from hostile actors and your ISP. Another advantage is that they can assist you in faking your genuine geographic location when you’re online. As a result, many video streaming providers do not allow you to utilize a VPN because streaming rights are sometimes restricted to specific locations. Some services are just unavailable to inhabitants of countries other than the United States and Canada. Because Crunchyroll’s material is essentially international, we wondered if a VPN connection would prevent us from streaming.
Fortunately, watching anime on our test Windows device linked to ProtonVPN servers in Denmark and Canada went without a hitch. Even if your VPN currently works with all of your video streaming services, there’s no guarantee that it will continue to do so in the future. Many video streaming sites are constantly experimenting with new methods for detecting and blocking VPN connections.
Anime for Everyone
Crunchyroll is a fantastic anime streaming service with a massive repertoire and excellent simulcast support. It also features original anime episodes and literary extras, such as a manga and fashion store. Offline downloads and more simultaneous broadcasts also add to the appeal.
Crunchyroll is the Editors’ Choice pick for anime streaming service because it devoured the competition. Dubs from Funimation? Crunchyroll is now available. What are VRV’s indie cartoons like? Crunchyroll also has them. Whatever you think of monopolies, Crunchyroll is hard to beat with these selections. It’s still a little messy, but that’s only because it’s suddenly overflowing with information.
Netflix is our Editors’ Choice for on-demand streaming for general audiences thanks to its top-notch originals and superb features. Our Editors’ Choice winners for live TV streaming are Hulu and YouTube TV, because both services offer a wide choice of channels and features at a fair price. Finally, due to its extensive repertoire, Peacock is our Editors’ Choice for free streaming.
Check out five reasons why you should maintain your cable and ditch your video subscription for more information on streaming. You should also read about how streaming has ushered in a new golden age of trash television.
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Niamh Murphy, a writer who is always seeking new challenges and pushing the boundaries of what's possible with the written word. I believe that writing is not just about expressing oneself, but about taking risks and experimenting with different forms and styles. I strive to create work that is both innovative and thought-provoking, that pushes the limits of what's possible with the written word. I believe that writing has the power to change the world, and I am honored to be a part of that tradition.