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Specialist streaming services are becoming more and more common. A focus on niche content means you can enjoy hours upon hours of content away from one-size-fits-all services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
Pro-wrestling, horror movies, and stand-up comedy all have streaming services available, but what if you’re an anime fan? Where do you go to get your animated kicks? Well, the two main players right now are Crunchyroll and Funimation.
In this article we pit Crunchyroll vs. Funimation to find out what the best anime streaming service is. We compare the two on pricing, content, availability, and user interface before delivering our verdict.
The Basics of Anime: Subs vs. Dubs
You can split anime off into two main categories; subbed (subtitled) or dubbed (with voices dubbed over). Subbed is how a lot of purists prefer to watch, while dubbed gives a slightly easier entry-point.
From there you’ve got almost every genre you can think of. Sci-fi fans will love the Minority Report-style future cop show Psycho-Pass. If you just want to watch epic battles between infinitely powerful beings, Dragon Ball and One Punch Man might fit the bill. If you're still a little lost on where to start, check out the best anime sites on the web.
And while you might think almost every show involves insane backstories starring millennia-old demons, angsty teenagers, and mysterious quests, a lot of the time this couldn’t be further from the truth. Anime is a true slice of Japanese culture, so whether you want to see horror or high school dramas, see a snapshot of someone's life or invest in a psychological thriller, there’s quite literally something for everyone.
Now you know what anime is and the difference between subs and dubs, let's find out which anime streaming service you should subscribe to.
Crunchyroll vs. Funimation: Pricing
Taking on a new streaming service can be an exciting prospect, but if the price isn’t right you’ll feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth.
How Much Does Crunchyroll Cost?
Crunchyroll has a tiered pricing system, and depending on which option you take, you’ll enjoy a different set of benefits.
Fan is the lowest-priced Premium subscription to choose from at $7.99/month. This gives ad-free access to the full anime catalog in 720p and 1080p HD. At this level, you also get access to the manga library, and any new episodes release just hours after they air in Japan.
Those who opt for Mega Fan at $9.99/month will get a bump from a single stream to four concurrent streams. Mega Fan subscribers can also download episodes for offline viewing. If you take up an Ultimate Fan subscription, you’ll pay $14.99/month. This will take you up to six simultaneous streams while also providing a wealth of benefits including an annual swag bag and access to exclusive merch.
If you prefer to try before you buy, basic access is completely free but only gives standard definition (480p) streams. It also comes with the minor inconvenience of ads. This is a good starting point if you haven’t watched much anime and are just trying to find some shows you like. However, at this level, any new episodes take a week to hit the service.
How Much Does Funimation Cost?
Funimation also has a free, basic level which lets you enjoy ad-supported streaming on a limited number of shows. Paying $7.99/month will unlock the only premium tier, which gives ad-free access to the entire anime and live-action library.
The Premium membership enables the ability to stream on two devices simultaneously. It also allows you to download up to 13 episodes to the app at any one time, so it could come in handy if you’re going away for the weekend.
Crunchyroll vs. Funimation: The Content
While both services have favorites to enjoy like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Attack on Titan, and My Hero Academia, they each have their own focus that sets them apart from one another.
The sheer depth of Crunchyroll’s library makes it an incredible prospect. Not only are there more than 1,000 different anime and live-action series to watch, but it also has plenty of manga available to read when you sign up to the premium tiers.
Crunchyroll also has a diverse range of shows to watch and is great for modern anime, up-and-coming shows, and some of the more popular series. If you’re looking for Jujutsu Kaisen or Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, this is the place to find them.
As the focus is on a more recent and wider selection of content, you’ll find that Crunchyroll has a lot more subtitled shows and films. This is to be expected, as a lot of releases are close to Japan’s and use the original audio, but it also means you have plenty of opportunities to find something new and unique.
Unfortunately, some classics are sorely missed here. Akira is nowhere to be seen, and the only Dragon Ball series you can watch here is Super. Afro Samurai, Gungrave, and Hellsing are all missing too, and it can be argued that these are essential viewing, especially if you’re new to anime. On the other hand, Berserk can be found on Crunchyroll, but not on Funimation.
Funimation is ridiculously exciting for anyone dipping their toes into the world of anime. There are almost 700 different shows, films, and live-action series to watch, with lots of exclusives that can’t be seen anywhere else.
Cowboy Bebop, Dragon Ball Z, Black Lagoon, and Yu Yu Hakusho are all here ready and waiting to be watched. Code Geass is available, and so is Death Parade. If it’s a classic series or one of the more popular shows, it’s probably here.
Unlike Crunchyroll, Funimation’s emphasis on must-watch shows and older series translates to having more dubs. If you want to hear the original audio you can select this, but being able to watch without having to read subtitles is a great option.
You also won’t find as many brand-new shows here. D4DJ First Mix is available, but The God of High School isn’t, and neither is Boruto: Naruto Next Generation.
Crunchyroll vs. Funimation: How to Watch
While you can log in to both anime streaming services on a PC, obviously you don’t want to be tied to a desk if you’re sitting down to watch an epic series with hundreds of episodes.
Luckily, both Crunchyroll and Funimation have thought of this and offer apps for Android, iOS, PlayStation, and Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more. Which means you should have no problem finding a way to access the content.
Crunchyroll vs. Funimation: Navigating the Apps
Even if you're happy with the monthly price and the number of shows you'll be able to watch for that price, if the UI sucks, it can make a streaming service a chore to use.
Navigating the Crunchyroll UI
Navigating Crunchyroll can be a mixed bag, depending on where you use it. The app is fantastic. Just log in and you’re presented with a wealth of content, which is all easy to scroll through. You’ve got options for different genres, and every dubbed series has clear indicators.
Adding to your Watchlist is easy in all instances, and just takes a couple of button presses wherever you're using it. It's easy to filter mature content in or out, too.
On PC is where Crunchyroll feels a little cluttered. It’s hard to navigate to find exactly what you’re looking for from time to time, and it can occasionally feel like you’re going round in circles.
Streaming is fast and responsive on all devices, with no issues in image, sound or subtitles. The only problem we've found is that you can't create multiple profiles, so keeping up with a favorite series can be a little confusing if more than one person is watching.
Navigating the Funimation UI
Funimation is a joy to use whether you’re using an app or PC, with incredibly easy navigation. Every show has large thumbnails in the gallery, and they can all be added to your queue with a single button press. Looking through different genres causes no issue, and everything is responsive throughout.
Streaming is just as good as Crunchyroll, and filtering mature content is a quick process. Like Crunchyroll, the inability to create individual profiles makes the concurrent streams feel a little redundant, especially if you're sharing with someone who's watching the same shows as you.
Crunchyroll vs. Funimation: The Verdict
Which anime streaming service you should choose depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re happy to watch dubs, head for the clean navigation and classic shows of Funimation. While those who prefer subtitles will find that Crunchyroll’s larger catalog and selection of manga is a better fit.
Overall, we’d say Funimation offers a slightly better experience at this time, especially if you haven’t had much exposure to anime. It has a single premium tier, which eliminates some of the confusion with Crunchyroll's multiple subscription levels, and it's also extremely user-friendly in all instances.
Ultimately, both Crunchyroll and Funimation are great ways to watch anime online, so why not try both out for yourself and see which you prefer.