Crunchyroll review

Crunchyroll highlights

Crunchyroll review

There may be an abundance of video streaming services to choose from lately, but most of the leading options have a limited anime collection. This often leaves hardcore anime fans with their streaming needs unmet. That’s where Crunchyroll enters the picture with an expansive collection of anime movies and shows.

The dedicated anime streaming service provides viewers with access to hundreds of on-demand series and simulcasts, allowing them to watch episodes immediately after the Japanese broadcast. As it caters to the unique needs of anime fans, it’s not too surprising that even though you get basic access for free, Crunchyroll had garnered about 2 million paying subscribers by 2018.

Founded in 2006, Crunchyroll started out as a for-profit streaming site, mainly hosting fan-subbed versions of East Asian series. It has since become part of Otter Media, a WarnerMedia company, and grown into one of the biggest anime brands in the world. In October 2018, Crunchyroll announced its intention to stream original content to further enrich its expanding library and strengthen its offering.

Compare Crunchyroll plans

Although Crunchyroll provides free basic access, it offers two additional premium tiers for ad-free streaming and other perks.


Free MembershipPremium MembershipPremium+ Membership
Monthly priceFree$7.99$11.95
Free trial lengthN/A14 days14 days
Number of titles150+1000+1000+
Number of simultaneous streamsN/A22
Cloud DVR storageNoNoNo
Access to simulcastsNoYesYes
Streaming quality480pUp to 1080pUp to 1080p
Ad-free experienceNoYesYes
Exclusive Premium+ perksNoNoYes

Crunchyroll add-ons

At the time of writing this post, Crunchyroll doesn’t offer any add-on services or features with which to customize your package. But you have the option to get the service as an add-on channel on VRV. Through the VRV streaming service, you can get access to both the free and paid plans from Crunchyroll.

The free Crunchyroll plan through VRV won’t cost you a thing, but if you upgrade to VRV Premium for $9.99/mo. you get free access to Crunchyroll Premium, so you might want to consider this option.

What to watch on Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll offers a decent mix of popular and underrated anime series, as well as live-action programs and animated drama. Being a dedicated anime streaming service, however, it contains more of the former. Plus, it also offers a bunch of hit original animated shows, typically exclusive to the service.

Anime

The Crunchyroll anime lineup features 900+ titles in a wide variety of genres, including action and adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, historical, mystery, romance, sci-fi, supernatural and thriller. You can use your subscription to watch some of the most high-profile anime series, including Attack on Titan, Bleach, Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma, Fullmetal Alchemist, My Hero Academia, Naruto Shippuden and Yuri!!! on Ice.

At the same time, Crunchyroll is a great place to discover lesser-known gems and niche anime such as Folktales from Japan, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, How to Keep a Mummy, Mob Psycho 100 and The Diary of Ochibi. Keep in mind that you won’t get access to all of these titles with the free membership. And Crunchyroll doesn’t offer dubs, so you can only watch most of these titles with subs.

Drama

The Crunchyroll drama lineup consists of 200+ titles in genres like action, comedy, crime, family, food, historical, horror, romance and thriller. Though it may be a dedicated anime streaming service, it also offers a decent selection of live-action drama. So you get to stream live-action adaptations of your favorite anime series as well as shows from Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Singaporean TV.

Some of the drama series currently streaming on Crunchyroll include Call to Cosplay, Happy Boys, Hikakin Beatbox, Mischievous Kiss, Shiratori Reiko and Tofugu.

Simulcasts

Besides its regular streaming lineup, Crunchyroll also offers access to simulcasts of currently airing shows such as Boruto: Naruto Next Generations and Tower of God. This allows viewers to stream the latest anime episodes as quickly as an hour after the Japanese broadcast. You can only get Crunchyroll simulcasts with a premium membership.

Hit originals

Crunchyroll’s biggest selling point is its original content collection, which sets it apart from the competition. Most of these originals are exclusive to the platform, giving diehard anime fans plenty of reasons to subscribe.

The previously-mentioned simulcast, Tower of God, is part of Crunchyroll’s slate of original programming. Besides this, you can also watch enticing Crunchyroll originals such as Freak Angels, a story about 12 psychics and their attempts to rebuild society, High Guardian Spice, which follows the journey of four girls training to become heroes and In/Spectre, a fascinating supernatural romance series.

User experience

The Crunchyroll interface, though straightforward, could do with some improvement – both on the website and the app. The web version of the streaming service is reminiscent of online discussion forums like Reddit, rather than a site to watch videos.

On the homepage, you immediately see a list of featured shows. And unlike other streaming services, it also highlights a curated list of relevant news. So the amount of information on the page might be a little overwhelming to some.

From the top menu bar, you get to navigate through the rest of the website to find the shows you want to watch as well as games, manga and news. And you get to sort the content in alphabetical order or filter it based on seasons and genres to find what you want to watch.

While the media player itself doesn’t fall too far behind the competition, the clutter extends to the playback interface as well. You get a lot of distracting elements such as links, recommendations and user comments in the surrounding space. The best way to avoid this distraction is to watch in full-screen mode.

You can access Crunchyroll through the app on mobile or streaming devices. The app interface doesn’t vary too much from the web version, but you’ll notice that it has much less clutter. The service simply doesn’t offer many customization options.

As for simultaneous streaming, Crunchyroll only allows up to two people to use the same account. So you can’t stream from more than two devices at a time, which is on par with what other leading services like Hulu and Netflix Standard offer. One area where Crunchyroll falls behind is when it comes to offline viewing. Unlike most streaming services, it doesn’t let you download videos to watch offline.

Device compatibility

Besides your web browser, Crunchyroll works with these devices:

Crunchyroll features you’ll love

Stream 1000+ anime and drama titles

Boasting over 900 anime titles and around 200 drama series, Crunchyroll has an expansive content library, perfect for diehard fans. This puts it above many competing services that only have a few hundred anime titles in their lineup. From widely popular shows to lesser-known gems, Crunchyroll gives you access to a wide variety of anime content from a diverse range of genres.

Not to mention the expanding slate of exceptionally-made originals that set it apart from the competition. With most Crunchyroll originals being exclusive to the service, a subscription will give you access to content that you won’t get anywhere else.

Watch simulcasts of your favorite shows

Crunchyroll also lets you keep up with the latest episodes of your favorite anime shows through simulcasts. In most cases, you can stream simulcast episodes about an hour after they air in Japan. The service regularly updates its simulcast library and provides a calendar to help you keep up with the latest episode releases.      

Access 50+ manga titles

The Crunchyroll content library isn’t just limited to anime. It also offers access to a huge selection of manga titles you can read without ads if you have a premium membership. Some of the most popular manga titles on Crunchyroll include Attack on Titan, Domestic Girlfriend, Final Fantasy: Lost Stranger and The Heroic Legend of Arslan.

Crunchyroll even offers a simulpub feature, which allows you to read the latest manga chapters as soon as they’re published in Japan.

Exclusive Premium+ perks

For Premium+ members, Crunchyroll offers a few exclusive perks. Besides a Premium+ virtual badge, you get VIP convention perks such as exclusive event invites and special goodie bags. You also get entry into exclusive contests and access to beta tests of new Crunchyroll features.

Ad-free streaming experience

With the two premium membership tiers, Crunchyroll lets you stream all available titles without any ad disruptions. Plus, you won’t get any ads while reading the manga collection. 

The takeaway

With an expansive collection of anime shows and originals, Crunchyroll provides a space dedicated to hardcore otaku. Not to mention all the perks and privileges that you get with a premium membership. Consider investing in a Crunchyroll premium subscription if your media consumption mainly consists of anime shows and manga. But for casual fans, the free membership works just fine.

If you find the premium membership perks enticing, sign up for your 14-day free trial to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Jacqueline Zote

Jacqueline Zote is a digital marketing and entertainment writer who makes regular contributions to Sprout Social and Recreation Insider. Her interests range from pop culture and mythology to social activism. When she’s not writing, she goes on food adventures and binges on crime drama. Her short fiction has been published by HarperCollins Publishers and Zubaan Books.