Stuck inside and in need of some entertainment? Look no further than Crunchyroll — one of the best dedicated anime streaming services you can find. From animated Japanese shows and movies to Asian dramas and even manga, Crunchyroll has a lot to offer even to those who are not anime fanatics.
Read more: Best streaming services
So, how does Crunchyroll work and what subscription plans does it offer? Let’s jump in and take a closer look. You can sign up for the service at the link below:
What is Crunchyroll?
Formed in 2006, Crunchyroll is an on-demand streaming service primarily focused on Japanese animation. It is available worldwide and has the largest streaming catalog of licensed anime. Currently, it has 100 million registered uses and four million paid subscribers. What sets Crunchyroll apart from the competition is that you can enjoy most of its content for free. You can stream your favorite anime shows and movies just by signing up for a free account. If you can’t speak Japanese, don’t worry; the anime shows and movies are translated and subtitled or dubbed in a wide variety of languages. Also, new anime TV episodes show up on the service as fast as an hour after their debut in Japan.
If you can’t wait for the next season of your favorite anime to come out, you can read the manga (Japanese comics) it is based on instead. Crunchyroll has a great library of manga and many titles are available for free.
In early December 2020, Sony announced that its Funimation anime division would acquire Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion. The deal was approved and finalized earlier this year. It’s unclear whether the deal will affect Crunchyroll, but we’ll keep you posted.
Is Crunchyroll worth it?
If you are a hardcore fan of anime or manga, you should definitely want to sign up for Crunchyroll. Its library of both classic and current anime TV shows is extensive, and you might also be interested in checking out the manga selection as well. Best of all, you can watch much of its content for free, provided you can deal with commercials and low 480p resolution. Its paid subscription fees are reasonable, and you can get rid of ads and get higher resolution videos as well.
Where is it available?
Crunchyroll claims that the service is actually available in over 200 countries. However, not every Crunchyroll anime show or movie is available in every country. That’s due to a number of factors, including streaming licensing rights that might be different in your country of origin.
The service is available on the following platforms:
- iOS phones and tablets
- Android phones and tablets
- Roku set-top boxes, streaming sticks, and smart TVs
- Amazon Fire TV streaming sticks, set-top boxes, and smart TVs
- Android TV smart TVs
- Sony PlayStation 3, 4, and Vita game consoles
- Microsoft Xbox One game console
- Nintendo Wii U game console
- Google Chromecast
- Web access via browser at Crunchyroll.com
- Windows 10 app
The service used to be available for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii consoles, but those apps have now been discontinued.
Subscription plans and prices
The streaming service has four plans each with different perks. Here are the main differences and how to decide which plan is the best for you. You can sign up for all of the plans at the link below:
- Can I watch Crunchyroll for free?
In short, yes. For casual watchers and those just getting into Japanese animation, a free membership is usually the best choice. It allows you to stream most of the available content in standard definition or 480p. This membership is ad-supported, which means you will encounter ads both when watching anime and when reading manga. You will also have to be a bit patient if you want to watch new episodes since they are not instantly available.
- Fan subscription
Crunchyroll Fan not only removes all advertisements but grants you access to the full catalog of anime, manga, and dramas. This includes simulcasts and simulpubs, so you can watch or read new content as soon as it comes out. The viewing experience is upgraded too — with Fan you can watch your favorites in 720p and 1080 resolution. However, you are limited to just one concurrent stream at a time. The Crunchyroll Fan subscription costs $7.99 a month, with a free 14-day free trial.
- Mega Fan subscription
This has everything in the cheaper Fan tier but increases the number of concurrent streams per account from one to four. You also get access to offline viewing of anime with this plan. Finally, you receive a $15 discount off any one-time purchase of $100 in the Crunchyroll Store every three months. The Crunchyroll Mega Fan subscription costs $9.99 a month, with a free 14-day free trial.
- Ultimate Fan subscription
This tier has everything in the Fan and Mega Fan packages. However, you can access up to six concurrent streams per account with this tier. Every year, you will also get a special swag bag sent to you. You get a $25 discount off any one-time purchase of $100 in the Crunchyroll Store every three months. The Crunchyroll Ultimate Fan subscription costs $14.99 a month, with a free 14-day free trial.
If you live in the US and you love all things nerdy, not just anime, you might want to check out VRV. This streaming service bundles a number of anime, gaming, and cartoon channels into one, including Crunchyroll. A premium subscription to VRV will net you the same benefits as a Crunchyroll Fan membership with no downsides. You also get access to HIDIVE, Cartoon Hangover, Mondo Media, and more for $9.99 a month.
Read more: VRV – Everything you need to know
Crunchyroll and HBO Max
HBO Max also has a number of anime shows from the Crunchyroll library to stream on its own service (both services are currently owned by AT&T). You can stream about 20 to 30 anime titles on HBO Max. This is meant to give those subscribers a taste of the Crunchyroll catalog and is not meant to replace it.
Read more: HBO Max: Everything you want to know
As we mentioned, the paid subscription tiers offer features like downloads of shows to mobile devices. They also support more concurrent streams per account, along with discounts to the service’s merchandise store. The service also has its own news service for general anime announcements. You can upload your own picture or any image to be your profile. Paid members can also skin their profile page with different designs.
Crunchyroll is currently running an open beta test on its website. In addition to a redesigned UI, it adds features like recommendations based on your past viewing history. You can also create your own watchlist, along with custom lists that let you organize and label anime shows in any sort of category. You can also pause a show, and then pick up from where you left off, from your three most recently watched shows.
Crunchyroll offers content made for kids, along with more mature anime shows and movies for adults. As of this writing, there is only one small parental control feature that’s available. Here’s how to enable it:
- Sign into your Crunchyroll account and then click on your Profile icon.
- Tap or click into Settings in the menu.
- Tap or click on the Video Settings option.
- Finally, under the Mature Content Filter box, change the box so it shows Hide Mature Content.
You can do the same thing for the selection of manga on the service. Keep in mind that if your kids know your account and password, they can just switch the controls back to showing mature content.
The best anime to watch on Crunchyroll
So, if you are convinced and want to give Crunchyroll a try, what should you watch first? You’d be happy to know that Crunchyroll offers both quantity and quality. From little-known cult classics to worldwide smash hits, it’s got something for everyone.
But what can you watch? Crunchyroll’s catalog consists mostly of anime series. It offers a lot of classic popular shows like One Piece and Gundam, but it’s also the best place to watch new releases online. You can access simulcasts: new episodes from top series are usually available to watch only an hour after they are broadcast in Japan. Don’t worry if you don’t speak a lick of Japanese — there also are some great anime movies on Crunchyroll, but the choice there is a bit more limited. The same applies to Asian dramas since the list of available titles changes regularly.
You will find all of the action-packed long-running shonen favorites like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, and more. They are perfect for those who enjoy long series, thanks to the immense number of episodes most of these shows have. However, you can also enjoy shorter action series that are just as excellent in One-Punch Man, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Attack on Titan.
Fans of fantasy, on the other hand, can check out the mysterious and captivating Mushi-shi anime. If you want to add a bit of romance into the mix, the recent The Ancient Magus’ Bride series is also a must-watch. Finally, we can’t recommend Yuri on Ice enough — a sports anime smash hit from 2016 that has captivated audiences since.
In 2020, the service started dropping all-new anime series that it produced or co-produced, under the Crunchyrolls Originals label. They have includes shows like Tower of God, ONIKAWA: Over the Moon for You, and The God of High School with more in the works.
Read more: Best anime on Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll isn’t the only streaming service that offers up some great anime shows and movies. Here are a couple of other services that any anime fan should check out:
Sony-owned Funimation is also a huge source of day-and-date anime releases from Japan. You can watch classic series on the service like Dragon Ball, Yu Yu Hakusho, My Hero Academia, Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Ghoul, and much more. As we mentioned. Funimation acquired Crunchyroll, so things may change, but for now, you might want to sign up for both services.
Netflix is the biggest premiere video streaming service in the world. So, naturally, it is also one of the biggest sources of anime. Indeed, the service has a number of exclusive shows, such as The Seven Deadly Sins, Yasuka, Ultraman, and more to stream and watch. It also has some Western-made anime series, including Castlevania, Blood of Zeus, and more. It’s even adapting classic anime series into live-action series, including the upcoming Cowboy Bebop show.
Read more: Best anime on Netflix
Q: How many people can stream on Crunchyroll at one time?
A: The answer depends on which plan you have. The Free and Fan plans support just one stream. However, the Mega Fan plan supports up to four streams at once, and the Ultimate Fan plan supports up to six streams.
Q: Is Crunchyroll available in 4K?
A: Unfortunately, none of the service’s anime shows or movies is available in 4K resolution.
Q: Does Crunchyroll have ads?
A: The service does use ads in its Free membership tier, but you can get rid of them if you sign up for any of its paid plans.
Q: Can you share a Crunchyroll account with friends and family?
A: Technically, sharing your account with anyone is against its Terms of Service. If you do decide to share your account, be aware you might get cut off if you abuse it.
Q: Does Crunchyroll support VPNs?
A: The service can be watched in other parts of the world via a VPN, so you can access titles that are not normally available in your country.
Q: Does Crunchyroll work offline?
A: If you sign up for either the Mega Fan or Ultimate Fan plans, you can use the service’s iOS and Android apps to download anime shows and movies to watch offline.
Q: How many subscribers does the service have?
A: Crunchyroll currently has 120 million subscribers worldwide, with about 5 million paid subscribers.
Q: Is Crunchyroll going to shut down because of the Funimation purchase?
A: Right now, the future of Crunchyroll is uncertain, though Funimation and its parent company Sony have not announced any plans to shutter the streamer after purchasing it earlier this year.
That’s our look at Crunchyroll. We will update this post with any new information as warranted.