Crunchyroll streaming service review: Price, features and content
A popular destination for anime fans, Crunchyroll has some tough competition in Australia.
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Founded in 2006, Crunchyroll has always been a go-to destination for anime fans. A niche streaming service, Crunchyroll specialises mainly in anime series, subbed and dubbed, but also offers a vast collection of digital manga and anime-based mobile games.
Moreover, Crunchyroll hosts an online store with collectibles, media, clothing and accessories that will appeal to anyone with a passion for Japanese culture. Unfortunately, it ships from the US, so you may need to wait a bit to get your hands on your order.
Pros and cons
- Niche provider. Crunchyroll is one of the few streaming services that provides 100% Eastern Asian content.
- Simulcasts. Get fresh Japanese content, with subtitles, within a couple of hours of broadcast.
- Large library. With hundreds of shows to stream, Crunchyroll is a solid choice when it comes to streaming Eastern Asian content.
- Browse and search features. Users have reported difficulty in sorting content, especially programs with and without subtitles.
- Poor streaming. Many reviews cite poor streaming quality, and buffering, even with Crunchyroll Premium.
- Missing old titles. Some older popular anime titles, like Yu Yu Hakusho and Cowboy Bebop, are missing from its extensive library.
Crunchyroll is completely free to use, with limitations.
You'll need to sign up for an account to watch most titles (as they come with age restrictions), but once that's done you can watch a wide collection of anime episodes for free, with ads. You can't access the entire library with a free account, nor read manga.
If you enjoy using Crunchyroll and want to unlock everything the service has to offer, you can splurge on a paid subscription, which comes with extra perks.
There are two types of Premium subscriptions Crunchyroll enthusiasts can opt for: Fan or Mega-Fan.
With Fan, you unlock the entire library with no ads, as well as get access to new episodes one hour after Japan and the collection of manga. It costs $7.99 a month but doesn't include offline viewing and you can only stream on one device at a time.
If that's not enough, Mega-Fan costs $9.99 a month and lets you stream on four devices at the same time, as well as download content on your mobile device to watch offline. Plus, you get all that's included in the Fan subscription.
You can sign up for 12 months and save 16%. A Mega-Fan subscription for an entire year costs $99.99.
What content is on Crunchyroll?
Crunchyroll has a vast library of anime series, so there's no chance you'll run out of stuff to watch, even with a free account. One of the most popular anime on the platform is One Piece, which has over 900 episodes, all streaming on Crunchyroll.
Other notable titles include Attack on Titan, Dr. Stone, Hunter x Hunter, Naruto, Jujutsu Kaisen, Bleach, Dragon Ball Super and Fruits Basket, to name only a few.
A few movies are available as well, though they might be hard to find since everything is listed under "Shows". Most series are available with subtitles, but some come dubbed as well.
Looking for a new anime series to watch? Check out the full Crunchyroll TV show library.
Crunchyroll My Hero Academia
One of the most popular anime series to come out in recent years, My Hero Academia, is available to stream on Crunchyroll in its entirety. Even better, season five of the series will be on the platform as well.
If you're unfamiliar with My Hero Academia, it follows a young boy with no superpowers who is training to be a hero. It's fun, earnest and offers a fresh spin on the superhero genre. All in all, it's easy to understand why it became a cult phenomenon.
Crunchyroll free trial
Crunchyroll offers a free 14-day trial for its premium membership tiers, including access to its entire library and simulcasts.
You have to give your personal information and credit card, and your subscription is automatically purchased at the end of the trial. If you decide the Crunchyroll Premium service isn't for you, cancel before your trial is up to avoid getting charged.
With Crunchyroll's focus on Japanese pop culture content, it could be a great streaming service for anime and manga fans.
Watch popular anime titles and live-action dramas included in its extensive library. But, possibly its most popular feature is its simulcasts which allow you to access select new episodes within hours of their original broadcast.
With its Crunchyroll Premium accounts you can read popular comics online, and access the newest releases from Kodansha Comics with its simulpub feature.
Crunchyroll Games brings anime games to your iOS and Android phone or tablet. It's fairly new to the gaming space and says it's working to bring on more games to its service for Crunchyroll users and beyond.
Crunchyroll works on a variety of devices, so you can watch your favourite anime on all types of screens. Here's the full list:
- Computer: PC, Mac
- Mobile devices: Apple iOS, Android, Windows Phone
- Game consoles: Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Playstation Vita
- Smart TV, streaming player and other: Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV
How does it compare to Funimation and AnimeLab?
In Australia, Funimation and AnimeLab have merged, so it's basically a case of AnimeLab vs Crunchyroll.
A local service, AnimeLab offers a better navigation and streaming experience. It's also cheaper – its premium plan, which costs $7.95 a month, includes offline streaming. AnimeLab also has a bigger focus on dubbed content, so if that's something you're interested in, you should give the service a spin.
On the other hand, Crunchyroll has a bigger library, but the streaming experience isn't always flawless. It also has manga, definitely a plus.
Both services come with free tiers and free trials, so we advise you give each a try and see which one is a better fit for you.
Crunchyroll frequently asked questions
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