In the world of entertainment, anime has become wildly popular in recent years due, in part, to the rise of legal anime streaming sites like Crunchyroll and Funimation, as well as more general streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Now, people can enjoy their favorite anime shows at any time on their televisions without any major hassle with these services; however, there are many different options to choose from. So how do people know which option to go with? Without a doubt, the two premier leaders in the anime streaming space are Funimation and Crunchyroll. Funimation is known for having older hallmarks like Fullmetal Alchemist and the reboot, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Yu Yu Hakusho, Cowboy Bebop, and Dragon Ball Z while Crunchyroll is known more for popular shows such as Naruto Shippuden and simulcasts of new shows in Japan. Both offer streaming options called Funimation Now and Crunchyroll Premium; however, what are the pros and cons of each? Which service should users go with? Which is a better value for your money?
Regardless of the product or service, the first question on everyone’s mind is the price. Funimation Now offers a subscription for the price of $7.95 per month or $59.95 per year, which breaks down to around 5 dollars per month. Funimation Now also offers an option where people can view shows with subtitles only (as opposed to the dubbed shows) for $4.95 per month. Crunchyroll Premium offers a 14-day free trial followed by a monthly rate of $6.95 per month, a 3-month option for $19.95, and an annual for $59.95. Overall, the two options are fairly similar when it comes to cost, especially if you are looking to opt for the the annual and save money in the long-run.
Both Funimation Now and Crunchyroll Premium provide an app for Android and iTunes that can stream to numerous mobile devices. This means that people with a subscription can watch their favorite anime shows with either subscription on mobile devices anytime, anywhere. They both also have apps for the major video game consoles stores: Playstation Store and Xbox Store. Additionally, they both have apps for the Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices, and Roku devices. Crunchyroll does have a little more support for weird streaming devices like blu-ray players, TVs, and such, but it is doubtful that the few people who use those devices will make a purchasing decision on it. It might be nice to look into farther if that is how you prefer to stream and are unsure if Crunchyroll supports it, but not something that is really meaningful otherwise.
As for the user interface and app speed, we find the Crunchyroll apps to be better than the Funimation apps as the Crunchyroll ones are a bit less glitchy and a bit quicker. We found the Funimation Now website to be especially confusing, glitchy, and slow compared to Crunchyroll’s website, but their streaming apps are a lot closer in terms of speed and freezes. Both operate pretty similar overall, but the Crunchyroll app is a bit faster and easier to use than the Funimation Now apps which might be something to consider when deciding which to buy.
The Show Catalog
When it comes to streaming services, content is king. Both Funimation Now and Crunchyroll Premium offer a vast selection of anime shows and titles that people can choose from. Funimation Now contains shows such as Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Black Butler, and new releases like currently airing Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. They also offer many of their series in both subtitle and dub varieties. Crunchyroll Premium contains popular current shows such as One Piece, Dragon Ball Super, Blue Exorcist, Naruto Shippuden, as well as a lot of the more niche shows that are currently airing in Japan like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Fuuka. Overall, the size of the catalogs for both services are pretty similar and nobody will run out of good anime shows to watch with either one.
The difference between the two in terms of their catalog rests less on size and more primarily on the types of shows that they offer. Crunchyroll Premium tends to offer more currently airing and more recent shows, as well as some of the smaller niche shows like the currently airing Schoolgirl Strikers and Kemono Friends. On the other hand, Funimation Now has a much larger collection of older shows, as evidenced by Fullmetal Alchemist and Yu Yu Hakusho. This means that people looking to relive some of the classics of the anime world or maybe catch back up before seeing a sequel (like re-watching Dragon Ball Z before starting up on Dragon Ball Super) may have better luck with Funimation Now. However someone looking for newer shows and more niche shows and don’t care as much for older shows they may have already seen may want to check out Crunchyroll Premium.
The Controversial Subs vs. Dubs
The sub vs dub debate is the biggest difference between Funimation Now and Crunchyroll Premium. With the majority of anime shows coming out of Japan, the language barrier is always going to be a major issue. When it comes to watching anime shows, the question is always do you prefer dubs or subs. Every viewer will have their own preference and this is what will sell them on which service they want to spend their $59.95 a year on. Funimation tends to have a wider selection of dubbed shows for people to choose from, especially their back catalog but also their new simuldubs; while Crunchyroll Premium tends to keep their shows to subtitles only and offers very few dubbed options. Funimation started what they are calling simuldubs, where they dub an anime series a few weeks after it is released in Japan. The quality on these dubs varies but they are overall pretty good and enjoyable, especially if you prefer dubs over subtitles. If you prefer to watch a show in English instead of needing to read subtitles, Funimation is the obvous choice with their high quality dubs only weeks after the Japanese airing. If you prefer subtitles over dubs, go with Crunchyroll.
Ultimately, both Funimation Now and Crunchyroll Premium anime streaming services are popular and widely used in the anime community. Crunchyroll has announced they now have over 1 million paying subscribers, so these aren’t small streaming services. There are a few notable differences that people should remember when they are deciding which of the two services to go with. In the end, however, we feel that it really comes down to whether you prefer subtitles or dubs more. If you want to listen to the show in English and not worry about subtitles and just relax and enjoy the show, Funimation Now is the best choice. If you want the original voices and a more speedy release, Crunchyroll is the better option.
Funimation and Crunchyroll, while the biggest in the anime streaming space, aren’t the only ones who have anime. Hulu has a decent sized anime section (although many are in lower quality SD than the HD provided by Funimation and Crunchyroll), and Amazon Prime launched a $5 add-on called Anime Strike which has some decent shows to choose from. Netflix, while a smaller player in the anime streaming game, has some quality shows like Magi: Adventure of Sinbad and Seven Deadly Sins. In general if your goal is to watch anime, these services don’t provide the quality or catalog to really make them worthwhile, but for a casual viewer to watch something once in a while they may be acceptable.