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There are a number of streaming services available for subscription purchase online, but none are quite like Crunchyroll. Of course, anime fans out there probably already know what Crunchyroll is: it’s one of the best-known and biggest streaming services for anime.
With a free plan, millions of people use it to watch their favorite anime shows, but there are millions of people who choose to pay for a subscription too.
Despite not being quite as mainstream as Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, Crunchyroll does still have an extensive viewing library for anime lovers. In this review, we’ll take you through all the ins and outs of Crunchyroll and whether it’s worth subscribing to.
Crunchyroll At a Glance
- Huge library of anime, even featuring Funimation dubs
- Enjoy anime in various genres like action, comedy, drama, adventure, mystery, idols, and more
- Stream over 1300 series and many simulcast shows
- Many pricing plans to choose from
- Playback quality: 480p for the free version and 720p HD to 1080p for subscribers
- Simultaneous streams: 6 (Ultimate Fan subscription)
- Profiles allowed per account: 0
- Extensive anime library
- Simulcasts anime a few hours after release in Japan
- Read manga on the Crunchyroll app
- Doesn’t stream some shows like Cowboy Bebop and Dragon Ball
- Doesn’t have animated series
- Not a lot of dubbed content
We rate Crunchyroll 7/10.
Why Get Crunchyroll?
Great Anime Content
Anime! Yes, this question is a little obvious, but not only can you watch anime, you can watch it quickly. Crunchyroll releases a series within an hour of its release in Japan. These are the simulcast shows like Ace of Diamon, Black Clover, and of course, My Hero Academia.
Actually, you can check on the simulcast calendar for Crunchyroll if you want to stay the most caught up on your favorite options. You absolutely can’t miss the newest episode of One Piece, after all!
You also have a lot of options, from the classic Hunter X Hunter and Naruto to some original series that the platform produces itself, like The Rising of the Shield Hero, which has also been popular lately. Anime content plus original anime content: that’s what you can expect.
And if there’s a specific series you want to watch, all you need to do is take a look at Crunchyroll’s home page.
While some anime shows may be more popular than others, Crunchyroll doesn’t discriminate. They have anime of a variety of genres available for free or a paid subscription.
You’ll find action, comedy, drama, adventure, mystery, idols, sci-fi, sports, supernatural, sports, a slice of life, post-apocalyptic, historical, romance, Shonen, and Isekai. You can search for specific shows on the app or use the drop-down menu and search by category if you’re looking for a new show to watch.
Within the drama category, you’ll find even more genres: Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese, Korean, crime, family, food, historical, romance, and thriller. If you’re looking for a good anime drama, then you’ll have a wide array of categories to choose from as well as a myriad of shows.
Don’t forget that since Crunchyroll owns Funimation now, it also includes their shows as well and is still adding more. Think Tokyo Ghoul and Yu Yu Hakusho. So basically, this means that you have even more options—and more dubbed options too!
This is because Funimation has a bigger dubbed library, so you can expect more dubbed series to arrive as everything gets transferred over.
You have more than just anime on Crunchyroll. You have manga and some amazing products available and for sale too. When you download the app, you get a platform to read manga. Once you have the app, just scroll through your phone to find it and search for your favorite manga series. If you haven’t yet read manga, this is a great resource to use!
Check out the manga shop to read your favorite volumes, and if you really want some apparel, you can take a look at books, figurines, clothes, and even physical videos if you want to add to your collection. You can even buy some Japanese snacks to enjoy while you watch your favorite series.
Features and Accessibility
You might wish you had a few more dubbed options on Crunchyroll, but subs are the focus here. Unfortunately, you also can’t make too many choices in terms of customization of those subtitles, which may make them hard to read for some people.
Parents wish there were better parental control tools too. For example, you can filter your mature content and your manga content in your settings, but you can’t actually lock those settings down. This can be really difficult with the size of the library, which will make it difficult to cycle through all the content that you might not want your child to see.
You can’t necessarily count on everything being blocked unilaterally, especially since there are fewer content ratings or advisories, so you might need to keep a little bit of a closer eye out when younger children want to watch.
You have a few different pricing options when it comes to Crunchyroll. That free plan includes ads, but there aren’t any simulcasts or all of the anime and manga libraries. You can still watch a sort of sampler, though, which will show you the first three episodes of new titles for a little while.
You have tiered plans too. First, you have the $8 a month plan. This is the Fan tier plan which will remove all limitations on your content and let you access everything that Crunchyroll has to offer. You can also access all digital copies of manga online in English and watch new releases within an hour. And yes, your streaming will not have any ads.
Then you have the $10 a month plan. The Mega Fan tier will let you access discounts, fan expos, and offline viewing too, and of course, it has everything from the previous plans. If you commit to this plan for a year, you can get a small discount too. Oh, and you can also stream on up to four devices and get a discount on the Crunchyroll store too.
And if you really want the full experience, check out the $15 a month Ultimate Fan tier plan. Stream on up to six devices, and get a few discounts on bags and figurines too! Not just discounts either, but you’ll receive an exclusive swag bag and figurine just for having this plan.
Know that all these tiers support 1080p streaming and give you exclusive access to Funimation and VRV shows at no extra charge. You can also choose to try a free trial as well for 14 days if you want to test out the experience on one of the paid plans.
For US viewers, there is a bundle available that makes Crunchyroll and other fan-favorite streaming platforms available for one price. With a VRV subscription, you have access to anime streaming sites, gaming channels, and cartoon channels.
In addition, if you do choose a VRV subscription, you’ll receive the Crunchyroll Fan membership plus HIDIVE, Cartoon Hangover, Mondo Media, and more. The subscription only costs $9.99 a month.
You know that different plans offer different streaming options. The higher tiered plan that you have, the more devices you can stream on.
The free plan and the cheapest plan, the Fan plan, will only let you use one device. That being said, there’s nothing that would stop you from making multiple accounts to stream on multiple devices too. It might be easier for you to just subscribe to a higher-tiered plan, though. The Mega Fan plan lets you stream on four devices and the Ultimate Fan plan—six devices.
And on which devices exactly can you watch Crunchyroll on? You have a lot of different platforms available to you. These include:
- Apple TV
- Fire TV
- Android and iOS phones
- Multiple gaming consoles
Really, the only places you can’t watch Crunchyroll is on the original Wii.
Since Crunchyroll has two different streaming options (free and subscription-based), you can expect different streaming quality. The quality of either isn’t astounding, but it will certainly be fine for anyone watching on their phone or tablet. However, if you try watching on a large TV or even a laptop, you might encounter lagging.
The load times aren’t speedy. You shouldn’t expect to tap on your selected show and have it playing a second later. Instead, you should expect to wait a couple of seconds for it to load. Once it starts, though, you shouldn’t have any trouble watching unless your connection is exceptionally bad.
On the free version, you can expect the streaming quality to hover around 480p, which is not great. If you have a subscription, however, then streaming quality will be anywhere from 1080p to 720p HD. The connection may waver between HD and substandard definition, but it tends to play in HD more often than not.
Another thing to keep in mind about the streaming quality is ads. If you don’t pay for a subscription and you only use the free version, you’ll get ads every five minutes or so. They’re short, only 15-30 seconds long, but they can quickly get annoying and lower your streaming experience.
Crunchyroll is compatible with many platforms and devices, including gaming consoles, smart TVs, and casting devices.
Crunchyroll might feature a lot of content, but users tend to feel that the interface is awkward to use. Also, if you like using the free plan, those ads can get annoying—which is why so many people still pay for the subscriber plans.
You also cannot switch profiles, so if you have multiple people watching anime all at once, you might need to switch between series and be careful not to watch a random episode of something else.
No, you won’t have 4K HDR, but you can still watch at 1080p HD. Don’t blame this on Crunchyroll, though. Anime series are rarely produced in 4K quality, so this isn’t uncommon on anime streaming services.
Crunchyroll is a great streaming platform for anime lovers, so long as you’re willing to pay for a subscription. A free plan is a great way to test the waters and see if Crunchyroll is a good option for you, but you’ll have the best experience if you choose a paid plan. You’ll have more benefits and a seamless streaming experience with this one-stop anime platform.