What is Crunchyroll? Everything you need to know about the popular anime streaming service

Crunchyroll app on mobile phone
Crunchyroll is a streaming platform focused explicitly on original and simulcasted licensed Anime shows and movies.

  • Crunchyroll is an anime streaming service that offers over 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes of anime.
  • Crunchyroll is free with ads, but users can upgrade to one of three ad-free membership tiers through the premium subscription service.
  • Crunchyroll is available across devices and platforms, including iOS, Android, Roku, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and more. 
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Susan J. Napier’s 2016 book, “Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle,” reports that anime makes up around 60% of the world’s animated television series. Started in 2006 by students at the University of California, Berkeley, Crunchyroll is an answer to that mountain of content and the fans who demand it. 

With 3 million subscribers and services in over 200 countries and territories, Crunchyroll has become one of the world’s most popular anime brands. The Netflix-esque streaming service offers a vast library of TV anime, manga, and other original content featuring popular titles like “Lupin the Third,” “Attack on Titan,” and “The God of High School.” 

Acquired by WarnerMedia in 2018, the company announced in December 2020 the sale of Crunchyroll to Sony, which owns the platform’s anime competitor Funimation. There has been no update about how the merger will affect the two sites, so for now, Crunchyroll remains the anime powerhouse fans have come to know and love. 

Here’s everything else you need to know about Crunchyroll. 

What is Crunchyroll?

Just two years after launching as a paid for-profit video upload and streaming site primarily focused on East Asian media in 2006, the platform moved away from hosting licensed material, including titles illegally uploaded by users. With a cash infusion in 2008, Crunchyroll took the first steps towards becoming the legal distribution platform, entering into the home release and DVD markets, as well as the digital Manga world. 

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The service currently has three million subscribers and operates in over 200 countries and territories.

Over a decade later, Crunchyroll has become a distributor and publisher and production and licensing company with a strict focus on the anime market. The service caters to its specific audience of anime lovers by offering shows and movies, games, live-action dramas, and Japanese comics (or manga). Presently, Crunchyroll claims it boasts 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes of anime content. The company also offers a variety of in-person events, including the Crunchyroll Expo and Crunchyroll Anime Awards. 

In addition to distributing anime from Japanese companies, the site also offers a slate of exclusive programs through Crunchyroll Originals. Launched last year and produced out of Crunchyroll Studios, the company has used its original programming to distinguish itself from competitors by providing content unique to its site instead of relying solely on licensed content. Crunchyroll Originals include:

  • “Noblesse”
  • “FreakAngels” 
  • “Onyx Equinox”
  • “High Guardian Spice” 
  • “Meiji Gekken: Swords & Guns” 
  • “In/Spectre” 
  • “The God of High School”
  • “Tower of God”

How does Crunchyroll work? 

Crunchyroll gives viewers various ways to watch their favorite anime titles. Users can opt to stream on their computers or access it on mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows phones. But Crunchyroll is also available on numerous other streaming devices and even gaming platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Playstation 3, 4, and Vita, Roku, Xbox One and 360, and Wii U. 

As a bonus, if you begin viewing on a platform like a computer, you can seamlessly switch to another device with ease with no interruptions as long as you’re logged into your account. 

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There are over 30 thousand episodes with numerous titles for offline viewing.

Crunchyroll viewers can sign up for the free account or one of its tiered membership options. With a free profile, you can stream content one week after the broadcast in Japan with ads. Crunchyroll simulcasts the content the same day for premium users – and only an hour after airing in Japan. 

Both free and paid accounts have access to “subbed” and “dubbed” content. When users stream content that originally airs in Japan, subtitles will be available in English and other languages. Those who would prefer to watch – instead of reading – can select an anime’s “dubbed” version in their language. In English dubs, the Japanese voice actor has been replaced by an English voice actor.  

How much does Crunchyroll cost?

Free users only need their basic info to create an account and begin watching. But the anime streaming service also has three paid membership options for those looking for additional benefits and perks. New premium subscribers get a 14-day trial before being billed monthly. 

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Each membership level offers different benefits.

Fan  

At the beginner level of the premium membership ladder, “Fan” subscribers pay $7.99 a month and get perks like same-day simulcast viewing, ad-free watching, and access to Crunchyroll’s digital library of manga.

Mega Fan 

At $9.99 a month, Mega Fans get everything mentioned above in addition to the ability to stream on multiple devices, offline viewing, primary access to Crunchyroll Expo, and discounted prices on merchandise in the Crunchyroll store.

Ultimate Fan

The most expensive and inclusive tier, the $14.99 a month Ultimate Fan subscription, has the majority of benefits from previous levels and the bonuses of a yearly swag bag and a limited-edition figurine.  

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